The Diamond Beach in Iceland is a natural wonder, which is hard to match in any other part of the world. Luckily, the area is incredibly close to the Icelandic main road. We dare to say it is arguably one of the most cost-effective unique experiences you can have in Iceland. It also lies close to another amazing attraction, so you’ll be able to experience more without moving around a lot.
When you travel around Iceland, you’ll be surprised as to just how many sites in Iceland are completely unique. Many attractions don’t have any counterparts in any other part of the world, and Diamond Beach in Iceland is one of them.
The constant interaction between the lagoon, ocean, and the mighty Vatnajökull glacier is astonishing. So, naturally, we decided to compile an article about this stunning area.
What is the Diamond Beach in Iceland?
The black Diamond Beach in Iceland is one of the best things you can do in Iceland. It is a completely unique experience that you simply won’t have anywhere else. The sand is pitch black, and the beach is riddled with stranded icebergs in many different shapes and sizes. The reason why it’s called Diamond Beach is because of how the icebergs look like diamonds in contrast to the black sand.
The beach sits at the outlet of Jökulsarlón – a large glacier lagoon with massive icebergs floating around.
Where is the Diamond Beach in Iceland?
Jökulsarlón ice beach is at the edge of the Vatnajökull glacier. It is a part of the Vatnajökull National Park in the southeastern part of Iceland and can easily be accessed via the main roads. That means that the best way to visit Diamond Beach will be with a car, preferably a rented car that you can explore the country with.
How to Get to the Diamond Beach in Iceland
Diamond Beach is one of many attractions around the Ring Road in Iceland. This means that it easily becomes a very natural spot to stop at, regardless of where you’re coming from in the country.
The Ring Road 1 goes around the entire island, being more or less the only road close to a highway you can find in Iceland. The nearby parking areas make it easy to make a quick detour to visit the Diamond Beach, even if it's just to stroll on the beach and touch a stranded iceberg.
Getting to the Diamond Beach from Reykjavík
Most people will start their journey to the Diamond Beach at Jökulsarlón from the capital. This is where most will rent their cars or get on their tour buses to wherever they want to go.
Unfortunately, the Diamond Beach is not close enough for any of the day trips from Reykjavík. You’ll have to book a minimum of two days if you want to comfortably go see the beach.
From Reykjavík, you follow Road 49 until you reach Road 1 where you will go south. From there, it will take you roughly five hours to reach the magnificent iceberg beach in Iceland. We recommend you turn this trip into two or three days to take the time to see the Icelandic south coast along the way.
Getting to the Diamond Beach from Vik
Vík i Myrdal is halfway between Diamond Beach and Reykjavík and is often used as a halfway stop either on the way to the beach or back. It sits on the southernmost part of Iceland and is a natural stop when you go to see attractions like Svartifoss, Seljalandsfoss, and the black sand beach Reynisfjara.
To get from Vík to Diamond Beach, all you need to do is get on Road 1 heading east and that will take you to the area in about two and a half hours.
When to Visit the Diamond Beach in Iceland
When you look at the monthly weather and temperature in Iceland, it’s easy to think that Diamond Beach will be the best in the wintertime. After all, the entire place is filled with ice, and ice likes it cold, right?
The truth is that Diamond Beach weather in Iceland is affected by the massive glacier Vatnajökull (the second largest in Europe). Another variable is the large numbers of massive icebergs floating around. The temperatures here will be pretty chilly all throughout the year, even when the sun is out.
Diamond Beach in Summer
If you are looking for a touristy Diamond Beach experience, then the summer months will be the perfect time for you to visit. Between May and November will be the time when you can get on boat tours on one of the most beautiful glacial lagoons in Iceland.
This is the time of year when you will be able to enjoy some sunsets and even see the Diamond Beach under the midnight sun. It’s a special feeling to see the low summer sun reflect off of the ice pieces on the beach.
Diamond Beach in Winter
If you look at Diamond Beach on an Iceland map, you’ll see that it sits right on the coastline of Iceland. This means that it takes a large portion of the rough weather coming in from the North Atlantic in the winter.
Despite that, this place can be the most beautiful spot in the world when the Diamond Beach and the Iceland Northern Lights interact. Having these lights dancing over white diamonds on a pitch-black beach is a once-in-a-lifetime sight to see.
Where to Stay near the Diamond Beach in Iceland
This glass beach in Iceland is unfortunately away from most populated areas, so the accommodation options are limited. There are, however, some accommodations nearby that you can look into if you want to stay close to the attraction.
It’s a good idea to have close by accommodation if you want to see the sunset at Diamond Beach in Iceland, especially in the wintertime.
Hotels near the Diamond Beach
These are a few hotels that are not far away from Diamond Beach:
Reynivellir – a popular guesthouse and often quite cheap.
Hali Country Hotel – either large apartments or regular hotel rooms
Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon – a little pricier.
Ekra – more a rented house than a hotel.
Skyrhúsid Guesthouse – decent price and cozy rooms.
Camping Near the Diamond Beach
Unfortunately, there aren’t many camping opportunities near Diamond Beach. If you travel along Iceland’s south coast, you’ll find more camping accommodations along the way west of Diamond Beach. Due to the Icelandic laws regarding where you’re allowed to camp, you need to stick to the designated camping areas. The closest camping areas to Diamond Beach are:
Tjaldsvaedid next to Svinafell – ca 50 kilometers away.
Skaftafell Campground – ca 56 kilometers away.
Tjaldsvaedid Myllulaekur – ca 67 kilometers away.
Camping Höfn – ca 78 kilometers away.
Vestruhorn Camping – ca 85,5 kilometers away.
Things to do near Diamond Beach, Iceland
When you have taken an icy stroll along Diamond Beach, it might be time to do something else in the vicinity. Most activities are going to be west of Diamond Beach, while the eastern part has more small stops to make on your way to Egilsstadir. Some things and places around Diamond Beach you can enjoy are:
Crystal Ice cave
Glacier cave tours
Fjallsarlón glacier lagoon
Hvannadalshnukur (the highest point in Iceland)
Hike Mulagljufur canyon
Go kayaking in Heinabergslon
Hike in Skaftafell National Park
Icelandic horseback riding tours
Can You Swim at Diamond Beach, Iceland?
Technically, you can. The water around Diamond Beach isn’t known for sneaker waves and such, like Reynisfjara black sand beach. Still, we would not recommend swimming there at all. The water will be freezing, not only because it’s the North Atlantic Ocean, but also because it has a lot of ice floating around in it.
So, the answer is: yes, you can swim there at least once, but chances are that you won’t make it back to shore due to hypothermia or strong Atlantic currents.
Safety at the Diamond Beach
A general rule of thumb when you are dealing with large blocks of ice is to not climb on them, since you’re very likely to slip and hurt yourself. The chunks of ice on the Diamond Beach are also prone to be washed out to sea when the waves gain strength.
This means that a flat iceberg might become a very unwanted impromptu raft if you manage to get on top of one. The Diamond Beach is also extremely cold, so keep out of the water.
Is Diamond Beach in Iceland Worth it?
Definitely! Seeing these large icebergs in the black sand is a sight you will struggle to find anywhere else. The Diamond Beach has the holy trifecta for adventurous travelers:
Unique and cheap experience
Easily accessible with good parking
Nearby attractions (Jökulsarlon)
Even though accommodation can’t be found in the immediate vicinity, this is a perfect place to stop along Ring Road 1. It’s really close to Jökulsarlón, it sits perfectly between Höfn and Vík i Myrdal, and the parking is free, so the cost is nothing but your own time.
Diamond Beach, a Unique Experience in Iceland
If you want to have the experience of a lifetime, we strongly suggest that you visit this place. The Diamond Beach in Iceland in the summer also allows you to go on a boat tour in Jökulsarlon. You will have a perfect two-for-one experience without any unnecessary extra stops!
When you rent a car in Iceland to explore the many amazing natural wonders this island has to offer, the Diamond Beach is going to have to be one of them.