Driving from Vik to Jokulsarlon is a stunning drive through South Iceland along the Ring Road. There are some amazing stops along the way including Vatnajökull National Park, lava fields, waterfalls, glaciers, and more.
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The Best Way to go from Vik to Jokulsarlon is by Car
Going by car is the best way to go from Vik to Jokulsarlon, also known as Glacier Lagoon. This drive is incredibly beautiful, and also passes through some of the best places to stop in South Iceland.
What is the Drive like from Vik to Jokulsarlon?
The drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon is any easy one, as the entire trip will follow Route 1, popularly known as the Ring Road. The Ring Road is a two lane, paved road that is in great condition.
The scenery along the drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon is out of this world. During the drive, you’ll see moss covered lava fields, impressive water falls, and even a glacier. It is a beautiful and scenic drive!
How Long Does it Take to Get to Glacier Lagoon?
From Reykjavik to Jokulsarlon (Glacier Lagoon) the drive would take almost 5 hours without stops.
Going from Vik to Jokulsarlon (Glacier Lagoon), the drive takes 2.5 hours with no stops.
Since there are so many incredible stops on the drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon, and I recommend taking the full day to drive there and enjoy all the amazing places along the journey.
Vik to Jokulsarlon: 11 Best Stops to Make While Driving to Glacier Lagoon
There are so many beautiful places to see on the drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon, and here are the best 11 places to stop along the drive. Remember, you won’t have time for everything so plan accordingly based on your interests.
1. Reynisfjara Beach (The Black Sand Beach)
Located at CW4P+4J7, 871 Vik, Iceland
Time needed: 30 minutes
Before leaving Vik, make sure to check out Reynisfjara Beach, commonly known as the Black Sand Beach (although many Icelandic beaches have black sand). The beach is famous because of it’s dramatic black sand against the towering basalt columns, and is worth a visit.
Important note: Stay away from the water. This beach is known for “sneaker waves” which come up fast and quick, and can have strong, dangerous currents that will pull you out to sea.
2. Yoda Cave – Hjörleifshöfði
Located at Hjörleifshöfði, 871, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 20 Minutes
Popularly known as the Yoda Cave, this cave is located at Hjörleifshöfði mountain. The cave resembles the famous star wars character Yoda, and there were scenes of Rogue One filmed here.
Visiting the Yoda Cave is easy, you can actually drive your car nearby the entrance and go right in.
3. Gönguleið um Eldhraun – Mossy Lava Fields
Located at PRWR+76M, 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 20 minutes
Another quick stop along the route from Vik to Jokulsarlon is the Mossy Lava Fields. You will actually see this from the road, but make sure to pull over at the designated pull off spot to get out in take pictures.
Remember it is forbidden to walk on this moss due to the damage it leaves. As travelers in Iceland, it is essential to respect nature and leave behind no trace.
4. Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Located at QRCH+G77, 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 1-2 hours
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is an awesome natural canyon in Iceland and is covered in moss. It is a stunningly beautiful spot to stop by on the drive to Glacier Lagoon. The canyon is reached by driving down a short gravel road (4 wheel drive is helpful here!). Once the car is parked, the first view of the canyon is reached within a 5-10 minute walk.
There is a longer 1.9 mile round trip hike that you can do to get the best views of the canyon. To do this, plan around an hour. The views here are incredible, and Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon is worth visiting.
The canyon does get closed at certain times of the year, and has been closed in the past if travelers do not follow the rules (such as walking on the moss and off the designated paths).
Located at QWXQ+WF4, 881 Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 30 minutes-1 hour
A beautiful, peaceful waterfall located off the Ring Road. One of the best parts about this waterfall is there is parking, so you can park and walk up close to the falls. There is also a great campground here if you are camping!
Located at Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 30 minutes
This is a small village, located right next to Stjórnarfoss. Make sure to stop here and fill up your gas tank, as gas stations behind this point are far and few between!
It is also a great place to grab some lunch and snacks. The hot dogs at the gas station are actually really good – (and nothing like gas station food in the US)!
7. Svartifoss – Vatnajökull National Park
Located at 228M+J94, 785 Skaftafell, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 2-3 hours
Svartifoss is a waterfall located in the Skatafell Nature Preserve area of Vatnajökull National Park. I highly recommend stopping here, it was one of my personal favorite stops on the drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon.
Svartifoss is a waterfall that is famous for it’s beautiful basalt columns. The waterfall actually served as inspiration for Reykjavik’s famous church the Hallgrimskirkja.
To get to Svartifoss, you’ll need to hike. The short option is 2 miles out and back, but there is an option to do a longer route back. The hike is considered easy, and with an elevation gain of 439ft you’ll get some nice views of Skatafell.
Located at 2429+JGW, 785 Svínafell, Iceland
Time Needed: 3-4 hours (must go with a tour to explore on the glacier)
Vatnajökull Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe and is located in Vatnajökull National Park. You can see the glacier when driving on the Ring Road, but it’s also possible to get up close to the glacier on a guided tour. In order to hike the glacier or explore ice caves, you must take a guided tour – it’s the only way to explore it safely.
Here are some of the best and most exciting tours. As these tours take around 3-4 hours, I recommend staying 1-2 nights at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon so you can do the tour the next morning.
This adventure packed tour will take you on a super jeep from Glacier Lagoon to the Blue Ice Cave found in Vatnajökull. The tour is 3 hours and includes all equipment and transportation on a Super Jeep!
Another exciting option is to hike the glacier. This once in a lifetime activity is great for adventure seekers! The 3 hour, small group hiking tour will take you on the glacier and includes a knowledgeable guide and equipment.
Located at Fjallsárlón Iceland, 785 Öræfi, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 30 minutes-1 hour
This is another glacial lake, located nearby Glacier Lagoon. It isn’t as frequently visited by tourists as Glacier Lagoon, so it’s a more peaceful and less crowded spot to visit. There is also a boat tour company here that will take you on the lake and around the icebergs. I highly recommend to still visit Glacier Lagoon, at the time we went the icebergs were much larger at Glacier Lagoon
10. Diamond Beach
Located at 781, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 30 minutes
Located directly across the road from Glacier Lagoon is Diamond Beach. This black sand beach got it’s name due to the large icebergs that are found spread out around the shore. At certain times of the year, the icebergs here are quite large, but in June they were small and scattered.
11. Jökulsárlón – Glacier Lagoon
Located at Jökulsárlón, 781 Höfn í Hornafirði, Iceland
Time needed to visit: 1-2 hours
Jokulsarlon, otherwise known as Glacier Lagoon, is worth visiting. The glacier lagoon is full of large icebergs that have broken away from the glacier. It’s an extremely unique place to visit in Iceland.
One of the best things to do at the Glacier Lagoon is to take one of the 30 minute boat tours around the lagoon. The 30 minute boat ride goes around the glaciers, and is an awesome experience.
Where to Stay after Driving from Vik to Jokulsarlon:
After a long day of driving and sightseeing, you’ll want to spend at least 1 night in the area (maybe 2 depending on level of interest). Below is my recommendation for a hotel:
I recommend staying at Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon. It’s the perfect place to stay after a long day of driving and exploring. It is a beautiful, modern hotel with a touch of Scandinavian décor. Amenities include a bar with views of the surrounding landscape, an on-site restaurant, and some relaxing hot tubs. I stayed here on my recent trip and enjoyed it.
If you’d like to drive further, you can also stay the night in the town of Höfn, which is located about an hour east of Jokulsarlon.
Tips for Renting a Car to Drive to Glacier Lagoon
Renting a car is truly the best way to experience Iceland. I highly recommend renting an SUV or four wheel drive car if possible, and this is essential in the winter.
Where to Rent a Car in Iceland
It is best to pick up your rental car from Keflavík International Airport when you arrive. This is because there is limited public transport, so it makes sense to have a car for your entire trip. To check rental car availability and pricing check out Discover Cars.
Rental Car Insurance
There are several different options when it comes to rental car insurance:
Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). A CDW is basic insurance through the rental company to cover damage to the car when in an accident. Be sure to read the terms and conditions closely, as certain things (tires, windshields, undercarriage, interior, etc.) are not covered by a CDW.
Full Coverage. Full coverage is the best insurance option in Iceland, because it covers the most and limits your liability more than other options. Always read the terms and conditions, as each car company is different, but full coverage should provide you the most coverage possible in case of any damage to the car.
Credit Card Rental Coverage. Some credit cards provide rental car insurance as a card benefit, but if damage happens to the car it is important to understand that you will be liable to pay the rental company up front and then make an insurance claim to be reimbursed later. Additionally, for most rental car companies you will need to provide the printed out documentation that you are insured, and that insurance covers rentals in Iceland
Rules of the Road in Iceland
Like the US, Iceland drives on the right side of the road. However there are a few important rules to note:
- One Lane Bridges: There are some small, one lane bridges. For these bridges, make sure to yield and check if any other cars are coming up. If not, proceed ahead.
- Speed: Make sure to go the speed limit, which is typically 90 KPH (55 MPH) for most of the road. There are hidden speed cameras, that will ticket you, and going the speed limit helps protect sheep or other animals that may cross the road.
- F-Roads: F-Roads are typically gravel roads that aren’t maintained and it is illegal to drive anything less than a 4 wheel drive on them. F-Roads are clearly marked with an “F” and you should avoid them with a rental car. Most of these roads go towards the interior of Iceland and are easy to avoid.
Check the Weather before Driving from Vik to Jokulsarlon
Iceland weather is always changing, and it’s important to check the weather before going out on the road for the day. This is especially true during fall, winter, and spring in case of winter storms, but it is also essential in summer as Iceland has strong winds and gets frequent wind warnings.
Is Glacier Lagoon Worth Visiting?
Glacier Lagoon is worth visiting. For most people, this will be their first experience up close to a glacier, and it is incredible!
Glacier Lagoon was given it’s name due to the large icebergs that are in the lagoon, and it is an amazing site to see. I recommend taking one of the boat tours through Glacier Lagoon that will take you up close to the icebergs.
Glacier Lagoon is right across the road from another attraction, Diamond Beach. Diamond Beach is a black sand beach that is known for having large pieces of icebergs spread throughout the beach.
Not Wanting to Drive from Vik to Jokulsarlon? Alternative Ways to Get to to Glacier Lagoon
The best alternative option to driving to Glacier Lagoon is to stay in Reykjavik and take a guided tour. There are guided tour options that include transportation to Glacier Lagoon, such as this one.
The Wrap Up – Driving From Vik to Jokulsarlon
Driving from Vik to Jokulsarlon is an incredible way to experience all of the stunning places and beautiful scenery that is found throughout South Iceland. Glacier Lagoon is worth visiting, and driving Vik to Jokulsarlon is the best way to get there and explore!