Kayak Fjallsarlon: An Unforgettable Glacier Lagoon Adventure

Set against the expansive backdrop of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon presents a striking venue for kayaking in Iceland. The mirror-like waters of the lagoon offer a peaceful yet adventurous experience, as kayakers navigate between floating icebergs that have calved from the towering Fjallsjökull glacier. The lagoon’s secluded nature provides a space of tranquility and an intimate proximity to Iceland’s dynamic landscapes, attracting those who seek to connect with nature in its rawest form.

The adventure of kayaking in Fjallsárlón is accessible from May through November, presenting an opportunity to witness the serenity of the lagoon, accented by the sound of cracking ice and the sight of ice formations in varying hues of blue and white. This glacial lagoon, positioned on the south coast of Iceland, is less frequented than its neighbor, Jökulsárlón, offering a more undisturbed experience. With sturdy kayaks designed to ensure stability and safety, participants of all skill levels are invited to glide across the cool waters, closely observing the impressive icebergs and the glacier’s facade.

Visitors to Fjallsárlón not only engage with the crisp Icelandic air and the panoramic scenery from a kayak but may also have the opportunity to complement their waterborne journey with a glacier hike or a super jeep excursion. These additional adventures underscore the versatility of Fjallsárlón as a destination that caters to varying interests while emphasizing the raw beauty and power of Iceland’s glacial terrain.

Exploring Fjallsárlón

As a serene counterpart to its more famous neighbor, Jökulsárlón, Fjallsárlón Iceberg Lagoon offers an intimate connection with Iceland’s glacial beauty. Here, adventurers can navigate through icebergs and experience close encounters with nature’s frozen sculptures.

The Glacial Landscape

At the base of Fjallsjökull glacier, part of the larger Vatnajökull Glacier, lies the magnificent Fjallsárlón Lagoon. This lagoon is dotted with floating icebergs that have calved from the glacier, creating an ever-changing mosaic of blue and white. The lagoon’s proximity to Vatnajökull — Europe’s largest glacier by volume — emphasizes the grandeur of Iceland’s glacial landscapes.

  • Key Features of the Glacial Landscape:
    • Icebergs with diverse shapes
    • The Fjallsjökull glacier tongue
    • Dynamic ice calving activity

Wildlife and Ecosystem

Although seemingly desolate, Fjallsárlón’s ecosystem is a supportive environment for various species that thrive in cold climates. Visitors may observe birds such as the Arctic Tern or the occasional seal navigating between the icebergs. The lagoon’s cold waters are rich in fish that attract these predators, revealing a complex web of life amidst the ice.

  • Local Wildlife:
    • Birds: Arctic Terns, Skuas
    • Marine Life: Seals, Arctic Char

Best Times to Visit

Fjallsárlón is accessible throughout the year, but May to November is considered the optimal period for kayaking among the icebergs, owing to milder weather conditions and longer daylight hours. It is important to schedule visits to coincide with safe weather patterns and guided tour availability.

  • Monthly Temperature Range (May - November):
    • Average High: 9°C - 14°C
    • Average Low: 2°C - 5°C

Visiting during these months ensures a safer and more comfortable exploration of Fjallsárlón’s glacial beauty.

Kayak Tours in Fjallsárlón

Exploring the serene Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon by kayak offers adventurers a unique perspective of Iceland’s majestic glaciers and floating icebergs.

Tour Options and Types

  • Single Kayak: For those seeking an intimate experience with nature, single kayaks are available, allowing for personal maneuverability and connection to the surroundings.
  • Tandem Kayak: Ideal for partners or friends, tandem kayaks facilitate shared adventure and communication while paddling among the ice formations.

Tour durations can range from short excursions to longer, more immersive journeys, with each offering a distinct view and experience of Fjallsárlón’s pristine environment. While most kayak tours are designed for general audiences, some may cater to experienced kayakers seeking a more challenging expedition.

Safety and Equipment

Guides: Trained guides accompany all tours, ensuring participants navigate safely while offering insights into Fjallsárlón’s ecosystem.


  • PFDs: Personal flotation devices are mandatory and provided for each paddler.
  • Dry Suits: To protect against the cold water, dry suits are commonly provided to keep adventurers warm and dry.
  • Paddles and Kayaks: High-quality paddles and kayaks are included, ensuring a reliable paddling experience.

Safety briefings precede all tours, highlighting paddling techniques, rescue procedures, and how to safely interact with wildlife and ice formations. Weather conditions are monitored closely, with tours adjusted or postponed for safety.

Photography and Sightseeing

When visiting Fjallsárlón, photographers are drawn to its serene beauty and dynamic ice formations. This section aims to guide visitors to the best vantage points and offer practical photography tips for capturing this unique glacial landscape.

Vantage Points

  • GPS Coordinates for Fjallsárlón: To capture the grandeur of Fjallsárlón, use these coordinates: 64.0006° N, 16.3655° W.
  • Nearby Jökulsárlón: A short 15-minute drive to the east provides alternative icy scenery and often larger icebergs.
  • Diamond Beach: While Fjallsárlón doesn’t have a beach, the nearby Diamond Beach presents a stark contrast of glistening ice against black sands and can be included within your sightseeing itinerary.

Photography Tips

  • Lighting Conditions: The best light for photography at Fjallsárlón is typically during the golden hours, shortly after sunrise and before sunset.
  • Gear Essentials:
    • A tripod helps stabilize shots, especially in low-light conditions.
    • Polarizing filters can reduce glare off the water and ice, enhancing the clarity of your photos.
  • Safety Considerations: Keep a safe distance from the water’s edge; the ground can be slippery, and icebergs can shift unexpectedly.

Traveler Information

When planning a kayak trip in Fjallsárlón, visitors should consider accommodations, dining, and transportation options. Adequate preparation ensures a comfortable and memorable experience paddling among the icebergs.


Vik, a town approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes away by car, offers a range of accommodation options from budget-friendly guesthouses to more luxurious stays. Closer to Fjallsárlón, travelers can find various lodging choices that provide accessibility to the lagoon and the surrounding attractions.

Dining Options

For dining, Frost Restaurant is a notable establishment located in Vik, offering a selection of Icelandic cuisine with an emphasis on local ingredients. Visitors will also find a variety of other restaurants in the town of Vik and along the Ring Road to suit different tastes.

Getting There and Around

Fjallsárlón is accessible via Route 1, commonly known as the Ring Road. GPS coordinates for Fjallsárlón are approximately 64°0'57.74184"N 16°21'55.67976"W. Travelers can rent a car in Vik or other major towns and follow the well-marked roads. Regular tours are available for those who prefer guided excursions.

Nearby Attractions

When embarking on a kayak adventure in Fjallsárlón, visitors can enrich their experience by exploring the array of attractions nestled in the vicinity, each offering unique natural wonders and enchanting experiences.

Southeast Iceland’s Jewels

Vatnajökull National Park looms nearby, boasting the title of Europe’s largest national park. It showcases a diverse landscape where guests can witness the grandeur of ice and fire side by side. The Skaftafell Nature Reserve, a part of the park, serves as a gateway to a world of glaciers with readily available guided tours that reveal panoramic views and geological marvels.

  • Svínafellsjökull Glacier: A notorious tongue of the mighty Vatnajökull, ideal for glacier walks.
  • Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon: Roughly a 15-minute drive from Fjallsárlón, it’s a larger and often busier spot with crystal-clear icebergs floating serenely.

Local Hidden Gems

Fjallsárlón is surrounded by less frequented but equally stunning local attractions that are considered hidden gems of the South Coast. Travelers can consult TripAdvisor for insider tips on these secluded spots.

  • Vestrahorn Mountain: Majestic peaks mirroring in still waters create perfect photo opportunities.
  • Hoffellsjökull Glacier: A quieter spot for those seeking solitude amidst nature.

Every site mentioned promises a robust blend of awe-inspiring views and a deep connection with nature, enhancing the adventure for visitors who kayak in the tranquil waters of Fjallsárlón.