Diamond Beach, Iceland, is probably the most searched-for and visited location in the country. Its beauty, ambiance, and scenery are literally breathtaking.
Whether taking pictures for Instagram, strolling through the iceberg maze, or picking up small ice “diamonds” from the sand, this is the perfect holiday spot with all the pecks.
Diamond Beach is definitely a place to remember forever, and in this blog, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about one of Iceland’s most shimmering locations.
Why is it called diamond beach?
For the obvious reason that giant icebergs from the glacier lagoon find themselves on its shore, they capture and reflect the glistening Icelandic sun to resemble diamonds. However, it was not always called that.
Its original name was Breiðamerkursandur meaning glacial outwash plain, and ‘sandur’ means sandy beach. So literary, it means ‘glacial outwash plain on a sandy beach.’ Hmm, we think Diamond Beach is a better reflection of the location.
The icebergs that litter the sandy beach come from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, one of the Vatnajökull outlets.
Their random movement on the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and final deposition on the beach create a stunning contrast with the black sand many fall in love with.
Where is the diamond beach located and how to get there?
Diamond Beach Iceland Map
What is diamond beach Iceland?
It is an 18-kilometer stretch of black sand located in the south-coast municipality of Hornafjörður. The beach sits at the foot of the Kvíárjökull Glacier and is framed by the Glacier Lagoon, which receives chunks of icebergs that wash onto the beach.
Where is black diamond beach located and getting there?
It is located on the south coast of Iceland. As a first-timer driving around Iceland, the beach is easily missed. However, if the glacier lagoon is on your itinerary, then Diamond Beach is adjacent to the lagoon.
Visitors from the capital, Reykjavik, will drive 5 hours and 4 minutes (379 km) before getting to the parking lot. From the lot, Diamond Beach is a simple walk away. Travelers from Vik only have 2 hours to drive, as the beach is just 192 km away.
There are many attractions on your way to Jökulsárlón, so you will not get bored.
Why do the icebergs on the beach look different?
While both opaque and translucent icebergs add to the beauty of the beach, their color, shapes, size, and character differ. In fact, each ice diamond has its own personality and shade. However, one must remember that this landscape is shaped by volcanic activities, freezing temperatures, and water.
All these factors affect the iceberg’s appearance. Opaque icebergs are older, lack air pockets, have less oxygen content, and do not reflect sunlight like translucent ones. Also worthy of note is that they do not melt easily.
Furthermore, strolling through the icebergs on Black Diamond Beach presents something new every time.
When is the best time to visit Diamond Beach Iceland?
Any time of the year and you can also visit Black Diamond Beach any time of the day. The best time to visit Diamond Beach is from May to September.
However, visiting Diamond Beach in the winter feels different from the summer for obvious reasons. In the winter, the weather is colder, and the glacier is partly frozen, meaning broken-off icebergs will take longer to wash onto the black sand beach.
In warmer weather (May to September), there is more daylight (plenty of sunshine), and the cold air is not as freezing as in winter or too hot either. In summer, Diamond Beach is more accessible, and the beach is stunning. Furthermore, the summer provides the midnight sun and gives visitors a rare opportunity to visit the beach at midnight and in the wee hours of the morning.
If you want to see the Northern Lights, then visiting Diamond Beach in the summer will give you a spectacular view of the dancing lights as they reflect off the ice on the lagoon.
Safety measures at Diamond Beach, Iceland
Unlike Reynisfjara Beach, Diamond Beach is safe, and kids can come along on this unforgettable trip too. Visitors do not have to worry about flash waves dashing at them, but there are dangers you must be aware of.
The icebergs are the real danger on this beach. They are dazzling and shimmering, but they are slippery and sharp. Additionally, they are heavy, and being on slippery and unstable surfaces means they can flip over, harming you.
When visiting Diamond beach, the following precautions are necessary.
- Wear thick clothes, warm clothes preferably, as moving among the icebergs and the gentle breeze from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon can cause hypothermia.
- Wearing waterproof shoes is important because you will walk on the beach and close to the water, and you definitely do not want your feet frozen in your shoes.
- Do not climb the icebergs; it can be fun but risky. Ice is slippery, and you can slide off, injuring yourself and others. Additionally, they are pointy and have sharp edges. Do not be tempted or be careful if you decide to try them.
- Do not dive in the lagoon; the temperature is freezing in the winter and cold in the summer because of the icebergs constantly flowing in it.
Whether you are with a guide or not, stay cautious around the icebergs on Black Diamond Beach.
Do not climb onto a floating iceberg; you can fall into the freezing water or be carried out to sea.
Fun activities to do and see around the area
There are sights and activities to keep you busy around Jökulsárlón, Diamond Beach, and Glacier Lagoon.
Wild Birds, Orcas, and Seals
Diamond Beach and Glacier Lagoon are the perfect places to catch seals playing on the ice, but they are also home to orcas trying to catch the seals. Additionally, you might be lucky to see seabirds and other captivating wildlife that will keep you glued to the sea.
Hiking the Jökulsárlón
Diamond Beach offers outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to hike the glacier by Vatnajökull. There are trained tour guides with all the necessary tools and safety tips to make your hike a success.
You could hike the trail yourself, but a guide knows the safe path, and it is faster.
Aerial and camera photography at Diamond Beach
Diamond beach, glacier lagoon and Jokulsarlon are fantastic photographic destinations attracting both amateur and professional photographers each year. Using regular camera allows you to capture unique scenes that evoke emotions in you.
If you have a drone camera, flying one is allowed but it can be messy with too many flying objects in the air.
Glacier Boat Tour
Many tour companies offer scenic boat rides across the glaciers, whether the Jokulsarlon or Fjallsarlon; this is the best way to see the massive iceberg up close as large chunks of frozen ice separate from one another.
Have you ever heard the sound of an iceberg?
This ride gives you the opportunity to hear the loud groan as two icebergs scratch off one another. However, if water, icebergs, and boat rides are not for you, then get an aerial view of this elegant location in a helicopter. It also gives you a panoramic view of the Glacier Lagoon, Vatnajokull, Jokulsarlon, Diamond Beach, and other fun locations.
Where to stay and eat near Diamond Beach Iceland
Accommodation is plentiful near Diamond Beach and will accommodate your budget and lifestyle. Visitors have access to hotels, Airbnb, guesthouses, and camping sites. If you cannot find one suitable, nearby towns and villages like Hofn, Vik, and Kirkjubæjarklaustur offer amazing rest places for guests.
These locations also have excellent cafes, bistros, restaurants, and diners serving the best of Iceland’s foods. Right on the glacier lagoon is the Jokulsarlon café, which serves delicious coffee, soups, and sandwiches, including cakes, sweets, and salads. Its location allows visitors to enjoy their meals while viewing stunning views.
How to tour the Diamond beach?
There are several ways to tour the Jokulsarlon, Glacier Lagoon, and Diamond Beach.
- Drive yourself: This is the most common option for visitors who want total control of their trip around Iceland. They will rent a car and drive to Diamond Beach as they explore the stunning beauty along the way.
- Private Tours: These are tours offered to individuals or a small group without any other people. It is great for families, friends, and people with limited time to tour the region.
- Day Tours: This is a full-day tour from your pickup location through the Diamond Beach, Glacier Lagoon, and Jokulsarlon areas and back to your pickup point in a day. While it looks like a tight schedule, visitors still have time to see other stunning highlights on the south coast.
- Multi-day tours: These trips take more than a day, usually 2 to 7 days, to tour the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach properly. On this itinerary, visitors enjoy all the wonders of the south coast at their own pace.
Looking to see the south coast and have the adventure of a lifetime? Book your holiday with us. Regardless of your itinerary, we have something that fits your plan, needs, and budget.