The Blue Lagoon has become almost synonymous with Iceland tourism. Famed for its rejuvenating waters, tranquil atmosphere and instagramworthy scenery, many travellers make this a priority stop on their Iceland adventures. In fact, despite its less than organic origins (AKA the blue lagoon is man-made not a natural geothermal pool like many assume) it has become one of the top bucket list destinations in Europe. But is it truly worth the hype and the money? Well hopefully I am here to shed some light on that!
What is the Blue Lagoon?
Situated just 45 minutes from Reykjavik and even closer still to Keflavik airport, the Blue Lagoon is one of Europe’s most famous spa resorts. What started as a way to utilise the heated sea water from a nearby geothermal power plant has become one of the must-do activities in Iceland. Famed for its mystical, milky, blue waters which reportedly possess excellent properties to pamper your skin, this resort has gone from strength to strength offering a multitude of spa packages, overnight stays, fine dining experiences and their own line of skin care.
It certainly is a unique place to visit and is firmly on the top ten list of things to do while exploring Iceland.
How Much will Visiting the Blue Lagoon Cost?
There are many different packages available from luxury, private areas, overnight stays and additional spa treatments to the generic package most tourists opt for.
If you check out their website here, you can find all the information on what there is on offer and how much it will cost you. But for now, I’m going to discuss a couple of the most popular day packages.
The Comfort Package includes entrance to the Blue Lagoon, a towel, a drink from one of the swim up bars (alcohol is included) and a Silica mud mask. This package at the time of writing costs 5,990Kr which roughly translates to £35. This was the package I chose and was more than sufficient to experience what the Blue Lagoon had to offer. You have access to the main, large pool where there are lots of areas to sit and relax, take pictures and enjoy your beverage. The mud mask is a nice, novel touch and I enjoyed one of the super boost health smoothies which were tasty, healthy and well made, but a selection of alcohol was also available. I felt with this package I got to experience the main features of the Blue Lagoon without breaking the bank and I didn’t really feel I missed out on anything.
The Premium Package is the next level up which costs 8,990Kr (about £50). For this you get the additional extras of a dressing gown, slippers, a second choice of face mask, a reservation at the on-site Lava Restaurant (note this does not include the price of the meal, just a guaranteed reservation) and a glass of sparkling wine with dinner if you choose to dine at the restaurant. Personally, I don’t think the extras are worth the £15 extra you pay, but that’s just my opinion.
My advice would be to take an all or nothing approach to the Blue Lagoon; either go cheap and cheerful and enjoy an over view with the comfort package or go all out and really bougie to enjoy some of the more premium packages where you are treated like royalty.
Note that children under 13 can enjoy a visit for free.
Transport is not included, so, you can either drive yourself if you’ve hired a car, or there are many companies that offer shuttles from both Reykjavik and Keflavik airport for an additional cost of around £20-40 for a return journey.
Many travellers incorporate a trip to the Blue Lagoon as part of a long lay-over, or if flight times allow, just before or after catching a flight. There are many companies who can help you include the Blue Lagoon in your trip plan in this manner.
Things to Consider When Deciding if you Should Visit the Blue Lagoon….
Be Mindful of the Weather…
During my stay in March 2020, the weather in wintery Iceland was very variable. During any 24-hour period the climate could change from calm, sunny, cold one minute to howling, frigid blizzards the next. While I can see the appeal of lounging in the volcanic waters with flurries of snow all around you… My experience was significantly less whimsical shall we say! I was unfortunate to have selected an evening to visit the blue lagoon with particularly bad weather. The wind caused huge waves to form in the usually tranquil pools and though the bottom half of me was lovely and warm, any bit that was not submerged was being assaulted by biting winds and being stung by hail. Though quite amusing at times, I spent most of the visit seeking shelter behind the rocks and trying not to swallow waves of sulphurous water. My top tip would definitely be to avoid the blue lagoon in bad weather as it certainly won’t be the relaxing experience it’s designed to be.
Consider What Kind of Person You Are and What You Enjoy…
For me as a solo traveller, I found soaking in the hot water for two hours quite lonely after the initial 30 minutes of fun novelty. I think it’s the sort of place where I’d love to go with my girlfriends and sit and soak with a drink and put the world to rights. If that had been the case, I think I’d have had an amazing time. However, as I was on my own there wasn’t much to occupy me (past trying not to drown in the huge waves and attempting to take cover against the battering hail) which meant I got a little bored and lonely. Had the weather been a little calmer I may have had more of a chance to ambush some other unsuspecting tourists and make some friends to pass the time. But given the howling wind and sheets of precipitation, there wasn’t much opportunity to strike up casual conversation. Also, if you’re the type of person who always has to be active and can’t sit still for 5 minutes, the blue lagoon is likely not for you either.
So, who would the Blue Lagoon suit? People who love spas will be in their element, in particular if you have the money to spend on additional pamper packages and eating in the restaurant. Also, if you are looking for somewhere picturesque to wind down and soak your troubles away this would be right up your street. As mentioned previously, if you’re a group of friends or you’re wanting to share a moment with someone special and you love spending time in one another’s company this would also be a great activity option, especially as a wind down from more active parts of your trip.
So, what was my Overall Opinion of the Blue Lagoon?
In truth, I’m glad I went, I got to tick it off my bucket list, it was certainly a memorable experience which made for some great stories and I do think I’d have felt like I’d missed out if I hadn’t visited. The blue lagoon is a very beautiful and well run resort and though I love backpacking and “roughing it” when travelling somewhat, I do appreciate the finer things in life and this is certainly one of them. However, honestly, I won’t be rushing back any time soon and in the grand scheme of my Icelandic adventure, there were so many more things I enjoyed more, especially when taking into account the cost. But it is a unique experience that is worth shelling out for at least once in your lifetime.
Are There Alternatives to the Blue Lagoon?
The answer is yes! Iceland is a hotbed of geothermal activity, so the place is teeming with natural hot springs. Some of which are completely wild, others have been engineered into a complex like the Blue Lagoon. I was lucky enough to visit the Secret Lagoon (which is not so secret any longer thanks to hordes of tourists), the oldest swimming pool in Iceland which is heated by natural geothermal activity. I really enjoyed my time here, no it doesn’t have quite the instagrammable ambience and the swim up bar of the Blue Lagoon but it’s much more peaceful, not to mention cheaper! It is also included on many tours of the Golden Circle.
If you’re wanting something with similar vibes to the Blue Lagoon, Krauma or Fontana may be up your street. These have a very sleek look and definitely give off those instagrammable spa vibes with sleek architecture and multiple pools to explore and relax in.
If you are wanting something a little more natural there’s the beautiful Geosea which is set with the scenic backdrop of snow-capped mountains and the Arctic circle bobbing on the horizon. Even rugged a spot still is Hrunalaug which is literally a running river of hot smoky water. These are but a few of the many hot spring alternatives available in Iceland and a quick google will give you many more to add to the list. Basically, if you want hot springs, Iceland has you covered!
So, there you have my review of the Blue Lagoon. Hopefully, this has given you a little insight and will aid you in deciding if it’s worth splashing your cash for!