What it’s really like to visit the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Sinking into the hot, milky blue water and I swear I could physically feel my muscles relax and give a little sigh of relief. Now, this is the perfect way to start a holiday and spend your birthday.

We arrived at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland by 10am after an early morning flight into Keflavik airport. From the airport it’s just a 20 minute drive to the lagoon so it’s a great place to visit when you’ve just arrived.

If you don’t have a car in Iceland then you can take a bus which leaves regularly from the airport or from Reykjavik.

There are a few at the Blue Lagoon but basic entry is currently around £45. We opted for the Comfort ticket which gives you a towel and a bathrobe and one drink at the swim-up bar.  If I went again I’d get the Basic Ticket because it really isn’t worth the extra 25 euros to get a dressing gown – just remember to take a small towel with you. You get a voucher for the gift shop but everything is so expensive that it’s just a token offer. If you want to get a drink from the bar in the lagoon you can pay for this using you wrist band which has a microchip inside.

DCIM100GOPRO

DCIM100GOPRO

The quick dash from the building into the water was ‘refreshing’ to say the least as the Icelandic winds whipped past with icy force. I dithered around the edge of the lagoon while attempting to take some photos of the mystical steam that was billowing from the lagoon but I was soon frozen and decided it was time to jump in.

The water was hotter than I’d expected with an average temperature of 38 degrees C. It had a thick and silky feel like a bath full of salts and every now and again you’d come to a cool patch of water that was a refreshing relief.

The Blue Lagoon holds six million litres of geothermal seawater which renews itself every 40 hours. It’s fed hot water from a geothermal plant and the hot vents are dotted around the lagoon – perfect for anyone who enjoys the intense heat.

Part of me wanted to jump up and down and splash around with excitement but there is something wonderfully tranquil and relaxing about the Blue Lagoon that makes most people float around in a hushed quiet. It’s a mixture of the wind, the fog, the steam and the craggy landscapes that is softened by a thick layer of snow which encourages the silent disbelief that hovers in the steam.

The Blue Lagoon wasn’t particularly busy but it feels even quieter thanks to the steam and fog that clouds your vision. Fog is usually the enemy for travellers, blocking your view and ruining your photos, but it simply made the lagoon even more magical. It took us a while to figure out how big it was as we couldn’t quite find the edge and you never knew what was around each corner.

DCIM100GOPRO

We eventually found natural ledges to sit on and enjoy the views across the rocky, sparse landscape and the 500-year-old lava field that surrounds. There was natural silica mud in wooden boxes that we applied generously to our face and bodies and then waited for it to dry in the cold air.

The mud apparently softens, exfoliates and strengthens the skin’s barrier against the harsh Icelandic air thanks to the minerals, algae and silica in the mud.

After exploring the lagoon it was time to head to the swim-up bar for some Icelandic refreshment. (Fact: You’re allowed to drink beer in the morning when it’s your birthday, right?) I sipped it happily while floating around an area of the lagoon sheltered from the wind.

 Things to know when visiting the Blue Lagoon

  • Make sure you have plenty of conditioner – the water will turn your hair to straw.
  • I’d also take plenty of moisturizer. I’d heard that I’d emerge feeling soft as a baby’s bum but it actually left my skin really dry.
  • There is a restaurant and café that are both nice but expensive, even by Icelandic standards.
  • There is a viewing platform where you can see the entire lagoon and across the surrounding lava field. To access the platform you need to walk through the restaurant which I was assured was perfectly OK.

 

Read al of my blog posts from Iceland.

Another nice spa to visit is Fontana Spa which I wrote about in this blog post – An incredible 36 hours in Iceland. Fontana Spa is lovely but not quite as amazing as The Blue Lagoon.

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27 Comments

  1. October 15, 2013 / 8:58 am

    Oh, I want to go back! We were there less than 2 weeks ago – it’s amazing how the weather has changed – it was beautiful and sunny when we went (although still a bit nippy dashing from pool to changing room!). The guidebook said it was a bit of a tourist trap, but it is definitely definitely worth a visit – the highlight of our trip!

    • October 15, 2013 / 9:59 am

      I heard a few people saying that it’s a tourist trap but I agree, definitely worth a visit. And places become busy with tourists for a good reason and it’s usually because they’re awesome!
      It was lovely and sunny when we first arrived at the lagoon but you know what Icelandic weather is like, within 5 minutes it has snowed, rained and shone with brilliant sunshine!

  2. October 15, 2013 / 10:07 am

    This sounds like such an amazing experience! The Lagoon has been on my wish list for a while now and I think Iceland could be a possibility for our honeymoon. Looks like you had a great time!

  3. October 15, 2013 / 12:19 pm

    Great! I could experience it with you!

  4. October 15, 2013 / 1:46 pm

    Wow! while reading the post I felt as if I was with you experiencing all the awesome things. After seeing the fabulous pics they tempt us to visit this place.

  5. October 15, 2013 / 4:28 pm

    Wow! This looks so beautiful- I would looove to go. So excited to read about the rest of your time in Iceland!

  6. October 16, 2013 / 9:33 am

    Really want to visit there! Sounds like you had an amazing time.

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:45 pm

      It was incredible. It’s touristy and expensive but well worth a visit.

  7. October 16, 2013 / 6:47 pm

    I visited the Blue Lagoon a few years ago on a very random day trip from the UK, it was absolutely wonderful despite being one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. Glad you had fun 🙂

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:44 pm

      A day trip? Wow, I hadn’t thought you could do a day trip but I guess it’s only 3 hours away so totally do-able. Great to hear you had a good time too.

  8. October 17, 2013 / 1:33 am

    Spectacular! This is one of those places you have to go once in your life. Sooner or later, I have to go.

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:42 pm

      Definitely. You only need to go once but it’s definitely worth making the effort!

  9. October 18, 2013 / 11:54 pm

    Great review. I love the tip at the end. I was also under the assumption that you would emerge from the water with soft skin and hair but I will be sure to bring some descent condition when I get the chance to visit Iceland.

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:39 pm

      I think most people have soft skin (must have just been me on that one) but it seems to wreck everyone’s hair. Put a good dollop on your hair before you get in too to avoid damage.

  10. October 19, 2013 / 5:41 am

    I also thought you were supposed to come out feeling super soft! Guess not everyone’s skin reacts the same way, so thanks for the tips!

    • October 22, 2013 / 9:38 pm

      That’s true, everyone is different. Just the thought of it makes me feel dry and horrible now. I really wish the moisturiser in the gift shop hadn’t been so expensive because it was lush.

  11. November 20, 2013 / 5:32 am

    I have never heard of this place but it looks awesome. Definately added to my bucket list! It makes me think it would be like sitting in a hot tub while it’s snowing to the extreme haha. also it just looks down right amazing.

    • November 24, 2013 / 11:08 am

      It really is down right amazing. I’d definitely recommend visiting if you ever get chance!

  12. November 26, 2013 / 8:25 am

    Must. Do. This.

    How the heck have I not been to Iceland yet?

    • November 27, 2013 / 4:54 pm

      I have no idea why you have’t been! I’ve been saying for months you need to get yourself over there. Maybe wait for the summer though – you’d hate the cold!

  13. December 6, 2013 / 9:27 pm

    Wow that looks incredible!! It looks so mysterious! I would love to go to Iceland one day!

  14. Charlotte Varela
    April 20, 2015 / 1:57 pm

    Hi Monica,

    The Blue Lagoon looks and sounds absolutely beautiful! I’m heading to Iceland on my own in about a month, and was just wondering how you go about taking pictures while you’re in the Lagoon. Is there somewhere safe nearby where you can leave your phone/camera when you’re done photographing and want to get into the water for a soak?

    • April 20, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      Hi Charlotte,

      Yes, there’s a changing room you can pop back to to, just like you would at the swimming baths. Although you won’t want to get out of the lagoon too often because it’s freezing! Your locker is included in the price of your ticket and you’ll have a wristband to access it. This wristband is also pretty fancy because you can use it to buy drinks too. It has a chip in it to track your spending and you pay it off when you leave.

      I used a GoPro to take photos and it’s great. If you’re taking your phone I’d recommend getting a waterproof case or just being really careful.

      There’s a viewing platform that not many people seem to know about. You need to walk through the restaurant to access it and you can get some good photos overlooking the whole lagoon and surrounding landscape.

      Have a great time!

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