I should start by admitting that I am not a Blue Lagoon expert or even a spa expert for that matter. There are many bloggers out there that have traveled to Iceland numerous times, visited the Blue Lagoon and other geothermal spas countless times and have documented their experiences throughout the Internet. But I just got back from a 5-day trip to Reykjavik and wanted to share some of my experiences and practical tips on visiting the Blue Lagoon with you guys.
I did a lot of research prior to going but wasn’t able to find any practical advice on what the Blue Lagoon was or what to expect when I actually got there. Most of the blog posts about visiting the Blue Lagoon I found online were all sponsored by the Blue Lagoon and were obviously biased towards you spending the most amount of money there. So to fill that void, here are some practical tips to know before visiting the Blue Lagoon on the cheap. And the best part, I wasn’t paid to write this piece so you know I won’t try to sell you any B.S.
What is the Blue Lagoon?
It’s basically a large manmade, geo-thermal spa in western Iceland. The water of the Blue Lagoon is a mixture of both underground, geo-thermal water and fresh water and it is full of minerals, algae and silica. The mineral content of the Blue Lagoon water is allegedly very good for the lifting and toning of your skin.
Because the water comes from 2000 meters below the earth’s surface, the water temperature can naturally vary between 98 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The Blue Lagoon was named because the water of the lagoon looks blue when reflected from the sun but in actuality, the water is a milky white color. And don’t worry about the smell, the sulfur has been removed so there is no funky smell at all anymore.
Where is the Blue Lagoon and how do you get there?
The Blue Lagoon is located in the town of Grindavik, approximately 12 miles from Keflavik Airport (20 mins by car) and 24 miles from the city of Reykjavik (50 mins by car). If you are coming from the airport, you might be tempted to hire a taxi but I don’t recommend it as taxis are incredibly expensive in Iceland. You’re much better off renting a car or purchasing a transfer from any of the local tour companies at the airport. Both Grayline and Flybus have transportation accommodations for visiting the Blue Lagoon from the airport and their counters are located just after customs. If you are coming from the airport and need to store your luggage, there is a luggage storage office at the Blue Lagoon for a nominal fee.
If you are coming from the city, you can purchase a round trip shuttle transfer from your hotel tour desk or any of the store-front tour companies around the city centre. Or rent a car and drive. That’s my recommendation.
Know before visiting the Blue Lagoon.
Visiting the Blue Lagoon requires pre-booking. You can’t just show up and expect to get in. Tickets can be bought from any tour company that offers vacation packages or directly from the Blue Lagoon website. It’s a pretty popular place so entry into the facility is controlled by hourly time slots. You must purchase your tickets in advance and they will be cheaper the further out in advance you book them (I’ll explain more below).
But what about traffic or flight delays that causes you to be late for your time slot? There is a grace period of 45 minutes so if you select a time slot for 9:00 AM, you technically have until 9:45 AM to get in. And once you are in, you can stay as long as you like. Most people stay for about 2 to 3 hours. Visiting the Blue Lagoon can be enjoyed any time of day or night, rain or shine, so don’t worry if you have a 7:00 PM slot. It’s not like you’re gonna be laying out in the sun during the daytime anyways. The space is well-lit and beautiful any time of day.
Due to its chemical composition, it is not recommend that you wear any jewelry in the lagoon and don’t bother with swim goggles. It’s completely cloudy underwater and you won’t be able to see a few inches in front of you. The lagoon water also dries out your skin and hair so be mindful of staying hydrated at all times and using conditioner before and after the lagoon to nourish your hair
Pack your GoPro, waterproof camera or waterproof case for your cell phone. It’s a beautiful space and you will definitely want to take some pictures. If you don’t have a waterproof case for your cell phone, they do sell them on-site.
How much does visiting the Blue Lagoon cost?
A lot. Everything in Iceland is ridiculously expensive and the Blue Lagoon is no exception. For whatever reason, all their prices are listed in Euros, not Icelandic Kronas, so make sure to do your math conversion properly. This screwed me up a couple of times when I mentally converted the prices from Icelandic Kronas to US Dollars instead of from Euros and then realized I was paying a lot more money than I originally thought.
Keep in mind that their entry prices listed below are DYNAMIC, meaning they will vary based on how popular the time slot is. If there are plenty of slots available for a specific time, it might be cheaper. If there are only a few slots left, the prices will go up. Prices are listed for Summer and Winter dates. Summer dates are defined as June 1 to August 31.
There are 4 different packages you can choose from and the price ranges from 40 to 195 Euros. Depending on what you’re willing to pack or take with you, I really recommend going with the Standard or Comfort packages if you want to keep your costs down but still experience the Blue Lagoon.
The Standard package is the basic package and gives you access to the Blue Lagoon and a silica mud mask. That’s it. If you can bring your own towel and flip flops, I would recommend this option. It gives you the Blue Lagoon experience at the most affordable price point. 40 Euros Winter/50 Euros Summer.
The Comfort package gives you access to the Blue Lagoon, use of a towel (you don’t get to keep it), a silica mud mask, algae mask and a drink (any drink of your choice from the swim up bar). If you don’t want to deal with bringing a towel, then I recommend this package. The algae mask and drink makes the package worth it. 55 Euros Winter/65 Euros Summer.
The Premium package adds in the use of a bathrobe (you don’t get to keep it), pair of flip flops (cheapo ones but you get to keep them), guaranteed reservations to the LAVA restaurant and a glass of sparkling wine when you dine at LAVA. The Premium package also includes everything from the Comfort package. 70 Euros Winter/80 Euros Summer.
This is the option that I chose when I came here but honestly, I don’t recommend it. When I went, I didn’t really know any better and just assumed I would be walking around and needed a bathrobe to stay warm and flip flops to protect my feet but realistically, I didn’t need any of that. When you’re not in the locker room, you’ll be in the lagoon so the bathrobe and slippers were pretty much unnecessary. I literally wore the bathrobe for two minutes during my stay there. Total waste of money.
The locker rooms are all heated, clean and sanitary and the walk from the locker rooms to the Blue Lagoon is about 10 feet. And lastly, unless you plan on spending a fortune at their on-site restaurant, you won’t even take advantage of the guaranteed restaurant reservation or glass of sparkling wine. Save your money.
The Luxury package adds in a spa journey product set and access to the exclusive lounge. I didn’t choose this package so I can’t tell you if the 125 Euro price difference is worth it. I’m gonna assume no. 195 Euros year round.
So what happens when you get there?
If you are arriving from the airport and need to store your luggage, there is a luggage storage office in the parking lot area. Your individual lockers are not very large so anything larger than a small backpack will have to be stored in the luggage storage office.
Once you get to the front entry, expect to wait in a long line if you are arriving at a prime time. When you check-in, present them with your pre-booking voucher and expect them to up-sell you into things you don’t need such as bathrobes, flip flops and massage packages. You can add as much as you want but visiting the Blue Lagoon does not have to break the bank to be enjoyable.
You will then get a rubber bracelet. DO NOT LOSE THIS BRACELET. This bracelet will open and close your locker and allow you to purchase items from the bar. Men and women will then go into their own respective locker rooms and then meet on the other side in the common relaxation area (before heading out to the lagoon).
When you get into the locker room, there are shoe racks located on the ground to your right. You must take off your shoes in this area before going into the changing area. Now find an available open locker, store your belongings and then use your bracelet to secure your locker. Your shoes stay outside on the shoe racks.
You are required to take a shower before entering the lagoon so take your towel with you. There is a wall of storage slots for your towel in the shower area. Put your dry towel in the slot that corresponds with your locker number. Now take your shower and rinse off BUT DON’T DRY OFF with your towel. I don’t recommend drying off after your shower as you’re just gonna jump in the lagoon and get wet anyways. Save your dry towel for when you done with your lagoon experience.
A note about the locker room and showers – the attendants are great and do a fantastic job with keeping the area clean and dry. You must be completely dry before going back into the locker area from the shower area. The shower areas are same-sex communal spaces so I hope you’re not shy about being naked around others. Some shower stalls have opaque glass doors but the majority of them are open stalls and yes, you must shower without your bathing suit on prior to going in the lagoon. I’m not sure if any of the attendants actually police this rule but there are several signs directing you to do so. Shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and lotion are available for your use.
Once you clean, put your bathing suit back on and walk out the door towards the communal relaxation area. This area is all indoors and heated so you don’t have to worry about being cold. If you are cold and want to warm up in the lagoon, there is an indoor portion of the lagoon where you can hang out and wait for your partner/friends.
If you opted for a bathrobe, you can hang your bathrobe here or on any of racks outside. It’s on the honor system so technically someone can take your bathrobe, towel, etc. Because of that, I wouldn’t recommend bringing a bathrobe that was provided to you by your hotel. If someone does take your hotel bathrobe, you might get stuck with a hefty bill upon checkout.
Now go enjoy the lagoon! It’s a pretty massive space so feel free to wander around. There are shallow areas and deep areas of the lagoon but I think the deepest area was only 5 feet or so. The water temperature ranges in different areas of the lagoon but averages about 100 degrees. It’s the perfect temperature for when it’s cold out. But if you get too hot, there are areas to lay out and relax or hang out in one of the sauna or steam rooms.
What’s that white stuff on your face?
It’s a silica mud mask and everyone gets it for free. There are spa attendants in the lagoon handing out silica mud or you can swim up to the Silica Bar to get your silica mud mask or algae mask. If you didn’t pay for the algae mask and now want it, you can just charge it to your bracelet. The recommended time for having the masks on is 10 minutes and be careful not to get it in your eyes. I accidentally did and it stung like hell!
There is a swim-up bar in the lagoon. Here you can order anything from smoothies to beers and wines. Smoothies are about $7 each and beers are about $10.
When you are done with your Blue Lagoon spa experience, go back into the locker room, shower, dry off with that towel you tucked away and then pay for whatever incidentals you charged to your bracelet. If you didn’t charge anything, you can bypass the cashier and head towards the exit turnstiles. Just scan your bracelet, a small door will open up, put your bracelet in there and the turnstile will let you through. If it doesn’t, it means you owe them some money.
If you do get hungry, there is the LAVA restaurant and a more casual café on-site. Either way, you will be spending an arm and a leg for food and drinks. Think $20 for a basic grilled Panini or a salad in the café.
And that’s it. You just enjoyed your first Blue Lagoon, Iceland experience! Like I said earlier, I’m not the expert by any means but I did learn a few things that I wished I knew before going. I hope this information helps and please let me know if you guys have any questions or comments about your experience. Thanks for reading!
More information about the Blue Lagoon, Iceland and current prices can be found here.
Other reviews in this series include: