What it’s really like to visit the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Sinking into the hot, milky blue water and I swear I could physically feel my muscles relax and give a little sigh of relief. Now, this is the perfect way to start a holiday and spend your birthday.
We arrived at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland by 10am after an early morning flight into Keflavik airport. From the airport it’s just a 20 minute drive to the lagoon so it’s a great place to visit when you’ve just arrived.
If you don’t have a car in Iceland then you can take a bus which leaves regularly from the airport or from Reykjavik. More details here.
There are a few ticket options available at the Blue Lagoon but basic entry is currently around £45. We opted for the Comfort ticket which gives you a towel and a bathrobe and one drink at the swim-up bar. If I went again I’d get the Basic Ticket because it really isn’t worth the extra 25 euros to get a dressing gown – just remember to take a small towel with you. You get a voucher for the gift shop but everything is so expensive that it’s just a token offer. If you want to get a drink from the bar in the lagoon you can pay for this using you wrist band which has a microchip inside.
The quick dash from the building into the water was ‘refreshing’ to say the least as the Icelandic winds whipped past with icy force. I dithered around the edge of the lagoon while attempting to take some photos of the mystical steam that was billowing from the lagoon but I was soon frozen and decided it was time to jump in.
The water was hotter than I’d expected with an average temperature of 38 degrees C. It had a thick and silky feel like a bath full of salts and every now and again you’d come to a cool patch of water that was a refreshing relief.
The Blue Lagoon holds six million litres of geothermal seawater which renews itself every 40 hours. It’s fed hot water from a geothermal plant and the hot vents are dotted around the lagoon – perfect for anyone who enjoys the intense heat.
Part of me wanted to jump up and down and splash around with excitement but there is something wonderfully tranquil and relaxing about the Blue Lagoon that makes most people float around in a hushed quiet. It’s a mixture of the wind, the fog, the steam and the craggy landscapes that is softened by a thick layer of snow which encourages the silent disbelief that hovers in the steam.
The Blue Lagoon wasn’t particularly busy but it feels even quieter thanks to the steam and fog that clouds your vision. Fog is usually the enemy for travellers, blocking your view and ruining your photos, but it simply made the lagoon even more magical. It took us a while to figure out how big it was as we couldn’t quite find the edge and you never knew what was around each corner.
We eventually found natural ledges to sit on and enjoy the views across the rocky, sparse landscape and the 500-year-old lava field that surrounds. There was natural silica mud in wooden boxes that we applied generously to our face and bodies and then waited for it to dry in the cold air.
The mud apparently softens, exfoliates and strengthens the skin’s barrier against the harsh Icelandic air thanks to the minerals, algae and silica in the mud.
After exploring the lagoon it was time to head to the swim-up bar for some Icelandic refreshment. (Fact: You’re allowed to drink beer in the morning when it’s your birthday, right?) I sipped it happily while floating around an area of the lagoon sheltered from the wind.
Things to know when visiting the Blue Lagoon
- Make sure you have plenty of conditioner – the water will turn your hair to straw.
- I’d also take plenty of moisturizer. I’d heard that I’d emerge feeling soft as a baby’s bum but it actually left my skin really dry.
- There is a restaurant and café that are both nice but expensive, even by Icelandic standards.
- There is a viewing platform where you can see the entire lagoon and across the surrounding lava field. To access the platform you need to walk through the restaurant which I was assured was perfectly OK.
Read al of my blog posts from Iceland.
Another nice spa to visit is Fontana Spa which I wrote about in this blog post – An incredible 36 hours in Iceland. Fontana Spa is lovely but not quite as amazing as The Blue Lagoon.