Jökulsárlón pronunciation – a real tongue twister!

You might have to sit down for this post to get ready for some long Icelandic place-names and how to pronounce them!

Many remember when Eyjafjallajökull erupted, and everyone and their grandmother tried to pronounce it.

Then there was this picture, which was found on Reddit and an Icelandic woman decided to record herself reading all the place names (to be fair, many of those are even hard for us!). And now we have Jökulsárlón – it’s not as dramatic, but it is fun!

Icelandic is an ancient language, and in essence, it is Old-Norse and hasn’t changed much since the times of yore. Icelanders can even ready 1000-year-old texts! It’s pretty neat. But it also means that the language is difficult. 

Iceland glacier lagoon

How do you pronounce Jökulsárlón?

Before we tell you that, we want to tell you a little bit about the lagoon itself. It is a newish lagoon in South-east Iceland. It was formed when Breiðamerkurjökull glacier (which is a part of Vatnajökull glacier) started melting. In recent years it has become a lot bigger. It is the deepest and one of the biggest lakes in Iceland. Taking a boat ride on Jökulsárlón is an excellent way of getting even closer to nature!

But how about that pronunciation? OK, ok. Here goes. The IPA spelling of the word is [ˈjœːkʏlsˌaurˌloun̥], which would translate for those who do not read the International Phonetic Alphabet as Yoekuhls-our-loan.

From the lagoon, is a river which runs to the sea, called Jökulsá við Breiðamerkursand. So, let’s try that one out: Yoekuhls-ow (like in cow) vith Braitha-merkur-sand. 

And what does it all mean? Jökulsárlón means Glacier-river-lagoon and Jökulsá við Breiðamerkursand means Glacier-river by Broad-field-sand.

Iceland glacier lagoon

How to get to Jökulsárlón?

The best way to get to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is either by private car or in a day tour. Most day tours have a few hours stop at Jökulsárlón which will get you ample time to join us for a boat ride.

iceberg in Jökulsárlón