This post contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you book or purchase through these links. You can read my full disclosure policy here.Honestly, the last destination I ever thought I would need my swimsuit was Iceland. Turns out, the joke is on me as I needed my swimsuit twice and got in water three times! Okay, so that third time was to snorkel Silfra in a dry suit…but still! Touristy as it was, I had to do my own Blue Lagoon tour and check out Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa!
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Open all year-round, the Blue Lagoon formed in 1976 next to Svartsengi, a geothermal power plant. Since it was created by the man-made power plant, it is not a natural hot spring.
In 1981, Valur Margeirsson became the first person to bathe in the lagoon. He requested permission to bathe in the water to try to help relieve symptoms of psoriasis. Afterwards, he reported relief from his symptoms and was also credited with naming the Blue Lagoon.
Blue Lagoon Facts
- Public bathing facilities opened in 1987
- Average water temperature is 102°F (39°C) year-round.
- Min depth: 2.6 ft (0.9 m) Max depth: 4.7 ft (1.4 m)
- Water completely renews itself every 48 hours
- Contains no chemicals, only minerals
Best Time to Visit
I highly recommend getting an early morning start for a few reasons (especially if you are having lunch at Lava):
- It gets busier as the day progresses. Mid-morning until early evening has the most people. Think about it. While you can only enter at your ticketed time, you can stay as long as you want. If you go when it opens you practically have the place to yourself for a bit!
- If you go when the lagoon opens, you have enough time to enjoy yourself and then have lunch right when Lava opens at 11:30 am which ensures you get a good table view.
- Going early also provides you with the option of returning to Reykjavík right after lunch giving you over half the day left to spend as you wish OR you can return to the lagoon to indulge in more relaxation!
*Note that Iceland is like the land of the midnight sun in the summer and, well, the opposite in the winter!
Picking a Package
There are three package choices: Comfort, Premium and Luxury.
Comfort is your basic option and best for budget-conscious travelers (although that’s a relative term because like everything else in Iceland, it’s expensive). The Comfort starts at USD 55 but that price really only occurs sporadically such as one hour prior to closing. The average price is USD 85-95 which gets you entry, a silica mud mask, use of a towel, and one drink of choice.
Premium is your mid-tier option and in my opinion, the best bang for your buck. It is around $25 more at USD 119 but includes everything in the Comfort plus a second mask of choice, slippers (flip-flops you can keep), use of a robe, and a table reservation at Lava with a glass of sparkling wine (food extra).
Luxury is a bit different. It includes entry into the Retreat Lagoon which is the private lagoon. It also includes a private changing room with shower, exclusive lounge entrance, a table reservation at Lava with sparkling wine, and a product set. However, you are limited to four luxurious hours. Price? Yeah, this one starts at USD 625 per changing room (accommodates 1-2)!! Here is a review of the full Luxury experience in case you’re curious.
Booking a Blue Lagoon Tour
We booked our tickets via the Blue Lagoon website. It’s an easy process where you can add reservations for lunch and other extras like in-water massages and transportation. I tried to add an in-water massage, but unfortunately, they were already booked up.
We did, however, add the purchase of round-trip transportation with their official partner, Destination Blue Lagoon. They have hourly bus transfers between Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík and Keflavík Airport.
Of course, you can also book other types of tours like these.
My Blue Lagoon Tour
The Arrival: Take 1
Originally, we were supposed to visit the Blue Lagoon upon our arrival in Iceland. We had transportation booked from Keflavík Airport to the Blue Lagoon and then to our first Reykjavík hotel we stayed in overnight before our Icelandic tour began.
Leaving London and arriving into Iceland 19 hours late
In reality, what actually happened was a snafu of flight mishaps that caused us to arrive in Reykjavík late the following night vs early the following morning. So…yes, we missed our booking.
Since I knew about it ahead of time, I was able to email and let the Blue Lagoon know what was happening. My concern was that we were going to miss out completely on Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa as it books up weeks in advance!
However, there was no need to worry. Due to its location, the lagoon is closer to the airport than to Reykjavík so most people plan to visit upon landing in Iceland just as we had. So, I’m sure the staff sees this problem a lot. They were extremely nice and rebooked us (including our transportation) for the next weekend after our return to Reykjavík!
THANK YOU Blue Lagoon staff!
The Arrival: Take 2
Thankfully, our second attempt was successful and we arrived early for our 8 am entry time.
There is a little bit of a walk (5 min) from the parking lot to the entrance so be sure you at least have a raincoat on in the summer and obviously a heavier coat in the winter.
Checking in is extremely easy. There are separate lines depending on which package you choose. While the lines might look like they’ll take hours to get through, they actually move quickly. Before I knew it we were at the counter.
With my Premium package, I received my all-important electronic wristband. Do NOT lose this! It provides access to your locker and allows you to purchase from the bar. Your wristband is associated with your account and will have to be scanned at checkout so you can pay for any accrued charges before exiting.
In addition to my wristband, I also received my robe, towel, and slippers and was quickly on my way to the locker room.
In the locker rooms, you must leave your shoes on the rack provided right inside the door before the changing area. I honestly missed that on the way in so I put mine in my locker. Oops! On the way out, I carried them to the area with the shoe racks and put them on right before exiting the locker room.
I chose an empty locker and locked up my stuff minus my swimsuit. Then I headed to the shower wearing my provided robe, flip-flops and carrying my swimsuit and towel. Before entering the lagoon, you must shower first without your swimsuit using their shower gel and conditioner. Unlike the changing rooms, the showers are private.
I know what you’re thinking and yes, it does make it harder (even toweling off) to get your swimsuit on, but those are the rules. After I had my suit and robe on, I went back to my locker to grab my camera and my phone and then proceeded outside to take some photos!
Stunningly gorgeous, right??
Steam rising off the warm water meeting the low-lying clouds!
Once I got outside, I walked around and took in the sights and the shots. Cameras and phones don’t mix with silica so get shots with these before you get in.
This was my favorite spot outside the water. I loved the visual of the rolling black bridges against the milky-blue water!
Notice the weather. These three photos were all taken within one minute.
As you can see, the Blue Lagoon is located in the middle of a lava field. This lava field called Illahraun (Evil Lava) is believed to have formed in 1226. I loved the color combination of the black, green, milky-blue and sky blue!
Okay, enough of those photos, I was ready to get the show on the road! And I did…after a quick return to the locker room to exchange my camera and phone for my GoPro and towel.
The Star of the Show
Yay, it’s almost time to get in! But first…
Selfie fun in my robe before taking it off 🤳😂
You can see in this photo on the right that they have covered places to hang your robes. In theory, this is fantastic
in case of when it rains. However, thanks to the wind, it often rains sideways in Iceland making this just short of a fantastic idea.
For this reason, I put my towel in a waterproof bag (preferably one that ties and hangs-a grocery sack will work) and hung it on top of my robe. That way if my robe got wet, my towel was dry. Also, it helped me identify which robe was mine and showed others my robe wasn’t theirs. 😉
Finally, walking in. I loved the gradual, zero entry. They definitely want you to relax. No work to get in or out! 🙌
The water felt really awesome after being in the cold air and my friend Lisa and I headed straight to get our first facial mask!
We decided to try the complimentary Silica mask first. You can use the mirrored panels to read about the benefits of each mask and for guidance in putting the mask on.
Silica Mud Mask and what the wristbands look like
It was cool and creamy as most facial masks are. Clearly, even with the mirror, I’m not the best at putting on a mask and thought my nose needed most of it!
Aren’t we cute? Lisa is much better with this whole mask application thing!
After the recommended 10 minutes, we rinsed off that mask and went to get our second masks (included in the Premium package).
Black Lava Scrub Mask
Lisa chose the Algae Mask designed to rejuvenate and boost collagen. That is the one I probably needed, but I just couldn’t pass up the fun of the Black Lava Mask which exfoliates and renews your skin!
I did a much better job with the application process the second time around. Or (more likely), the black hid my mistakes…
With our second masks on, we headed for drinks!
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Swim Up Drinks
Both the Comfort and Premium packages include your first drink of choice. I went for the Strawberry Skyr Smoothie.
Skyr is an Icelandic dairy product and quite popular with the locals. I like it and had it a few times in several different ways while traveling around Iceland.
Then I saw these colorful things and I decided I had to have one! Second drinks are not included so I used my electronic wristband to purchase this Cherry and Blue Raspberry Slushie.
These are two of my three favorite slushie flavors (grape is the third) so I was a happy camper!
Cheers to us in Iceland!
Relaxing in the Blue Lagoon is relaxation at its best. I don’t know for certain, but I think I enjoyed it at this point in our trip (day before departure) more than I would have as originally scheduled (upon arrival into the country, sleep-deprived).
There was no stress or worry of figuring things out like on the front-end of a trip. And, it was a great way to decompress from a 7-day trip around the island plus two days in Reykjavík that both encompassed adventurous day-trips and a night tour.
All of these photos were taken late morning within 15 minutes of each other.
We enjoyed the weather show while relaxing in the lagoon…
I’ve mentioned the timing of photos twice already, right? Well, there’s a running joke in Iceland regarding climate. If you don’t like the weather, give it five minutes. The weather changes quickly and you can literally have all four seasons in one day!
Just as we were contemplating when to get out, it started raining. We took this as our cue to go get ready for lunch.
A variation on the dark blue and red Iceland flag colors to chocolate brown (from the OPI Iceland Collection) and hot pink!
But, I couldn’t resist one more photo…to show off my Iceland travel nails! I try to paint something on my nails that signifies the country to which I’m traveling. It’s fun for me and is usually quite appreciated by the locals. It’s a great icebreaker and heartwarmer!
After retrieving our robes, towels (dry from the rain in their plastic bags) and flip-flops, we headed to the locker room.
Our robes were dry too, but we had gotten out right as it started a decent rain. Had we stayed in, our robes might have been wet and the plastic bag housing our towels would have been the hero of the day.
If you don’t want to eat at Lava or weren’t able to score a reservation, there is a cafe with counter service.
Our Premium package included a table reservation for lunch at the lagoon’s sit-down restaurant, Lava.
We were a little early for our reservation, but upon walking up to the restaurant, we discovered it wasn’t open quite yet and we got in line behind a few other people already there. A perk to arriving early and standing in line (for 10 minutes or less) was that we got a table with a view of the lagoon.
Lunch at Lava
We got our choice of sparkling wine as soon as we were seated and we both chose the sweeter one. It was excellent and that’s saying a lot for me as I’m neither a fan of wine or champagne. 😱
After we ordered, we enjoyed our selection of sourdough and rye bread served with Icelandic skyr butter.
We both opted for the Langoustine Soup to start. The garlic marinated langoustine was creamy and tasty! If you like lobster bisque, you will love this!
Next came our main course, the Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Icelandic mushrooms, crispy potatoes, onion jam, and dijon mustard. Absolutely delicious! The red meat choice is usually last on my list. I almost always opt for seafood. But I’ll be honest…I wanted those mushrooms. I’m a huge mushroom fan. They didn’t disappoint!
And yes, if you’re keeping up, Lisa and I were craving the same food!
Dessert was a no-brainer. It was the Ástarpungar & Caramel, hands down. This was a caramel chocolate mousse served with vanilla ice cream and a salted caramel drizzle. Um, holy cow, YES, please! I can’t even begin to describe how delectable this was.
What a fabulous way to end a fantastic meal! But heads up, as you can imagine, it wasn’t an inexpensive meal. Food in Iceland is expensive and this meal cost us roughly USD 75. Each.
Thankfully, there was only one take needed for our departure.
We made the 1:15 pm bus back to Reykjavík. As soon as we sat down, we looked out the window and were treated to this beautiful rainbow. 😍 Due to those frequent changes in weather I talked about earlier, there are plenty of chances to see rainbows in Iceland! 🌈
We were back to our second hotel in Reykjavik by 2:15 pm and had the rest of the day to explore!
Know Before You Go
- RESERVATIONS: Pre-booking is required as it can fill up weeks in advance. The in-water massages are limited and go fast as well. I suggest booking as soon as you cement your Iceland travel dates.
- COST: Adults start at USD 55 and cost varies by demand. Ages 2-13 are free. Under 2 years not permitted. Food, in-water massage, transportation, and food are all additional costs.
- PACKAGE PICK: I personally felt the Premium package was worth paying $23 more since it included the use of a robe, flip-flops (to keep), a second mask, and a table reservation at Lava with sparkling wine (on top of everything in the Comfort). However, if you have brought your own flip-flops, don’t care about a second mask and aren’t planning on eating at Lava, then the Comfort would probably be a better fit.
- DIRECTIONS: If you are coming on your own, here is how to get there.
- TRANSPORTATION: There are options. Bus pickup with Destination Blue Lagoon starts 30 minutes prior to your scheduled pickup time from your assigned bus stop in Reykjavík. They have hourly bus transfers between Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík and the Keflavík Airport. On the return trip (provided you don’t have flight restrictions), you can take any bus back despite the time listed on your voucher. Just be sure you get on a bus headed where you need to go!
- TOURS: Check out these options for combo tours.
- FOOD: Outside food is not allowed. There are multiple dining options available for purchase.
- SHOWER: Put generous amounts of conditioner in your hair during your pre-entrance shower and leave it in. This will help protect your hair from becoming stiff and difficult to manage due to the silica. Additionally, I tied my hair up and didn’t submerge it in the water.
- PHOTOS: Go outside and take photos with your nice camera or phone first before entering the water. Then return them to your locker. Take a GoPro with a waterproof stick mount in the lagoon with you, but due to the silica, don’t submerge it. No photography is allowed in the locker rooms.
- JEWELRY: Leave all jewelry in your locker room to prevent damage from the high silica content of the water.
- GLASSES: Don’t wear eyeglasses/prescription sunglasses (or any glasses you value) into the lagoon. The silica can damage them. Be careful with contact lenses. I did wear mine since I’m blind without them, but the water can damage them. I saw a few people wearing sunglasses and no doubt they help with the sun and glare, just be careful.
- TIP: Bring a plastic grocery sack with you (biodegradable, reusable-doesn’t matter. You just need to be able to close it and hang it). When you’re ready to enter the lagoon, put your towel in the plastic bag, tie it loosely, and hang it on top of your robe on the provided hooks. This keeps your towel dry (in the sideways Iceland rain) and helps you (and others) identify which one is yours. You can then store your wet swimsuit in it when you leave. However, the Blue Lagoon does provide small plastic bags in the locker rooms for wet swimsuits.
- CAUTION: Don’t lose your electronic wristband or there’s a fee of ISK 5000 (USD 40).
- ACCESSIBLE: The Blue Lagoon is accessible and wheelchairs can be borrowed from reception. Shower chairs are also provided upon request. Note that while there is accessible parking in the main lot, it is still a 5-minute walk to the entrance. If you require someone to help you change or shower, they comp your access to provide admission for your assistant. That is just all kinds of cool and I’ve honestly never seen that before!
- LUGGAGE: You can store luggage at the Blue Lagoon.
- MORE INFO: There is a lot more information on the Blue Lagoon FAQ page.
How I felt about my Blue Lagoon tour experience! 🙌| Photo Credit: Lisa Krzysik
Even though it is touristy (and manmade), I still thoroughly enjoyed the Blue Lagoon tour we put together for ourselves and highly recommend it. While it might be great for unwinding after a long flight, as previously mentioned, I wasn’t sorry that it worked out for us to unwind after a fantastic 12-day adventure!
So if you don’t want to risk the flight problems we had, it’s a very easy day trip from Reykjavík. And for more day trip options from Reykjavík check out my Northern Lights experience, how I snorkeled Silfra and rode Icelandic horses!
Have you been to the Blue Lagoon? What were your thoughts on the whole thing?
‘Til next time…
Leave a Reply - I Love Comments!
This looks like a truly decadent experience and definitely worth flying to Iceland for! It’s really great that the staff were understanding about you missing your booking… This would have stressed me out so much! I really appreciated your tips around the effects of silica in the water, I’m sure not many people know about it in the first place.
Hi Delphine-Yes, it had me stressed in the beginning too. But didn’t have to worry, the staff was so accommodating which to me is another reason to make them a priority! I’m so glad you found the tips helpful and thanks for reading! 🙂
It looks like you had a fabulous half-day at the Blue Lagoon. And great tips about going first thing in the morning and taking a plastic bag to protect your towel/robe from the sideways rain. I saw a lot of sideways rain when I was there. The food looks fabulous – – I didn’t get a chance to eat at Lava. As you say, the Blue Lagoon is expensive, as is everything in Iceland, but it’s definitely worth doing at least once.
Hi Cindy-Yes, there is a lot of sideways rain in Iceland. I definitely agree that it’s worth doing at least once! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Jerry and Fiona says
The Cherry-Blue Raspberry Slushie sounds (and looks) better than the name on the cup suggests!
A decadent day at the spa, indeed. As you say, perhaps this was best enjoyed while not dealing with jet lag AND the agro from a big delay. The extra $23 for the premium package just makes sense.
Geothermal wonders are favorites of ours and we hope to see the Blue Lagoon as well as some natural hot springs in Iceland real soon.
Tell me more about that beef tenderloin!
Hi Jerry and Fiona-Haha, your comment made me laugh! Yes, it tasted better than what it suggests! Hope you get to go soon and that beef tenderloin was amazing!! Especially the mushrooms! Thanks for reading! 🙂
Sage Scott says
I hate being cold. And being cold and wet is 10x worse. So a “swimming” experience that involves waters at an average temperature of 102F is my kind of experience! I sooooo hope to get to Iceland soon, and this is the most comprehensive article on the Blue Lagoon I’ve ever come across!
Hi Sage-Thank you! I definitely tried to be comprehensive so I’m glad you found it this way! I hope you get to go to Iceland soon and thanks for reading! 🙂
Carol Colborn says
Now I am so sorry I didn’t soak up when we went to the Blue Lagoon in 2014. I didn’t have a bathing suit.
Hi Carol-Oh no! You can actually rent swim gear there. Just means you need to go back, right? Thanks for reading! 🙂
Patricia Pagenel says
Incredible photos! We’ve never been to the Blue Lagoon, and though we usually try to avoid touristy places, I think that this lagoon deserves a visit for sure. I did not know you could get spa treatments like that, but it makes sense. The perfect relaxation experienced!
Hi Patricia-I definitely think touristy spots need to be evaluated on an individual basis, but this one was awesome! Thanks for reading! 🙂
We loved the know before you go section at the end, it comprehensively captures all the technical tidbits and is really really helpful.
Your day looked lovely and luxurious and great for relaxation. A “hot” bath in the cold clime can really boost up the energy.
The food at Lava also looked really great, excellent photos. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hi Mohana-Yay! I’m glad you find the Know Before You Go section helpful. That’s a relatively new thing I’ve started so I appreciate the feedback! Thanks for reading! 🙂
I love the ¨know before you go¨ section at the end! Sometimes when I haven´t got time to properly research a trip, posts like that save me with so much valuable information packed into one punch! The lagoon looks lovely and though I had feared it might be too overly touristic for my tastes, it sounds like it´s well worth a visit when I finally make it to Iceland!
Hi Erica-So glad you love the Know Before You Go. It’s fairly new for me and I love the feedback. I, too, find them helpful when researching. Not only do I sometimes not have enough time to fully research it but I also a lot of time just want the goods. Know what I mean? Hope you get to make it to Iceland soon and thanks for reading! 🙂
So, yesssss it’s super touristy, and everybody who goes to Iceland does it, BUT I really really want to do this! It just looks so relaxing! And the photos are amazing. I’m glad to hear that they were so understanding with your flight situation. That would have been awful if you missed this experience!
Hi Dani-Yes, they were very accommodating which was very appreciated! Yep, touristy but worth it for sure! Hope you get to go soon and thanks for reading! 🙂
What a comprehensive guide! I visited last September and was mind-blown at how many people were already there during the first time slot right at opening. (Even busier than your photos suggest.) I too dined at Lava and thought the food was phenomenal. This is totally making me mis Iceland and I think next time I’m back, I’d want to try the Luxury package for an even more relaxing experience without the crowds.
Hi Jas-You were there right before me then because I was there in early October last year. Must be the difference in end of the peak season and start of the offseason? Lava was amazing. I’m with you on the Luxury package. I might try that too next time. I definitely would be sure I got the in-water massage. Hate I missed those appointments this time. Thanks for reading! 🙂
Love the Blue Lagoon! I want to go in the fall. Got to hahs a trip and more reasons to get massages too lol !Summer is hard for me with 24 hours sunshine. I just can’t sleep . The Northern Lights are Spectacular! Yes very pricey place indeed ! Thanks for sharing your experience! ❤
Hi Melissa-Fall is the perfect time to go to Iceland. I wouldn’t want 24-hour sunshine either although I have been to Alaska to see the land of the midnight sun. 😉 Hope you get to go soon. Thanks for reading! 🙂