All you need to know about the Blue Lagoon (and then some)

Many Icelanders have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Blue Lagoon. The locals find it very touristy and it’s quite expensive – especially in comparison to the local geothermal pools we all grow up frequenting. For the older generation, they also remember a simpler time when the Blue Lagoon was just a shed out in a lava field and it didn’t cost two weeks’ worth of groceries to visit with your family. And you didn’t need to book you spot weeks in advance.

I don’t know what I think about the Blue Lagoon. I have a lot of feelings and opinions that I haven’t necessarily categorized, some of which I’ve shared here on the blog throughout the years, but I think for the purpose of this post I’m just going to keep everything that is not useful to you as a guest wanting to visit the lagoon to myself and focus on the practicalities of visiting.

When to go to the Blue Lagoon

When during your Iceland adventure should you visit the Blue Lagoon

Most people you talk to will recommend that you visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to or from the airport for the simple reason that it makes sense logistically.

The Blue Lagoon is located between Keflavík Airport and Reykjavík, where most people spend their first night in Iceland, and to save time on transport and make the most of your time it makes good sense to add the Blue Lagoon to the journey between those two places.

For travelers coming from North America or other long-haul flights I am firmly in the on the way TO the airport camp while I see how visiting on your way FROM the airport might make more sense for someone flying in from Europe.

Let’s start with the North Americans. Most of you fly in on overnight flights that wreak havoc on your circadian rhythms and arrive super early in the morning local time. You lose a few hours, your body gets all confused when it’s morning when it’s supposed to be night and even if you are one of the lucky ones that can sleep on airplanes, you probably didn’t get more than four or five hours of not-so-stellar sleep.

To become adjusted to the time difference and beat the jet lag, it’s recommended that you try to stay awake until it’s nighttime here in Iceland on your first day. It’s going to be hard and you will want to take a nap but indulging in it is just going to make the following days more difficult on you.

Visiting a hot pool like the Blue Lagoon drains your energy on a good day, let alone when you’re already reaching for the toothpicks to keep your eyelids open. Sure, you’ll be all relaxed, but you’ll be so relaxed that falling asleep on the way into Reykjavík will become almost inevitable.

Therefore, it’s counterproductive in my opinion to visit the Blue Lagoon when you’re supposed to be trying to stay awake. I would much rather recommend you try to do something active outdoors that will help you on this quest – like doing a walking tour or a whale watching tour or something. I would also recommend you don’t do any long drives after a redeye flight, but I’ve actually written a full post dedicated to that topic.

I base my second reason for why you should do the Blue Lagoon on your way to the airport if you’re flying back to North America on my own personal travel habits and how I see people around me spend their last day at a new destination. If you fly out around 5 pm, or when most of the North American flights leave Iceland, you need to be at the airport no later than at 3 pm or even earlier if you’re returning a rental car. The drive from Reykjavík to Keflavík is 45 minutes which means you will need to leave Reykjavík at 2 pm the latest.

This doesn’t give you enough time to do anything that matters on your last day and more likely than not you’ll spend the time hanging around somewhere close to your hotel because you have a lot of luggage you don’t know what to do with and you don’t want to miss your ride to the airport.

In my view, it makes much more sense to spend the morning checking out and then enjoying the Blue Lagoon and have a somewhat productive and enjoyable day instead of hanging around your hotel lobby.

Admittedly, I’m often annoyingly practical and wasted time is one of my biggest pet peeves so this may be the reason I feel this way.

Visitors flying in from Europe usually arrive a little later in the morning than their North American counterparts and although you may have had to wake up early for your flight, jet lag and lack of sleep are not as big of an issue here. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to do the Blue Lagoon on the way from the airport if you are flying in from Europe.

Another thing to consider is that if you are flying back to Europe, there’s a good chance the flight is early morning on the way out so you wouldn’t have time to do the Blue Lagoon on the way to the airport. Which is another reason to get it out of the way on the first day.

When during the day should you visit the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon opening hours (August 2018)

If we assume you’re going to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to or from the airport it obviously makes sense to choose a time that makes sense with your flight and traveling time between the airport and the lagoon.

Most people want to visit the Blue Lagoon midday which is why those time slots are usually the first to book out.

The least busy times at the Blue Lagoon are either very early morning when they’ve just opened or in the early evening and until they close. Because the Blue Lagoon uses dynamic pricing based on availability, these are also the times when you might be able to score a ticket to the lagoon at a lower price. So if you want to try and save some money or enjoy the lagoon at a time when it’s less crowded, these are the times to aim for.

A lot of people tell me that they don’t want to visit the Blue Lagoon at those early or late hours because they want to enjoy it when it’s bright. In winter the daylight is certainly a factor, although I would argue that you don’t need to it to be bright to enjoy the Blue Lagoon, but in the summer you don’t have to worry about that. It’s bright all the time and the evening sun is often better for photography and such than the harsh midday sun.

If you don’t want to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to or from the airport, I would recommend you do it in the evening after you’ve finished your activities for the day. It maximizes your time and you’ll sleep well after a long day of sightseeing and soak in the lagoon.

How long to stay at the Blue Lagoon

I would say that most people stay for about 2 hours at the Blue Lagoon but for many 90 minutes is more than enough. There are also those who stay the whole day and the good thing about the Blue Lagoon ticket system is that even though you need to book your ticket in advance for a certain time, you can stay as long as you want once you’re in.

Personally, I think 2 hours is more than enough – maybe three hours if you want to have enough time to do your hair and makeup and such after you get out of the lagoon. As much as I like relaxing in hot water, my body just has enough after a while and a good indicator as to when it’s time to get out is when my fingers have turned into proper prunes.

With two hours you have enough time to enjoy a drink at the bar, get some masks for your face and visit the steam baths. Of course if the weather is nice you might want to lounge around and enjoy the sun but generally speaking, I don’t think you’ll want to stay there for hours on end.

How to get to the Blue Lagoon

Like I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, the Blue Lagoon is located between Keflavík Airport and Reykjavík, close to a small town called Grindavík. It’s about 40 minutes drive from Reykjavík and around 20 minutes from the airport. Therefore, you need some sort of transport to get you there as it’s not exactly a comfortable walking distance.

Self-drive

If you are renting a car it, unsurprisingly, makes the most sense to drive to the Blue Lagoon. There’s plenty of parking at the lagoon and it’s free of charge. The advantage of driving there yourself is obviously that you can just follow your own schedule and come and go as you please and if you have a car anyway it makes no sense to pay for a transfer.

The only instance where it would make sense to leave your rental car in Reykjavík and do a bus or private transfer is if you want to get a drink in the lagoon (there’s a two drink maximum though) and/or you want to eat at Lava restaurant and have wine with your food. Drinking and driving is severely frowned upon in Iceland not to mention that fact that it’s very much illegal.

Bus transfer

If you don’t have a car to drive yourself to the Blue Lagoon but you don’t want to splurge on a private transfer either a bus transfer is your best bet.

The biggest advantage I see to using a bus transfer is the fact that they are quite flexible. You can stay as long as you want in the lagoon and then when you’re ready you’ll just take the next available bus back to town. There are regular (approx. hourly) transfers between Reykjavík and the Blue Lagoon all through the day or while the lagoon is open but the options are a bit more limited if you decide to carry on to the airport from the Blue Lagoon or go straight to the Blue Lagoon from the airport. The Blue Lagoon to the airport schedule is built around the most common flight times and they work very well if you have an afternoon departure on a flight headed to North America.

Speaking of the airport, that’s another advantage of the bus transfer. It doesn’t matter whether you take the bus back to Reykjavík or onward to the airport, it’s the same price and the same ticket. If you plan to spend the night at the Silica Hotel you can even take the bus from Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon one day and then take the onward journey to the airport the next.

Keep in mind that this information refers to the bus transfer we offer through one of our partners here on the blog. Other companies might have fewer departures or do things a different way.

There are no good public buses that will take you to the Blue Lagoon that are worth considering.

Private Transfer

Some people opt for a private transfer to the Blue Lagoon and it’s quite popular to add a stop at the Blue Lagoon to private airport transfers.

A private transfer is a good option if you don’t want to bother with finding the bus and such and you just prefer having someone waiting for you when you land in Keflavík. I would say it’s a better option for those who don’t plan to stay very long in the lagoon as you need to pay for the waiting time of the driver if you stay longer than the standard time decided by the operator (varies from 90 minutes to 2-3 hours).

Another good thing about a private transfer is that the driver will wait for you with your luggage while you soak in the lagoon so you don’t have to bother with storing your luggage. If you decide that you’ve had enough earlier than you thought you would, the driver will also be there ready to drive you to your destination at your convenience.

Of course, all that extra convenience comes at a price but if you have a small group or family the price difference between a private transfer and the bus transfers is not always that great. Prices for these private transfers always depend on the group size and vehicles so it’s best to get a price quote from someone like ourselves if that is something you are interested in.

Like I mentioned before because you need to pay the driver to wait for you (the standard time is usually included in the price) this option can get a bit pricey if you plan to stay a long time in the lagoon. If your budget allows for it, this is, of course, the most convenient way to do it though.

Taxi

A taxi will cost you slightly less than a private transfer and it’s usually no problem finding a taxi to take you there whether it’s from Reykjavík or the airport. Although you can pay the driver to wait for you, the good thing about a taxi transfer is that you don’t have to. You can just take a taxi to the Blue Lagoon and then call another taxi when you’re ready to go.

The tricky thing about a taxi transfer though is that sometimes there are no cars available close by so you might have to wait half an hour or more for your taxi to show up. You can ask the driver to arrange for another driver to pick you up at a certain time but then you have to stick to that time and you can’t decide halfway through it that you want to stay longer than you originally thought. So it’s more and less flexible at the same time than some of the other options.

Many people prefer the safety of having a designated driver waiting for them and opt for private transfers while others are more comfortable with going with the flow and using a taxi.

What kind of ticket to get

Earlier this year (or maybe late last year – the days and months all merge into one with me) the Blue Lagoon made a change to their ticket structure and they stopped offering a stripped admission to the lagoon. So although they didn’t raise the prices that much, they eliminated the cheapest option and currently the cheapest ticket you can get to the lagoon is 6990 ISK or around 70 USD (before the cheapest option was around 4990 ISK).

When looking at the tickets and their prices, it’s also good to remember that the pricing is dynamic which means it changes depending on the demand. Because of that, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll get a ticket for the cheapest price during the more popular time slots so if you’re looking to save money it’s best to go later in the day like I mentioned before.

Group prices are offered but the Blue Lagoon limits the number of groups that they allow at any given hour so even though they have availability for individuals at a certain time sloth they might not accept groups at that time.

At the moment, there are three types of tickets on offer: The Comfort Package, The Premium Package and the Retreat Spa.

The Comfort Package

The comfort package is the most economical option and it includes basic amenities like the use of a towel and a drink of choice at the lagoon bar. On the Blue Lagoon website, they also say that their Silica Mud Mask is included but it’s always been available to everyone at the lagoon regardless of what kind of ticket they had so I don’t know if you can say that’s part of the ticket price.

For most people, the comfort package is more than enough and most who book their Blue Lagoon tickets through us choose this package.

For 2018 and 2019 the price for the comfort package ranges from 6990 ISK to 9990 ISK and it’s more common that you pay the higher price than the lowest. Children under the age of 13 do not need to pay but there’s an age limit of 2 years old so you cannot bring your baby with you.

The Premium Package

The premium package includes all the same as the comfort package but in addition, you get a bathrobe, slippers and a second mask of choice. When you book the premium package you can also book a table at Lava restaurant in the booking process and if you do that, you’ll get some free sparkling wine before your meal.

So you could say that this is more of a spa-like package which might be nice if you want to treat yourself. There’s a common misunderstanding that you have to book the table of Lava but it’s optional, you just miss out on the sparkling wine if you don’t.

Personally, I feel the bathrobe and slippers are not really necessary and it gets a bit complicated looking after your bathrobe when everyone is wearing exactly the same kind. I guess it would be helpful though if you plan to lounge around in the seating areas inside the building between soaks in the lagoon itself. The towel racks and hangers for the robes are numbered but I’ve never seen that being used successfully by anyone when I’ve been there.

For 2018 and 2019 the price for the premium package ranges from 9990 ISK to 12990 ISK and it’s more common that you pay the higher price than the lowest. Children 13 years and younger pay 3990 ISK for the premium package.

The Retreat Spa

The Retreat Spa is a newly opened addition to the Blue Lagoon that gives you access to private changing rooms and an exclusive retreat lagoon. You will also get access to the Retreat Spa and if you want to go to the actual Blue Lagoon during your visit you’ll also have access to that. The admission also includes something they call the Blue Lagoon ritual but I’m not quite sure what that is about exactly.

The changing rooms, that feature a walk-in shower, hairdryer and straightener, towels, bathrobes, slippers and Blue Lagoon skin care amenities, are booked in 5-hour slots and can accommodate 1-2 people at a time.

Although I haven’t been there, I feel from the description and photos that the Retreat Spa is more of an exclusive spa experience than the Blue Lagoon. They also have even more exclusive private rooms that have their own private rooms but the prices for that start at 240.000 ISK

In 2019, the price for the Retreat Spa is 79.000 ISK per room and it doesn’t matter whether 1 or 2 persons occupy it. It’s definitely not for everyone’s budget but if you have money to burn you might want to look into it.

Extra Services at the Blue Lagoon

Lava Restaurant

I already mentioned the Lava restaurant but that’s the onsite restaurant at the Blue Lagoon that many people eat at after their dip in the lagoon. I have only eaten there at events, so not of the menu, but I’ve never had anything but good food. It’s not the best restaurant in Iceland by any standards but the surroundings and the restaurant itself are rather unique and cool.

I would probably not eat there myself in the evening unless there was something special going on but I would recommend it for those of you who are going straight to the airport from the lagoon because the food options at the airport are less-than-thrilling.

Luggage storage

If you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to or from the airport it’s not unlikely that you’ll be lugging your suitcases around with you. Like I mentioned previously, you don’t have to worry about your luggage if you arrive in a rental car or with a private transfer but you opt for a taxi or bus you’ll need to take advantage of the Blue Lagoon’s luggage storage facilities. It’s in a small house by the parking lot, where the buses stop, and in 2018 the price was 550 ISK per bag.

If you’re traveling extra light, you will have space for your backpack in the locker in the changing rooms.

Massages

One thing I’ve kind of always wanted to try, just because I’m curious about how it works exactly, is the floating massage that is offered at the Blue Lagoon. I get a massage regularly here in Reykjavík but there’s nothing relaxing about that experience and on more than one occasion I’ve walked out with a bruise. I’m really interested in seeing how they can give you a good massage floating on water.

There are limited slots available for massages and they tend to book out quickly, especially around noon. The massages are often booked out 2 weeks in advance so you should probably try to book as soon as possible if this is something you want to try.

The last time I checked you could book massages and other in-water treatments between 11:00 and 18:00 and they can only be booked by sending a booking request via e-mail.

In 2019 the price for a 30-minute massage is 10.900 ISK and a 60 min massage is 17.000 ISK but you can also book various additional treatments for different prices.

A few practical points about your Blue Lagoon visit

Accessibility

The Blue Lagoon offers disabled parking, wheelchair accessible changing rooms big enough for a wheelchair user and one assistant, free entrance for assistants, shower chairs upon requests and there’s a ramp to get into the lagoon. So, I think it’s safe to say that’s accessible for wheelchair users at least.

Watch out for the bar

The Blue Lagoon has a bar in the lagoon (and one in the indoor relaxation area) and your entrance ticket comes with a complimentary drink of choice. It pretty nice to relax in the lagoon with a cold beer but be careful because alcohol has a different effect on you when you’re in the water.

The last time I was in the lagoon there was a 2 drink limit per bracelet but I’m guessing that’s pretty easy to get around if you are visiting with someone who’s driving or doesn’t drink. You can be kicked out for being visibly intoxicated and there are a lot of hard surfaces around if you’re a wobbly drunk. It’s probably best just to respect that limit.

Remember to stay hydrated

When you stay in hot water for a long time, not to mention if you take advantage of the steam or sauna rooms, then you should try to remember to keep hydrated. There are water fountains that you can use to get some water and I’m sure you can ask for some water at the bar too, although I’ve never tried it.

Standing up too quickly

If you have any issues with your health and you’ve been in the water for a long time you should be careful when you get out of the lagoon because apparently, it does happen every now and again that people faint if they’re not careful. I think this mostly applies to elderly people and maybe those who have issues with dizziness and their blood pressure and such but it’s something that is good to keep in mind.

Need help with your Blue Lagoon booking?

We here at I Heart Reykjavík can help you take care of your transportation and Blue Lagoon bookings and we have many excellent partners to choose from. We always try to choose the best partner to fit your budget and needs so whether you just need the cheapest bus transfer, an affordable transfer for your group or private luxury transfer – we can make it happen.

I hope you consider booking your tours through us as we earn a small commission for every booking you make with us. That is how we keep the blog alive and continue offering valuable information and answering questions from travelers like yourself. We don’t charge you a booking fee if you book through us but you can see our full terms and conditions here.

You can book your transfers yourself by using the links above or you can send us an e-mail if you have any questions or need further assistance. Please note that Blue Lagoon tickets can only be booked via e-mail and as a part of a transfer booking. For stand-alone tickets to the Blue Lagoon, the best way is to book it through the Blue Lagoon website directly.

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2 thoughts on “All you need to know about the Blue Lagoon (and then some)”

  1. Clair says:

    When I sent for the first time, I decided to not put a cap on my time and see how long I would naturally start in the water for. Six hours!!! I reluctantly left as it was almost closing time. Turns out I like lounging around hot water 🙂

    1. mm Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      Thankfully we’re all different. 6 hours in hot water sounds like torture to me 🙂

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