Iceland – Experiencing the Blue Lagoon

Should you visit the Blue Lagoon?

The short answer is “yes”.  Before I went to Iceland, I had heard how touristy and overrated the Blue Lagoon is which makes you think twice about whether or not you should spend the money and time to go.  Although touristy and a bit expensive, it’s a great experience to indulge in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.  I can only speak to when I went which was early December, but it did not feel crowded in the lagoon and the facility runs a smooth operation so you can enjoy the experience.  Let’s talk through some of the specifics of the Blue Lagoon…

When should you visit?

It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit as the waters are always between 99 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit.  The question here is whether you should visit in route to or from the airport or making a day trip from Reykjavik.

In route to/from airport – Initially I had planned to visit the Blue Lagoon upon arrival at the airport as it’s a short drive from the airport and would fill some time until you’re able to check in to your hotel.  There are shuttle buses at the airport that will take you directly to the lagoon and then onward to the city (and vice versa from the city to the lagoon and onward to the airport).

  • You will save money by doing this as you’re double dipping on the transportation costs into the city.
  • If you want to do the lagoon upon arrival, it’s important to plan ahead and make reservations for your entry time as most international flights arrive around the same time which means people are wanting the same entry time at the lagoon.
  • By planning ahead, I would book as soon as you know you’re going to Iceland.  Reykjavik Excursions can handle all of this for you and allows you the option to cancel up to 24 hours in advance should your plans change.
  • You can store your luggage at the lagoon for an additional fee.

Day trip from the city – Because I didn’t make my reservation well in advance, the entry times were not ideal upon my landing time at the airport.  During my stay in Reykjavik, I arranged a half day trip using Reykjavik Excursions (cost $125/person) out to the lagoon leaving the city at 1pm with an entry time of 2pm which worked out well for me.  Because I did a day trip after landing, I ultimately paid twice to go back and forth to the city (which is not cheap).  That’s a big con of this option but perhaps it felt less crowded due to the time of day I went which is a plus.

So how does it work once you are there…

As you can imagine, there are many tour buses dropping off people at the designated entry times along with people driving themselves so there tends to be a crowd at each designated time of entry; however, the facility is quite efficient and does get you through the line pretty quickly.

When you make your reservation, you’ll be asked whether you want the “comfort” or “premium” package.  The “comfort package” includes a rented towel, silica mask, and your first drink; whereas, the “premium package” includes the aforementioned plus a robe, slippers, another mask, and privileges with the restaurant should you choose to dine there.

Most people opt for the comfort package as it’s cheaper.  I had asked around about which one to pick and most people said comfort was good enough.  I personally liked “comfort” for the following reasons:

  • it was cheaper
  • although a robe and slippers sound nice, the distance from the locker room to the lagoon is very short and you will be hanging up your white robe and leaving your white slippers amongst a plethora of the same white robe and white slippers of everyone else… good luck finding yours when you get out (unless you pin something to it to differentiate it)
  • the silica mask was enough… not being used to “masks”, one was enough
  • if you utilize the restaurant, most people go in their robes and slippers… just not for me to sit around in a robe at a restaurant.

After checking in with the front desk, you’ll be given an electronic bracelet and a towel and then head to the locker rooms.  The locker rooms can be a bit overwhelming as there are a lot of people entering at the same time and it can be hard to find an empty locker.  Luckily there were staff helping people find empty lockers.  You’ll use your electronic bracelet to lock and unlock your locker.  Once you change into your swimwear, you are supposed to shower nude before entering the lagoon (it’s a rainfall shower head).  I didn’t see it enforced and there are private shower stalls should you want one.  Don’t forget your towel… you’ll want to put it in the shower area where there is an organizer by locker number to store your towel so you’ll have it when you shower upon return (and also keep it warm).

Please note that the lagoon has all sorts of minerals in it including silica which can cause damage to your hair so the website recommends putting conditioner in your hair before entering the lagoon (provided in the shower).  Women are recommended to use conditioner and put their hair up.  I had no issues.

Once you’ve stored your towel in the shower area, head on out to the lagoon where you can enter from inside the facility by going down a ramp directly into the lagoon or walking outside and then down a ramp.  Experiencing the cold before entering the warmth of the lagoon is a great experience.

The swim up bar is on your far right and the mask hut is on your left.  You’ll use your electronic bracelet to get your first drink for free and to track subsequent purchases.  It works out well and the drinks are actually reasonably priced.

Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the Blue Lagoon.  It’s warmest where the geothermal water is pumped in and certain areas are shallow enough that you can sit and relax.  My sister joined me on this trip and we stayed in the waters for about 1.5 hours.  We didn’t feel rushed and just got out when we felt we had a sufficient experience. I would think the average time to be in the lagoon is 1 to 3 hours max.  Add lunch and you have a 4 hour experience.

Now’s the time to head back to the locker room for a shower and change clothes.  As you leave the lagoon, you must settle any charges for any additional products purchased while there.  You’ll go through a turnstile that makes you scan your bracelet one more time and it will be collected by a machine.  Head to the bus and you’re on your way back to the city or airport.  Overall a smooth process and great experience at the Blue Lagoon.

Final Thoughts…

  • Make the time to visit the Blue Lagoon, although touristy, it’s worth it.
  • Plan way ahead and reserve your entry time as well as any wellness treatments such as a massage in the lagoon
  • Pick whether “comfort” or “premium” is right for you.  If “premium”, bring something to pin on your robe/slippers
  • Bring a waterproof case for your cell phone so you can take pictures whenever you want (cost $10 in the US or $30 at the Blue Lagoon)
  • Allow a half day to experience the Blue Lagoon so you’re not rushed… just relax and appreciate the geothermal waters of Iceland
Categories: Europe

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