Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is by far the most famous of Icelands geothermal spas. It is a wondrous view to take in and experience. Stark contrasts of bright baby blue water amongst the stark black volcanic landscape is reason enough to visit. Unique spa experiences and silica mud masks are an added bonus. Reading reviews some travelers consider it too touristy, and more expensive than other spas. All that aside, if you have the time and budget I still recommend you check it out at least once. Blue Lagoon is a short drive from Keflavik International Airport and about one third of the way to Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. If you don’t rent a car, there is a shuttle bus that runs between the airport, lagoon, and Reykjavík.
Since flights from the US land early in the morning, a common start to an Iceland trip is to go straight to the lagoon. After enjoying the lagoon and having some food, your hotel is usually ready for check in. During high season, entrance reservations are highly recommended. We made a reservation for an arrival time about 2 hours after we landed. This was my families second trip to the lagoon but our first in the summer; we had visited a few years earlier in the winter.
Because it was summer and warm enough, around 68 degrees, bath robes didn’t seem necessary. We opted for the lowest price Comfort package. This includes the entrance fee, a mud mask, towel, and one alcoholic drink for adults or a slushy for the kids. Children ages 2-13 are free, under age 2 is not permitted at the lagoon.
A variety of spa treatments can also be booked in advance, reservations are highly recommended during peak times. On our last visit in the off season, we were able to add a service upon arrival. We opted to try an In-Water massage which was a relaxing and unique spa treatment. You float on a mat in a quiet part of the lagoon, your massaged with lagoon mineral massage oil. Bathing suits remain on, women are asked to put their straps off of their shoulders and necks.
My kids were very happy to be back at the lagoon, it was their favorite part of our trip last visit. I had talked up the experience for years and our traveling companions were not disappointed with the experience. We had a swim around exploring the different sections, and tried out the mud masks. After you wade through the lagoon a bit, there is a hut where you can get your face mask. If you don’t want the silica mask you can instead try the algae mask, which is a bit gentler on the skin. At check in, everyone is provided with an electronic bracelet that is used to access your locker, and purchase drinks. Depending on your package, one or more drinks is preloaded on the bracelet. If you purchase additional drinks or food from the cafe, you will pay for those charges at checkout.
When you shower before putting your suit on, the lagoon provides a conditioner that you are instructed to lather into your hair. Use a generous amount, and do not rinse it out. This is to prevent the silica from reeking some havoc with your hair.
On my first trip to the lagoon I followed these instructions, but submerged my head several times. The silica water turned my hair into such a tangled frizzy mess, I had to leave some conditioner in just to get it into a pony tail. For the next few days I looked as though I had received shock therapy. This made for a hilarious exchange when we arrived in Paris. It was so bad I went straight to a salon and everyone was so shocked at the state of my hair. Google translate allowed me too loosely convey what happened. I received a lot of sympathy from the stylists, and the patrons, I had drawn a small crowd around my chair. Thankfully they were able to somewhat repair my hair with deep conditioners, a trim, and one of the best blow outs I’ve ever had.
Tip Time: For anyone that cares about their hair, use the conditioner the lagoon provides. Or bring your own if you prefer, and leave it in while you swim!
Soaking in the lagoon for about two hours removed all of our aches from flying overnight. Next up it was lunch at the on site Lava restaurant. Instead of venturing out in search of a meal knowing we would be tired, we opted to make a lunch reservation at the elegant restaurant on site. I had not dined here before, our first visit we had snacked at the cafe attached to the swimming area.
In the five years since we had been to Iceland the amount, quality, and variety of dining options has increased significantly. As Iceland became very popular, more cafes and restaurants serving fresh homemade food has exploded beyond the capital.
Our lunch was the most expensive and worst tasting meal we had the entire trip. Making allowances for the fact that everyone was jet lagged, the menu options were very limited. Our food was not very tasty, and the service was excruciatingly slow. We may go back to the lagoon one day on a short stop over to Europe, but I would not pay to dine in the restaurant. The value just isn’t there for the prices on the menu.
Tip Time: While the restaurant is fancy, many of the patrons dined in their bathrobes so you do not need to dress formally.