Iceland has become synonymous with its black sand beaches, and one of the crown jewels in our black sand beach collection is Diamond Beach. And since it’s located so conveniently close to other local attractions and main routes around the island, it’s easy to add to your trip itinerary.
So, if you’ve got an upcoming trip to the island and want to know more about Diamond Beach, read on. We give you the lowdown on everything from what to expect from your visit, how to get there, what there is to do in the area, and much, much more.
What is the Diamond Beach in Iceland?
As we already mentioned, Diamond Beach is one of the black sand beaches here in Iceland. Our many black sand beaches are due to the volcanic activity here on the island. And what we experience as black sand is actually hardened lava that has eroded over thousands of years. But when it comes to black sand beaches, Diamond Beach is a beach with a twist.
Scattered all across the beach are thousands of pieces of ice that glisten like diamonds when it’s hit by sunlight (hence the name). Because of all the pieces of ice that wash ashore there (some of which are pretty huge), Diamond Beach is also sometimes referred to as the Iceberg Beach in Iceland or the Glass Beach in Iceland.
Where is Diamond Beach in Iceland?
Diamond Beach can be found just off one of the island’s main routes in the south of Iceland in our largest national park, Vatnajökull National Park. You actually have a view of the famous Vatnajökull Glacier that the park is named after from the beach. Diamond Beach is also the neighbor of the infamous Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, so if anyone talks about the Jokulsarlon Ice Beach you’ll know why.
How to Get to Diamond Beach in Iceland
Diamond Beach is conveniently located close to one of our popular road trip routes here on the island; the Ring Road. In fact, just follow the signs from the main road, and it’ll take you straight to the Diamond Beach parking lot. The closest towns are Reykjavík and Vik, but the word ‘closest’ can be a bit misleading. Vik is 2.5 hours away and Reykjavík is between 4-5 hours.
That’s also why most include Diamond Beach as a stop along their road trip rather than attempt a day outing. Although you can go on guided tours to Diamond Beach, the best way to visit Diamond Beach is by driving yourself. This way, you remain in full control of your time and schedule. Here’s how to get to Diamond Beach from both Reykjavík and Vik’s directions:
Getting to Diamond Beach from Reykjavík
To get from Reykjavík to Diamond Beach, you’ll need to take Road 49 to Road 1 and then drive south for roughly 4-5 hours till you see the turnoff sign to Jokulsarlon and Diamond Beach.
Getting to Diamond Beach from Vik
To get from Vik to Diamond Beach you’ll need to take Road 1 and drive east for roughly 2.5 hours till you see the turnoff sign to Jokulsarlon and Diamond Beach.
When to visit Diamond Beach in Iceland
Diamond Beach is open to the public all year round, but the different seasons bring with them different experiences and opportunities. So, the best time for you to visit will depend on your expectations and personal preferences.
Here’s what you can expect from the various seasons:
Diamond Beach in Summer
Diamond Beach during the summertime brings with it incredible sunrises and sunsets that many photographers come far and wide to capture, along with the glistening “diamonds” on the beach. And if you plan your trip for mid-summer, you’ll not only get plenty of daylight hours to accommodate a jam-packed itinerary, but you’ll also get to experience our famous Midnight Sun.
Diamond Beach in Winter
Many argue that winter is the best time to go to Diamond Beach because the ice doesn’t melt as quickly once it reaches the shore. Even the few daylight hours can count in your favor, as Diamond Beach in Iceland is a popular place for spotting the Northern Lights.
Where to Stay Near Diamond Beach in Iceland
With so many things to do and see around the black Diamond Beach in Iceland, we highly recommend that you stay over a night or two to properly be able to explore the area and everything it has to offer. You will find a wide variety of accommodation available that will suit every need and budget:
Hotels Near Diamond Beach in Iceland
Hotels are for those who have a bit of money to burn and who enjoy the luxury side of life. If this is you, the following hotels come highly recommended:
Camping Sites Near Diamond Beach
Camping is the best way to drastically cut down on accommodation costs. Especially if you purchase a Camping Card for just €179. This card will give a family of 2 adults and up to 4 children access to various campsites across the country for up to 28 nights. Needless to say, camping is something most will take on in the warmer months of the year.
But even if you don’t think of yourself as an outdoorsy person, there’s an easy way to take advantage of these savings whilst still living in comfort. Simply rent a campervan and you can go camping in style! If you would like to go the camping route, the following are some of the best campsites in the area:
Things to Do Near Diamond Beach in Iceland
As we already touched on, there are plenty of things to do and see near Diamond Beach, so if you’re planning on spending a few days in the area, the following are a few things you can consider adding to your trip itinerary:
Going on a Jokulsarlon & Diamond Beach in Iceland boat tour
Hiking in Skaftafell National Park
Going on one of the horseback riding tours that allow you to explore the black sand beach and surroundings on an Icelandic Horse
Checking out Svartifoss Waterfall
Visiting the Crystal Ice Cave (this is a seasonal activity though, and can only be done during the colder months of the year)
Photographing Hvannadalshnukur (the highest point in Iceland)
Going glacier hiking on Vatnajökull Glacier (this activity is available all year round, but can only be done as part of a guided tour due to safety concerns, so ensure that you book your spot in advance)
Kayaking in Heinabergslon
Can You Swim at Diamond Beach in Iceland?
Since there’s no law prohibiting it, you can technically go swimming at Diamond Beach, but this will be a major faux pas on your side. The water at Diamond Beach is not just freezing cold but is extremely dangerous because of all the pieces of ice, rocks, corals, and dangerous marine life such as seals that can be found in the water.
So, even though you can go swimming at Diamond Beach the odds are pretty high that it will be your last and the cause of your demise won’t be pretty, ranging from hypothermia to drowning and a vicious animal attack.
Safety at the Diamond Beach
Safety should always be your top priority, and it’s no different at Diamond Beach. There are a few things to keep in mind, so you don’t end up having an unforgettable vacation for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, you should never turn your back on the ocean. You never know when a wave might catch you by surprise and pull your feet right out from underneath you.
At Diamond Beach the waves also bring all sorts of obstacles along with it such as sheets of ice, so you’ll need to keep a lookout. Since visiting Diamond Beach is an outdoor activity, keeping a close eye on the Diamond Beach in Iceland weather is an absolute must. You don’t want to get caught by surprise. That’s why you should always check Iceland’s weather forecast, especially right before heading out.
And those big ice chunks that are washed up on shore may look tempting to clamber on, and you might think that it’ll make for an amazing social media post, but please keep away. It’s still ice, and you can slip and fall and seriously injure yourself.
Is Diamond Beach in Iceland Worth It?
There’s a good reason why Diamond Beach is on many visitors' Iceland bucket list. Where else in the world will you find “diamonds” glistening in the sun, scattered across a black sand beach with an incredible view over the ocean and the largest glacier in Europe?
There’s also no better way to explore the beach and its surroundings than by renting a campervan in Reykjavik and making it one of your stops on your Ring Road road trip. So whether you’d like to go on a boat tour of the lagoon, go horseback riding, and much more - your Diamond Beach adventures await!