Everyone is coming or going. Either they land in Keflavik Airport just outside Reykjavík and they’re stopping at the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa on their way in, or they’re stopping there on their way out back to their home country. We’re on our way back home. This seems like the best way to cap off an adventurous trip to Iceland with my siblings.
It’s around 10 am and the sun has barely made its appearance for the 5 short hours it would that day. It is winter in Iceland, after all. We’re exhausted after five days of constant driving and sightseeing both in the Golden Circle area and along the southern coast, but we have one last stop on our itinerary: the Blue Lagoon.
Unlike the Secret Lagoon we’d visited a few days earlier that’s significantly less touristy, the geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon are actually manmade. It’s drilled from 2000 meters underground and picks up minerals, silica, and algae on its way up. At around 100 °F (38°C), the mix of freshwater and seawater is a milky blue color due to the reflection of sunlight. The beautiful grounds might be manmade, but it kind of looks like you’re on another planet when you’re in the pools.
The sun just barely peeks out amidst heavy clouds as I make my way out of the showers. I’m shivering underneath my towel as I tiptoe from inside the building to meet my siblings outside. Frost crunches between our toes as we hurriedly toss our towels on the rack and make a break for the ramp to enter the pool. (I’ll later find out there’s a way to enter the water from inside so as not to tiptoe sprint to the water, but what’s the fun in that?).
I feel instant relief as I lower my body into the mineral water. Despite the almost complete fog and cloud coverage above us, the water is the milkiest shade of bright blue. My shoulders and head above the water level feel in such contrast to the warmth the rest of my body feels underwater. The air surrounding me is crisp and cold. Sure enough, snowflakes begin to fall down around us as we stand in the pools in amazement. It’s like a dream.
We wade deeper into the mist to the swim-up bar that has the masks. Naturally, I slather gobs of the silica mask all over my face to the point that it looks like my face is melting off.
Photos at the Blue Lagoon don’t only have to be sexy, right? We take all sorts of funny photos.
We lay down in the water, trying to soak up all the goodness in the minerals before making our way to the swim-up bar. Sipping on Prosecco, we find another comfortable spot to sit and people-watched. There’s a lot of interest people-watching to do in thermal pools as I’ve learned in the few experiences I’ve had all over the world.
After 15 minutes transpires, I wipe my face clean, rinsing it with the blue water. I rub my cheeks. I’m not sure if I’m just drinking the Kool-Aid, so to speak, but that does feel good. Shortly after, I repeat with the algae mask, because, when in Rome Iceland.
We explore the pools, take photos, bask in our masks, and repeat. Relaxing in thermal pools is a normal part of Icelandic life. It’s nice to experience a glimpse of it at the lesser-known Secret Lagoon, and of course the infamous (and touristy, but still amazing) Blue Lagoon. Is it heaven on earth? For a few hours, it certainly feels like it.
Know before you go:
- Book your tickets in advance. It’s likely many other tourists planning to fly in or out and visit the Blue Lagoon on the way when you are. Make sure to book it with enough time to visit and enjoy before you need to leave. Spots get booked quickly!
- You can book a tour if you don’t want to go on your own or don’t have transportation.
- You’re required to shower sans swimsuit before going in. I legitimately didn’t see a single person doing this naked, though.
- It’s recommended to heavily condition your hair because the water could damage it. I did condition my hair but didn’t put my head under and my hair was fine.
- There’s no need to pay for flip-flops or robes. Your towel might get taken from someone else, but I think everyone uses the honor system here.
- You’re given a wristband and everything outside your ticket cost is charged to it (i.e. if you order more than one drink under the “comfort package”, etc.).
- We booked the “comfort” package that came with an algae mask, first drink of our choice, and the use of a towel in addition to the standard entry fee and silica mask. If you have your own towel then it might not be worth it to splurge on additional algae masks. When we were there it seems the Blue Lagoon staff were giving it out for free without charging anyone’s wristbands.
- Bring a waterproof camera! It’s so fun to take pictures while you’re relaxing inside the Blue Lagoon. I used my GoPro Hero4 Silver, but you can also buy a bag to put your cell phone inside.
Check out this video of what my trip to Iceland looked like, including bits from our visit to the Blue Lagoon!