Our first stop when we landed in Iceland was to head to the Blue Lagoon. We landed at 6:00am after a red-eye flight. So why go straight to the Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is located not far from Keflavik International Airport, much closer to the airport than to Reykjavik. There is a bus that runs from the airport to the Lagoon, and then from the Lagoon on to Reykjavik. So frankly, it saves time and cost on the bus, to stop at the Lagoon on your way to or from the airport.
We also couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm. The Lagoon has a secure facility to check in your luggage, showers and spa-type features, and a restraint, bar, and deli. So it was an excellent place to spend those hours before we could check in.
It was also an incredibly refreshing way to unwind after the 6 hour plane flight! Can you imagine going from an airplane to this?
Well, that picture is a bit disingenuous. Because we traveled to Iceland during December. It is Nordic winter, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10:30 am. We arrived at the Blue Lagoon when it opened, at 8:00am, and it looked like this:
But let me tell you – it still felt incredible! And the “early”morning dawn/twilight, and all of the steam gave it this incredible sexy mysterious vibe. It was not spooky – the whole Lagoon is well lit, and safe. Even at 8:00am there were lots of people there. But the early morning vibe is definitely ethereal!
The cafe and restaurant are open, and there is also a wet bar that you can swim right up to, and grab some beverages after you arrive.
It was actually snowing when we arrived. But then, as the sun slowly came up, we got to see the Lagoon in all its glory:
A bit more about the Blue Lagoon before you go: As you may be able to guess, it is not a natural phenomenon. The Lagoon is a man-made spa /water park that utilizes a natural geothermal spring nearby as its source.
The Lagoon is constructed of materials from the area to mirror the natural topography, so there are lava rocks all around the edges and walls of the Lagoon.
The bottom of the Lagoon is like the bottom of a swimming pool, although you will occasionally step into a patch of silt mud, because they offer mud masks that you can apply and then wash off in the water, and the mud sort of collects in some areas.
There are also wood plank paths throughout and around the lagoon, with several bridges. these planks can be a bit slippery, but they also allow you places to hop out of the water and sit if you want.
Finally, food and drinks. There are a few options for food in the Lagoon. There is a cafe/coffee bar just outside the locker rooms. There are also two swim-up bars in the Lagoon itself:
But by far the most luxurious option is to schedule a meal at the spa restaurant “Lava” after you are done with the water. The restaurant is wonderful, and we had some incredible food and drinks there before we headed off to the bus into Reykjavik.
A couple of random notes and general thoughts about visiting the Blue Lagoon:
- Price – The Blue Lagoon is not an inexpensive experience. even a basic ticket in is a bit costly, and if you upgrade to have flip flops, a towel, a robe, or a treatment or massage, it is even more. Think of it like a spa, not a public pool. The food and drinks are expensive too. And – do not lose your wrist band – the charge for that is astronomical! But, I will say that we were so glad we decided to do it. It was a great experience overall. Just be aware that you will pay for it.
- Arrival and Check in – arriving at the Lagoon is a bit of a process, honestly. The bus drops you off in the parking lot, next to a luggage check station. You can check in your luggage there, for free. there are lockers in the Lagoon spa, but they are far too small for a suitcase. So grab out your basic necessities first – swim suit, flip flops, toiletries and check your bags.
You may also want to keep your coat (on) with you. Because the check in station is a bit of a walk from the front of the spa. And when we arrived, the line to check in was long enough that we had to spend a few minutes outside the main doors before we could fit in.
- Showers – there are lockers, changing rooms, and showers in the spa for guests. But the showers seemed to be less of an option, and more of a requirement before getting into the Lagoon. there were some very strict bossy Nordic women basically yelling at everyone to line up and shower before they would let us exit the locker room. I was kind of shocked and surprised by the requirement. But I guess it all is for the sake of the cleanliness of the Lagoon waters. And the shower facilities were very nice.
- Robes and towels – this may have been my only compaint about the Lagoon experience. The robes, and flip flops are all upgrades you pay for at the Lagoon. But once you initially use them, there is no system at all for identifying or preserving yours. There is one line of wall hook inside and one large rack of hook outside, with hundreds of identical wet robes hanging from it, and piles of identical flip flops beneath it. You instantly lose track of your robe and flip flops in piles. And even if you don’t, all of the other robes get yours wet. It is a pretty bad system, and ultimately, I may not choose either upgrade again.
- Moisturize! The lovely blue natural thermal water has minerals in it – specifically silica, which can be very drying to the skin and hair. The mud masks are even more drying. So if you have sensitive skin (like me) or long hair, you should take a heavy lotion with you and be prepared to shower when you get out of the Lagoon, condition the heck out of your hair, and then moisturize big time. I also put conditioner in my hair before going into the water. Even Bruce, who is not sensitive-skinned, felt like the Lagoon totally dried out his skin and hair afterwards.
- Wrist band system – the Blue Lagoon spa has this great wrist band system. When you check in, you get a rubber water-proof wrist band. The wrist band is your key for your locker, and also acts as your tab the whole time you are there. You use it to pay for drinks, and check out. It is great for the swim up bar! But make sure not to lose your wristband! there is an astronomical fee for losing a bad (as I discovered)!
That’s about it. The Lagoon is one of the main attractions in Iceland for a reason. It was a delight to visit, especially as our first stop in this incredible country.