A visit to Iceland would not be complete without a trip to the The Blue Lagoon. I’ve been there twice! The first time I went was confusing but when I went back a year later I had no issues at all. I’ve created an Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon to help others figure out the ins and outs of this place.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always traveled, mainly due to being a military family. We’d move around the United States or to a foreign country every few years so there were always new areas to explore. But as our kids got older (and moodier) we kind of stopped making travel a priority and settled into a home routine. About 6 years ago when we decided we were going to start traveling again, the first trip we booked was to Iceland. After all, it was in my top 5 of my bucket list! I had always wanted to go and at the top of my Iceland must do list was The Blue Lagoon.
Before we left, I read a bunch of “how to” lists online about the Blue Lagoon and felt confident I would be able to navigate this activity. When I got there, even though I read all about it, it was still confusing and I found myself looking around to see what others were doing and I just kind of followed their lead. I realized those “how to” articles didn’t fully explain everything so I decided to write up my own guide to help others. So below is my Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
What is the Blue Lagoon?
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in the Southwest region of Iceland located about 15 minutes from the Keflavik Airport and about 40 minutes from Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik. The Blue Lagoon is not a natural hot spring but a man-made pool built within a lava field. The water to the lagoon is supplied from the Svartsengi Geothermal Power Station and is a milky shade of blue due to the silica, a white mud-like substance, in the water. The temperature of the water is around 37–39 °C or 99–102 °F. And if the thought of swimming in the biggest hot tub in the world kind of grosses you out, don’t worry. The water renews itself every 2 days. It’s totally clean!
Blue Lagoon Options
Besides soaking in the geothermal water (which honestly is quite enough!) there are quite a few other options to choose from.
- Sauna – available to use with an entry ticket
- Steam Room – available to use with an entry ticket
- Face Masks – Silica is included and others are extra $$
- Massage – extra $$
- Restaurant – extra $$
- Cafe – extra $$
- Hotel – extra $$
Going to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is open 365 days a year and opens at either 7 or 8 am and closes between 10 pm and midnight. Opening and closing times vary depending on the time of year. Holiday hours may also vary so you definitely need to check the times before booking. To book a time slot you need to head to the Blue Lagoon Website. There are different entry tickets available to choose from as well as multiple add-ons. The most popular is a day ticket. This is just an entry to the blue lagoon and despite the name “day ticket”, it also extends all the way up until closing time.
All prices below are in US Dollars (current March 2020)
There are several ways to enter The Blue Lagoon, from buying a day ticket to a booking a stay at one of their hotels. Day tickets start at $54 and go up to $612. Pricing varies depending on the time of day you choose to go. Kids between the ages of 2-13 are free.
Comfort – $54 – Includes your entrance, Silica mud mask, a towel, and a drink
Premium – $77 – Includes your entrance, Silica mud mask, a towel, a drink, robe & slippers, 2nd mask of choice, a table reservation at Lava Restaurant, and a glass of wine at dinner at Lava.
Luxury – $612 – Includes 4 hours at the Retreat Spa, private changing suite, and unlimited access to the Retreat Lagoon (more private) and Blue Lagoon.
You can also choose to spend the night on the property. There are two hotel options to choose from with several room types at each.
The Silica Hotel starts at $546 and includes King size bed, walk in shower, entrance to the Blue Lagoon, Entrance to Silica Lagoon, use of fitness center, and complimentary breakfast.
The Retreat Hotel starts at $1256 and includes King size bed, a la carte breakfast, wi-fi, access to the Blue Lagoon, Retreat Spa, Retreat Lagoon, Blue Lagoon Ritual, Blue Lagoon skin care amenities, guided group hikes, group yoga sessions, Icelandic coffee in the lounge, Concierge service and more.
Getting Into The Blue Lagoon
The first step to getting into The Blue Lagoon is to head to their website to buy your ticket(s). Don’t expect to show up and be able to get in. Not saying it’s not possible but the chances are very unlikely. Once you’ve decided which option you want to purchase and you have chosen the time you want to show up, you’ll pay for your ticket and then either print it out or you can show your unique barcode on your phone once you arrive.
Once your barcode is scanned you’ll be given an electric wristband that will be used as a digital credit card during your time there. You’ll be able to make purchases using your wristband. Each time you want to order a drink or food they’ll scan your wristband and you’ll pay for everything when you leave. It’s also used as the key to your locker in the locker room.
Transportation To The Blue Lagoon
Many people choose to go straight from the airport before checking in to their hotel while others choose to spend some time there on their way to the airport before leaving. There are buses that leave from the airport directly to The Blue Lagoon. You can book this directly on the Blue Lagoon Website.
Another option is to book the Fly Bus. You’re going to see these all over Iceland and is the main transportation to Reykjavik from the airport. The Fly Bus will allow you to book a round trip ticket or a ticket to another destination after your Blue Lagoon time. You can also schedule a bus ride with your hotel. If you’ve rented a car and want to drive yourself, parking won’t be an issue. The parking lot is huge and there is plenty of space to park.
When you book your ticket online, you’ll chose a time. This is your arrival time. It’s very important that you arrive within the hour, starting with your arrival time. So if you picked 1pm to arrive, you have between 1-2pm to get there. When you arrive you’ll head down the long walkway and through the main doors.
Once you’re inside you’ll see the arrival desk ahead of you and a little to the left. To the right you’ll see some shops. You’ll approach the check-in desk, have your ticket or mobile ticket scanned, and you’ll be given your wristband.
After you’ve checked in and have your wristband on, you’ll make your way to the changing room. Men will go to the men’s changing room and the women to the women’s changing room. Once you’re inside you’ll choose an available locker to place your things in. Your wristband will lock and unlock your locker. Now it’s time to change into your bathing suit. Many people change out in the open but there are places where you can change in private although you might have to wait for a room to become available. Once you’re done changing you’ll place all the items you won’t be taking with you into the lagoon into your locker. Make sure you bring your towel, flip flops/slippers (not needed though), water safe camera, and sunglasses if it’s daytime.
Before Entering The Lagoon
After you’ve locked up your belongings you’ll head towards the Blue Lagoon. Right before going out you’ll come to a shower room. There will be an attendant there who will likely direct you to take a shower before going out to the lagoon. Yep, you’ll need to shower off first. In the shower you’re going to see shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner.
It’s very important to generously slather this hair conditioner onto your hair. The silica rich lagoon water can severely dry your hair out and damage it. It’s not recommended to keep your hair under the water for long periods of time. Yes your hair will get wet and it’s totally fine. Just be aware that you don’t want to keep your hair under water for hours. If you have long hair just put it up so it’s not floating around in the water. Once you’re showered off and have put the conditioner in your hair, you’re ready to go.
Leaving The Locker Room
You’ll head out the door (this is different than the door you came in) and you’ll see the Blue Lagoon out the windows. Right before heading outside you’re going to see a place to hang up your towel and robe (if you have one) and leave your flip flops or slippers (if you wore them). There are also hooks outside if you don’t see any available inside. Now you can try and remember which hook is yours but don’t be surprised if your towel and/or robe is gone when you come back for them. It’s a little annoying but no big deal, you can get another towel. With hundreds of people there all at once, it happens.
The Blue Lagoon Area
In the Lagoon you’ll see wooden platforms with buckets. This is where the silica is and you can reach in and put it on your face for however long you want. When you’re ready to take it off just wash it off in the water. Now you know why the blue water is so milky! Also, the ground of the lagoon is smooth and a little squishy. This is from the silica in the water and also totally normal.
Included with your entry is a free drink. There’s a swim up bar in the lagoon where they’ll scan your wristband and give you your free drink. If you want more to drink you can just order one, they’ll scan your wristband, and you’ll pay for them when you leave. You can also use your wristband to purchase food at the cafe or purchase other available services.
There are saunas and steam rooms around the lagoon that you can get out to use when you want. I kept going from sauna to lagoon several times throughout my stay and it was amazing!
Once you’ve decided you’ve had enough and are ready to go you’re going to head back into the shower room. Make sure you shower off and wash your hair real good. You don’t want to leave the lagoon water on your hair. You’ll also want to use the shower gel to wash your swimsuit. The lagoon water can also damage your swimsuit if you don’t.
Back in the changing room there are blow dryers available for you to use and areas with big mirrors so you can fix your hair and put make-up back on before you leave. You’ll exit the locker room and head towards the same counter area that you checked in at. They’ll scan your wristband and you’ll pay what you owe before leaving. That’s it!
Things To Remember
1. Buy your ticket on the Blue Lagoon Website and show up with your ticket either printed or on you phone. Show up on time.
2. Your electronic wristband is your digital credit card and the key to your locker. Don’t take this off while you’re there.
3. You’ll need to shower BEFORE and AFTER the Blue Lagoon. Put a lot of conditioner in your hair to keep it from drying out.
4. You are allowed to take your camera into the water but please be respectful and don’t take photos in the changing room or shower area.
5. There is no time limit to how long you can stay. You can show up at 8am and stay until midnight if you’d like. Most people stay 2-3 hours though so that should give you an idea how much time you might need to plan for.
Going to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is, in my opinion, one of those can’t miss experiences. It can get a little pricey if you choose to add in some extras but if you choose to just go for the Blue Lagoon experience it’s not too bad and that alone is really all you need. Hopefully my Ultimate Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon helps you find your way around this experience. Have you been to the Blue Lagoon before? Let me know below if you have any tips that I may have left off!