Along the South Coast of Iceland, there’s a natural wonder that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. It’s a black sand beach with large chunks of ice scattered along its shores. While most people stop across the road to visit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, there’s another surprise waiting for those who cross the Ring Road. The Diamond Beach, Iceland, is another stop to add to your itinerary as you circle the island during your road trip.
The Diamond Beach is located directly across the highway from the glacial lagoon and can be visited at any time of year.
So Does This Mean Am I Going to Be Rich?
I’ve got bad news for you, my friend. Unfortunately, the name of this beautiful black sand beach in Iceland doesn’t come from the fact that there are diamonds littering its shores. If that were true, we’d all be multimillionaires with vacation homes in warm countries outside of our cold little island.
Diamonds Made of Ice
The “diamonds” on Iceland’s Diamond Beach are actually pieces of ice that range in size from a coffee mug to an SUV. But how did these icy bits end up on the beach? It all comes back to Jökulsárlón. The icebergs that float in the glacier lagoon make their way out to the Atlantic ocean, but not all of them complete their journey. Some get washed up onto the shore and are scattered across the landscape.
A Quick Word of Caution
You may or may not have heard this story, so I’ll tell it to you just in case. As we all know, seeing giant pieces of ice is pretty cool the first time it happens. You want to touch it, take pictures, etc. Well recently, a sweet and active grandmother was visiting Iceland and the Diamond Beach. She encountered a large chunk of ice that resembled a throne, of course she decided to sit down and get a photo.
Before she knew what was happening, sneaker waves came up and pulled her out to sea. As she got further and further away from the shore, she naturally began to panic as this could very well have ended badly. Fortunately, there were some coast guards around, and they were able to rescue her.
Not everyone has been this lucky, so please think before you get too close to the shoreline and always be vigilant of sneaker waves. They come up out of nowhere and will pull you a far ways out very quickly.
Where is The Diamond Beach in Iceland?
It’s actually quite easy to reach the Diamond Beach. Driving along Route 1 from Vik to Vatnajökull National Park, you’ll see the beautiful Jökulsárlón to your left. To your right is where the Diamond Beach is located. Just use the parking lot when you’re visiting the lagoon at the edge of the national park.
I love this area because you basically get a two for one stop at some of the most popular attractions in Iceland. After doing a boat tour at Jökulsárlón, you can just pop across the road to see the large and small chunks of ice that are sprinkled across the black volcanic sand.
While this is a must-do on your Iceland itinerary, if you are based in Reykjavik, I definitely would not recommend it as a day trip like the Golden Circle. Even if you’ve got the endless summer sunlight of the Midnight Sun, the driving time to the Diamond Beach, Iceland from Reykjavik is around five hours. And that’s assuming you’ll have good weather and no delays. As well all know, this isn’t very likely scenario. It’s much better to stay in a close town like Vik (2.5 hours away), Hof (35 minutes away), or Höfn (1 hour away).
Hotels Near Diamond Beach, Iceland
If you’re looking for a hotel near the Diamond Beach, your best bet for camping is the Svínafell campground. You might also want to take a short break from camping life. Some other accommodation options in the are the Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon, Guesthouse Gerði, and Hali Country Hotel. And of course, if you’re looking at hotels for the summer, be sure to book far in advance. They tend to fill up quickly. With campgrounds, you normally don’t need a reservation (and can’t make one).
The Diamond Beach Iceland Winter Spectacle
In addition to the fireworks at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in August, there’s another special event that happens here. It’s not so much an event as a nightly occurrence. If you happen to be visiting Iceland at Christmas or in the wintertime, the Northern Lights will be lighting up the nighttime sky. The beautiful, undulating waves of emerald, turquoise, amethyst, and magenta will illuminate both the waters of the Atlantic and the icy ghosts that populate the shores of this beach.
The Diamond Beach: Iceland’s Natural Treasure
I really hope you get the chance to visit the black diamond beach, Iceland. As with many things on our stunning little island, it’s something you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. Perhaps that is why so many people are drawn to it and come visit year after year. Just please be careful and watch out for those waves sneaking up on you. You don’t want to get carried off like that poor grandma. There might not be someone around to rescue you!