The Blue Lagoon in Iceland features prominently on many people’s bucket lists. It certainly did on mine – and this spring I finally got a chance to visit to cross it off!
The only thing I knew about the Blue Lagoon prior to my trip was… that it was pretty. I saw a picture of it online, my eyes glazed over for eleven seconds and my heart had been lost to its otherworldly turquoise charm. This was no calculated affair – it was full-blown irrational love at first sight.
But the moment I found myself standing in front of the entrance to the lagoon, I was suddenly overcome with a wave of uncertainty. What is the Blue Lagoon, really? What lurks within? Have I packed everything I need? Did I choose the right time to visit?
I stepped over the threshold with nothing but questions – but you don’t have to, because now I’ve got all the answers you need! Here is my list of the top 10 things to know before visiting the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, ranging from the important to the slightly silly…
1. Condition Your Hair
Whenever I bring up the Blue Lagoon, girls immediately start telling me absolutely terrifying hair-related horror stories. Their hair turned green. It got so dry and tangled up that they couldn’t brush it for a week. The water made their luscious locks look matted and lifeless.
Luckily there is a way around this. There is free shampoo and conditioner in the showers, so make full use of the latter before going in. And I mean full use – put in way more than you normally would at home and then tie your hair up. If you can avoid it, don’t get the water on your hair as the high sulphur content could damage it. I obviously ignored my own good advice and dunked my whole head underwater almost immediately, but the results weren’t too catastrophic! Having said that, different types of hair react differently so err on the side of caution.
2. It’s Man Made
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I always thought the Blue Lagoon was a natural phenomenon. This is partly true – the water comes from a natural source underground. But the lagoon was actually created by a nearby power plant as a place to dump overspill water. Not quite as romantic, but it still looks pretty spectacular!
3. You Won’t Freeze
Yes, the air can be cold – I visited in April and it was hailing outside. The ground was so cold that my shoeless feet almost froze to the ground! But once you get in the water, you’ll quickly warm up. Trust me! Some parts are warmer than others and you might even find some of them too warm.
4. The Food Is Expensive
This isn’t just the Blue Lagoon – Iceland is a really expensive country. I lived in London for four years and found it expensive, so it genuinely must be. I wouldn’t recommend bringing your food – I just want you to be warned ahead of time
5. It’s In The Middle of Nowhere
The Blue Lagoon is much closer to Keflavik airport than it is to Reykjavik. That’s why it’s best to visit the lagoon on your way from or to the airport. At first I thought it seemed silly, but even a short stay will relax you more than you could imagine and is the perfect start or end to any vacation. There are hairdryers aplenty, so you don’t have to worry about getting on the plane with wet hair!
6. You Can Bring Your Luggage
My main worry about going straight from the airport was my luggage. What was I, going to swim with it? Well, nope. Before you get into the main building, there is a smaller one on the left purely dedicated to taking care of people’s bags and suitcases while they soak their toes.
7. The Comfort Ticket is Unnecessary
The Basic Ticket costs €35. The Comfort Ticket costs €50 and on top of entry also includes a towel, one drink and a skin care trial pack. I’ll tell you more about the skin care in #9, but as for the other two… they just don’t seem worth the extra €15. If you have extra space in your luggage just pack a towel. And flip flops. And possibly your bathrobe too, if you want to be all fancy.
As for the other two tiers – Premium (€65) and Luxury (€165) – I’d probably go with the latter if you can afford it. With access to the Exclusive Lounge you’ll have a more unique experience and really see the place in a different light. Having said that, I haven’t actually been to the lounge myself and can’t confirm that it’s worth all those precious monies.
8. Go Early To Avoid Crowds
There’s nothing surreal or romantic about sharing the Blue Lagoon with a hundred other people. If you’d like to feel like a magical water nymph, go as early as possible because the crowd size really increases after about 12pm. The opening hours start at 8am, so set your alarm!
9. Clay Masks Are Free
The “Skin Care Trial Pack” included in the Comfort and Premium tickets seemed like a waste of money to me, because there are big buckets of healing clay lined up around the lagoon and you can take as much as you want without paying a penny. If you’d like a green mask instead of a white mask, by all means go ahead… but you most certainly don’t have to.
10. You Don’t Need Your Wallet Inside
All of your purchases within the lagoon are charged onto a digital wristband, which is extremely convenient. It also answers the question of how people magically keep their wallets dry and aflot, which really bothered me before I got there. Using the wristband is simple – you just touch it to a special chip reader when paying and settle the bill when leaving the lagoon.
The wristband also cleverly keeps track of your purchases and stops you buying more than three alcoholic drinks. I know none of you are going to believe me, but I did not actually learn this through first hand experience… Honestly!
11. Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
The lagoon looks like it’s filled with milk, not water! I wasn’t even able to see my own legs after submerging them, which made the whole experience even more other-worldly. This does mean that you should take extra care when walking though – the bottom is pretty uneven, so walk slowly or just swim.
12. What About The Tech?
If you own a GoPro or a waterproof camera of any kind, I’d recommend bringing it along. You can take your DSLR as well – I kept it in my locker but brought it out to take a few snaps. I’d be quite worried about something happening to it if I had it out for longer, but if you’re brave (or the weather is good) you can definitely set it on a tripod and get some stunning images though! I would not recommend bringing your phone out if you have other means of taking photos – it’s not worth the risk of damaging it.
13. It Smells
There’s a lot of sulphur in the lagoon, which is why it has a distinct smell – one which will not be pleasing to most. The bad news is that the aroma resembles rotten eggs. The good news is that after a few minutes you won’t be able to smell it at all.
14. There Are Saunas and Steam Rooms
There is so much more to the Blue Lagoon than just milky blue water. There are cute little saunas and steam rooms on the side, which are great for changing it up a little and soaking up the quiet and warmth. Make sure you don’t miss them, they’re great – one of them even looks like a tiny Hobbit cave!
15. It’s Totally Worth A Visit
I think that’s enough talking – all you have to do now is actually visit. No amount of words can describe how lovely the Blue Lagoon is in person and you should witness it at least once in your life.
Have you ever been to the Blue Lagoon? If so, what are your top things to know before visiting it in Iceland? Have I missed anything? If you haven’t been – would you like to go?