Everyone knows about Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, and while it’s certainly worth a visit, it can get a little crowded seeing that it’s one of Iceland’s most visited attractions. Discerning honeymooners looking to escape the crowds—and experience something truly spectacular—should check out Jökulsárlón Lagoon, a natural glacier lagoon you can access by boat tour, cruising between icebergs while taking in the breathtaking views. (Bonus points if you or your new spouse are photographers. This place is an Instagrammers paradise.)
Roughly a five-hour drive from Reykjavik, located along southern Iceland’s Ring Road—Route 1—you’ll find the country’s deepest glacial lake. Jökulsárlón, or glacier-river-lagoon, is filled with immense chunks of ice that have broken off Breiðamerkurjökull, one of Vatnajökull’s biggest outlet glacier, and are making their way slowly out to sea.
In the summer, the best way to experience Jökulsárlón is by boat. Sail through the lagoons’ huge icebergs on a 30-60 minute tour. You and bae may see some seals and you can even taste the 1000-year-old ice. Winter visitors will miss out on the boat tour but can explore the nearby natural blue ice caves within Vatnajökull—Europe’s largest glacier—in a custom-made 15-passenger Jeep. That is if standing inside an ancient glacier is your kind of thing. Made of volcanic sand, Jökulsárlón’s striking black sand Diamond Beach is as magical as the lagoon itself, so you won’t be disappointed if you have to stick to shore.
How to Get There:
Thanks to easy stopover routes from Icelandair, newlyweds can make Iceland and Jökulsárlón’s natural splendor a part of a larger European ‘moon or its own dedicated trip. If you’re trying to maximize every vacation day you’ve got, Jökulsárlón is an day-trip from Reykjavik. There are bus tours that will take you along the south coast from the capital to the lagoon, passing through charming villages and breathtaking waterfalls en route. If you’re in for an extended stay, you may want to rent a car and drive yourself because there are plenty of stops leading to Jökulsárlón, and many at the glacier lake itself, along Route 1.
Where to Stay:
Fosshótel Glacier Lagoon. This modern, luxury hotel was a welcome addition to the area when it opened in 2016. Since it’s so remote, accommodation options are limited along the south coast in general, and while this is a little bit of a drive (20+ minutes or so) from Jökulsárlón, its location—in nearby Hnappavellir in Vatnajokull National Park—makes it a great home base for expeditions to nearby glaciers, waterfalls, and parks with amazing scenery and wildlife. The 104-room hotel, part of Fosshotel—the Icelandic chain, gets high marks for its stylish Nordic design, contemporary decor, spectacular views over lava fields, and excellent service. There are many perks of booking a stay here through Scott Dunn, but one of our favorites is that their Travel Experts are often able to provide exclusive access to sites that may not be regularly open to the public…which makes the all the difference in procuring that perfect Insta snap.
Where to Eat:
Heimahumar is a food truck, serving up local langoustine and parked right at the lagoon. Fans rave about its lobster bisque and lobster rolls. The lagoon also has its own cafe with sandwiches, waffles, and soup. For dinner, especially if you’re staying at the Fosshotel, the restaurant inside is a splurge-worthy must for any couple looking to celebrate their recent nuptials. For roughly $100 per person, you can even take part of the “Dream Feast,” a five-course meal made of local Icelandic ingredients. Think: smoked lamb carpaccio and seared arctic char with cucumbers, pears, mustard mayo and dill.