Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon – East Iceland

Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon – East Iceland

Fjallsárlón is a glacier lagoon just West of Jökulsárlón. Unlike Jökulsárlón, Fjallsárlón has no direct access to the ocean, so there are no seals or tides, this also means that the water is not as fresh and reflects the soft brown of the lagoon floor as it is scraped by the massive icebergs. The lagoon is fairly small so you are close to the glacier shelf. The jagged glacier edge is a place where you might witness ice calving in the Summer months. Zodiac boat tours run in the Summer months (April-October) and take visitors really close to the ice shelf.

Öræfi Volcano

Above the Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon sits Europe’s second largest volcano Öræfi. The caldera can’t be seen because the top of the mountain is quite flat. This land mass includes Hvannadalshnjúkur, the highest peak in Iceland, which can be seen from the Skaftafell side. The glacier has to come down some steep slopes before it reaches the lagoon. There are a few rivers that take the melt water to the ocean.

Fjallsárlón has a few tracks leading into it from the #1 ring road. The main access track has a tiny red sign post and in the Summer you will see the Zodiac Tours sign post.

This Location can be the windiest place in Iceland. The wind can turn a bus over.  If FjallsárlónGlacier Lagoon is still, it has some of the best ice reflections.

Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon with 50mm prime lens.

Photo Location

Fjallsárlón works very well in both Winter and Summer.  It is easier to see the glacier when the mountains are free of snow, but a light dusting of snow can make a dynamic scene.   Fjallsárlón tends to have less icebergs in the Winter because the calving slows, but the icebergs can remain enormous for some time.   Access around the lagoon is easier in freezing conditions.  The rivers become small streams and the ground hardens.  Sometimes there are smaller icebergs on the banks of the Glacier Lagoon.

There are good opportunities for all focal lengths.  If there are icebergs close to the shore, then a wide angle can be useful to capture the depth and textures of the ice.  There are many icebergs further from the shore that can be brought closer with a telephoto.  A long telephoto lens can pick out details on the glacier ice-shelf.  I often visit the lagoon with just a 50mm prime and combine shapes and texture of the icebergs with the glacier background.

The surrounding area is also quite scenic.  The land is a mixture of Terminal Moraine and Kettle Holes.  In the Autumn the green mossy landscape is rich with the red of the Blueberry leaves.  It is worth exploring the landscape away from the lagoon for a variety of unique foreground texture and colours.

Fjallsarlon Blueberries

Blueberries with Moss and lichen Rock. Fjallsárlón in the background.


Panorama Photos

Fjallsárlón is a great place for Panorama photography.  I recommend shooting from a high point and using 50mm in vertical orientation.  Just follow the glacier shelf and mountain range.


Fjallsárlón Panorama Photo

Panorama Photo taken at Fjallsárlón Glacer Lagoon

Glacier Auroras

The Glacier Lagoon works well for Northern Lights, if you can find it in the dark.  Sometimes, Fjallsárlón is a better alternative to Jökulsárlón.  If Jökulsárlón is windy, then is could be still at Fjallsárlón and vice-versa.   Being so close to the ice shelf means that the Northern horizon is blocked, so it is not ideal for weak northern lights.  If you plan to photograph Auroras at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon, be sure to check it out during the day.  This way you can establish the safer footpaths down to the lagoon.

Fjallsárlón Northern Lights

Northern Lights at Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

Fjallsarlon Summer

Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon on a Summer evening.


Fjallsárlón has been used as a “Game of Thrones” film set – North of the Wall.  Jon Snow walks on the frozen lagoon among the icebergs in Season one.



August 2015 – 2 day Jökulsarlon late schedule

August 2015 – 2 day Jökulsarlon late schedule

Summer days are long, so I timed this 2 day tour with a 14.00 start. This early August tour was along the South Coast as far as Jökulsarlon on day 1 and back along the South Coast to Reykjavik on day 2. Sunset was around 10 pm at Jökulsarlon and the plan was to shoot...

March 2015 – photoshoot at Buðir

March 2015 – photoshoot at Buðir

This was the final day of the exhilarating 8 day Winter photo workshop with a lovely group of photographers from Ireland. The tour had been a riot, we had some severe weather some great light, some magical auroras and a solar eclipse. Due to the promise of no sunrise...

Feb 2016 Ice cave photo shoot

Feb 2016 Ice cave photo shoot

It was the last day of our 5 day workshop, early February 2016 and we arranged a special early trip to the ice-caves with one of our regular Vatnjokull glacier guides. The Vatnjokull ice caves have become extremely busy over the last few years and at this point of...

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