The Ice Diamonds of Breiðamerkursandur

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It just takes a day long trip from Reykjavik you will find one of the most well-known natural wonders of Iceland. The glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón. I have spent lots of time there, watching the floating icebergs on the water. Enjoying the reflection of the glacier in the water.

An equally beautiful but less known attraction can be found a stone’s throw away: the black beaches of the South coast, right next to the lagoon, called Breiðamerkursandur. Through a short river, the Jökulsá á Breiðamerkursandi, regularly chunks of ice are floating into the open sea and get, according to the high or low tide, washed onto this beautiful beach.


Like diamonds in the sun they sparkle on the black beach and transform the Breiðamerkursandur into a glowing field of ice. Already in summer this spectacle is gorgeous. Often the whole beach is covered into close mist which brings up a really mysterious atmosphere.


From November on this wonder of nature is getting even more spectacular. At this time of the year the sun rises at the south coast of Iceland on the ocean side. Especially when the first rays of the sun glimpse above the horizon and dip the chunks of ice lying on the beach into almost magical light, you know that this moment was worth the waiting in the coldness of the night.


Several times I was able to witness this miracle. Was able to feel how the warmth of the rising sun slowly dispersed the cold of the winter night while the glowing ice blocks were torn around by the sea. With every minute you spend there, the light changes. Deep red turns into bright orange until the sun is above the horizon and grays predominate.


You really forget the cold and wetness while watching the chunks of ice getting washed by the waves. When new, glittering pieces are thrown onto the beach, ending their century-long journey from the glacier into the sea.


About an hour before sunrise the sky slowly gets illuminated by the first light of day. Even this time should not be missed. In my opinion it is something very special to experience the feeling when the light of day awakens after a long winter night in Iceland’s dark part of the year.



Words and pictures are by Martin Schulz. He is from Germany and has been addicted to Iceland since 2007. Martin has visited Iceland twelve times and explored it from the shore up to the highland interior. Martin works as an audiologist  and maintains the IT infrastructure of a medium-sized enterprise.

Martin is an accomplished photographer and focuses on work with filters (grey and graduated grey filters) and long exposure techniques. Martin has done voluntary work with hearing impaired children in Africa (Namibia) and likes beer, Whisky, rock and heavy metal music.

You can explore his photography work on photograpy site and his web site and contact him directly if you are interested in purchasing his pictures. We are really grateful for his contribution. This is his second entry on Stuck in Iceland, previously he shared his experience of visiting Brúarfoss waterfallThingvellir and of course Mount Kirkjufell.

How to get there?
From Reykjavik, drive on Highway 1 for ages until you reach Jökulsár Glacial Lagoon.

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The Ice Diamonds of Breiðamerkursandur

time to read: 2 min