The Truth About The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

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The Blue Lagoon naysayers are not wrong.  It’s crowded, it’s touristy, it’s expensive, but we all know you’re going anyway.   From the moment you step off the plane in Reykjavik it’s unavoidable.  You’re immediately greeted with pictures of statuesque bikini clad woman surrounded by swirling fog rising from the milky blue water.  Your hands are pretty much tied.

Iceland's Blue Lagoon

(Yes, I realize I’m not quite a statuesque Icelandic model, but it’s the best I could do.)

I just want to take a moment to put some concerns I’ve read about the Blue Lagoon in Iceland to rest.  I think it’s easy for some in the travel community to become a bit jaded, especially after an attraction or destination gains “mainstream” popularity.  It makes sense we always want bigger, better, more adventurous experiences.  I know I’m somewhat new to the travel game, but I hope I’m never blase about a view like this.

Blue Lagoon in Iceland

So now that that disclaimer is out of the way let’s talk about it;

Is it crowded?  Sometimes.  You’re not the only one with Pinterest.  It was moderately crowded when I went, but not too bad.  Of course I’ve lived through a few Christmas seasons at Disney World, so I may be a bit desensitized.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Is it touristy?  Of course.  Iceland has been gaining traction as a tourist destination in recent years and this place is pretty famous.  Located between the Keflavik Airport and the capital of Reykjavik makes it the perfect stop on the way in or out of Iceland, as well as a reasonable day trip from Reykjavik.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Is it expensive? Sure is.  So it the rest of Iceland.  If you’re planning on staying in Iceland you should probably make your peace with $30 hamburgers and 45 Euro admission to one of the 25 Wonders of the World.

It’s also a once in a lifetime experience for most people.  No matter how many times you’ve passed a photo on instagram, nothing compares to seeing it in real life.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I arrived at Blue Lagoon via a rather expensive bus from Reykjavik.  If I had it to do over again I would certainly recommend renting a car to see the country at your own pace and be free from a bus schedule.  Despite the cost, the bus was comfortable and the view incredible!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Many travelers stop at the Blue Lagoon on their way to or from the airport, so there is a locker facility to store items while enjoying your day in the lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

It is highly recommended to book your entrance before traveling to Blue Lagoon as they can get very crowded.  You can do so easily on their website.  You definitely don’t want to pay for an expensive bus ride only to find out you can’t take a dip.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Due to the bus schedule, we arrived a bit before our scheduled appointment and had time to check out the cafe.  The Blue Lagoon has a few dining options.  The Lava Restaurant is a gorgeous, but unsurprisingly expensive, full service restaurant.  The Blue Cafe is a more reasonably priced ‘grab and go’, and the Lagoon Bar is a swim up bar inside the lagoon.  I partook of the latter two.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Once our time had come, the registration process was a breeze.  Simply confirm your reservation and you are given instructions on how to best enjoy your time in the lagoon.  You are also given a handy wristband that corresponds to a locker and has charging privileges for the swim up bar!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

There men’s and women’s locker rooms where you can get comfortable in your swimwear and leave things like jewellery (it could tarnish in the mineral heavy water) and electronics safely.  This is also where you are asked to shower before entering the lagoon waters and given access to some heavy duty conditioner.  USE IT!  I left the conditioner in my hair the entire time I was in the water, and it still came out a fried mess.  Those minerals are no joke!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Now, it’s finally time to enjoy the water!  The geothermal activity keeps the water between 98-104 degrees fahrenheit year round.  That is a welcome break from the usually frosty air in Iceland.  I was at the Blue Lagoon on what I was told was the warmest day of the year, and I still had to show up dressed like this;

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Tip: Bring a waterproof camera!  It’s way less nerve-wracking than trying not to slip and drop your phone in the water.  Believe me, you’ll want hundreds of photos!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Allow an entire day to really experience the Blue Lagoon.  There is plenty to do.  I mostly just soaked in the warmth and enjoyed a few Gulf beers from the swim up bar, but you can also arrange spa treatments for an extra charge.  If that’s not in your budget, the soothing mud of the lagoon can be used as a skin mask free of charge, or taken home with you for a price!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Once you start pruning and are ready to say goodbye to the Blue Lagoon, like any tourist attraction worth its salt, you’re routed through a gift shop.  Here you can purchase the mud mask to take home with you, as well as other spa products that use water from the lagoon.  You can also shop for your generic Iceland souvenirs and some really gorgeous expensive scarves!

Iceland, been there!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

If you ask me, the Blue Lagoon is well worth any expense.  It’s a one of a kind natural treasure you won’t find anywhere else.  You’re sure to leave with stunning photos and lifelong memories.  Best of all after a time in the warm waters of the Blue Lagoon, you’ll cooked enough to be able to spend a small amount of time outside in Iceland without a winter coat!

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I was hosted as a guest of the Blue Lagoon, but as always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “The Truth About The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

  1. I reallly want to go to the Blue Lagoon – Iceland is at the top of my list for travel in 2016. Loved your photos too.

  2. Great post, Mags! It’s very refreshing to read a moderately-positive review once in a while, as most articles in the travel industry are over-saturated with hyperboles and there is hardly ever any space for criticism. I have always wanted to visit Iceland despite its prices and Blue Lagoon sounds great too, but do you know if there are any similar places but slightly off the beaten path? Any natural pools you’d be allowed to soak in?

  3. I loved this post. We would really like to visit Iceland and this would be on my list, but I have read so many of those posts and articles saying it’s too touristy etc etc. Some fabulous places are – but they are still worth it, and that’s how I feel about the blue Lagoon. As you say, I would hope not to become blase about views and experiences like this. They’re famous for a reason!

  4. It’s been interesting to hear about how many people think it’s overrated and expensive. It definitely looks like it’s worth the visit though! Plus, I love the ‘Been here” shirt.

  5. Blue Lagoon is a bucket list destination for sure! Thanks for such a detailed post! I appreciate that you included tips on the specific cost of bus fares and such, it really help to plan a trip with this type of information.

  6. I completely agree with your assessment. Yes it’s expensive, and can be crowded and touristy, but we’re all doing it anyway. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it. And it was fun floating around in there, putting the sulfur mud on our faces and hanging out in the murky water. It’s still worth it for the experience.

  7. This reminds me of my experience swimming in the Dead Sea. Like you said, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. You can’t miss it, but I wish it wasn’t filled with shops and high prices. It’s still high on my list 😉

  8. I did not even know that this place existed so thank you for letting me know about it and for reviewing it so thoroughly!

  9. I am going to Iceland in March to hopefully photograph the northern lights, I had not given Blue Lagoon much thought, reading your blog post and seeing the amazing pictures, going to make time to see the Blue Lagoon

  10. I loved reading this post! I’ve been contemplating a trip to Iceland for a while, and this was very helpful for the decision making process. I’ve heard that the Blue Lagoon isn’t worth it because it’s so touristy, but I like your unbiased view. I still believe it would be worth it. it looks so beautiful!

    • Mags

      It’s a gorgeous amazing place, as long as you go in knowing you’ll have to share it with many others and pay a premium. I would have been upset if I skipped it though.

  11. Great tips! I am planning on visiting Iceland and the Blue Lagoon this October! We will definitely be renting a car 🙂 Can’t wait!

  12. There are places in this world that will be expensive and touristy BUT well worth the price. According to your pictures and your words, the Blue Lagoon is one of them. It may not be a destination to visit every year but to visit at least once in your life is worth putting on your travel list.

  13. I will never become jaded about hot springs. Never! They’re my favourite destinations bar none. And since I’m such a fanatic it seems stupid that I’ve never been to the Blue Lagoon! I found your article really really helpful for when I do eventually get there. I’ll book ahead and use their storage locker. I’ve heard they’re building a luxury hotel out there. Maybe I’ll wait until it’s open then really make it a spa trip.

    • Mags

      They are building a hotel. I’m not sure where they are in the process, but staying out there at least for a night seems amazing! It’s pretty far from the city too, so it would be very helpful to have a place nearby.

  14. Carol Colborn

    We were at the Blue Lagoon May of 2014 but did not have the chance to enjoy it since it was only one of four stops from our excursion from the cruise ship. Sigh.

  15. Thanks for the down to earth call that things will be crowded! People may have dreams of bathing there solo, but let’s face it, it’s not gonna happen right haha. Thanks for the tip about booking ahead to make sure you can get in there too. I’m looking forward to getting in there very soon!

  16. Joe

    I’m a firm believer in making the most of any experience, regardless of it being a tourist trap, etc. the Blue Lagoon is one of those places you just have to visit. Kind of like the Grand Canyon, Rome, etc. they maybe touristy, but there is just something about them.

    • Mags

      So true, I’m all for slow travel and really experiencing a culture, but these places are famous for a reason.

  17. Iceland is at the top of my list and I’m hoping to squeeze it in this year. The Blue Lagoon looks gorgeous (of course!) I like your suggestion about renting a car. I’m not sure I’d want to spend the entire day there swimming and soaking, though. I’m a little too restless I think. But a car would allow a visit and the ability to move along at my own pace. Thanks, too, for the tip about the conditioner. I had no idea what the minerals would do to your hair!

  18. Awesome! So glad you got to enjoy it for yourself. Great tips. I would have chosen the cocktail, too. Makes for better pictures. VAVAVOOM at you in the bikini. 😉 lol

  19. Beki

    I love your post <3 I always wanted to visit Island. Can you tell, if you can swim in the whole Blue Lagoon or just in parts of it? On pictures there are often parts without people. And is the mud in the pool really filthy and crisscrossed with hair? Thank you so much. Beki

  20. Indra

    The price keeps going up – this year (2017) it’s already $75 per person during the day in the off-season, without a towel, and it’s still sold out. At some point lunch, dinner, and a whole day at Disneyworld becomes more worth it than a 2 hour bath.

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