Iceland is cool. In more ways than one. I’ve always been fascinated by it – a lonely volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean. So close to the Arctic, yet with waters warm enough for a swim. Now that I’ve had my first proper layover I am convinced that I need to spend a whole lot more time here.
Blue Lagoon – a natural salt water geothermal spa – is, of course, at the top of Iceland’s attractions. It would’ve been a shame to miss it! Since Nani was with me on this trip, we both got to go.
Located right smack in the middle of nowhere, the Blue Lagoon is really very blue. The blue color comes from all the minerals in the water, which are very good for your skin.
Here are some tips, if you’re planning on visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
- Make your reservations online, ahead of time. (the Blue Lagoon website states that pre-booking is required, but at the entrance there is a line for those without a ticket. So it’s possible to just walk in and pay for the entrance. But if you’re on a layover and your schedule is tight, you’re running a risk of being turned away. A limited number of guests is allowed every hour, so don’t take any chances and pre-book!)
- As with everything in Iceland (I almost bought some lip balm, until I did the conversion and realized it was $30), the entrance to the Lagoon is expensive. There are different levels of entry. I wouldn’t bother with any extras. Bring your own towel, bathrobe and flip-flops (that’s what they mean when they say “slippers”). Don’t forget your swim-suit! The basic ticket is 5400 krona, which comes to about $54. If you want to rent a towel, flip-flops (those you get to keep) and a robe, the price jumps to 9500 krona, which translates to about $95.
- There is a luggage storage facility. I forget how much it costs to store your luggage here, but compared to everything else, it didn’t seem like all that much.
- At check-in you will be given an electronic, water proof, bracelet. Wear it at all times and don’t share it! The bracelet tracks everything. From your locker to all your drinks and other purchases. I witnessed a group of women who quickly learned how they should not share the bracelet… To open and close your locker, you must run the bracelet over this one pad. The problem is that one pad controls – I believe – 6 lockers. So, if your friend’s locker is next to yours, it might be tempting to just swipe your bracelet, when your friend wants to lock her locker. This will lock it, but then, when she gets back to her locker, she won’t be able to unlock it. Does that make sense? Anyway, even if it seems like it will work, don’t switch, borrow or swipe the bracelet for anyone else.
- Sometimes the bracelet does not stay on that well (ours had the tendency to snap off), so keep checking that it’s still on. Don’t lose it!
- Remember your locker number. The locker number is also your hook number (where you leave your towel and your robe). There isn’t a whole lot of room for the robes and towels, as well as your flip-flops. This is another good reason to bring your own. The Blue Lagoon issued flip-flops can easily be picked up by another patron by mistake (there are no cubbies for the flip-flops, so people leave them all over the deck).
- You will need to shower (without your bathing suit, Americans!) before entering the lagoon. Also, don’t forget to put plenty of the provided leave-in conditioner in your hair. Even if you don’t dunk your hair (please don’t. Nani did and ended up not being able to brush her hair for days afterwards!), the steam from the lagoon will get in your hair and make it stiff and unmanageable. The salty, mineral-rich, water is not optimal for your locks.
- The water in the lagoon is around 99 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. That is around 37 or 39 degrees Celsius. This is a very comfortable temperature and the Lagoon is opened year round. It is not jacuzzi hot though. There are warmer currents and cooler currents. When we were there the air temperature was in the lower 40’s and after a while it felt not quite hot enough.
- The Lagoon is not very deep and most of the time it helps to squat. Walking around in the water while squatting is fun though.
- There are swim-up (or walk up while squatting) bars. If you splurge for the 9400 krona ticket, you will get a free drink. The drinks are really good. You can have wine, beer, cider, one of the soft drinks, or a really nice smoothie.
- Don’t have a free drink with your basic entrance fee and don’t want to pay for one? There are spouts (saw one underneath one of the little bridges) with fresh spring water, where you can refill your water bottle.
- The silica mask is free for everyone, so look for a person with a bucket and a wooden spoon dishing it out. The more expensive entrance tickets also include an algae mask.
- Besides enjoying the lagoon, which is very blue and warm and pleasant, you can also get an in-water massage (costs extra) or hop in a steam room in a little cave. That’s in case it’s winter (I’m assuming that covers 80% of the year) and the lagoon just doesn’t feel warm enough.
I’ve heard the Blue Lagoon described as a “once in a lifetime” experience. But I sincerely hope that’s not the case for me! I’d love to go back on a warmer, sunny day.