Things No One Tells You About the Blue Lagoon
If there’s any one attraction you’re planning to visit in Iceland, it’s very likely the Blue Lagoon. It’s the most popular destination in Iceland — nearly everyone who visits Iceland works a trip to the Blue Lagoon into their itinerary.
And being the most popular destination, there are plenty of guides and how-tos for the Blue Lagoon. But to be honest, I was surprised by how many things I didn’t know, and how many things people should know before they go.
Things No One Tells You About the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is not in Reykjavik.
Two-thirds of Iceland’s population may live in Reykjavik, but the Blue Lagoon is quite a distance away. If you haven’t rented a car, you’ll need to book a transfer with a tour company. The drive takes about 45 minutes each way. Some of these shuttle transfers do not include Blue Lagoon admission; be sure to check beforehand. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to pay your admission separately when you arrive.
That said, Reykjavik is a fabulous city and being based here is the best option for visiting the Blue Lagoon and exploring the nearby region. The cheapest Reykjavik hotel rates tend to be on Agoda.
The Blue Lagoon is not a natural phenomenon.
While Iceland is a country brimming with natural hot springs, the Blue Lagoon isn’t one of them. The land is natural, as is the lava that shapes the pool, but the water is actually the result of runoff from the geothermal plant next door.
The plant was built first, and it uses Iceland’s volcanic landscape to produce heat power. The runoff is filtered straight into the Blue Lagoon, which is what heats the water.
That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous or toxic — far from it! It’s just not the natural phenomenon that many people believe it to be.
You have to get naked first.
Not unlike many spas around the world, you need to take a shower before going into the pool. However, the Blue Lagoon goes one step further and requires you to shower naked. While on my first visit, the shower stalls were open, there are now several stalls that lock for privacy.
Once you’re rinsed and conditioned, you can put your bathing suit back on and head on in.
You should go to the Blue Lagoon before or after your flight.
With super-early flights on both days, I wasn’t able to do this — however, if you have a morning or afternoon arrival or an afternoon or evening departure, you should take advantage of hitting up the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. It’s much closer to Keflavik than Reykjavik. Doing this will save you a lot of time and a fair amount of money as well.
If you’re visiting Iceland as a stopover between North America and Europe, you’ll find much more convenient times for visiting the Blue Lagoon if you are flying from Europe to Iceland to North America. Skyscanner usually has the cheapest flights to Iceland.
Even if you take precautions, your hair will get DESTROYED.
The one thing that everyone says is, “Use lots of leave-in conditioner.” The locker rooms at the Blue Lagoon offer lots of conditioner, so that made it easy.
Well, after covering my hair in conditioner, twisting it up in a French twist, leaving the conditioner in, and going into the Blue Lagoon, then coming out, rinsing my hair, conditioning it like crazy, and leaving it in again — my hair was destroyed for the next five days.
And during that time, I had a photo shoot for my interview in Frettabladid, Iceland’s largest newspaper. It came out okay, but I was still freaked out.
Take my advice — even if you condition your hair, don’t let it touch the water. You’re not missing out on much if you don’t.
The Blue Lagoon Experience
I enjoyed my time at the Blue Lagoon. Being the kind of girl who loves extreme heat, I thought the water wouldn’t be hot enough for me, but it turns out that there is a super-hot section just for cold-blooded ones like myself! You can see it in the above picture — it’s where the steam is coming out.
In late May, temperatures were in the mid-40s (about 10 C), which made the pool nice and toasty, and not so cold that walking was like Nordic torture. It felt just fine.
The Blue Lagoon has a sauna and steam room, as well as an exclusive section. You can get a variety of spa treatments, including a massage on a float right in the Blue Lagoon! There are cocktails at the swim-up bar, but I opted for a smoothie instead, which I conveniently paid for with my wristband. (The wristbands are brilliant — you put all your purchases on them. This also prevents people from buying more than three alcoholic drinks.)
Overall, if you’re going to Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is one of those experiences that you just have to try. But if you can, I recommend you do it on the way to or from the airport — and I beg you, don’t let that water touch your hair!
While Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world, it’s vital to get travel insurance before your trip. If you get seriously injured and require an air ambulance home, it could save you literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. I don’t travel anywhere without insurance, and I use and recommend World Nomads.