The Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly one of Reykjavik’s hot spots (pun intended). Yet it can be on the receiving end of criticism: its regular coach-load drop offs and steep entrance fees (compared with other spas) isn't necessarily what everyone envisages when it comes to visiting an Iceland lagoon. However, the Bláa lónio (its Icelandic name) shouldn’t be knocked: it opens early, closes late, and provides a great introduction – or farewell – to the country. In this article, Aimee White takes a look at whether the Blue Lagoon is worth a trip or not.
A milky-blue dot on the southwesterly Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon is just 15 minutes away from Keflavík Airport and 45 minutes from Reykjavik. Most visitors fly into Keflavík Airport and wind their way into Reykjavik, where the Harpa opera house, whale-watching tours and colourful Laugavegur street awaits them. The immediate surroundings on the drive down aren’t particularly inspiring, but the moss-covered stones and high, jutted rocks do give an earthly feel, one that reminds you of Iceland’s connection with nature and the great outdoors.
Stopping off at this Iceland lagoon between the airport and Reykjavik is a great way to break up your trip, and as you sink yourself into its warm, 38-degree mineral-rich waters, you'll realise that this is well worth the experience, no matter how long or short your trip.
The Blue Lagoon is located in a strong geothermal power spot, but the spa itself is actually artificial: it was built into a lava field and has its water supplied from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station.
The winter season is arguably the best time to visit the Blue Lagoon as your body can really feel the benefit of both the warm and cold temperatures. Entry to the Blue Lagoon costs 6100kn (roughly £40), which includes a drink from the swim-up bar, a silica mud mask and a towel, but there are also additional packages available, where you can upgrade to further treatments, such as face masks and lunch or dinner.
Once you’ve changed into your swimsuit, what’s next? You'll need make the short walk (or more like a mad dash in the winter) from the changing rooms across the small courtyard and down the steps into the water.
And, once you’re in, you can swim your way around the large pool. Pass under low, wooden bridges and tuck in around the corner to the swim-up bar. Drink natural mineral water straight from the taps that are dotted around the site. Stand at the foot of the forceful waterfall for a free massage. Dive down to the bottom to grab a scoop of the silt and rub it on your skin - a procedure that's said to cure a number of skin disorders. (Otherwise, the on-site shop sells beauty products containing the sediment.) This is the type of place that can either set the tempo for the rest of your trip or recharge your batteries at the end of your stay. Needless to say, with all of this to explore, you could quite easily spend 2-4 hours here.
A new luxury hotel opened on-site in April 2018, so what is already the busiest Iceland lagoon is set to get busier over the next year. With visitor numbers on the rise, while the Blue Lagoon is a good place to start your hot springs journey, it’s also worth taking a look into other, quieter pools, spas and hot springs that you can venture out to.
Hot springs are a way of life in Iceland. Taking in the views of swirling steam above the flat waters and impressive nearby and distant peaks, while soothing your body in mineral-rich waters is a unique experience, and one you should not miss. It’s also worth sparking up a conversation with the locals – find out where their favourite spas are and ask if they have any tips to share.
Pools and hot tubs often serve as a hub of social activity in Iceland, and while the Blue Lagoon may not provide that every time, it’s a good place to get started. It's worth the trip for the opportunity to take in the natural beauty of Iceland: in its waters, its views and way of life.
Top image: Bathing at Blue Lagoon © Alla Laurent/Shutterstock