The Blue Lagoon is a large geothermal pool, located in the middle of a lava field in Reykjanes peninsula in the southwestern part of Iceland. The pool is not from a natural source of geothermal water, it is actually supplied by excess water from a nearby power plant called Svartsengi.
The Blue Lagoon came into existence in 1974, when excess water was released from the Svartsengi power plant. It quickly became a popular spot for swimming and bathing but there were absolutely no facilities by the lagoon until 1987.
The water is rich in minerals, especially sulphur and silica, which are supposedly good for your skin. This explains the lagoon’s popularity in its early years.
The facilities at the Blue Lagoon underwent a major renovation in 1992 and has in the recent years gained a reputation as a world class tourist attraction. In 2016, bathing in the Blue Lagoon became the most common thing that tops travel bucket lists of Millennials around the globe. The Great Pyramids of Giza came second!
The Blue Lagoon is now much more than just a nice spot for bathing. There’s a spa by the lagoon offering massage and all kinds of treatments. There's also a shop that sells skin products from the Blue Lagoon skin care brand (try their algae mask, it's worth every penny), two restaurants (Moss Restaurant and Lava Restaurant), a bar and a café. There’s also a brand new hotel by the lagoon, for those who want to stay for a couple of days.
On the floor of the lagoon, there's an abundance of silica mud that you can smear on your face in order to make your skin soft. If you've seen pictures of people bathing in the lagoon covered in white mud, it's probably the silica mud. Sometimes they put some excess silica in buckets where you can just grab some for your face, so look out for them as well.
Lava landscapes by the milky blue water. Photo: Pexels.
If you’re just soaking in the hot water, I would say that one to two hours is enough time. If you’re eating at the restaurant, having drinks at the bar or enjoying massage or other spa treatment, you could technically spend the whole day at the lagoon.
If you buy the luxury package , you will be given a fixed slot of three hours.
The Blue Lagoon Iceland. Photo: Flickr/Ashlyn Gehrett.
The Blue Lagoon is accessible for children and I would say that it is generally a family-friendly destination. It's a unique experience for kids to go there, just as it is for the parents. I went there with my parents when I was a kid and it was definitely a memorable visit. If you’re planning on visiting this hot destination with your kids, I highly recommend this article for some tips.
If you don’t mind skipping the Blue Lagoon, there are some ideal alternatives that you might want to opt for instead. I’ve noticed that some bloggers keep comparing the Blue Lagoon to the Laugarvatn Fontana, which is a compilation of saunas, hot tubs and pools in the town of Laugarvatn.
Mývatn Nature Baths, North Iceland. Travelade/James.
I really do not understand why people keep comparing these two places, the Laugarvatn Fontana is much more similar to normal swimming pools that you can find all over the country than the Blue Lagoon. So that’s why the Fontana isn’t on my list. Here are five alternatives you might want to check out:
If you're visiting Iceland, there are some things you really need to book in advance, and the Blue Lagoon is one of them. It’s best to do it some weeks before you intend to go, especially if you plan on visiting during the high season. You can book your spot on the Blue Lagoon’s website .
When you book, you can choose between comfort, premium and luxury. Comfort is just an admission ticket to the lagoon. Premium includes some extras, such as a glass of sparkling wine, bathrobe and a silica face mask. Luxury has a lot of extras and it’s also way more expensive. For instance you’ll get a spa journey product set, a private changing room and a reserved table at the restaurant.
The pricing for entrance tickets is dynamic, which means that it’s different according to time of day, season etc. General admission tickets cost around 70–90$ per person.
Just like at Iceland’s swimming pools, you will have to shower naked before you enter the lagoon, due to hygienic reasons. Some foreigners find it a bit hard but I encourage you to just drop the shyness. You’re never going to meet these people again, right?
The Blue Lagoon is said to do wonders for your skin. The same does not apply for your hair! Make sure to bring plenty of conditioner if you want your hair to be smooth after bathing in the Blue Lagoon. You might also consider wearing an updo or a swimming cap.
Silica is supposedly good for your skin. Photo: Flickr/Richard Lambert.
The last thing I’d like to address in the etiquette-section is a bit embarrassing. The Blue Lagoon used to be considered a cozy place for sexual intimacy. In the recent years the Blue Lagoon has gotten more popular and it’s probably very hard to find spots where you can make out without anyone noticing it. Anyhow, you probably agree with me that this kind of activity is pretty inappropriate at a public bathing spot. So just don’t do it.
The Blue Lagoon is conveniently located between the Keflavik International Airport and Reykjavik. If you don’t have a rental car, you can either buy a bus ticket to the Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik or from Keflavik Airport.
It’s very popular to drop by at the Blue Lagoon on the way to/from the airport, namely because of its convenient location. If you have a rental car, that's definitely something you should do.
The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Iceland by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.