By Jessica Russo
Ready for some R&R? An experience at Iceland's popular Blue Lagoon goes way beyond your typical spa day. Step into pure peace and serenity, as you soak all your stresses away in the steamy, mineral-rich, milky-blue water of this geothermal spa. Before you dive right in, there are some helpful hints you should be aware of. Here's everything we wish we knew before we visited the Blue Lagoon.
Book tickets in advance
The Blue Lagoon is on every tourist's list. So, hate to break it to ya', but you will not be the only ones there. In order to reserve a spot during your trip, book your Blue Lagoon reservation weeks in advance. We've heard way too many stories of people thinking, "I'm sure we could get tickets the day of" - let's just say, they're still waiting to go to the Blue Lagoon.
How do should you get there?
Long story short: The Blue Lagoon is about 50 minutes from Reykjavik and 15 minutes from Keflavik Airport, by car. If you'll have a rental car during your stay, the lagoon is easily accessible from the main highway. If you're looking to get a little boozey, there are several airport and hotel shuttles available.
Tickets are a little pricey
The "comfort" package, which is the base package, starts at about 56 USD, however it varies depending on how far in advance you book, popular dates, and time of day. The comfort package includes lagoon entrance, a free silica mud mask, use of a towel, and one drink of choice.
If you're looking for more of a spa experience, "premium" package tickets start at 79 USD, and luxurious "retreat spa" package tickets start at about 234 USD.
Don't be self-conscious
You listen, and you listen good: do not let your fear of showing skin stop you from this once-in-a-lifetime experience. We promise, no one will be looking at you! Everyone will be focused on their precious time in one of Iceland's most popular attractions. Just think - everybody's doin' it.
While you may have heard rumors that you have to strip down and shower in-front of people, that is not the full truth. There are segregated male, female, and special needs showers that have frosted glass doors. After all, last I checked, a luxurious spa experience should not feel like prison.
Why not go straight from the airport?
Depending on flight times, it might be a good idea to book your visit for a couple hours after your arrival. That way, you have to time to collect your luggage, find your transfer, and head over to the lagoon. Come on, what says "welcome to Iceland" like a rejuvenating dip in a steamy, mineral-filled lagoon? Not only will an arrival visit feel amazing post-flight, it'll also save you time and money on transfers, since it's right near Keflavik Airport. Also, many hotels don't allow check-in until after 2pm, so it's the perfect way to kill some time.
Go early to avoid crowds
Imagine the peace of a purply sunrise as you soak in the steamy Blue Lagoon. Watch the shade of blue become brighter and brighter as the sun gets stronger. Not only is morning at the lagoon more tranquil, it is usually less crowded. Going early also allows you to spend half the day having other Icelandic fun.
Bring your own robe and slippers
Don't let that steamy seawater fool you - the ground is cold. So cold, that walking around without shoes may be painful. Sure, the lagoon offers robes and slippers for sale, but why pay an extra fee for something you can bring along? Stay cozy - in and out of the water.
Bring a waterproof camera
Take a few shots with your "good" camera, then secure it in your locker. Take along a waterproof disposable camera, however, to throw around and take awesome photos in the lagoon! Disposable waterproof cameras average at about 10 USD, and while the quality may not be top-notch, the memories will be.
They have shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryers there
Did somebody say free of charge? In Iceland!? No need to lug along extra hair supplies - take advantage of the rare freebies.
The water in the Blue Lagoon is amazing for skin, but it ain't so nice to hair. Nobody wants the dreaded "Blue Lagoon hair." The silica, salt, and algae is so strong that it can cause some real damage to your hair. Think: dry and brittle. Sort of like your hair gets frozen, except it doesn't really unfreeze... yikes.
To avoid this, tie your hair up in a high bun, if you can. Of course, it will probably get splashed at some point, but do not fear! Using the conditioner provided, drench your hair and do not rinse it out before entering. Yes, this means a slimey not-so-cute up-do, but everyone else will be rockin' the same look. When you get out of the lagoon for good, use a clarifying shampoo and wash and condition thoroughly. Voila! Good as new.
Remove all jewelry
The Blue Lagoon's active ingredients (silica, algae, minerals) may be good for your skin, but they are bad for your jewelry. Not only can the seawater accumulate in your jewelry and make it difficult to remove, it will also severely tarnish silver. Also, it may very easily get lost. So, unless you want to ruin or lose your valuables, it's better to be safe than sorry - just leave your jewelry off.
Okay, don't bring your beloved designer sunglasses because there is a very good chance they'll get ruined from the strong seawater. Do, however, bring a knock-around pair of sunglasses, as long as you don't mind them getting a little worn. On sunny days, the reflection of the sun off of the Blue Lagoon can be blinding. Throw on your sunnies and see just fine!
Bring a sealable plastic bag for your swimsuit
Once you're all rinsed off after a soak in the lagoon, the last thing you'll want is the silica and sulfur-filled water following you. Whether you're going straight on a plane, driving back to your hotel, or setting out on another adventure, you'll always be thankful you put your swimsuit in a plastic bag.
It may ruin your manicure.
Don't be heartbroken if your nails are far from perfect after the Blue Lagoon. The minerals in the water are so powerful, they tend to remove nail polish, or even cause some to have a rusted effect. Your best bet is not wearing nail polish at all; you can always re-paint your nails after.
There is luggage storage
Visiting on your way to or from the airport? No problem. You can secure your luggage for free at the Blue Lagoon lockers, which are controlled by your own electronic wristband-key.
There's a floating swim-up bar
Need we say more? Cheers to an amazing visit to the one and only Blue Lagoon!