Your guide to the Diamond Beach in Iceland

June 10, 2022

Your guide to the Diamond Beach in Iceland

June 10, 2022

Glistening orbs of ice that seem to absorb the sunlight itself sit against the volcanic black sand at the Diamond Beach Iceland. Photographers flock here to capture the perfect image of the ice glowing against the sand, as the sea laps at the shore. You can take a stroll along this other-worldly landscape with Reykjavik Excursions as some of our South Coast tours visit the Diamond Beach. Paired with a trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon which is just across the road and the other natural wonders of Iceland’s south coast, you can get a real feel for the near-Arctic nature of this North Atlantic island.

Why is it called the Diamond Beach?

No, you won’t find any diamonds at Diamond Beach, so put your assessor’s loupe away. It’s called Diamond Beach because the sand here is scattered with shards and orbs of ice that sparkle as clear as diamond. The ice made its way down from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. The slow melt of the glacier causes ice to float and form in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon before slowly making its way to the shore. It rests on the sand here, creating a beautiful scene, before being pulled out to sea.

Iceland rumbles and simmers with volcanic activity, so the sand at Diamond Beach is black as the sediment is formed by boiling hot lava when it hits the cool of the sea. Some chunks of ice appear as an ethereal glowing blue colour. This is because water is actually blue (not just a reflection of the sky) so when you get ice without air pockets or particularly old glacial ice, it appears blue in colour. The contrast of the sparkling blue glacial ice against the volcanic sand is what attracts photographers from far and wide.

Where is the Diamond Beach?

Iceland’s Diamond Beach is on the south coast, 235 miles (377km) from Reykjavik. It takes almost five hours to drive to the Diamond Beach, so booking an organised tour is a great way to visit without worrying about navigation or making the long drive yourself. Reykjavik Excursion tours to the Diamond Beach include stops along the natural wonders of the South Coast, breaking up the journey.

Iceland’s Diamond Beach is just off the main ring-round (Route One) that loops around the whole island, so it’s a must-see stop if you’re taking a road trip around the entirety of Iceland.

How to Visit the Diamond Beach

diamond beach

Though you can drive yourself along the Route One ring road that loops around Iceland, if you are pushed for time or don’t want the hassle of navigating, Reykjavik Excursions have a number of tours that include a stop at the Diamond Beach. If you only have a day to spare, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon tour stops at the highlights of the south coast and gives you some time at the Diamond Beach and glacial lagoon before heading back to Reykjavik on the same day. This gives you the perfect snippet of Iceland’s glacial and Arctic side in a single day.

You might want to take it slow and really appreciate the ethereal Icelandic landscape. In which case, the two-day south coast adventure, also stopping in an ice cave and staying overnight in Skaftafell might be the option for you. Add the iconic natural wonders – thundering waterfalls, a secret thermal lagoon and explosive geysers – to cover all the sights of the south coast in three days.

When can you see the Diamond Beach in Iceland?

diamond beach2

You can visit Diamond Beach at any time of year. Because it is glacial ice, the diamond chunks don’t melt in summer and still make their way to the shore for perfect pictures. In summer, the abundance of sunshine means they glow all the brighter during the day, and the long hours of daylight mean there’s less pressure to leave early for the five-hour drive from Reykjavik.

In winter the sea can be wild, which makes for an even more dramatic picture as waves crash against the black sand. The eternal golden ‘sunset’ light in winter can make the Diamond Beach photogenic at any time during the daylight. Be sure to wrap up warm in winter as the beach is exposed to the elements. You can even spot the Northern Lights at the Diamond Beach in winter. Located so far from any kind of town or city, there’s no light pollution so it’s a great place to spot the green glow dancing against the night sky. Just be sure to keep a safe distance from the waves in the dark.

Can you swim at Diamond Beach?

diamond beach3

On the shore of the wild North Atlantic, swimming is not possible at the Diamond Beach. Weather can change in a heartbeat and storms are common here, with the waves very strong. It’s best to stroll the sand and watch the power of nature from afar.

In fact, not even paddling is recommended. First of all, the water is freezing cold, even in summer. Secondly, the waves are surprisingly powerful and can rush towards you at speed, so it’s recommended to stay a safe distance from the shore at all times. Equally, climbing or sitting on the glaciers might sound like an awesome photo opportunity, but one powerful wave and you could find yourself stranded out at sea.

Is Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach the same?

diamond beach6

Diamond Beach is very close to the Glacier Lagoon. In fact, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon feeds into the sea at Diamond Beach, which is where all the ice comes from. You can walk from the shore of the lagoon to the beach in two minutes, just across the road.

Reykjavik Excursions’ day trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon gives you time to explore Diamond Beach too so you don’t miss out on either.

Is Black Sand Beach and Diamond Beach the same?

diamond beach4

Although they both have black, volcanic sand, the Black Sand Beach and Diamond Beach are not the same. The Black Sand Beach is around 125 miles away (202km) from the Diamond Beach. Known as Reynisfjara beach, it’s near the coastal town of Vik. At the Black Sand Beach, you also have beautiful basalt rock formations that seem to reach into the sea, so it is well worth a visit too. Reykjavik Excursions offer a south shore adventure tour which stops at the Black Sand Beach.

Is Diamond Beach in Iceland worth it?

diamond beach5

The short answer is; yes, visiting the Diamond beach in Iceland is worth it. Whether you are a photographer hoping to capture the perfect image of the glowing ice formations against the black sand, or looking to experience Iceland’s famously other-worldly scenery, you shouldn’t miss the Diamond Beach. It’s just across the road from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, so if you’re making the journey to admire the floating ice of the lagoon, you may as well head to the beach as well.

Frozen globes of ice on the volcanic black sand are the epitome of ice and fire, and Iceland is known as the Land of Ice and Fire after all.

Attractions near the Diamond Beach

As we’ve mentioned, the Diamond Beach is just across the road from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, so you can visit both easily on the same trip. It’s also a forty-minute drive from Vatnajökull National Park where you’ll find the famous ice cave, waterfalls, glacier walks and a huge expanse of untamed, Arctic wilderness.

Making your way along the coast from Reykjavik to the Diamond Beach, you’ll pass myriad wonders of the south shore. Perhaps stop at the fishing village of Vik on the way, with its craggy rock formations cast out at sea and nearby Black Sanded Beach. The beautiful, tumbling waterfall of Skógafoss is on the way too, and you can even stop at Sólheimasandur where the abandoned US navy plane wreck still lies on the black-sanded beach.

So, when you’re visiting the Land of Ice and Fire, a visit to the Diamond Beach is a must. The frozen ice against the black volcanic sand that was once lava is the epitome of ice and fire. It makes for a picture-perfect scene, and is one of Iceland’s most photogenic landscapes. A day trip or multi-day excursion along the south coast to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach is the best way to tick this natural wonder off your bucket list.

REYKJAVIK EXCURSIONS BLOG

Get inspired! Information and tips and must see places in Iceland, fun facts, customs and more.

Best time to visit Iceland - your guide

Find out which season is best for your trip to Iceland with our comprehensive guide to when to visit Iceland.

Read Blog

Your guide to the Diamond Beach in Iceland

June 10, 2022

Your guide to the Diamond Beach in Iceland

June 10, 2022

Glistening orbs of ice that seem to absorb the sunlight itself sit against the volcanic black sand at the Diamond Beach Iceland. Photographers flock here to capture the perfect image of the ice glowing against the sand, as the sea laps at the shore. You can take a stroll along this other-worldly landscape with Reykjavik Excursions as some of our South Coast tours visit the Diamond Beach. Paired with a trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon which is just across the road and the other natural wonders of Iceland’s south coast, you can get a real feel for the near-Arctic nature of this North Atlantic island.

Why is it called the Diamond Beach?

No, you won’t find any diamonds at Diamond Beach, so put your assessor’s loupe away. It’s called Diamond Beach because the sand here is scattered with shards and orbs of ice that sparkle as clear as diamond. The ice made its way down from the nearby Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. The slow melt of the glacier causes ice to float and form in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon before slowly making its way to the shore. It rests on the sand here, creating a beautiful scene, before being pulled out to sea.

Iceland rumbles and simmers with volcanic activity, so the sand at Diamond Beach is black as the sediment is formed by boiling hot lava when it hits the cool of the sea. Some chunks of ice appear as an ethereal glowing blue colour. This is because water is actually blue (not just a reflection of the sky) so when you get ice without air pockets or particularly old glacial ice, it appears blue in colour. The contrast of the sparkling blue glacial ice against the volcanic sand is what attracts photographers from far and wide.

Where is the Diamond Beach?

Iceland’s Diamond Beach is on the south coast, 235 miles (377km) from Reykjavik. It takes almost five hours to drive to the Diamond Beach, so booking an organised tour is a great way to visit without worrying about navigation or making the long drive yourself. Reykjavik Excursion tours to the Diamond Beach include stops along the natural wonders of the South Coast, breaking up the journey.

Iceland’s Diamond Beach is just off the main ring-round (Route One) that loops around the whole island, so it’s a must-see stop if you’re taking a road trip around the entirety of Iceland.

How to Visit the Diamond Beach

diamond beach

Though you can drive yourself along the Route One ring road that loops around Iceland, if you are pushed for time or don’t want the hassle of navigating, Reykjavik Excursions have a number of tours that include a stop at the Diamond Beach. If you only have a day to spare, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon tour stops at the highlights of the south coast and gives you some time at the Diamond Beach and glacial lagoon before heading back to Reykjavik on the same day. This gives you the perfect snippet of Iceland’s glacial and Arctic side in a single day.

You might want to take it slow and really appreciate the ethereal Icelandic landscape. In which case, the two-day south coast adventure, also stopping in an ice cave and staying overnight in Skaftafell might be the option for you. Add the iconic natural wonders – thundering waterfalls, a secret thermal lagoon and explosive geysers – to cover all the sights of the south coast in three days.

When can you see the Diamond Beach in Iceland?

diamond beach2

You can visit Diamond Beach at any time of year. Because it is glacial ice, the diamond chunks don’t melt in summer and still make their way to the shore for perfect pictures. In summer, the abundance of sunshine means they glow all the brighter during the day, and the long hours of daylight mean there’s less pressure to leave early for the five-hour drive from Reykjavik.

In winter the sea can be wild, which makes for an even more dramatic picture as waves crash against the black sand. The eternal golden ‘sunset’ light in winter can make the Diamond Beach photogenic at any time during the daylight. Be sure to wrap up warm in winter as the beach is exposed to the elements. You can even spot the Northern Lights at the Diamond Beach in winter. Located so far from any kind of town or city, there’s no light pollution so it’s a great place to spot the green glow dancing against the night sky. Just be sure to keep a safe distance from the waves in the dark.

Can you swim at Diamond Beach?

diamond beach3

On the shore of the wild North Atlantic, swimming is not possible at the Diamond Beach. Weather can change in a heartbeat and storms are common here, with the waves very strong. It’s best to stroll the sand and watch the power of nature from afar.

In fact, not even paddling is recommended. First of all, the water is freezing cold, even in summer. Secondly, the waves are surprisingly powerful and can rush towards you at speed, so it’s recommended to stay a safe distance from the shore at all times. Equally, climbing or sitting on the glaciers might sound like an awesome photo opportunity, but one powerful wave and you could find yourself stranded out at sea.

Is Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach the same?

diamond beach6

Diamond Beach is very close to the Glacier Lagoon. In fact, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon feeds into the sea at Diamond Beach, which is where all the ice comes from. You can walk from the shore of the lagoon to the beach in two minutes, just across the road.

Reykjavik Excursions’ day trip to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon gives you time to explore Diamond Beach too so you don’t miss out on either.

Is Black Sand Beach and Diamond Beach the same?

diamond beach4

Although they both have black, volcanic sand, the Black Sand Beach and Diamond Beach are not the same. The Black Sand Beach is around 125 miles away (202km) from the Diamond Beach. Known as Reynisfjara beach, it’s near the coastal town of Vik. At the Black Sand Beach, you also have beautiful basalt rock formations that seem to reach into the sea, so it is well worth a visit too. Reykjavik Excursions offer a south shore adventure tour which stops at the Black Sand Beach.

Is Diamond Beach in Iceland worth it?

diamond beach5

The short answer is; yes, visiting the Diamond beach in Iceland is worth it. Whether you are a photographer hoping to capture the perfect image of the glowing ice formations against the black sand, or looking to experience Iceland’s famously other-worldly scenery, you shouldn’t miss the Diamond Beach. It’s just across the road from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, so if you’re making the journey to admire the floating ice of the lagoon, you may as well head to the beach as well.

Frozen globes of ice on the volcanic black sand are the epitome of ice and fire, and Iceland is known as the Land of Ice and Fire after all.

Attractions near the Diamond Beach

As we’ve mentioned, the Diamond Beach is just across the road from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, so you can visit both easily on the same trip. It’s also a forty-minute drive from Vatnajökull National Park where you’ll find the famous ice cave, waterfalls, glacier walks and a huge expanse of untamed, Arctic wilderness.

Making your way along the coast from Reykjavik to the Diamond Beach, you’ll pass myriad wonders of the south shore. Perhaps stop at the fishing village of Vik on the way, with its craggy rock formations cast out at sea and nearby Black Sanded Beach. The beautiful, tumbling waterfall of Skógafoss is on the way too, and you can even stop at Sólheimasandur where the abandoned US navy plane wreck still lies on the black-sanded beach.

So, when you’re visiting the Land of Ice and Fire, a visit to the Diamond Beach is a must. The frozen ice against the black volcanic sand that was once lava is the epitome of ice and fire. It makes for a picture-perfect scene, and is one of Iceland’s most photogenic landscapes. A day trip or multi-day excursion along the south coast to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the Diamond Beach is the best way to tick this natural wonder off your bucket list.

REYKJAVIK EXCURSIONS BLOG

Get inspired! Information and tips and must see places in Iceland, fun facts, customs and more.

Best time to visit Iceland - your guide

Find out which season is best for your trip to Iceland with our comprehensive guide to when to visit Iceland.

Read Blog