Should you visit the Blue Lagoon?
Chances are if you’ve thought at all about going to Iceland the Blue Lagoon is at the top of your list. Steam rising from ethereal blue waters surrounded by an otherworldly volcanic landscape the setting is certainly enticing and there is a reason National Geographic included the Blue Lagoon on a list of 25 Wonders of the World. Searching the internet you’ll find a wide range of reviews from travelers; ranging from glowing accounts of a mystical experience in the turquoise geothermal waters to an overpriced, overcrowded tourist trap. It can be hard to decide if you want to include the Blue Lagoon on your trip to Iceland.Like any other travel attraction or vacation activity knowing what to expect goes a long way with having a good experience. We’ve all likely had a travel experience where the reality just didn’t meet up to our expectation and its definitely frustrating.
First, let me go on the record by saying I enjoyed my time at the Blue Lagoon. It came at the end of a pretty busy 8 days in Copenhagen and then exploring Iceland’s South Coast and relaxing in the warm water of the Blue Lagoon was just the thing I needed to return home renewed and refreshed. Like many travelers to Iceland I knew I wanted to visit the Blue Lagoon so I did a little research to make sure my experience went as smoothly as possible. With that in mind here are a few things you may want to know before going to the Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is popular. Really, really popular
As I mentioned before the Blue Lagoon is the most popular attraction in Iceland with scores of people looking to soak in the turquoise water. Over a million people visited Iceland in 2015 with the vast majority of them stopping at the Blue Lagoon at some point during their stay. If you have dreams of floating blissfully without another soul nearby you will probably be disappointed. The Blue Lagoon get particularly crowded in early afternoon with day trippers based in Reykjavik (check out where to stay in Reykjavik) as well as after an international flight arrival as many visitors make the Blue Lagoon their first stop due to its proximity to the airport. If possible try to go early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Iceland as a destination can be a bit on the pricier side and that goes for the Blue Lagoon as well. Prices start at 40 Euro for a standard package (which includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon and a silica mud mask) and go up to 195 Euro for the Luxury Package which includes access to an exclusive lounge and a reservation at the onsite LAVA restaurant.
Reservations are now required
Due to the Blue Lagoon’s popularity reservations are now required. In fact the Blue Lagoon is often fully booked two days in advance so the earlier you reserve a spot the better.
It’s not a natural phenomenon
Contrary to what many people imagine, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is not a natural wonder. The Blue Lagoon is the result of the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant. Super-heated water sourced from a nearby lava flow is used to power Reykjavik’s municipal hot water system. By the time the water is fed to the Blue Lagoon it has reached a constant(and soothing) 104 degrees Farenheit.
You have to get naked first
The locker rooms can be an experience in an of themselves. Upon check in guests are given an electronic bracelet which provides access to your locker (as well as keeping tabs of any drinks you might get from the swim up bar). All guests are also required to shower before accessing the lagoon.
No big deal, right?
The Blue Lagoon wants you to shower naked, as in birthday suit naked. Nudity is fairly common in the locker area of spas throughout Europe, but if you are on the modest side its definitely something to be aware of.
Silica mud masks
While a few of the Blue Lagoon packages include a little skin care gift set you can find boxes of alabaster silica mud situated throughout the pool area. Smooth some on your face, wait about 10 minutes and rinse clean for smooth, soft skin.
Your hair will be destroyed.
The same minerals that leave your skin glowing will absolutely wreck your hair. Be sure to slather on the provided leave in conditioner both before and after your dip in the lagoon or avoid the hassle in the first place by keeping your hair up.
Iceland has countless geothermal pools(at a fraction of the price) and natural hot springs(that are free!) throughout the country. Myvatn Nature Baths in Northern Iceland and Laugervatn Fontana near the Golden Circle offer the hot spring experience in a relaxing environment and with a much better price point. Also most Icelandic cities and towns will have at least one municipal geothermal pool.
Is the Blue Lagoon pricey? Yes.
Touristy? You betcha.
Worth it? Totally.
As I mentioned before I’m glad I had a chance to visit the Blue Lagoon and having done my research beforehand I ended up having a very relaxing experience though on my next visit to Iceland I’ll bypass the Blue Lagoon for a more local hot spring experience.
Have you visited the Blue Lagoon? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments!