The Blue Lagoon is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It’s a unique hot and cold spa experience. The Blue lagoon is a man-made hot lake, which is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed naturally every 40 hours. The water is a mixture of freshwater and seawater, which is extremely rich in silica, algae and minerals, and because of this it’s famous for being capable of relieving the symptoms of certain skin conditions such as psoriasis. The water is about 40°C (104 °F) which feels comfortable most of the time, but given that the temperatures outside are often below 0°C, you might feel a bit cold at times (especially your head, as it’s not covered by water). I have visited some mineral water pools where the temperatures of the water are much higher, but given how big the blue lagoon is, I can imagine it’s more difficult to maintain high water temperatures.
What is Silica?
The geothermal water at the Blue Lagoon is famous for the natural abundance of silica, which is a mineral that is simply a combination of silicon and oxygen. Silica is the primary cause of that water’s milky blue shade. It has a number of benefits for your skin. It helps with certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, but it can also have rejuvenating effects. One of the biggest components of collagen is actually silica and collagen is often a main ingredient in anti-age skin care.
How to get to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue lagoon is located about 40 km away from Reykjavík in a very remote area in southwestern Iceland. This is why when most people buy tickets, they also pay for the transportation which is handled by the bus operators I mentioned in the my 3-day Iceland itinerary post here. This is probably the cheapest form of transport from Reykjavík (30£ per person), unless you have a car, but car rentals are quite expensive in Iceland. The best place to purchase your transport is directly on the Blue Lagoon official site. You can just add it to your ticket as an extra service.
Ticket types and what they include
There are four ticket types. The Standard, basic one includes entry to the lagoon and the use of all facilities like the steam room and sauna, as well as unlimited use of the silica mask. This is the ticket we bought and we were happy with our experience, the only negative aspect was that the sauna was closed at the the time, which was a bit disappointing.
The other types of tickets, which are of course at a higher cost, include different extras like free towels, a complimentary drink and the use of Algae mask for example. The most expensive ticket type (Luxury) will also get you access to an Exclusive lounge area, which has more private steam and sauna areas, but I can’t say if it is worth the extra money. It also includes a free massage and a reservation at the very expensive LAVA restaurant.
The basic ticket costs 40£ (excluding transportation costs), while the most expensive is 200£, so you can decide for yourself if you really want the extras, but in my opinion some might not be worth the extra money, because most of your time will be spent in the lagoon, and you get access to it with the standard ticket type anyway.
It’s also important to mention that even if you purchase the standard ticket, you can still rent things like bathrobes and slippers there at an extra cost and you can of course pay for massages and drinks.
What to bring with you
You need a bathing suit of course. If you are going for the standard ticket, you also need to bring flip flops and a towel and/or a bathrobe as these are not included in the ticket price. I brought a nice white, cotton robe with me, but it got stolen while I was in the water by one of the other visitors. This wasn’t very pleasant, as you want to put a robe as soon as you come out of the water, because it’s quite cold, but mine was gone! The staff from the lagoon gave me a free robe to use for the day though, so they saved me from my misery. However my advice is to keep your personal bathrobe locked in one of the lockers provided to avoid the same disappointment.
Bring a swim cap or a shower cap with you! I wish I had, surprisingly you can’t rent one there. Even if you don’t actually put your head under water, it will get wet due to the steamy hot air that is just above the surface of the water. Your head will not feel as cold if it’s covered and dry. Keep your hair out of the water as much as you can! Although the silica is not harmful to the hair, the staff there always advice the guests to wear a cap or to put on a lot of conditioner in your hair (provided there), otherwise the hair gets quite stiff and difficult to brush.
Hairdryers, shampoo and other extras like that are all available there to use, so you don’t need to worry about bringing any of those with you.
Best time of the day to visit
Depending on which time of the year you are going, you really want to consider carefully the time of the day you visit the lagoon. We went in January, when the day is quite short – sunrise is at around 11 am and sunset is just before 4 pm. This doesn’t give you much daylight so we went at around 10 am and left at around 3 pm, which was perfect. When you book your tickets, you need to specify a time slot so it’s best to book early in advance as the morning time slots get booked fast. Google the sunrise/sunset times for the month you are visiting before booking.
Facilities and things to do at the Blue Lagoon
- Relax! Enjoy the water and explore the lagoon! You will be surprised how big it is actually. There is a small water cave that is completely covered, which was nice when it got a bit windy. Further down you will also find a waterfall!
- Go to the bar and have a drink. There is a bar in the water, where they serve all sorts of drinks.
- Visit the sauna and steam room. To get to them, you actually have to go through the water, they are not inside the main building.
- Find the mask bar. The mask bar is again located in the water and there you will find a large bucket of silica mask that you can apply to your face. It’s recommended not to leave it for too long, about 5-10 mins should be enough. The silica mask is free for everyone to use, if you bought one of the premium tickets you can also use the Algae mask, which is green rather than white.
- Enjoy some quiet time at the relaxation area. The area is inside the main building, just next to the changing rooms and it has a nice view of the lagoon and comfortable lounge chairs.
- Get an in-water massage. You can treat yourself to a massage, while you are floating in the water. Prices range from 75£ to 230 £.
- If you are feeling hungry you can grab a snack at the coffee shop. Prices are quite high, but it’s the only option unless you bring some food with you. If you are attracted to the beautiful range of smoothies, keep in mind that they all have added sugar, which was quite surprising so I went for the fresh fruits instead. There is also a restaurant there, with lunch menus starting at 45£, but I didn’t try to food so can’t say if I would recommend it.
Thinking about booking the Blue Lagoon hotel? Well we didn’t stay there, but we passed by it. It is probably perfect for a spa weekend, but if you plan on exploring Reykjavík and other parts of Iceland, keep in mind that you will be quite far away from the city in a very remote location and the only nearby activity available to you will be the Blue Lagoon.
Planning your trip to Reykjavik, Iceland?
There is lots more to see besides the Blue Lagoon. Check out my full itinerary here:
Want to see the Northern Lights?
Read this post to find out how we managed to see the Northern lights despite spending just 2 nights in Iceland with lots of rain as well! I have included all of my tips to ensure you have the best chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis.