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Fjallsarlon vs Jokulsarlon – Iceland Glacier Lagoons

A person sits by the shore at Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, with many icebergs floating around in the lagoon.

What is the difference between Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón Lagoons

I am often asked what the difference is between Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón. In this article you will find information about both ice lagoons. Both glacier lagoons are in Southeast Iceland with approximately 10 minutes’ drive between them. 

So, which one is better: Fjallsárlón or Jökulsárlón?

It is kind of a silly question! Which one is better: Gullfoss waterfall or Skógafoss waterfall? Hekla volcano compared to Katla volcano? I say each place has its charm and characteristics and therefore it is hard to compare the two on who is better. It is always a personal choice, based preferences on what each guest is looking for on their travels.

Sometimes I am asked the question: What is the difference between Jökulsárlón ice lagoon and Fjallsárlón ice lagoon? The answer happens to be that it is two different places.

You will have two different glaciers tongues crawling from Vatnajökull Glacier between different mountains with completely different surroundings. Jokulsarlon is at Breiðamerkurjökull glaciers foot. If I try to be completely neutral, Fjallsárlón surroundings are way more impressive with its high mountains looming over the lagoon. Fjallsjökull glacier crawls into the lagoon from the highest mountain in Iceland, Öræfajökull Glacier.

Both ice lagoons are nature gems, with floating icebergs. It varies between days or weeks which lagoon has more icebergs bobbing around. The view changes almost every day as pieces of ice calve from the glaciers and are pushed around by wind or current.

Floating icebergs in the twilight at Jokulsarlon.


Is Jökulsárlón ice lagoon bigger than Fjallsárlón lagoon?

Yes, it is larger of the two lagoons, but as you have maybe heard that size does not matter! Geysir hot spring is bigger than Strokkur hot spring… Geysir is the most famous geyser in the world. It used to erupt regularly but is dormant today and will probably never erupt again unaided. Next to Geysir we have a smaller geyser called Strokkur (referred to as Geyser). That is actively erupting every 5 minutes, which is quite captivating. All jokes aside, yes Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon in Iceland is smaller but is perfect in size framed by towering glaciers and mountain ridges.

Glacier lagoon boat tour 

Both ice lagoons have glacier boat companies offering ice lagoon boat tours. At Jokulsarlon you have a couple of tour operators offering amphibian boat tours and smaller zodiac boat tours. The amphibian boat drives on land and then goes into the ice lagoon sailing around close to the shore. The tour is in a way somewhat limited as the boat does not go all the way to the edge of the glacier. Also the amphibian boat does not sail fast. And due to size, it cannot go as close as a zodiac boat can get to icebergs. The amphibian boat tour however is the shortest and the most affordable boat tour offered on a glacier lagoon in Iceland.

At Jökulsárlón you will also find icelagoon zodiac boat tours. The tour takes you to the edge of the glacier but expect a long ride due to the distance you need to cover. This ice lagoon zodiac tour is longest in duration and the most expensive glacier lagoon boat tour offered in Iceland.

Inflatable boat on Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon, in front of white Fjallsjökull glacier.


Fjallsarlon Zodiac Tour Iceland

Why not choose a tour that offers it all! The best price for a ZODIAC ICEBERG BOAT TOUR you will find at Fjallsarlon lagoon. You sail all the way up to the glacier’s edge where you can admire Öræfajökull Glacier and Vatnajökull Glacier sharing a boat with few guests.

During each tour you have the personal touch with skilled guides who are happy to answer your questions. The guides can also help you take great pictures. You can therefore cherish great memories of a special tour in Iceland. Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon is less known than Jökulsárlón, it is the younger lagoon of the two. At Fjallsarlon there is only one local tour operator handling the traffic on the lagoon, so tours feel more private and personal.

Fjallsarlon cannot be seen from the ring road so less people know about it. So, if you want to avoid the crowds for a peaceful tour experience. Fjallsarlon ice lagoon should be your first choice. Private tours and Luxury tours are also offered. It’s suitable for those who want to experience this natural phenomenon in more exclusive way. At Fjallsarlon you will find good service facilities and Frost restaurant on site. The parking lot is also spacious and free of charge.

Diamond beach visit from Fjallsarlon glacier lagoon

The drive from Fjallsarlon lagoon to Diamond beach takes about 10 minutes. Jokulsarlon river is impressive during high tide as sea flows into Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and then recedes on low tide, bringing icebergs down the river. The seawater brings out blue colors in the lagoon. Beneath Jökulsá river you will find Diamond beach, famed for pieces of icebergs that have washed up on this black beach, Fellsfjara beach. Visiting Diamond beach is certainly something I recommend doing an important part of travelling in south and southeast Iceland. It is a perfect stop before or after a zodiac boat tour on Fjallsarlon ice lagoon.

If you’re travelling through Iceland and find yourself close to Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón, I say it’s a must to explore both sites. Each offers its own natural unparalleled beauty and majesty. Be sure to put the zodiac boat tour at Fjallsárlón on your bucket list or top things to do in Iceland for an unforgettable experience.

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