Back in April, I had the opportunity to visit one of the most serene and terrestrial places on planet: the Blue Lagoon. So what exactly is this place? Well for me, it’s one of those dope places that you see on the Travel or Discovery Channel, but never think you will actually ever visit. But in reality, it’s geothermal spa and happens to be one of Iceland’s most visited attractions. Simply put, if you visit Iceland without making a stop at the Blue Lagoon, you’re doing it wrong. The lagoon is man-made and located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. So how did the lagoon come into existence? Well, in 1976 a pool formed at the site from the waste water of the geothermal power plant that had just been built there. A few years later, people started bathing in it after its purported healing powers were popularized. In 1992, the Blue Lagoon company was established and the bathing facility was opened for the public for tourism.
The awesome thing about the Blue Lagoon is that shuttles run regularly between Keflavik airport, the spa, and the hotels in Reykjavik. The spa is about a 20-minute drive from the airport and a 50-minute drive from Reykjavík. This is helpful for those who have an early arrival into Keflavik, but can’t check into their hotel until the late afternoon. For example, my flight arrived at 6am, but check-in for my hotel didn’t start until after 2pm. So, instead of stressing out about how I would spend the next 8 hours consuming my time, I arranged for my shuttle to drop me off at the Blue Lagoon and took a shuttle directly my hotel in Reykjavik when I was done. What a nice way to unwind after a 6 hour flight?
If you’re arriving from the airport (or doing a stopover before heading back to the airport…many tourists do this as well), the spa will check your luggage for a nominal charge. The Blue Lagoon offers four standard base packages: standard, comfort, premium, and luxury. These packages increase in price and amenities. After selecting your package, you’re given an electronic wristband, which is scanned to add al a carte items such as spa treatments, drinks, lunch, etc. The wristband is also used as an electronic key for your assigned locker. In addition to swimwear, you are allowed to bring your own robe, slippers. If not, you can choose one the packages that offers these items upon check-in. After check-in, guests are REQUIRED to shower before entering the lagoon. As a nurse, I think one of the best attributes of the spa is its strict code of hygiene.
After showering, and putting on your suit, you’re free the go out to the lagoon. Some people stay for a short time and others stay for hours. The lagoon has a swim up bar and I had no reservation about drinking Prosecco at 8 o’clock in the morning. I mean, I’m in Iceland! While the temperature outside was about 35 degrees, the average temperature of the lagoon averages around 99 to 102 °F.
So what are the benefits of the lagoon? Well, the warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur. It’s been reputed that bathing in the lagoon helps some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.
A few reminders
- Attire: bring swimwear- nope, it’s not “nude” spa
- Make you reservations early. The Blue Lagoon fills up rather quickly. You can book directly with the spa or through a tour company like Gray Line, Viator, or Reykjavik Excursions
- Protect your hair: the geothermal waters of the lagoon can REALLY dry out your hair. From what I’ve been told, it literally turns your hair into straw. I recommend wearing a head wrap and avoid submerging your hair into the water.
- Pictures: Take advange of the on-site photographers. They will take your photo free of charge and even email it to you.
- Purchase or bring a cell phone cover- you can use a plastic sleeve to secure your phone when you take pictures in the lagoon (unless your phone or device is waterproof). The Blue Lagoon sells these for $25.00.
- Silica mud mask: try it, it’s a must!
- There is a restaurant, hotel, and skin care shop on site. If you’re traveling on budget, the skin care products are much cheaper at the airport.
- Children: children under the age of 9 years old are only allowed entry with the use of armbands, which are provided free of charge, also, the lagoon is not suitable for children under the age of 2 years old.
And yes, I look forward to returning back in April 2017. You should join me!