The Blue Lagoon may just be the biggest tourist attraction in Iceland – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time.
With a little proper planning, you can beat the crowds and experience the blue lagoon the way it was meant to be experienced. In total relaxation. We were in bliss during our time at the blue lagoon, and it’s because we weren’t there on a Saturday at 10:30 am. It’s because we did some research, planned ahead, and got the most out of our time there. To help you out on your research, I’m going to compile everything I learned about the blue lagoon here in this article. While you’re near Reykjavik, don’t forget to check out a guided Glacier Hike by Icelandic Mountain Guides! You can read more about that here! But what better way to relax after (or before) a glacier hike than with a soak in the Blue Lagoon.
Still haven’t packed? Get my Iceland Packing list for Winter right here.
Booking your Blue Lagoon Adventure
Let’s get one thing straight – if you do any prep for the Blue Lagoon it’s this BOOK YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE! If you don’t you probably won’t get in. Even if it’s a slow day (like a Monday at 3 in the middle of winter) the Blue Lagoon is still crazy packed. We arrived 45 minutes early and they told us that since they were at capacity they wouldn’t be able to let us in until 15 prior to our reservation time. How this whole deal works out that way, I have no clue, but just trust me here. Book your tickets in advance, and don’t show up too early, because you’ll just have to sit and wait in the cafe. You can find the link to book tickets right here.
For those of you asking, the blue lagoon does allow children, provided they are over 2 years of age. Children under 8 must wear arm floats, provided free of charge by the lagoon staff.
What is the Blue Lagoon?
The blue lagoon is a geothermal pool located near Reykjavik. Its high silica content is what gives it the milky blue appearance. It is rich in salts and algae. Contrary to popular belief, the lagoon is not natural, it is man-made. It is essentially the runoff of the nearby geothermal power plant. The water that is in the blue lagoon is too high in minerals to be used for power, so they deposit it into the pool. The water regenerates every two days and the average temperature is 99-102F (37-39 C).
Getting to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is located about 45 minutes away from downtown Reykjavik, 20 minutes max from Grindavik, and about 20-30 minutes from Keflavik airport. That is part of what makes it so popular to so many people visiting Iceland, is that it is easily and readily accessible.
There are 2 roads to access blue lagoon depending on which way you are coming from – but the process is the same on both. When you are driving there you will turn off the main road onto a small side road (there are not many roads in Iceland) – if you aren’t paying attention you could easily miss it. As I remember though, there is a sign marking the way. You will drive a little way (maybe 5 minutes) down this road through really stunning lava fields. We drove this in the afternoon and the light hitting it was truly stunning. At the end of the road, you will hit the parking lot for the blue lagoon! Just walk through the main entrance (which is really cool by the way) and you are there!
Pro-tip: Before you leave for Iceland, download on google maps for the entire country. You can do this by going into the app, zooming all the way out and zooming back in on part of Iceland. Tap anywhere on the part of the country you will be exploring. A little menu on the bottom will pop up. Scroll all the way to the right, tap download. Zoom to the area you need downloaded (you may have to download twice) and BAM. Now you can drive and map yourself in Iceland without data!
Once you are inside it is time to check in. Make sure you aren’t there any earlier than 15 minutes prior to your reservation. If you do so, they will tell you to wait in the cafe. It has some yummy food, but not much else to do except people watch. At check-in, they will take your credit card that will be attached to the wristbands you get. This will allow you to buy drinks and snacks in the Blue Lagoon instead of having to carry your wallet around. Very high tech. If you get the lowest package available, it will include your first drink and a towel, plus your silica face mask. Everything else is available for additional rentals, like extra towels, extra robes, extra mud masks, drinks, etc.
Inside the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
After you check in you go down a hallway where you are then split to women and men’s lockers. Here is where you get naked and change into your bikini. You will be asked to shower totally naked before getting into the lagoon with soap. Yes, they check and watch. They don’t want any outside chemicals affecting the water. They also ask that you wash your hair, but I wasn’t planning on getting my hair wet, so I didn’t do this. It’s not exactly easy or practical to go back and forth to the locker, so I recommend you take whatever you need with you when you head out. I personally wanted to scope out the lagoon and find photo spots and then went back to get my camera.
Leaving the locker rooms merges with the boy’s – so if you came with someone of another sex, you guys can meet each other at the lagoon side. Just stand in the (heated) waiting area where there are a cafe and a little bar. There are tons of hooks to hang your towels on while you are in the lagoon. Just make sure you remember your hook number! The first thing we did when we finally stepped into that steaming blue water? Head to the bar!! It helps warm you up and is awesome for people watching. We made our rounds in the lagoon to find the best photo spots. I finished my champagne, went back to the locker room (COLD!) and we snapped away.
After this, we got our silica mud masks and laughed at the fact that our eyelashes and hair (and Drew’s beard) were frozen! If you visit in winter this is sure to happen. It made me feel a little bit like Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. There’s not much to do except drink and relax. So pace yourself and enjoy the tranquility.
Surprisingly drinks were reasonably priced for Iceland, about the same you would pay elsewhere. There is also a really fancy restaurant that you can opt to eat at, we did not.
Pro Tips for While You are Enjoying Blue Lagoon
Wear your hair in a bun.
Trust me when I say getting your hair wet here is not fun. The lagoon recommends you put extra conditioner in it to help. They offer some, but I still saw lots of girls struggling. The sulfurs and natural chemicals make your hair extremely stiff. It takes a lot of conditioners to work out. It’s not bad for your hair by any means, but I just didn’t want to deal with it. I also didn’t know how my platinum hair would react. I recommend bringing a claw, or some extra bobby pins, just in case.
Go in the evening or early in the morning.
The blue lagoon is always going to be busy, but why go when it is the BUSIEST. Opt for evenings or early mornings and you will beat some of the crowds. The Lagoon is HUGE and when we were there it didn’t feel crowded at all, except maybe by the bar. We went at 3:30 pm on a Monday (one hour before sunset in January) and it was perfect.
Take off your jewelry.
Take off all jewelry before entering the lagoon. The elements in the water can affect it and make it change colors. I one time had all my stainless rings turn black at thermal springs. Don’t be like me. Take the jewelry off.
Get the most of the relaxation deck.
Another great place to people watch is on the relaxation deck. Nice and warm this is a good place to take a break from the steaming lagoon and let your fingers and toes unshrivel. We grabbed another drink from the bar and a little snack and watched the moon rise there before we went back in.
Bring a waterproof phone case.
You’re in the BLUE LAGOON in freeking ICELAND!! You want to share with your friends on Instagram and Snapchat this awesome experience – so before you head on your trip buy a waterproof phone case! I use this one here from Amazon and love it! Way cheaper than a Lifeproof & works just as well!
Bring an extra towel if you can
The towels you take out to the blue lagoon will be sopping wet by the time you decide to leave and want to shower. If you have an extra towel you can sneak and get to dry off with that is warm, that would be super clutch. Drying off in the cold with a damp towel is not fun (and you never really feel dry). The changing room does have hair dryers and bags to put your wet bathing suits in.
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