Have you been to Disney World, a manufactured magical land where Sleeping Beauty’s castle echoes it’s German inspiration and Epcot imitates worldliness?
The Blue Lagoon is like that. Given all the incredible natural formations across Iceland, from fjords to lava fields to lagoons and waterfalls, it’s easy to believe the Blue Lagoon is one of them. Alas, a look behind the curtain reveals the Svartsengi power plant pumping hot geothermal water to the Blue Lagoon, and thousands of homes in the region.
So, is it worth enduring the chaotic crowds, long lines, and excessive commercialism just to soak in a power plant’s runoff?
YES! The Blue Lagoon’s milky teal 102 degree mineral rich water, proven to cure psoriasis and leave your skin as soft as a newborn’s bum is something to experience at least once.
Here’s what you need to know:
Hot Waters, Cold Cash
There are four entry packages to choose from. Each package offers a different level of amenities, the minimum being just the entry ticket, the most luxurious including a reserved table at the restaurant. I opted for the “Comfort package” for 50 Euros. It included entry into the lagoon, a towel, robe, sample size silica mud mask, and a drink at the lagoonside bar (that I didn’t get because I was short on time).
- Comfort package: 50 Euros
- In-water massage: 50 Euros.
- The bus to get there was $25 and I bought the ticket from Go Camper’s office.
- Luggage storage at the Blue Lagoon: $5
- Total: $140
Many people recommend a visit to the Blue Lagoon before or after a flight because it’s only 23km from the airport. I booked my visit for 9am the morning of my 4pm flight home. I found this time constraint added to the chaotic feel of my experience. I dropped off the camper car at 7am, and waited an hour outside for the bus, my toes eventually numbing to the freezing cold. Not pleasant. The bus only comes once an hour, so if you’re waiting from inside your hotel, you’ll be much better off. Make sure to check what time your bus leaves to head back to the airport from the lagoon, so you don’t miss your flight! Driving to the Blue Lagoon is an also option, and will help you avoid the line to check your luggage (more below) if you leave it in your car.
Lines vs. queues
Buy your entry ticket online! It will save you time. Same if you’d like a massage (more below). There are two separate lines/queues to enter: a longer, slower one for those who need to buy entry tickets, and a shorter, quicker one for those who bought their tickets online. Which one do you want to be in?
As soon as you get off the bus, there’s a line/queue to check your luggage. If you took the advice to visit the Blue Lagoon directly before or after a flight, join your fellow bus riding globetrotters in an annoyingly long line/queue. In fact, I was late to my massage due to this line/queue, and almost missed the bus on the way out as I waited to pick up my luggage. I hope this is something they improve on, because it was way too stressful for a place that touts itself as “an oasis of relaxation.”
How to Hotpot
Upon checking in, I was given a robe, towel, and a key bracelet and directed to the locker rooms. Please do your fellow lagooners a favor, and shower with the complimentary soap before you enter the lagoon. It’s smart to condition your hair (don’t rinse!), tie it up, or use a swimming cap, because the same minerals that are great for your skin will leave you looking like a Medusa. There’s an overpriced swim up bar, pots of silica mud for use as a face mask, and towel racks stationed around the lagoon to hang your towel (though I don’t know how you’ll know which is yours–they’re all white!).
I treated myself to an in-water massage, floating on a mat in the lagoon, my head held above water by an air pillow. It was relaxing, but a bit disorienting as the masseuse moved me through the water. She was kind enough to consistently pull warm water onto the “blanket” that covered me. It was a unique experience, but underwhelming. If you’re determined to experience this, you’ll need to make a reservation about a month in advance to negotiate your time slot.
To bring the Blue Lagoon home with you, there’s a store on site with expensive Blue Lagoon skin and hair care products, good for gifts or souvenirs if you’re willing to dish out the dough.
I’m happy I went, because the Blue Lagoon truly is visually stunning. The steam rising from milky aqua waters surrounded by moss covered lava fields really is otherworldly. But, once was enough, and I don’t need to go back. It certainly wasn’t relaxing; too many lines, which cut down on the time I could have spent soaking. I recommend visiting other lagoons so you get a variety of experiences, like the Myvatn Nature Baths and Fludir’s Secret Lagoon, both of which satisfied my desire for relaxation more than the Blue Lagoon. Happy hotpotting!