For anyone traveling to Iceland, it is likely that you will consider visiting the Blue Lagoon. After all, it is the single most popular tourist destination in Iceland. Because of its proximity to Keflavik International Airport, the closest airport to Reykjavík, many visitors find a way to work the Blue Lagoon into their itinerary during an extended layover, or during transit to/from the airport.
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland
Prior to our visit, we did a good deal of online research to better understand what we were signing up for. After all, admission isn’t cheap. The cheapest way to get into the Blue Lagoon will set you back 35€ (or approximately $38-40 USD as of December 2015 exchange rates) – and this admission fee doesn’t even include a towel! However, the majority of the online resources we came across were (to be as frank as possible) of moderate usefulness. To try to maximize your Blue Lagoon trip, I will share the top 5 tips for visiting the Blue Lagoon that I wish we knew before our trip.
1. Time your trip to the Blue Lagoon carefully.
When you decide to make your trip to the Blue Lagoon could be the difference between hating it, or absolutely having the time of your life (as we did). If you rent a car in Iceland (which I highly recommend), make every effort to get to the Blue Lagoon as early as possible, or plan to stay as late as possible.
Blue Lagoon Hours of Operation
Because we traveled to Iceland in November, when it was twilight until well past 9AM, we booked for a 10AM arrival so that we could see the Blue Lagoon during both twilight and full light.
Arriving at the Blue Lagoon at 9:45AM
As you can see, the sun was just starting to creep above the horizon at 9:45AM. By the time we checked in, changed, and made our way down into the Blue Lagoon waters, it was already 10:15AM.
Blue Lagoon at 10:15AM in November
This was perfection. A few people were there, and we got to watch the sun rise in the distance. Everything from the swim-up bar, to the saunas to the waterfall were delightfully devoid of crowds.
Blue Lagoon at 11:15AM in November
A mere hour later, the tour bus crowd had arrived, and things were decidedly more crowded. This only got worse as time passed, and I can imagine how much more packed the crowds can get during the peak summer travel season. So make a note to try to get there during off hours, because it will mean the difference between walking into other visitors, or having the Blue Lagoon to yourself.
2. Buy your tickets in advance.
The entrance fees for the Blue Lagoon vary from the winter to the summer, and are higher during the peak season in summer (June 1-August 31). Being able to save on your entrance fee is meaningful, especially when it costs as much as it does to get in.
Winter Entrance Rates
Summer Entrance Rates
To save money on your admission, make sure that you consider the following:
- Buy your tickets in advance. It does force you to pick a time slot for your arrival, but will not only save you money (5€ per person compared with walk-up rates), but will also save you time. There are separate line ups for those with pre-purchased tickets, and those who are buying tickets upon arrival. You know which line up you would rather be in.
- The extra 15€ to upgrade your admission to the Comfort (or above) package is not worth it, unless you want to overpay for your drink. A drink at the lagoon bar costs about 8€, and the extra perks are not worth it.
- Because of the layout of the Blue Lagoon, the bathrobe (for the Luxury package) is an absolute waste of money. You can remain indoors the entire time, and enter the Blue Lagoon through a water entrance. In other words, it does not matter how cold it gets outside because you don’t ever actually have to set foot in the Icelandic air without having your body in the warm Blue Lagoon waters. We just saw bathrobe upon bathrobe hung on hooks, without anyone really wearing them.
3. Four things you will want to bring to the Blue Lagoon.
There are several key items that you will want to bring along for your visit to the Blue Lagoon. They will not only save you money, but also save your sanity (and perhaps the rest of your luggage).
There Is No Suitmate At The Blue Lagoon
- Bring your own towel (borrowed from the hotel, or from home). Unless you want to overpay the Blue Lagoon for the use of their towels, this is a no brainer. And trust me, you will over pay if you happen to forget yours at the hotel.
- As you will be in the water for an extended period of time, bring some body lotion to moisturize after your time spent in the Blue Lagoon.
- A plastic bag! The Blue Lagoon does not provide access to a machine that will dry your bathing suit, as you would find at many swimming pools. This is because the high silica content in the Blue Lagoon water would very quickly cause the machine to break down. They do provide hair dryers, and I saw a number of other guests use them to try to dry their suits as much as possible. But bring along a plastic bag to put your damp trunks in, especially if you are heading to the airport afterwards.
- Sunglasses. On a sunny day, the surface of the water will make it a challenge to walk around without squinting. If you decide you do not need them, it is an easier decision to put them back in your locker than it is to wish you had brought them.
4. Three things you do not need to bring to the Blue Lagoon.
In your planning, there are several things that you do not actually need to bring to the Blue Lagoon.
- Water. Yes, it is critical to stay hydrated as you are in the Blue Lagoon. However, they kindly provide a water fountain which streams the beautifully delicious, pure Icelandic water. It is located just beside the mini-cafe, just to the right of the locker room stairs on your way out to the Blue Lagoon. Sure you can buy bottles of water, but as an Icelandic store clerk asked us, why would you buy a bottle of water that is just their tap water put into a bottle?
- A lock. You will be given a plastic wristband upon entry that is linked to your admission. You can even use it to make purchases at the swim up bar. Most importantly, it serves as your key to lock/unlock your locker. First, you load up all your stuff in the locker and then shut the door. You then immediately walk up to a sensor panel (clearly marked) and press your wristband up to it. It automatically locks your locker, and no one else can gain access.
- Soap or conditioner. The showers provide an ample supply of the Blue Lagoon’s brand of soap and conditioner. Because of the silica and mineral content in the water, we were advised to leave in the conditioner when we went out into the water. However, no one in our group had any issues with their hair being damaged after exposing it to the water. All of the other posts I read about hair being destroyed seemed to be an exaggeration.
5. You do not ever have to be naked in front of other people.
I came across many other posts which indicate that the Blue Lagoon demands that you shower naked, and the stalls are open for everyone to see. Sorry folks, the Blue Lagoon is not the peep show that some other websites make it out to be. The shower stalls are both open and closed, and you have the choice of how you wish to shower prior to entering the water. In addition, there were private stalls available for you to change in if you did not wish to undress in front of strangers. So if this was a concern for you, then do not worry about it at all.
The Blue Lagoon was one of the best parts of our trip to Iceland, and I would heartily recommend it to visitors if your budget permits. We spent approximately 2.5 hours there, and felt that it was absolutely worth the price of admission.
Is Iceland (and the Blue Lagoon) on your to-do list?
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