I first got the idea to visit the Blue Lagoon when I visited Thermae Bath Spa for the first time last year. I love the idea of open-air bathing in geothermal water, and as the Blue Lagoon is surely the most famous place to do so, I knew it was an experience I had to have one day. So I felt quite a sense of anticipation as we parked up on my birthday and made our way down a short track through moss-covered black volcanic rock to the entrance.
There were no queues when we arrived at 10am, and in any case we wouldn’t have had to queue, because – it being my 30th birthday and all – I’d splashed out on the Premium package, which has its own queue. To explain, there are four levels of ticket, ranging from basic entry to luxury, and Premium is the level below Luxury. Our tickets included extras like robes, flip-flops, a free drink from the Lagoon bar and sparkling wine with lunch.
You have to shower thoroughly before you go in the Lagoon, as it doesn’t have chlorine in it, and it’s also recommended that you put special conditioner in your hair and leave it in to protect your hair from the silica in the water. Having done all this and left our stuff in lockers, we ventured out into the cold in nothing but our swimwear and robes.
The Blue Lagoon is not a naturally occurring hot spring; it’s a clever way the Icelanders have found to make the most of the heated saltwater generated through the nearby geothermal power plant. Trust those ingenious Icelanders to think of a thing like that!
All those cranes are there because they’re currently building a hotel at the Blue Lagoon, but luckily the building work wasn’t too noisy (or maybe it was just being masked by the wind, as a storm was rolling in!).
This is where you enter the lagoon. The feeling of walking down those ramps into that lovely warm water on a cold windy day was wonderful!
Here’s me right after I first went in – I’m practically sitting on the bottom there, as it was so shallow near the entrance! If I were to stand up, the rest of me would’ve been freezing! The water is a really nice temperature – not too hot, not too cold.
Some people were taking their smartphones in with them using special plastic wallets, but we didn’t like the idea of that so we took the GoPro in (that’s why the colour of the water changes in the next few photos), as it has a waterproof casing. This was the view in one direction, to snowy mountains…
…and this was the view the other, to the restaurant buildings, somewhat masked by steam.
You can get an idea of what it was like in this video:
(I was right: it WAS freezing when we came out!)
After luxuriating in the lovely warm water for a while, we went over to the ‘mud station’, where they dish out gloopy white mud for use as a face mask. The minerals in the water are said to have healing properties and to be very good for the skin. The (British!) bloke on the mud station assured us that the mask would take ten years off our faces, which seemed quite funny considering it was my 30th birthday. Would this weird white mask make me look a fresh-faced twenty-year-old again? Could it possibly erase a decade of anxiety etched into my increasingly weather-worn face? Only time would tell. (It didn’t.)
Here’s a not-very-flattering pic of yours truly with her silica mud mask – and I didn’t put as much on as some people!
You get a second, nice-smelling moisturising mask if you’re on the Premium/Luxury package, and this time it’s GREEN, like our Premium wristbands. But don’t worry, everyone else looks just as silly.
Mask washed off, it was time to bob our way over to the Lagoon bar, which I don’t have a photo of. You never leave the water – they serve you while you’re in the water, and your wristband acts as payment. We didn’t have to pay because our first drinks were included in our ticket price and we only had one each – I had Prosecco and Lee had beer. It felt a suitably decadent way to spend my birthday! (Apologies for the steamed-up pic!)
You don’t have to be able to swim to visit the Blue Lagoon, as it’s mostly very shallow. There’s one little bit where it’s a bit deeper, but my head was still comfortably out of the water the whole time. If you feel scared, you can hire armbands (but you will look a little silly!). Sometimes it was actually too shallow, and you have to crouch down to stay in the warmth of the water.
In this video is one of the deeper bits. You can’t really move anywhere quickly (not that you need to), but walking through the water is surprisingly good exercise.
After that it was time for me to head to the treatment area for a massage that I’d pre-booked online. I went for the 30-minute treatment, and it took place in the water with me lying on my back on a float and covered with towels. Every so often, the masseuse pushes your body under the water so that you stay warm, but it was so windy and there was sleet falling at that point, so I did occasionally get a bit cold! It was generally quite relaxing, but I’m a bit scared of the water and kept worrying that my head would go under. My ears did go under a few times and I don’t like them filling with water, so that did detract slightly from the experience.
I’d read horror stories about the lagoon water ruining people’s hair even with the leave-in conditioner, so I’d been at pains to avoid my hair going in the water. During the massage, though, it was very much in the water (I’m glad I had my hair cut short before we went!), but I’m pleased to report that although my hair was starting to go stiff by the time I got out, I used tonnes of shampoo and conditioner in the shower and it was soon back to normal, so no worries there. I was quite glad we got out when we did, as the weather was getting worse out there.
Lunch in the on-site Lava Restaurant was really great, though somewhat pricey. The sparkling wine was included in our ticket price, and we were given a selection of delicious breads to start (not pictured, as we’d eaten them all by then!) along with a delicious creamy mousse that I can’t remember the Icelandic name of. We both had mouth-watering slow-cooked tenderloin of beef with various delicious things like smoked hollandaise sauce, caramelised onion and a kind of mustardy sauce. There was no room for dessert after that, which my credit card was no doubt grateful for!
This was the (cheaper) cafeteria, which I think serves mainly cold foods. The view from the restaurant was the same – right by the blue water of the lagoon.
Overall, we rated our trip to the Blue Lagoon around 7.5/10 – a great experience, and one that’s definitely worth having, but a little overpriced for what it is, and very touristy. I think next time we go to Iceland we’ll visit some of the lesser-known geothermal pools – probably the Secret Lagoon at Flúðir.