When you visit Iceland there is one place pretty much every tourist goes to, and that’s the world-famous Blue Lagoon. Yes, it’s massively busy. Yes, there are just as many great – if not better – geothermal pools and hot pots to swim in at much more reasonable prices.
But what makes the Blue Lagoon so special? Perhaps it’s the surreal swirling mists as you swim in the open Icelandic countryside, or being able to relax with a glass of wine as you bathe in milky water. Maybe it’s the hilarity of shivering in sub-zero temperatures before submerging yourself into the hot pool, or the fact that your skin feels as smooth as a baby’s bottom when you’re done.
There’s a certain atmosphere surrounding the Blue Lagoon which is quite hard to explain in words – but it’s well worth it. As a family we had so much fun. The weather was appalling, there were squally winds and sleet, and it was so, so cold. But that was all part of this unique experience. In some parts of the Lagoon we were the only people splashing around for a time – it really is much bigger that you first imagine.
Here are some helpful tips if you ever plan to visit Iceland’s most popular attraction:
It’s near to Kevflavik Airport
The Blue Lagoon isn’t in Reykjavík – it’s actually very close to Kevflavik Airport. So the best way to maximise your time is to plan your visit as you’re travelling to or from the airport. There is plenty of safe luggage storage costing €4 per bag.
The Blue Lagoon isn’t really blue...
The water is actually a cloudy, milky colour made up of three active ingredients – silica, algae and minerals. The blue colour comes from the silica and the way it reflects in sunlight.
The most popular destination in Iceland isn’t a natural phenomenon. The land is natural, as is the lava that shapes the pool, but the water is actually the result of overspill from the geothermal plant next door. As horrid as that sounds, it really is amazing – and the water is self-cleansing, renewing itself every 40 hours.
Kids get in for free
Children from the ages of 2-13 are able to enjoy the Lagoon free of charge. Meanwhile, kids under eight years must wear armbands, which are also free for families to use. We were impressed by how child-friendly it was – and Monkey was impressed by the frozen slushies…
You must have a naked shower
Not unlike all the other spas and pools in Iceland, they do ask if you can have a shower sans costume before you enter the lagoon. Why? For cleanliness reasons of course, and there are complimentary toiletries to use in the cubicles. I was astonished how many people flouted this rule…
You need to condition your hair
The silica in the water plays havoc with hair – making it stiff and difficult to manage. The best way to combat this is by whacking tons of complimentary conditioner on your hair before you go swimming – or wear a cap. I personally didn’t have any problems after tying my hair up and washing it thoroughly afterwards.
You don’t need your wallet
As soon as you enter the Blue Lagoon complex, each individual is given a security wristband which not only locks the electronic lockers in the changing rooms, but allows you to pay for food and drink just like a credit card. You pay for the balance when you leave. Be warned, there is €35 charge if you lose this band.
There’s a spa and restaurant
If you really want to make a day of it, you can book in-water massages as well as use the steam and sauna rooms. Meanwhile there is food and drink available at the swim-up bar and the cafe, which has sandwiches, sushi and salads on offer. But for more fine dining go to the Lava restaurant, which overlooks the Lagoon. It serves up posh nosh for lunch and dinner – with a price tag to match.
The clay masks are free
If you swim up the mask bar, there’s a lovely lady with two big pots of clay masks. Put the white silica one on first, remove, then add the cleansing green one. It’s pretty strange seeing all these people swimming around you with ghost-like complexions! My face did feel very smooth after!
Towels and robes are extra
If you don’t bring your own towels, then you have to pay to rent them – approx £5 per towel. Or choose an entrance package which includes them. Be wary about where you put your towels in the communal swimming areas. They all look the same – and can be easily taken by someone else.
Book in advance
There is no two ways about it. Don’t even consider rocking up without having pre-booked. The Blue Lagoon is seriously popular. You can choose from several packages starting with the standard costing €40 rising to €70 if you want a robe, towel, food and drink included. Also consider going outside the normal hours – it was relatively quiet when we were there, but in peak season it’s worth going early in the morning or later in the evening (opening times 8.00am-8.00pm). There is also no time restraint on how long you stay in there.
Go, whatever the weather
Come rain, snow or shine, the Blue Lagoon is always open for business. We were concerned the weather would affect our enjoyment but there was no need to worry. Once you’re in the water which is kept at 37-40°C all year round, you don’t feel the cold. In fact, when you explore the Lagoon, you can often feel hotter pockets of water in certain sections – too hot in fact that it’s a relief to get into a colder area.