One of the true modern wonders of the world is the fantastic Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Set in an otherworldly black lava landscape, the tranquil blue waters of the lagoon have been famous since they were opened for the public. The water is fed by a nearby geothermal power plant and this ensures not only a steady flow of water, but also the ability to supply it at the perfect temperature. A dip in these calming waters is an unforgettable experience, especially if you choose the best time to visit Iceland , are lucky and happen to catch the Northern Lights when you are here.
Found in the Scandinavian country of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa which boasts a pool of milky-blue water that is around 38 degrees Celsius that makes it perfect for relaxing in. The waters are great for taking it easy in and taking the time to unwind. The lagoon waters are a mix of around 70% sea water and 30% fresh water and this, along with the minerals naturally found within them, have good health benefits and make people feel better.
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is well known for its mineral rich steaming waters. Photo by Sarah
Located on the Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon is around an hour’s drive from the capital Reykjavik and a 20-minute drive from the main airport. As a man-made lagoon, the water is fed from the nearby Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant and is renewed every two days. First discovered in 1976, the lagoon officially opened for public bathing in 1992 and the Blue Lagoon company was founded to operate it. There is a spa that provides various treatments, that range from massages at the Blue Lagoon to cosmetic products that they sell.
The Iceland Blue Lagoon is mainly famous for its visually stunning milky blue geothermal waters and the health benefits they can bring, particularly for skin conditions. As it is based in a lava field, the volcanic rock is responsible for the many minerals in the water and ground that can be used in treatments or to relax in. The main ones are Sulphur and Silica, and it is these that are thought to help bring health benefits when you bathe in the water or if you book into the Blue Lagoon Spa. The Mud Masks are rich in these minerals and used by many for their restorative powers. What’s even better, you can grab some of the silica rich mud from the passing staff when bathing in the lagoon. You can also buy some to take home on your way out. There are a number of massage and spa treatments available, which can be fun and very relaxing.
Bathers enjoying a relaxing morning in the warm soothing waters of the Blue Lagoon. Photo by Conor
But mostly, the Blue Lagoon is famous simply because it is so stunning to visit and look at. Everyone remembers their blue lagoon experience and the awesome sight of the gently steaming water and chilled atmosphere. If you visit during the winter, there may not be a better place in Iceland to watch the Northern Lights from.
The first thing to expect is that you be will reminded to shower before entering the lagoon. This is to ensure hygiene standards and is there to keep the lagoon waters safe for all. The showers are communal and require you to strip completely. Once in, there is the main lagoon itself to bathe in, the steam and sauna rooms to enjoy and a private viewing deck. The lagoon is a fabulous place to relax and when not in the water, it is a great place to sit and enjoy the landscape. The steam and sauna rooms provide some additional activities to do when you are here.
The walking bridge to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Photo by Sarah
The Blue Lagoon complex is huge, with a full range of changing rooms, restaurants and a gift shop for visitors. A popular favourite is the powerful hydraulic waterfall that you stand under for an interesting water massage at the Blue Lagoon. The water pressure is quite forceful and works the knots out of your shoulders quickly.
There is also an exclusive VIP section where you have to pay a little extra to go in. This contains a private wading pool, a lounge and a viewing platform. You can book various treatments for the Spa. The official website , has a full list of what is on offer there and how much each treatment is. Please remember to book these well in advance also to avoid disappointment.
The first thing you need to find out about the Blue Lagoon before you travel to Iceland is that, although open all year round, it operates in two main seasons. They each have their own opening hours and admission prices so bear this in mind when you book your trip there. During the summer season, which lasts from June to mid-August, it opens at 8 am and remains open till midnight. The cost is about 50 euros for an adult, and free for children.
A view of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland at dusk. Photo by Emily
The second season, the winter season, lasts from mid-August to May and the Lagoon operates on reduced hours then. Admission for this season is about 40 euros for adults and free for children. It is recommended that you pre-book your visit and spa treatments well in advance.
As with all trips abroad, you will need to have the official documents that you will require to get to Iceland and enjoy your Blue Lagoon experience. If you are an EU citizen you will need to hold only a valid national ID card, but from anywhere else you will need a valid passport. For any stay of less than 3 months, no VISA is needed. A return ticket is not normally needed to be shown either so it is pretty straight-forward.
For visitors outside of the EU, there is the Schengen agreement. Do ensure that your documents are in place and if any new VISA requirements have come into place since this article was written (Sep 2017).
To date, no vaccinations are needed to travel to Iceland so there is no need to worry about that side of things. Just remember your case, bathing costume/shorts and money and you’ll be ready to go.
The Blue Lagoon Iceland is situated between Keflavik International Airport and Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik. To start with, you will need to get to Iceland itself and the easiest and cheapest way is to fly. You can pick flights up to this country pretty cheaply now depending on where you are flying from so it’s a case of shopping around online for the best deal there is.
The enterance to the Blue Lagoon Iceland. Photo by Guilhem
Once you have landed, you will probably head to your accommodation first and then visit the Blue Lagoon on another day of your trip. If this is the case, the Blue Lagoon is found about 50 minutes from Reykjavik and 20 minutes from the airport. If you take the main road out of Reykjavik toward the airport, turn at the sign marked ‘Blue Lagoon’. There are also regular buses and taxis that ply the route.
If you are headed straight to the lagoon, you can grab a bus directly from the airport. These run every hour so you won’t have to hang around too long waiting for it. There is car hire available at the airport, so if you want, you can drive there yourself. If you head out on the main road to Reykjavik and turn when you see the sign for the ‘Blue Lagoon’, you will find it on that road. A nice touch if you’re going just after you arrive or just before you fly back is that the lagoon management offers secure luggage storage.
To make the most of your visit to Iceland Blue Lagoon, you need to find yourself the perfect base to go from and return to. The best bet by far is to find accommodation in Reykjavik – not only is this close to the lagoon but it is also a great place to stay when you are not at the lagoon. With its lively bars and restaurants, Reykjavik will keep you well entertained. If you are looking for other things to experience in Iceland , that can affect your choice of accommodation.
We take a look at some options of where to stay in the capital for any budget:
If you’re looking to stay in Reykjavik without breaking the bank, the lovely Oddsson Hostel is a great option for you. Located in one of the most famous Icelandic buildings of JL House, it is close to the city centre so perfect for nights out or sight-seeing when not at the Blue Lagoon.
With bars and restaurants on-site as well as free parking and Wi-Fi, this comfortable hostel makes a great choice to stay at. This always attracts a diverse mix of fellow travelers too so you will always have some new friends for company.
Another great budget option for the seasoned traveler is the 4th Floor Hotel in Reykjavik. This operates on the basis of shared rooms with shared bathrooms, which is why the prices are low. Location wise, it’s convenient for all the local amenities and city centre which is good.
The rooms themselves are comfortable and there is a fan for ventilation if it gets a little hot when everyone is in the room. The friendly staff are only too happy to help with any queries and this makes a great base to enjoy Iceland and the Blue Lagoon from.
If you can stretch your money a little further then the city center hotel is a good choice in the mid-priced hotel range. This sits right in the heart of the capital so is another excellent choice if you want to be where all the action is and close to everything. The spacious rooms all have their own bathroom as well as LCD TV, mini-bar and free Wi-Fi amongst other things.
If you’re lucky your room will have a view across Parliament Square or its own balcony to enjoy after a hard day relaxing in the lagoon’s waters! With 30 rooms and friendly staff to help with any queries, this is a lovely place to stay.
If you fancy something a little different that may save you some money, then you can rent an apartment in the city. This comfortable pad is a great choice in this regard and is conveniently located to travel to the Blue Lagoon and other places.
All the local art galleries, shops and museums are within walking distance due to the flat’s downtown Reykjavik location. This would be great for a family as it can fit up to 4 people in and comes with a cot and high chair provided. Well decorated and conforming to a high standard, this is a great place to stay.
If you like to stay in luxury when you’re traveling then the Grand Hotel is the place for you. A comfortable four-star hotel, the décor and standard and quality of the rooms are quite good. There are a range of rooms you can choose to stay in, and all offer big, comfy beds and their own bathrooms.
The Hotel Odinsve is a luxurious and charming boutique style hotel located in the heart of Reykjavik’s bustling centre. The choice of rooms are superb and are all furnished in an elegant, minimalist fashion with emphasis on comfort. The great thing about this hotel though is that, although it is a little expensive, it still feels personal.
The convenient location means that you can stay here no matter which kind of holiday you are on. If you want to experience the nightlife of Iceland, the main nightclub district is not far away. If you want a more cultural trip, the museums and restaurants are also close by. As with all the other accommodation ideas, being in Reykjavik it means the Blue Lagoon experience is not far away.
Although the accommodation ideas for each budget above are the ones that stand out, there are others that just missed the cut. They are still great places to stay so you may also want to have a look at these before you book.
For the traveler on a budget, the Center Hotel Klopp would be ideal. The room price is toward the cheaper end of the scale for Iceland and it offers a great mix of value for money and comfort. The food is especially good with 3 different restaurants to choose from.
The Harpa concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavík, Iceland. Photo by Milo
If you prefer the mid-tier accommodation, then the fabulous Hotel Fron is an option worth looking at. The central location means the cafes, bars and galleries are close by which is excellent for exploring the city. The well-furnished rooms are spacious and the staff are friendly and always happy to help out with any queries.
At the top-end of the scale, the trendy Hotel Eyja Guldsmeden located in downtown Reykjavik makes an interesting choice. Downtown in the city is an up and coming area with plenty of life while the hotel itself offers great features like a wonderful organic breakfast. The views you get of Reykjavik itself and the Esja mountain are stunning and the main bus terminal is only a short walk away.
A visit to the Blue Lagoon Iceland is one that you will remember. The sight of the calm, blue waters with the geothermal steam rising off them is exceptional and the chance to experience a massage at the Blue Lagoon is not to be missed. Who knows, bathing in the mineral rich water and smothering yourself in the silica rich mud may also give you added health benefits. Book a trip to lovely Reykjavik and not only can you experience the wonderful land of Iceland but also check out one of the liveliest cities in the world.