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How To Get Lagooned in Iceland!

Our Iceland Vacation was going well.

Not just well—but wonderfully well!

So wonderfully well that everyday my husband would randomly blurt out, "Thank you for planning this! I can't believe how much I love it here! You did such a great job mapping everything out."

Not to brag or anything, but I really had!

I had found the perfect little apartment in Reykjavik with large glass doors that opened over the main shopping street below.

I had booked a fun little Suzuki Jimney that fit all our gear perfectly and was fun to drive. It even took us through some dicey dunes onto a hidden beach that we got to enjoy all by ourselves.

I had rented a rustic cottage for two on the Snellfellnes Peninsula overlooking the sea. Seals would entertain us every night, as we sat on our deck (me wrapped up in my new Icelandic blanket from Fischersund—the coolest store in Reykjavik) to watch the sunset.

I had arranged dinner in HÓTEL BÚÐIR and charmed our way into snagging a table at BJARGARSTEINN MATHÚS without a reservation. (A window seat no less!)

I had booked a couple of nights in the utterly unique Greenhouse Hotel and managed to snag three nights in the swanky Skálalot Manor Hotel, a family run horse farm featuring a beautiful boutique hotel and restaurant. (There's nothing like a horseback ride to a private waterfall right after breakfast.)

I had also booked a marvelous little apartment overlooking the sea in Vik near the famed black beaches.

But the trickiest bit was finding a place to stay near the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The lagoon lies on the eastern side of Iceland which is less developed. Because there are not many hotels or rentals they go fast during high season. Most folks just do the lagoon as a day excursion, but I was determined to find someplace to stay nearby so that we could take our time in the area instead of driving 2.5 hours to get there and 2.5 hours to get back. And after days of scouring the internet I accidentally stumbled across a lovely little place mentioned on a blog somewhere and booked it immediately.

And even when we had two solid days of rain during our time at the black beaches in Vik, I had backup plans that turned out so well that they may have been better than my original plans.

I felt downright proud of myself! No travel expert could have done better.

Everything was simply perfect—until Day 12.

We had gotten up early, eaten and packed, and started the 2.5 hour drive to the Jökulsárlón Lagoon.

I had booked the last Zodiac boat trip of the day because I knew the light would be beautiful at that time. That also left us time for stops and or a hike along the way.

We pulled over to see a couple of magnificent waterfalls and to spend a little time in the Eldhraun lava field which is covered in woolly fringe moss and looks like an alien planet. (I'm a BIG FAN of moss baby!)

Once we were back in the car Dan wanted to know if we were going to stop for a long hike before the boat tour. I pulled out my folder where I kept all our tickets/reservations along with notes and maps of sites to visit and places to hike.

"Hmm . . . OH WOW! Actually, we can save those hikes for the drive back because we don't have to be at the glacier lagoon till 6pm.

"Really? I thought you siad we had to be there no later than 4:45!"

I know . . . I could have sworn we had to arrive at the lagoon by 4:45 but I must have remembered that wrong because I'm looking at the ticket voucher right now and it says 6pm. So that's more than an extra hour of time. We can drive past the lagoon and visit Stokksnes Beach!"

"It's past the lagoon? Why do you want to do that? We just spent two days on black beaches."

"I know but this beach is really gorgeous. It has a mountain ridge in the background and the beach reflects it when the tide is in a bit. I had wanted to go there but I didn't think we'd have enough time. But turns out we do!"

"How much further is it?"

"Um about an hour and twenty minutes further north."

"What? That's a lot of driving just to see a beach?"

"It's not that much further and this beach and setting is iconic! Trust me. When you see it you will recognize it. Plus there's the remnant of a Viking Village film set next to it and we can eat a real meal in Höfn. I don't think there are a lot of food options near the lagoon."

"Okay, but we can't screw up and be late for the boat."

"I know! They have a policy that they will NOT wait for you, so yeah, we have to watch the time. But we'll be careful. We won't be late."


A little bit later we crossed a bridge spanning the outlet of the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon.

"Cool! There's the lagoon. Now we can just time it to see how long it actually takes to drive from here."

On we sped. Until we had to slow to a glacial pace (pun intended) due to road construction. Miles and miles and miles and MILES of road construction. Basically the road had been pulverized into large gravel-like chunks in preparation for future paving.

"Wow! This is taking for-EVER!"

"Crap. We will just have to spend less time at Stokksnes once we get there."

We arrived at Stokksnes around noon-ish. The drive had been gorgeous despite the construction, because the road traveled along the sea with towering mountains and glacier fields along the way.

We were a bit hungry so we were pleased to find a small, family-owned cafe above the beach. We devoured some pastries and purchased some tickets to visit the nearby Viking Village. Then we drove through the gate and found some parking near the beach. Dan didn't totally believe me when I said the beach reflected the mountains so imagine his surprise when he saw THIS!

"Wow, you were right. It does reflect the mountains." Dan admitted, as we walked through the dunes of black sand and tall green grasses. "It's really beautiful."

"And it's the perfect day to see it too," I chirped. "Sunshiny with blue skies!"

Dan crossing the black sands above.

We reveled in the beauty for a bit then made our way over to the Viking Village—a former film set that was built on the cafe owners' land. They had the wisdom to ask for the set to be left intact instead of being demolished. Now they sell tickets for the beautiful walk over to the village.

For you:

A mini slideshow tour of the Viking Village.

Since we were watching the time we couldn't linger too long in the village. We made our way back to the car and drove to the nearby town of Höfn for a late lunch. After tooling about for a bit we found a nice little restaurant. We were famished and therefore delighted when our server brought out our starters: steaming bowls of seafood chowder.

"Here you go . . . Your steak sandwiches will be out shortly."

Once again we were blown away by the freshness and the flavor of Icelandic cuisine.

But as we slurped away, I kept getting a 'niggling feeling' in the back of my mind.

"What's wrong?" Dan asked as I pulled out my phone and began scrolling through my notes.

"I just keep feeling like . . . Like . . . OH NO!"


"We gotta go! NOW! QUICK!"


At that exact moment our server arrived with our dripping hot steak sandwiches.

"I'm sorry—we need those to go! Immediately!"

His eyes widened but he turned and made haste back to the kitchen.

"What's going on?" Dan barked.

"I just checked the notes on my phone. They say we have to be at the lagoon at 4:45!"

"But you said 6:00 . . ."

"I know! I have to check the tickets again. Something's not right!'

We rushed to the counter and paid our bill then dashed to the car with our takeout sandwiches.

"Start driving Dan!"

"But we don't know if . . ."


Dan tore out and soon we were back on the highway heading south.

"What are you doing now?"

"I'm calling the lagoon company to confirm the time."

"Well, if it's at 4:45 we will never make it because it's already after 4:00."

"Shhhh! Just drive!" I whined, as I waited for someone to answer.

"Hello. Ice Lagoon Adventure Tours. This is *Awesome*."

(*Not her real name but it should be.*)

"Hi! My name is Connie Taylor Krupp and my husband and I are scheduled for your final tour today.

What time does that start?"

"Uh, it starts at 4:45 p.m. but you should try to be here 10 minutes earlier to get dressed and . . ."

"I'm sorry, but something is wrong. On our ticket voucher it says 6:00pm!"

"That's not possible. We launch the last boat by 5 p.m. everyday. Are you sure you have the right ticket?"

"Yes, I'm looking right at it!"

"Are you sure it says Ice Lagoon on the ticket? Not Blue Lagoon maybe?"

I looked down again and my stomach seized up. The ticket I was looking at was our old ticket for The Blue Lagoon. I hadn't tossed it out and it was still mixed in with my current reservations.

"If we are 10 minutes late is that okay?" I gulped, trying not to throw up. Especially since I knew we'd be at least 20 minutes late. And also I had just eaten a ton of seafood chowder and that's not something you want to spew out in your car.

"Well, we can't wait or hold your spot because others may walk up and book the tour if there's an opening. How far away are you?"

"We just left Höfn."

"Oh no. Well, just try to get here in time if you can."

"Okay, thanks."

After I finished wailing aloud I explained my horrendous mistake to Dan. Surprisingly he was super-chill about my mistake—a very costly one at that.

"Wow. Well, we should have just stayed in the restaurant. We'll never make it now."

I knew he was right but something in me just KNEW to dig deep and believe for a miracle.

"Don't say that. Just keep driving. We'll make it somehow. Something will happen and we will make it."

Dan remained dubious. Especially when we hit road construction again. But every time he would start to express his doubts I would nip it in the bud.

"Shush!!! Don't say it. Just pray!"

I stared at the ETA on my phone's Maps like a prisoner awaiting execution. Dan did a great job of repeatedly closing the distance and shortening our arrival time but then we'd end up behind a slow car and lose all the time we had made up.

"This is crazy. We can't make it!" Dan fumed.

"Remember that time we couldn't get a taxi in Monte Carlo? How it was literally IMPOSSIBLE to get back to the cruise ship in time but we somehow made it? I'm believing for another miracle like that one."


Thirty (intense) minutes (and much more silent prayer) later my phone rang.

"Hello, It's Awesome. I'm calling to see how close you are."

"We're about 18 minutes away!'

"Agh! We HAVE to leave in 10 minutes. Just try to get here faster."

"Okay! We'll get there, we'll get there!"

"We'll never get there!" Dan sighed as I hung up.


"Even if we make it we might not find parking . . . Where do we even go once we get there?"

"Awesome said to come to the big blue truck near the entrance of the parking lot."

Fifteen tense minutes later . . .


Dan floored it and within another minute we were careening off the highway onto the parking lot driveway. I spotted the truck immediately.


"Then we're parking RIGHT HERE!" Dan yelped as he skidded into the gravel to stop.

Right beside the big NO PARKING sign.

"But . . . it's says No Parking!" I protested.

"They won't tow us! Go! Go! GO!"

We grabbed our hats and mittens and jumped out of the car. We had just started bolting towards the truck when Awesome suddenly appeared from around the side. (The sound of our skidding car must have alerted her.) She immediately ascertained that we were her missing Americans when we leapt over the parking ropes like competitors in a hurdle race.

"RUN, RUN, RUN!" she yelled, waving frantically as we barreled downhill towards her.

Once we reached the truck Awesome began tossing our gear at us.

"Get dressed and get to the van NOW!"

Dan and I ripped off our hiking boots and jumped two feet first into our flotation coveralls. As we yanked them up we noticed two other latecomers still dressing inside the truck. Fueled by adrenaline and guilt, we disembarked right behind them. We were still zipping ourselves up as we ran towards the van, our life vests tucked under our arms, shoelaces untied.

We dove into the back seat and I was still closing the door when Awesome tore out of the parking lot. Dan and I managed to finish getting our gear on while being flung side-to-side in the back seat as Awesome sped towards the lagoon. We couldn't stop laughing and saying, "Thank you thank you thank you!"

As we screeched to a halt in front of the dock Awesome yelled, "GO, GO, GO!" and the four of us peeled out of the van and clambered onto the zodiac, profusely apologizing to everyone. Remarkably no one seemed to even notice that we had delayed our departure by about 3-5 minutes. Everyone was relaxed and smiling and chatting.

Meanwhile Dan and I were positively GIDDY! (The other passengers must have thought that we had never been on a boat before because we appeared a bit hysterical.) As the zodiac took off, slamming up and down on the water, Dan and I continued to grin like chimpanzees. We just couldn't believe that we had made it! But at the same time, I had never doubted that we would! (It's called a miracle people. And they do happen!)

Actually this is a better depiction of our arrival in the car.

The zodiac trip around the lagoon lasted for an hour and fifteen minutes. And it was glorious. It was far more beautiful and exhilarating than I had thought it would be. And our heartfelt gratitude, joy, and relief at getting to experience it after my stupendously stupid snafu made the whole venture ten times more pleasurable.

We zipped around massive icebergs and stopped to watch seals lounging in the sun. The icebergs and glacier wall were massive and the different hues of blues were spectacular.

Eventually our captain brought the boat to a standstill near the edge of the glacier and then took photos of each couple against the splendid backdrop. And he just happened to be a photographer too, so he took excellent photos! And, as I expected, the lighting at that time of day was nothing short of majestic.

Happiest Couple on the Zodiac!

As our recently-engaged boat captain continued to snap pics he began to ask lots of "secrets to a long marriage" questions.

(Note our expressions. I'm not sure if we agreed on all the answers.)

Then he asked for us to kiss.

Let me just state for the record that we are NOT a Public Displays of Affection Type of Couple.

But we acquiesced.

Mainly because it's not every day that you get to kiss your spouse on a glacier lagoon.

And because we were still SO GIDDY!

Everyone "awww'd" when we smooched but I knew they were really thinking,


Get an igloo you two!

Nevertheless, we remained giddy for the rest of the trip. And once our grand adventure was over we made our way back to the car and drove to the other side of the bridge to Diamond Beach. We spread our picnic blanket beside a small dune where we could lean back and enjoy our cold-but-still-tasty steak sandwiches.

We ate them giddily!

Parting Scene of the bridge running across the lagoon's outlet into the sea. Those large icebergs had recently broken off of the glacier and were making their way to the ocean. The following morning we returned and the beach was covered in the large chunks that had broken off during the night. It was magical. And we were—yes you guessed it—still feeling pretty giddy.


One of the toughest things to map out when visiting Iceland is where to stay. Lodging can be hard to find in some of the more remote areas and everything can book up fast.

Plan and reserve well in advance.

I try to plan High-Low(ish) trips. By that I mean I like to have the occasional splurge (like the horse farm mentioned above) and I love staying in places with a bit of novelty. But I try to offset the more expensive options with budget-friendly places.

WARNING: The word "Budget" and Iceland rarely go together.

No matter what kind of trip you plan, Iceland will be pricey.

But it is worth every penny you spend. It's a vacation worth saving up for.

We knew going in that it would be one of the most expensive vacations ever.

But we went after three years of no vacations (pandemic) so it felt a bit justified.

Find a way to justify it because you won't be sorry.

I have provided links to the places we stayed above to help you out in your planning.

I did a LOT of research before choosing them and each one was special.

We also opted to visit the lower half of Iceland instead of traveling around the entire Ring Road.

We wanted to spend less time driving and more time hiking.

So we visited the Reykjanes Peninsula, Reykjavik, the Snaefellnes Peninsula, the southern region and beaches, and the lower eastern area.

When we return we will do the northern half.

TIP #1

Have back-up plans in place.

Even in the summer the weather can be unpredictable.

I booked two days on the black beaches of Vik but we spent very little time there due to heavy rains.

So we opted to take a tour to an ice cave and spent some time exploring the Yoda Cave and the surrounding beach (Which we had all to ourselves! Epic!)

TIP #2

If you visit Iceland then DEFINITELY put Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and a zodiac tour by Ice Lagoon Adventure Tours on your sightseeing list.

Book your tickets weeks in advance—especially during high season.

Definitely take the last zodiac trip of the day for the most magical lighting. Icelandic sun can be so harsh that photos can appear to be almost black and white at certain times of day.

TIP #3

Spend the night somewhere near the lagoon or Höfn because the area truly deserves more than just a day excursion. Pay a visit to Stokksnes and the Viking Village too.

TIP #4

Plan your meals in advance. There are no restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the lagoon. There are food trucks during the day in the parking lot but they will be closed by the time you get back if you take the last trip out. Our steak sandwiches saved us. Another bit of providence at work there!

TIP #5


If you also visit The Blue Lagoon as well (which I suggest you do) make sure you


so you don't get the two lagoon times mixed up.

Clearly I was not the first to do so because Awesome asked me if I had confused my tickets.

(Also—add notes to your phone and notifications of times and reservations as a back-up precaution.)







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