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The Ultimate Guide to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland


Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The island boasts numerous hot springs all over. This is because of the volcanic activity heating up the underground water resources. Whilst some of these hot springs can still be found in their natural settings, a few have been turned into geothermal public pools.  The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is probably one of the most famous hot springs on the island. Its distinction looks different from the normal natural hot spring vs geothermal pool due to its unique origin story.

In this article, we dive into exactly what the Blue Lagoon is, when to go, what you can expect from a visit. We'll also share all the interesting tale behind the beginnings of one of Iceland’s hot spring pride and joys.

What is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

As we already mentioned, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa in Iceland. The name is very fitting, as the waters of the lagoon are a bright blue color. This is because of the way the silica in the water reflects sunlight.

The water is a combination of geothermal seawater (70%) and freshwater (30%). Even though the Blue Lagoon’s hot spring water starts at 240 degrees Celsius within the earth. By the time it reaches the lagoon, it is cooled down enough so that it’s a nice and toasty 38 degrees.

The lagoon is 1.7 meters at its deepest parts and therefore, children are not allowed to go swimming there without adult supervision. Blue Lagoon in Iceland entry prices will set you back between $60-$80, depending on the package you choose. All packages include the use of a towel, a mud mask, and a complimentary drink.

Blue lagoon Iceland

Other Amenities & Facilities at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon offers visitors much more than just a relaxing dip these days. If you’re looking for some extra pampering, the Blue Lagoon spa in Iceland is always a good option. It is called The Retreat Spa and offers a wide variety of treatments, therapies, and massages.

You can even purchase products made from the elements found in the lagoon. Entrance to the Retreat Spa is completely separate from the Blue Lagoon entry price. However, a Retreat Spa package includes not only access to the Blue Lagoon, but also to the private and exclusive Retreat Spa lagoon. Spa prices start from $412.50.

You also don’t need to worry about packing food and drinks for this excursion, as there is more than one Blue Lagoon Restaurant in Iceland. These restaurants truly cater to all, with dishes varying in price and style. You can choose from culinary classics and light meals and snacks to gourmet delicacies and local cuisine.

If spending just one day at the Blue Lagoon doesn’t seem like enough time to you, you can book a stay at the Blue Lagoon’s hotel. You have one at the lagoon itself as well as one at the spa.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland Origin Story

The Blue Lagoon was a happy accident. It started off as wastewater from the Svartsengi Geothermal Plant collected in a nearby lava field in 1976. The plant did not think much of it, as they expected it to evaporate and be absorbed into the ground eventually. But they were mistaken.

An employee of the Plant called Valur Margeirsson would set things in motion for the Blue Lagoon we all love today. He suffered from a skin condition called Psoriasis that prevented him from swimming in the other hot springs around Iceland. He then decided to ask for special permission to go swimming in the wastewater.

It took quite some convincing, but he was finally granted permission. Instead of becoming sick or having negative side effects (which was the company’s fear), his skin condition improved dramatically. Word spread and in 1987 the Icelandic authorities officially opened the area as a bathing facility for those afflicted with skin conditions.

Popularity just kept growing and except for those who took a dip in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland as an Icelandic skincare regime, some simply wanted a relaxing soak. Fast-forward to today, and you have the same beautiful healing waters, but in a more modern setting with a wide variety of other amenities.

Blue Lagoon Iceland facts

The Benefits of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

As we already touched on, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a healing place. Not only does the hot water relieve stress and bring relief to all sorts of bodily aches and pains, but the water and mud have properties that bring active healing and rejuvenation to the skin.

The water is incredibly rich in all sorts of minerals, silica, and good algae. The healing properties of these ingredients are not just old wives’ tales. There have actually been studies done on the Blue Lagoon and the following have been proven:

  • It prevents premature aging of the skin.
  • There is an overall improvement in the symptoms of those suffering from eczema and acne.
  • It improves the skin barrier.
  • There is an overall improvement in the symptoms of those suffering from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is open all year round. Since peak season on the island is in the warmer months, many visit the Blue Lagoon during the summer in Iceland. Others want to experience the warm waters with a cold, winter wonderland draped around them.

Many, who also want to avoid all those pesky peak season prices, opt to visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland during winter. The Blue Lagoon generally opens at around 08:00 in the morning and closing times vary between 16:00 to 21:00. Opening times vary depending on weekdays, weekends, and public holidays. You’ll also need to keep a lookout for any changes to operating hours that the peak and down season brings with it.

Then you’ll also need to consider when to squeeze a visit to the Blue Lagoon into your Iceland itinerary. The Blue Lagoon is more or less mid-way between Keflavik Airport and the capital city of Reykjavík. It is about a 55-minute drive from Reykjavík, to be exact. So, depending on flight times, many choose to take a dip on their way to Reykjavík or on their way to Keflavik Airport.

You’ll also need to then consider how much time you want to spend at the lagoon. In general, people spend an average of 2–4 hours there. Others opt to rather do a day trip, but you’ll need to plan this out properly, as you won’t be able to do a day outing to the Blue Lagoon if you’re staying in Akureyri.

Iceland hot springs blue lagoon

How to Get to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

That will all depend on your preferences, budget, and plans. You can take a taxi (but this becomes quite an expensive exercise). Or you can simply drive there using your Iceland rental vehicle. You can also choose to visit the lagoon as part of a Blue Lagoon day tour in Iceland.

You can even pick one of the combination tours such as the Northern Lights & Blue Lagoon in Iceland day tour to get a bit more bang for your buck. Finally, you can also choose one of the airport transfer shuttle services that have the Blue Lagoon as a stop along the way.

Where to Stay at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

As we already mentioned, previously, you can stay at one of the hotels at the Blue Lagoon itself. Alternatively, you can choose hotels and other types of accommodation near the Blue Lagoon, or closer to the Airport.  But most choose to stay in the capital city of Reykjavík and simply do a day trip out to the lagoon.

Interesting Facts about the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The following are a few interesting facts that you might not have known about the lagoon:

  • Because of its incredible aesthetics, the Blue Lagoon has graced our screens more than once in movies such as Hostel and Star Trek.
  • Of the more than half a million visitors that come to Iceland each year, 80% visit the Blue Lagoon.
  • The lava field surrounding the Blue Lagoon is more than 800 years old.
  • There are roughly 6 million liters of water in the Blue Lagoon. Since hygiene and cleanliness is of the utmost importance, all this water is changed every 48 hours.
  • You still find some people who beyond belief think that they can soak in the Blue Lagoon in their “birthday suit” as if it’s an old Roman bath house. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland does not tolerate any nudity, and unless you are dressed in a proper bathing suit, you’ll be asked to leave.
  • There is a certain etiquette that needs to be adhered to at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon Resort. This includes showering before getting into the lagoon. Remember this if you don’t want to be given the stink eye.

Blue lagoon in Iceland facts

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland: Worth a Visit no Matter What

Whether you’re looking for some relief from a skin condition or you’re just yearning for some relaxation, the Blue Lagoon is the perfect spot.

And whether you’d like to take an official tour there, rent a car in Reykjavík and make a day outing out of it, or quickly pop in on your way to or from the airport, you can do that. The Blue Lagoon is really one of those unique Iceland attractions that’s a must-visit and that can suit any Iceland itinerary.