* Prices may differ from that shown
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions It's a manmade outdoor bathing pool (I hesitate to call it a swimming pool because even at its deepest it's still fairly shallow) and spa which uses the water from the nearby geothermal power plant at Svartsengi. Visiting the Blue Lagoon was top of my list of things I wanted to do in Iceland and there was no way I was going to travel to almost the top of the world and not go there.
Getting to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is situated about twenty minutes drive from Keflavik Airport (Iceland's main international airport) and forty minutes from the capital, Reykjavik. There are lots of tour companies offering trips to the Blue Lagoon and as the location is not served by public transport, you either need to hire a car or book a coach tour. We used Gray Line but there are lots of options and permutations. Some companies will pick you up in Reykjavik with all your luggage, take you to the Blue Lagoon and allow you to join a bus going to the airport after bathing in the Lagoon. We booked a morning trip which arrived at the Blue Lagoon around 9.30am and left to return to the city at noon; we were able to get a slightly better price because we booked online and followed our excursion with an afternoon tour to Gullfoss and other natural sights.
Most tours don't include the entrance fee which I imagine is because some people might want to see the Blue Lagoon but don't want to swim, and because there are lots of add-ons that you might need or be persuaded to buy once you get there.
I was a little sceptical about the timing of our visit because Gray Line has been refreshingly honest in showing even negative comments about the tours on the company website. Some previous tourists said that there were already queues when they arrived at the Blue Lagoon and that the slow movement of the queues meant they had less time than they'd have liked there. We arrived at about 9.30am and we were the first to get in meaning that we had about fifteen minutes in an almost deserted pool. By the time we left the pool at around 11.30am it was quite busy and not as enjoyable.
What's on offer?
Most visitors, I think, go to the Blue Lagoon just for the experience of bathing in the hot pool. Additionally you can choose different spa treatments and therapies though I think you'd need to be staying longer than we did. The water is reputed to have various benefits such as being helpful to people suffering from skin conditions such psoriasis.
We opted for the basic package which was just entry to the pool and the adjoining saunas and steam rooms. As we knew we'd be going in the pool we took our swimming gear and our own towels; if you aren't as well prepared, you can hire swimming gear and towels as well as fluffy robes and flip flops. As the admission alone is the equivalent of Euro30 per adult the costs soon start to mount up so it is worth coming prepared. Once you've paid you're given a plastic wristband which operates the lockers and which can be used for buying any drinks in the swim up bar.
If you're staying all day or want to eat after bathing (or even before) there's a café on the ground floor overlooking the pool, and the Lava Restaurant which specialises in traditional Icelandic food.
I've paid, what next?
There are separate changing areas for men and women. Although you must wearing swimming gear in the pool, you will have to get naked at some point but that seems to me a feeble reason for not visiting the Blue Lagoon. You can pay for one of the more expensive packages and get yourself a private changing room but you do pay significantly more for that.
First you need to take your shoes/boots off. As people come back from the pool the floor in the changing area becomes wet and if people are going in to the area wearing shoes the floor will soon be very dirty. Then you need to find a free locker. The changing areas are divided into small clusters with seating in the centre and lockers on either side. As it gets busier it becomes more difficult to find a locker but the staff may open up further changing space. When you are stripped you need to stash everything in your locker and get it locked; you need to close the door and pass your wristband in front of the control panel (there's one per group of lockers). The door locks and the number of your locker flashes up on the display. The numbers of the lockers in each area is displayed on the wall that runs along the changing area so you can find your locker easily.
Strictly speaking you are meant to shower without clothing before getting into the pool and there are showers at the end of the changing area, just before you go outdoors to the pool. I and all the other early visitors did this but when I came out of the pool I noticed that many were not and were showering in their swimwear. Mostly the showers are divided by a screen but there are no doors on all but a couple. An algae and mineral hair and body wash is provided as well as a conditioner which is recommended for use before going into the pool. (I would certainly advise anyone going into the pool to use plenty of this as the silica in the water does have a drying effect.
There's approximately ten metres of decking from the doors to the water; it's really not enough time to be really struck by the cold and when we entered the water it was actually snowing (which made the experience even more fun). There are racks on which to hang your towels/robes.
Bathing in the Blue Lagoon
I've bathed in a few unusual places on my travels (the sulphur baths in Tbilisi, Georgia; a traditional women only hammam in northern Turkey; a frog packed lake in a park in Moldova) but the Blue Lagoon jumped straight to the number one spot. On photographs the water often appears quite strikingly blue but to me it was much more of a lighter blue, almost like a milky opal with a blue tint. The weirdest thing is that when you gave a handful of the very fine gravel from the bottom of the pool you'll see that it's black - it's volcanic stone of course - but the water is so opaque that you can't see the bottom at all, even though it's shallow.
The water in the Lagoon averages 37-39 °C (98-102 °F); as you move round the pool you find that some parts suddenly get really hot and you have to move elsewhere quite quickly. On one side of the pool there are cascades of hot water that you can stand under; these are next to the doors to the little sauna and steam room cabins. The sauna was one of the hottest I've experienced - I don't think I'll be entering any sauna endurance challenges in Finland! Thermal pool practice is to alternate between bathing, cooling down (perhaps with a drink), a spot in the sauna or steam room and back to the pool. There are some areas around the edge of the pool where seating has been built in but you can also sit on the bottom of the pool in the shallowest areas. There was no point where I could not touch the bottom of the pool with my toes, and I am only five feet and two inches tall.
I'd probably not have bothered with a beer had I not noticed a boisterous bunch of Czechs toasting each other but somehow it seemed like the right thing to do. There's also wine (including sparkling Asti) or soft drinks, the latter including a selection of freshly made healthy shakes and smoothies. It was good to see that a beer here was no more expensive than an average bar in downtown Reykjavik; I'd have expected them to be cashing in at the Blue Lagoon.
Dotted around the edge of the pool there are wooden chests containing silica which you apply to your skin like a face pack and allow it to dry for five to ten minutes before washing it off. This cool thick mixture also contains tiny pieces of volcanic pumice which helps with exfoliation.
Once you've paid you can stay all day (though you'll get very wrinkly) which makes a whole day visit better value. I think it's a shame you can't pay a bit less for a shorter visit but I can't think of a practical way they could police this. You should shower thoroughly when leaving the pool and rinse your hair several times because the silica in the water has a tendency to cling to your hair. There are hair driers in the changing areas.
After bathing my skin felt quite soft and I felt refreshed and relaxed. It would have been nice to have done a bit more actual swimming but it's not easy given the differing depths of the pool and the number of visitors. What is good about the Blue Lagoon is that you don't actually need to be able to swim to go into the water and enjoy it; it's perfectly possible to stay in the shallowest parts and simply sit in the water.
After changing you need to pay for any extras credited to your wristband and then use the band to activate the exit barrier. A box opens up for you to place the wristband into and the barrier opens once you've done so. You can't physically leave the area until you've paid for any extras. The gift shop is located past the barrier so you pay for any items bought there in the conventional manner.
The Science Bit
Not everyone on our bus went into the water and it's still worth a trip to the Blue Lagoon to see what it's all about even if you don't want to go in. You can stand on the volcanic rocks around the edge on one side of the Lagoon and look down at the pool and a few people were doing this. Iceland is, of course, famous for its geothermal springs and if you're interested in the science its worth coming down to this part of the island to see how it has been harnessed for pleasure. It's possible to view a 40 minute presentation to learn exactly how it works but the potted version is that the power plant vents super-heated water from the ground near a lava flow and this water is used to run turbines that produce electricity. After this the water and the steam pass through a heat exchanger which provides heat for a municipal heating system. What is left is used to fill the Blue Lagoon.
Add to the Itinerary?
Most definitely! A trip to the Blue Lagoon should really be a part of any trip to Iceland and it's proximity to Keflavik means that even business travellers not stopping long could squeeze in a visit. The fairly shallow nature of the pool makes it suitable for non-swimmers but children might find that it isn't as much fun (or as practical for swimming and splashing) as the thermal pools in Reykjavik (these are more like a conventional outdoor pools but still heated; they also have the advantage of costing only about Euro3 for admission).
When adding together the costs of getting to the Blue Lagoon and the entry charge (even if you bring your own gear and spend nothing else) it's admittedly not cheap but it's an experience that is unique to Iceland and one I highly recommend.
Opening hours are listed here http://www.bluelagoon.com/blue-lagoon-sp​a/opening-hours/
Note: although it states that the pool opens at 10.00am in April, we were in before that time
During my recent trip to Iceland I made a visit to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is probably one of Iceland's most famous attractions. It is a geothermally heated outdoor pool in which you can bathe, the average temperature of the water being 37-39 degrees Celsius (98-102 Farenheit). Heated water near a lava flow is taken from the ground, used to run turbines that generate electricity in a nearby geothermal power plant, and is then fed into the lagoon.
I booked my trip before I went via the Icelandair website, alongside my flights, hotel and other excursions. However it's also possible to book once you're in Iceland. The trip was run by Reykjavik Excursions but other companies also run tours here. My tour cost approximately £50 and this included entry to the Blue Lagoon and travel from my hotel to the lagoon and back. I took the trip one afternoon during the middle of my break, however as the Lagoon is situated very near to Keflavik International Airport, many people choose to visit on the way to or from the airport.
As with the other excursions I made, I was picked up from my hotel and transferred to a larger coach at the bus depot. From here, it took approximately forty minutes to reach the Lagoon, via black and rugged lava fields. The Lagoon itself is situated in the midst of this bleak landscape, surrounded by a modern building.
After showing the printed booking confirmation on the bus, I had been given a return ticket and an entry ticket to the Lagoon. It was a simple matter to show my ticket at the desk and be given, in return, an electronic wristband. This wristband was pretty cool - it reminded me of the ones you get in swimming pools with a key on the end, but this one is more hi-tech. You use it to go through the gates and return once you're done, as well as to securely fasten your locker and purchase drinks at the Lagoon bar, paying when you leave. I didn't actually use this service but I thought it was a great idea as you can't really carry cash when you're wandering around in a swimming costume!
It is possible to hire a towel for 5 euros, but I didn't bother as I'd had the foresight to borrow the towel from my hotel! It's also possible to hire towelling robes and swimsuits, but I didn't bother with either (in fact I find the concept of hiring a swimming costume a bit weird!).
When you go through the gate it's easy to find the changing rooms with the male area on one side and the female on another. Obviously I can't comment on the men's, but the women's was very clean, open and modern with mirrors, hairdryers and stools down one side and 'booths' with benches and lockers on the other side. I got changed and put my stuff inside a locker: the instructions for locking and, subsequently, unlocking this were clearly displayed.
I took my towel with me round the corner and, as instructed, had a quick shower before heading into the pool. There were both communal and individual cubicle showers. I noticed that Blue Lagoon shower gel and conditioner was provided in the showers. I had seen a notice stating that it's best to cover your hair in conditioner before entering the pool as the minerals can damage it, so I made the most of the free stuff!
After this I headed outside, where it was absolutely freezing and there was a cold wind! Luckily the distance to the water wasn't too great so I hurriedly hung my towel on an available hook and stepped down into the water.
The Lagoon is a clear bright blue in colour, surrounded by black volcanic rock. Dotted here and there around the outside of the Lagoon are boxes of white mud, which is apparently very good for the skin. I saw several people swimming around with their faces covered in this stuff, but I didn't bother with it myself as I couldn't bear to get out of the Lagoon once I got in! The water was lovely and warm, about the temperature of a warm bath, although there were numerous waves - possibly caused by the high winds! Also there seemed to be pockets of heat and cold that alternately made me warm up and shiver! I could feel sand between my toes, and occasionally rock (but nothing sharp). I'm not a very good swimmer, but I was able to touch the bottom of the pool at all times while keeping my head above water. I am tall, though, and someone shorter might find parts of the pool a little too deep for them.
There were a few other people in the pool, it wasn't crowded though and I wouldn't expect it to be on a weekday afternoon in the off-peak season. There were several children too and they seemed to be having a great time - surprising as I'd seen the Blue Lagoon as more of an 'adult' pool for some reason.
It's possible to get massages and spa treatments to break up your pool session, but I didn't bother with these as they cost extra. The water is rich in minerals including sulphur and silica, and bathing is supposed to be good for psoriasis sufferers. I had a patch of eczema on my wrist and I did find that it looked and felt a lot better after my bathe, although I suspect I would have to bathe several times to completely get rid of it.
I stayed in the pool for a little while, but then I had to get out - partly because my face was freezing and being constantly blown by the wind, but also because it was very sunny (although cold) and so bright I couldn't actually open my eyes at some points. I really wish I'd brought my sunglasses in with me!
After getting out, I showered (using the freebies again!), dressed, dried my hair and exited the pool. I wandered round the gift shop and bought a pen for my dad. There is a restaurant overlooking the pool but I didn't use it.
I went out to catch the bus again - bus times had been printed on my ticket and there was at least one an hour.
Overall I had a great time at the Blue Lagoon. It was expensive, but a once in a lifetime experience. Everything was very clean, well-organised and secure. I would recommend going on a less windy and sunny day if you can, as the strong winds and bright sun slightly spoilt the experience for me. I also think it would be more fun to go with other people - there's only so much entertainment you can squeeze out of swimming around by yourself! I think it would be amazing to go at night in the winter and watch the Northern Lights while you're in there.
Though I had a few slight issues, none of them were the fault of the Blue Lagoon management and overall I was very impressed with the place and the way it was run, so I'm going to give it five stars. Definitely a must-do experience if you visit.
If you would like to find out more about the Blue Lagoon you can have a look at the website, http://www.bluelagoon.com/.
As we approached the Blue Lagoon, the brief daylight that Iceland enjoys in winter was rapidly coming to an end and sleet was hitting the windows of the coach with some force. Huddled under many layers, Dad and I began to question our decision to go swimming outdoors.
The steam from the nearby power station was hissing out and getting off the coach into the cold, we were greeted by a clinical looking sign and a path through high walls of rubble-like lava, dotted with snow. Walking from the coach to the entrance takes a few minutes, but the sight of the Lagoon itself at the end is enough to spur you on. The water is most definitely blue, with milky undertones and interestingly red gravel at the edges. We took a few photos and pushed through double doors into a warm salty smelling reception, with pine décor and a high ceiling.
Initially, we'd hoped just to get the public bus to the Lagoon, have a swim and head back into Reykjavik, but the tour deal with one of the numerous companies had proved far cheaper and in Iceland, they like you to do everything in an organised fashion. We changed the vouchers up at reception and I agreed to pay around £7 extra to rent a bathrobe. Sounds expensive, but I was really glad of this in the end.
We headed our separate ways to the changing rooms upstairs. These are communal, and I noticed later in the day that some ladies came in and waited one by one to get changed in the toilet. Not being a prude, I had no real issues with this and I chatted happily to another English girl as we got ready. I might have felt more self conscious if people had been staring, but nobody did and everyone very politely turned away to slip their swimming stuff on.
The lockers are great - you simply put your stuff in an empty locker, bang the door and hold the bracelet they give you on entry against the circle at the side. When it flashes up with your locker number, this is locked and you're good to go. You can open it again by holding the bracelet against the circle, the door just pops open. It's worth knowing that you can do this as many times as you like, great if you're like me and forget things.
Like the communal changing rooms, people make a lot out of showering naked before entering the pool. There are little cubicles, some with doors and I just showered in my bikini anyway. I also tied my hair up and ran a handful of conditioner over it to protect it from the salt in the water, apparently this is drying for hair.
Walking down the stairs, I found hooks for my bathrobe at the bottom and Dad luxuriating in a hot indoor pool. This area houses a small café, with hot drinks and snacks, all of which you charge to the bracelet and pay at the end. Exiting through the door, you see the lifeguards in their huge puffa jackets and thick balaclavas. Running along a wooden jetty and down a couple steps, it's a huge relief to get out of the cold and rain and into the hot waters of the lagoon.
The water is blissfully hot and salty and the lagoon is more than big enough to give you a chance to explore. We sat under a waterfall, swam through a cave and lay around looking through the steam at the snowy mountains. The pool was almost empty during our visit and we both slapped on the thick white silica mud, which is said to be good for the skin. Some areas were hotter than others and we spent a couple of hours swimming under bridges and around the spa. When I started to get wrinkly skin, we got out and a sat in my bathrobe drinking hot chocolate while Dad went off to look at the sauna. Unable to resist, I got back in for another hour and we swam in the dark, with lights round the pool causing it to glow like some kind of toxic waste.
Getting out, I showered off and made good use of the free shower gel and conditioner. It's worth noting that there's no shampoo and although you can use the shower gel on your hair, I found this wasn't sufficient for me and used my own shampoo which I'd bought with me. I think I got our money's worth on conditioner alone, getting out every last tangle before I got dressed and blow dried my hair. The bathrobe had soaked up the salty lagoon water, leaving my own towel for drying off properly when I got out of the shower.
The exit shower was the only time nudity bothered me; not my own but rather the grinning replica of Bubbles DeVere in the opposite cubicle who had no hesitation in staring at me like some kind of prison-film lesbian. I decided I'd rinse my swimming stuff properly back at the hotel.
Before leaving, we looked at the very reasonably priced restaurant, which served mostly Italian food and had a wall cut from the lava rock. It was a bit 'romantic' for us, so we decided to wait until we got back into town, though the food coming out looked pretty good. I also tried a few anti-ageing creams in the shop and looked at the gifts before we caught the bus back.
We both agreed that the Blue Lagoon was one of the highlights of our trip and well worth the money we paid (around £25 each). There is something surreal about swimming outdoors in a giant bath and although there are other geothermal pools around Reykjavik, this is the most spectacular. My skin felt amazing and really clear afterwards and it's supposed to do wonders for eczema and psoriasis. There's nowhere else quite like it.
If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend time on this marvellous island, take time out to relax in the warm, sea salty water of the Blue Lagoon.
N.B. most hotels/hostels organise buses or are linked to a network of buses that go here. If you are travelling alone, don't be afraid, this is one of the easiest places to spend time on your own. However, beware there are tourists everywhere.
Witnessing the steam rise from the water, with the snow covered lava fields all around is an experience in itself. I have been here 3 or 4 times now and never cease to enjoy it.
The lagoon is full of sea water containing minerals, silica and blue-green algae, all of which are meant to be very good for your skin. Can't say it had the same effect on my hair, certainly needed a few washes for it to feel normal again.
The Blue Lagoon has a very good website www.bluelagoon.is where you can find prices etc and get a better idea of what I am talking about.
The changing rooms and shower area are nice.
I was very fortunate to have had a visit to Iceland at the beginning of this year, on of the usual sight seeing and trips we squeezed into our 5 days was the Blue Lagoon which had been expressly recommended in one of the tour guides we picked up before our trip.
So where is it?
It is in an area of Iceland called the Svartsengi geothermal area in the South West of the island. This is well known as the area in which the geothermal power plant that is attached to the lagoon was built in 1976 (more on that later).
It is accessible by bus and is very near to the main airport of Keflavik and only a 35 minute bus ride from the city centre, (as there are no trains in Iceland you can only access this by road).
Many people take in this attraction on arrival or departure from the airport as there are facilities to store luggage. Most of the major hotels can arrange day trips and busses to pick you up and take you there direct for a few krona.
What is it?
The lagoon was created as a by-product from the geothermal power plant that is located next to the lagoon (although you'd never know it). Iceland is known for its volcanic activity and geysers. The power plant was built in an active area around one of the larger hot springs to provide steam generated electricity for Reykjavik and is renewable and green energy.
It was originally used as a naturally heated bathing pool (a traditional Icelandic pastime) which became a mecca for people with skin conditions when it was noticed that the naturally occurring algae and minerals in the water helped relieve conditions like psoriasis.
A clinic for Psoriasis patients opened on the complex in 1994 and its treatments have been recognised by the Icelandic Ministry of Health.
The complex in its current form opened in 2003 to introduce all the modern spa facilities, in water treatments and massages as well as opening a restaurant, bar and shop in the grounds.
It has become one of the most visited tourist attractions in Iceland and has recently won the 2009 Readers Spa Award as well as wining many other awards such as Blue Flag for Medical and Thermal Spa Facilities in the World and Environmental Awards.
The tech bit
The origins of the water in the lagoon are from approx 2000 meters below the earths surface between the American and European tectonic plates that meet underneath Iceland. As they are pulled apart, seawater is sucked in to the gaps it is superheated by the volcanic magma and pushed towards the surface.
The temperature of the water is around 243°C on entrance to the power plant but has been significantly cooled to a balmy 38°C before it is pumped in to the lagoon.
The lagoon holds a staggering six million litres of water and it is refreshed every 40 hours to keep a balance of fresh water and active ingredients. Amazingly as there is such a unique balance of minerals and algae, the most common bacteria cannot live in the water meaning no chemicals or chlorine are needed to keep it clean.
The water contains some of the following elements which are beneficial to the skin (mg/kg of fluid) Silica (SiO2) 251, Sodium (Na) 7.643, Potassium (K) 1.177, Calcium (Ca) 1.274, Magnesium (Mg) 0,60, Carbon dioxide (CO2) 11,4, Sulphate (SO4) 31,8, Chlorine (Cl) 15.740, Fluorine (F) 0,18.
The complex was constructed to be in complete harmony with its surroundings and as such incorporates a lot of glass and sustainable wood. This makes the facilities light, unimposing and clean which is a very enjoyable experience.
The reception is directly inside the entrance and the staff were very friendly and helpful. There was a price list displayed which gives you all the different options available from access to the lagoon to spa treatments (which are pre-bookable).
As this was one of the last trips we did on our tour, and with the low exchange rate, we opted to use the executive facilities on offer which were very expensive at 21,600kr for 3 hours (£72.00) for the pair of us, but in my estimation, totally worth every penny.
One of the smartly dresses ladies showed us upstairs to our private changing room, of which there are six, and gave us our hi-tec wristbands which give you access in and out of the changing rooms and lagoon through a 'swipe' system.
The changing rooms were immaculately clean and heated. Towels, bathrobes and complementary shower gels and moisturisers were provided as well as private bathroom and shower facilities. There was no need for a locker as the 'swipe system' to your changing room meant that our possessions were safe.
The executive lounge was beautifully arranged with 'pod' like rubber seats to sit on, wood covered walls and a roaring open fire. Magazines were provided as well as a complimentary fruit bowl, bottles of water, chocolates and a help yourself coffee tassimo system. I made the most of the chocolates and the bottles of Icelandic mineral water before even venturing into the lagoon and much to my delight they were all re-stocked about an hour later.
The lounge also has the luxury of an indoor lagoon area that was connected to the outside facilities by means of the same wristband swipe system......believe me when I tell you that in January it gets bloody cold in Iceland and after taking a dip outside it's nice to have the option of retreating inside to the warmth without having to get out of the water!!
It's a man made lagoon with little bridges and areas coves to explore. The water is a beautiful milky blue colour, which is due to the high concentrate of minerals, and is slightly salty.
It's not very deep, about 5 foot at the most but in some areas there is a concentrated build up of the silica 'mud' which is a slightly disturbing yet fun experience if you stick your feet in it.
The thick white silica mud is very beneficial to the skin and can be found in wooden containers dotted around the lagoon, you just help yourself to it and slather it onto your face, neck or back and let it set. This helps draw out impurities from the skin and has healing properties.
With the temperature difference between the lagoon and the air, you do get a lot of steam around the lagoon which just adds to its mystery and beauty. The sand and rock around the lagoon is black lava and the contrast between the black rock and milky light blue of the water contrasting against the backdrop of the Icelandic mountains makes for a completely breathtaking experience.
There are 'in-water' treatments available to buy which are done on a sort of lilo in a little cove area of the lagoon. We didn't get time to do one of these and we didn't really feel the need to be honest, we spent most of the time enjoying the warmth of the lagoon and the scenery.
Like I say, we did go overboard and book the executive lounge which cost us 21,600kr (£72.00) for the three hours but the standard entrance fee is around 3,200kr (£10.00) and is free for children under 13 when accompanied by a paying adult. There are also concessions available for over 60's and under 16's.
Towels and bathing suits are available to hire at the cost of 640kr (£2.10) each and bathrobe hire is also available for 1,120kr (£3.75).
Coaches are available from the city centre at a cost of around 2,500kr (£8.35) bearing in mind the high import taxes on fuel, which does not include admission. This is about the same price as you'd pay from the hotels but there is also the option of a package deal with the bus company or hotel which includes the admission price as well which will save you a little.
They do have a little shop available in the reception area as well as one in Keflavik airport and Reykjavik city centre. They sell all the Blue Lagoon shampoos, mineral moisturisers and treatment muds that are made with the same active ingredients. They too are quite pricey but from using the little complimentary bottles, if you have skin conditions they are definitely worth a try.
(The exchange rate at the time of writing this is approx £1.00 to 300kr. 1st April 2009)
This is a once in a lifetime experience, the amazing scenery, the unique waters, the clean environment and the experience of bathing in geothermal water in an ice cold landscape is breathtaking. I would totally recommend this place to everyone who visits Iceland and even those who've never thought of going.
I would definitely think of stopping off here on a trans-Atlantic flight just to get to experience this again, even going all the way there just to spend the day there. It was totally amazing and something I'll remember forever!!!
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a definite must you need to experience whilst in Iceland. Iceland is actually located on the boundaries of two large tectonic plates, these being the Eurasian plate and the North American plate.
Iceland is very volcanic and there are many geysers and hot springs throughout the country. The Mid Atlantic Ridge actually runs from the East coast of Iceland through Reykajik to the centre of Iceland.
The reason I am telling you all this is so you get a feel for the destination and appreciate that although Iceland has many natural heated waters nothing can quite prepare you for the Blue Lagoon.
Location / Getting There
The Blue Lagoon is based in the middle of nowhere, nearer to Keflavik airport than anywhere else in Iceland. It is about a 40-45 minute drive from Reykjavik via road.
The only way to the Lagoon is via road the best way to get there is to go to the BSI bus terminal for daily excursions run by Reykavik Tours or there are other excursions from different tour operators and leaflets are available at the airports, bus stations and hotels to collect information of prices etc.
The terrain in Iceland is very rocky and rather bland to look at, so although the Blue Lagoon is in the middle of nowhere and idilic it does not hold stunning views, it is mainly black rock. But that won't matter because you won't see that far anyway. On arriving at the Blue Lagoon I was rather shocked to see how close it was to a power station actually it was right beside the power station. This is really off putting and got me thinking what on earth!
The Surrounding Area
The Blue Lagoon is a Lagoon full of natural hot water and minerals from the hot springs and geysers below. It is warmer in some areas, and surprisingly strange when swimming or walking and suddenly hitting a hot patch.
The vast majority of Icelands hot water is used to power heating hence the large power station next door, and the many other scattered throughout the landscape.
The floor is quite slimey and sludgey where the minerals such as silica and algae lay in the water and on the floor of the lagoon.
We booked in advance as we didn't want to take a lot of money away with us, and also it avoids disappointment when you want to book a massage or treatment.
The entry was £20.00 and then towel hire was £2.00, you can also hire dressing gowns, slippers and even swimsuits if you forget.
As I said we booked our massage in advance through the Blue Lagoon website at www.bluelagoon.com we paid 6100 Icelandic Kroner on our arrival this equates to roughly £40, for this we got our entry and 1 towel each, a free moisturiser and the all important 20 minute in the water massage.
As I said early to get to the Lagoon you will have to arrange transport yourself and we did this via the Reykavik Excursions company, they charged us 2500 kroner for the return 45 minute bus journey, this was solely transport, they do however offer lots of other packages, including transport and entry etc this would cost you up to 4000 Kroner.
The actual facility is very modern and very large with lots of open space and glass, so you get the full feeling of the lagoon from inside, it comes up to the windows in the café and is visible from nearly everywhere inside. I think the design of the building is one of sustainability, it seems all natural and the majority of the building (not the floor to ceiling glass windows and doors) is made from wood.
The amenities inside includes:
- A café
- A restaurant
- A bar
- Meeting/conference rooms
- Chamging rooms
- A shop selling all Blur Lagoon theray treatments and spa products
The chamging rooms are quite large and have many showers, they are open and have plenty of lockers for your use, free of charge. You are given a wrist band which enables you to lock and unlock the locker with your stuff in and also lets drinks and food be charged to you, and you pay on exit. The changing area is clean and tidy and there are employees there to help if need be.
Personally I am not a fan of nudity, just be prepared the locals seem to love getting naked and I'm not a prude (perhaps just an uptight English girl) but everyone in the changing rooms was quite naked. The changing rooms are single sex though so that's something.
Only a few showers have curtains so if you choose to brave it you will see a lot of nakedness. The Blue Lagoon also provide shampoo, conditioner and a body lotion in each for everyone's use.
The Lagoon Itself
To get in to the actual lagoon itself is quite fun, you can either walk straight outside and in to it via steps, which I wouldn't recommend as whilst I was there it was -4 degrees and bloody cold! The other way in is to get in to a small area of water that is inside and get down in it then swim to a door which you pull open and it leads outside, by this time you are already under the water so do not feel the cold as much.
It's a gradual decrease and gets deeper, although not rediculously deep where you can't stand. There are different depths throughout, so look for signs. I wouldn't recommend taking children to the Blue Lagoon, I am a cold person and love hot baths, even I found some bits rather hot. Besides, it is relaxing and I can't imagine anything worse than kids splashing around.
The water is a milky light blue and is very dense and salty, the consistency of the salt means it's very easy to float. The milky substance lies on the floor and as I said before is sludgey but soothing not yukky.
There are various buckets and ladels around the edge of the lagoon called "Silica stations" it is one of the natural minerals that is said to exfoliate and moisturise skin. Lots of people put this on an continue to swim around with it on, until it dries and hardens then wash it off, to which is just sinks to the bottom.
The temperature can reach higher than 38 degrees, hotter than the Arbian Gulf in August. Due to the heat the steam is immense. You can't really see very far in front of you and with the wind and everything it can be a bit freaky. I went with my mum and sister and I sawn a metre in front of them, and they couldn't see where I had gone.
There is a waterfall and a few coves off the main lagoon which is nice for sitting and relaxing, as well as getting your shoulders massaged from the waterfall.
We had all booked a 20 minute massage and made our way to the cove area, to take it in turns to enjoy 20 minutes of water massage. I went last, it had started to snow, and I was made to lie on a lilo mattress type thing on my back, the massieur put a large thermal blanket over me that was wet and I was floating looking up at the sky (and snow) while she massaged me while oil in the water. I was amazed at how great it was. A real experience, the only thing I wasn't sure of to start with was the lying on my back with my eyes shut in water (I get sea sick) and this was a bit weird (like being sooooo drunk and when your eyes are closed and the room spins).
It was so relaxing and you have to do it while you are there, but book in advance it does make it cheaper!!
The best bit of Iceland, oh and it isn't a timed ticket, so you pay and you can stay in there all day if you wish, we went in about mid day and came out about 5.30 when it was dark!!!
I love the blue lagoon in Iceland so much. It is perfect to ease away all the stresses of everyday life. The lagoon is an outdoor pool made within the lava fields about 40 minutes bus ride from reykjavik. The pools have been made by smoothing the lava rock and its heated naturally by geothermal waters with sea water pumped directly in to cool down the temperature. It's amazing being outside in the freezing cold but feeling so warm inside the pools. There is a mist rising and surrounding the waters and it really is in the middle of nowhere and it feels it. Across the decking is a cave hedged out of the rock and turned into a natural steam room..requires running to get back in the water when you come out though! There is a stylish building that houses the changing rooms and a nice restaurant. reccommeded as a great unique experience and for those that love deep relaxation
I was lucky enough to get tickets for me and my boyfriend to go to the blue lagoon in ice land for my 21st birthday. And i couldnt of wanted or expected any thing better for my 21st birthday,
The Blue Lagoon is probably one of the best places i have ever been to in my life"!! Its just amazing.
I went in Feb, so it was still pretty cold, maybe 1 degree, a bit rainy but still a little snowy and very icey!
The drive to the lagoon, reminded me of what i would imagin a drive across the moon would be like. Being a volcanic island, its a very rough terrain, with very little vegeration or life!
you know your near the lagoon when you soon a bright blue glow in the puddles in the rocks. And trust me, this really stands out in the dark, grey landscapes and dull skys!
The lagoon is pretty cheap tp get into, and is obviously a pretty popular place to go to. i mean, could you really go to iceland and not go to the world famous blue lagoon!??
One you have got into your bikini or trunks, you have brave the freezing cold outside, dressed in very little to get into the hot water of the lagoon!! Its such an amazing experience. The water is so hot it comes as a bit of a shock. The heat of the water and the cold fresh air, create the whole place to be misty and very steamy. so no matter how many people are there, you almost feel as if you are on your own!
As you swim around the pool, all the people you come across are all very quiet and pieceful. This place is amazing. it makes you relaxed, and you feel as if you really are in the worlds most amazing spa.
The silica at the bottom of the lagoon is ment to have amzing qualities for your skin. But rather than dredging the botttom, i suggest you find one of the pots around the edge, which will have really pure clean silica, which you rub all over your body and face. Leave for a few minutes and rinse off to reveal your smooth fresh skin.
Also at the lagoon, there is a sauna within the rocks, which is also brilliant and well worth having a sit in! and a waterfall, which is so strong, that to stand under, you feel like to have had a serious massage.
If you need some time to chill out. Not that the lagoon isnt chilled. There is also a relaxing room, which is within the building and overlooks the stunning lagoon. This area is amazing to sit and relax. and the chairs in this room are like heaven!!! you must try them out.
I never had a spa treatment at the lagoon, but i can only imagin it to be perfect.
Everyone should visit the blue lagoon. No matter how may reviews you read about the place, you will never understand the experience, untill you have been your self!
The Blue Lagoon Iceland is one of the best attractions which I have ever visited in my life, and a definate place to visit if you are ever in Iceland.
Iceland is famous for it's tectonic activity, which results in both volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. However, the Blue Lagoon is neither of these. The country of Iceland sources a large proportion of it's energy from using hot water and extracted from within the earth's crust. The hot water and steam is often used to produce electricity by driving a turbine, before being released.
The Blue Lagoon gets it's hot water from such a plant, but don't let that put you off at all.
Since the Blue Lagoon is practically in the middle of no-where, the only way of getting there is by road, and this allows a good chance to see the scenery of Iceland, which depending on the time of year can be anything from snow covered to grey and moon like. However, the final part of the journey in allows a chance to see similar pools to the ones in which you will later be bathing in, and they are a beautiful bluey green colour, and a major contrast to the rest of the land.
The main building which contains the changing rooms, shop, restaurant etc is architecturally stunning. The changing experience is different to anything I had experienced before, being used to public swimming pools in the UK. The lockers and turnstiles to the lagoon are operated by a electronic tag. Also before being allowed to enter the pool a naked shower must be taken.
Nothing can explain the pool itself. Regardless of the air temperature outside, the water is always very warm, and in some places the water is too hot to even bear being in. The base of the lagoon is also very soft, however I would recommend you don't look at it or pick it up as it contains many hairs.
Around the side of the pool there are areas where it is possible to get face masks, which everyone does. Furthermore around the lagoon there are various other spa type treatments and rooms. There are saunas, as well as steam rooms and massages.
The only disadvantages with the Blue Lagoon are it's location (it is about 30 miles from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik) and so is hard to get to. Also the cost is quite high, as from memory I believe it was about £20, and so much more than a normal English swimming pool or lido, however probably considerably less than such sites in the UK. Also bring your own towel and swimwear, as although these can be purchased they were quite expensive and from memory, the cost of hiring a towel was about £10.
The Blue Lagoon is not just a drink but also a place to go to be pampered while floating in hot, steamy water.
The blue lagoon is a natural hot spring in Iceland which is meant to contain natural minerals which help to cure skin diseases and generally make you healthier. It's a welcome trip having been around the rocky, cold climate of Iceland where the weather can be bitterly cold. But although the lagoon is outside, it is very hot: like a nice warm bath. On the bed of the lagoon is a grey, clay mixture which at first feels a bit nasty to stand on, but once you hear all the apparent goodness that it can do to your skin, you will be covering your face in the grey stuff, like most of the other visitors.
It's a wierd experiance but one which your body will thank you for!
One of the most enduring experiences of our trip to Reykjavik was relaxing outdoors in warm, sea salty water of the Blue Lagoon, with the temperature out of the water at no more than 3° and the hail clouds approaching. Watching the steam rise from the milky aquamarine water, with the lava fields all around and the dramatic, constantly changing October sky overhead is something not to be forgotten.
~~~What and where is the Blue Lagoon?~~~
The Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly the most notorious attraction in Iceland. Outdoor swimming is very common in Iceland, the difference here is that the lagoon uses sea water containing minerals, silica and blue-green algae, all of which are meant to be very good for your skin.
The Blue Lagoon is situated just outside Reykjavik and very close to Keflavik airport. Having said that, there is not much for a long way around apart from lava fields and the neighbouring geothermal power plant. The landscape in the area is just how you would imagine another planet to look and is a stunning first impression of Iceland as you leave the airport.
The proximity of the lagoon to the power plant is no coincidence. The sea water is heated deep below ground and then rises. The power plant uses it to produce electricity and to heat up fresh water which is then used by thousands of households in the area for hot water and heating. The sea water is then piped over to the lagoon for a far more therapeutic purpose.
You can get to the Blue Lagoon on a coach from Reykjavik with Reykjavik Excursions or the lagoon has its own bus service. Both of these services will collect you from your hotel and both include the entrance fee in the overall ticket price.
The Blue Lagoon has a very good website where you'll find up to date prices and opening times. It also explains in detail the various ways to get there and the prices thereof. Pointless me repeating it here when it will get out of date very quickly. The web address is at the end of this review.
At the moment, prices are 1800 Icelandic Kroner for an adult entry - this is around £14. If you take an inclusive tour with Reykjavik Excursions you pay almost double this. Kids under 11 are free in both cases. It is not cheap by any means, but nothing much in Iceland really is.
Because the Blue Lagoon is so close to the airport, it is possible to visit it either on your arrival in Iceland, or on the way back to the airport on the way home. If your flight times fit and particularly if you are on a short break, this seems to be an ideal solution and well worth looking into. Again, you can find details on the Blue Lagoon website.
Whilst the water and the means by which it is heated is natural, the lagoon itself is man made. It is set outdoors right amongst the lava fields, so you still get a sense of being very close to nature, but it is also very nicely finished and quite luxurious. The edges are also softened by the fact that the lagoon blends into the surroundings, it's not a geometric shape, and also by the fact that there is a sandy, sludgy layer of silica and algae on the floor - a sensation between the toes that take a little getting used to!
They have just undergone a renovation and expansion which means that the facilities are very spacious, but also in pristine condition. The changing rooms and shower area are all very nice indeed.
You are meant to shower thoroughly, naked, before entering any pool in Iceland. This is because they do not use chlorine and they therefore take hygiene seriously. Be warned if you are squeamish about such things. The men's and ladies' changing and shower areas are separate, but all the same some of us Brits get a bit bashful about this sort of thing...
You get to use their very nice shower gel, shampoo and conditioner in the shower, and they provide you with a packet of moisturiser to lather on once out of the pool. You'll need the shampoo and conditioner - all the stuff in the water makes it go really sticky and I found myself washing this out for a day or 2 after! If you've got a lot of hair it might be worth putting conditioner on it before you enter the pool, or do what the locals do - wear a swimming hat or shower cap.
They have this rather clever wristband system to control entry to the facilities and to act as your locker. This seemed over engineered to me, but added to the sci-fi feel to the place.
The pool itself is pretty big. I think this too has been expanded very recently. There was plenty of space despite this being one of the busiest places we visited on our trip. There are also lots of different nooks and crannies, bridges and mini lagoons to explore, as well as a mini waterfall to massage the shoulders and back. My 3 year old enjoyed the cave, which brings me on to....
Kids under 11 are free here as in many other places in Iceland, which is great. I have to say that we nearly didn't come to the lagoon because of my 3 year old. He really doesn't enjoy the extremes of hot and cold and was not particularly happy when we visited the municipal pool in Reykjavik. We did manage to cajole him into the water, first off in the small pool indoors which is your entry into the lagoon and has the door (yes, a door in the water!) leading outdoors. We then managed to get him into the cave just outside the door, and finally he ventured further afield and quite enjoyed it in the end.
My 7 year old really enjoyed this, just because he loves swimming, and because this was a new and odd experience.
All kids under a certain age have to wear bright orange armbands to ensure visibility as the milky water and the steam that rises off it can mean you lose site of them. My youngest clung to either me or my husband throughout the visit, so there was really no danger of that! Also, the water is so salty that you simply float, which they love if they are not strong swimmers!
The water temperature varies between 37 and 39 degrees. There are some spots in the pool which are really quite hot and we had to avoid them because they were too much for the kids. Worth watching out for if they're going to venture a way ahead of you.
There's a decent café for after your swim. There's also a very expensive restaurant. My son has a spotting book with detailed pictures of various far flung places in the world. One location is the Blue Lagoon at Iceland, and the picture showed fish dishes being served to people whilst they swim. We were disappointed that none of this was going on, but maybe that's because it was October when we visited and far too cold to be eating outside..?
There's a shop selling expensive Blue Lagoon spa products and other tourist tat.
There's also a spa next door where they treat skin conditions. More info on this on the website - we didn't visit it so I can't add any personal view on it.
The Blue Lagoon is to Iceland what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the Statue of Liberty is to New York. It's the place that every one knows before they visit that country and the place that you really feel you ought to see before you leave.
We were concerned it would be a tourist trap. It does get mixed reviews because it is so popular with tourists and because it is man made and not natural... and because it is expensive. We took all this into consideration, concerned that our 3 year old would just hate the whole experience and decided it wasn't for us. As our last day approached, we both started to regret this decision and we changed our mind at the last minute and headed off there on our last day.
I do not regret one bit changing our mind in this way and thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
Yes, there were other tourists there and not many locals, that's true. As for it being artificial, well I don't see that this is really a problem. I don't think it's sold as being a natural phenomenon, but it really is right in the heart of the Icelandic landscape and you do end up feeling close to nature. Also, whilst we had told ourselves that having a swim outdoors at one of the municipal pools would be just as good, it was very different. The municipal pool visit was the closest we felt to doing what locals do as we shared the pool with school kids having swimming lessons and pensioners chatting on one of their regular visits. The trip to the Blue Lagoon was an altogether more extreme experience because of the setting, but also because of the water, which was so salty you could float without any effort. And finally, yes, entry is expensive, but this was our last day in Reykjavik and we had got used to the Icelandic prices by then...
I would totally recommend a visit here if you are visiting Iceland. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Address: 240 Grindavík / Iceland / Telephone: +354 420 880