Is The Blue Lagoon Worth It? (The Good, Bad, & UGLY)

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, consistently being ranked among the top things to do in the country. Given the relaxing experience, the soothing milky blue water, and the beautiful atmosphere, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

While this might not be a natural Icelandic hot spring, you still get the entire experience of one, and, having personally visited recently, we can attest that the Blue Lagoon is unique and serene.

Though there are some things we had wished we knew before going to the Blue Lagoon. To make sure you also get the most out of your visit, we’ve prepared this guide telling you the essential things you need to know before visiting Blue Lagoon.


All About the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is likely the most popular stop in Iceland, mainly thanks to it’s milky blue color and for offering a relaxing spa like experience. The waters of Blue Lagoon have a milky blue shade, caused by the high content of silica, salts, and algae, which cannot be found in many other Iceland hot springs. This isn’t cause for any concern though, since these contents normally don’t have a negative effect on health unless you’re specifically allergic to any of these, in which case you should consult a doctor before visiting. In fact, it’s actually said the waters can cure psoriasis and have other beneficial effects on the skin.

The silica is also responsible for the white-colored mud at the bottom of the lake, which visitors use as a body scrub and face masks.

The area around Blue Lagoon is known as a geothermal hotspot. In fact, the waters found in the Blue Lagoon come from the nearby Svartsengi power station, which uses the area’s geothermal activity to produce power, with the runoff water being used by Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon Facts

  • It takes 40 hours for all the water here to renew itself naturally.
  • There are 9 million liters of geothermal seawater in the Blue Lagoon
  • The geothermal seawater originates at 6500 feet!
  • The lava surrounding the Blue Lagoon is 800 years old!

Where Is the Blue Lagoon Located?

Where Is the Blue Lagoon Located?

This geothermal spa is located in southwestern Iceland, near the fishing town of Grindavík. Located southwest of Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon is a 30-mile drive from the capital city, which takes about 50 minutes.

Alternatively, if you’re landing at Keflavik International Airport, then you can start your trip by relaxing at the Blue Lagoon after a long flight. A very popular option for those on a short trip! The drive from the airport is only 20 minutes! Here, visitors can enjoy a relaxing hot springs experience while taking in the sights of Mount Þorbjörn and the Reykjanes Peninsula.


The Blue Lagoon – The Bad

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
I found the warm spot!

Before we dig into the basics and what to expect, I’ll note some of my criticisms of the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was the last stop on our Iceland trip, and I knew that I might be mixed on the experience. By now, we have visited over 15 hot springs in Iceland, and consider them an integral part of a trip to Iceland.

Because we have been to so many amazing hot springs and public pools in Iceland, I must admit I had low expectations for the Blue Lagoon, and that’s because I wanted to be pleasantly surprised. However, after spending three hours there in the morning, I still left underwhelmed. Though it’s one of the top things to do in Iceland, I personally think you can give the Blue Lagoon a skip – especially if you are on a budget.

Almost every other hot spring we visited was a better experience than the Blue Lagoon, and nearby you have the Sky Lagoon, which is still commercial and touristy, but less so. Other nearby ones are Krauma, Hvammsick, and the natural hike to Reykjadalur Thermal Bathing Pools. If you want to experience the blu milky water and are traveling around Iceland, the Myvatn Nature Baths are comparable. Okay, enough about my feelings, let’s dig into why I didn’t love this experience.

It’s Expensive

Almost all the hot springs in Iceland have a high price tag, but the Blue Lagoon has the highest price tag. We were not on a budget in Iceland, but I really debated purchasing a ticket to the Blue Lagoon when there are so many other amazing things to do. Sure, they offer a free drink and a mask, but that doesn’t justify it for me.

It’s Touristy

I knew it was the Disneyland of Iceland before going in, but I was shocked by just how many people were there, even at 7 am. Probably because they run full tour buses to the Blue Lagoon from the capital and airport. We visited Vok Baths at opening and were the only people, and shut down Krauma and Hvammsick hot springs.

From the changing rooms, to the pools the Blue Lagoon is touristy AF. And it’s not really the type of tourist you’ll find elsewhere in Iceland and at the other hot springs, but more Disneyland tourists, if you know what I mean. Sure, the pool is plenty big enough to handle the crowds, but that doesn’t mean the crowding didn’t take away from the vibes. If you didn’t think mass tourism existed in Iceland, think again.

It’s One Pool

After visiting the Forest Lagoon, Vok Baths, Krauma, and many more I grew accustomed to testing out different pools with varying water temps. I’ll dig into this in more detail below, but the Blue Lagoon is just one giant pool with no varying water temps.

Not as Relaxing

Probably because of the mass tourism and the one large hot tub, the experience didn’t feel as relaxing as the other hot springs we visited. At 7 am, I was expecting to be in complete zen, but I wasn’t.

It’s not Icelandic

Many of the other hot springs we visited in Iceland felt Icelandic, but nothing about the Blue Lagoon felt this way. If it weren’t for the volcano activity off in the distance, I could have been at any vacation destination in the United States! Sure, some people who have only spent two days in Iceland on a quick trip and who only visited the Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon will disagree with me, but after spending more than a month traveling around Iceland, I can without a doubt say the Blue Lagoon is not representative of Icelandic culture.

It’s not Natural.

I touched on this before, but as cool as the milky blue water is, it’s not natural.

It’s Kid Friendly

This can be a pro and a con, and as someone without kids, I know this is touchy, and our views might change if we have kids, but spas that are kid-friendly are just not as relaxing. When there’s a large tub filled with kid floaties at the entrance of a relaxing environment, it’s not a good sign. Many other Icelandic hot springs have age limits to get in, and this is to ensure kids aren’t running around screaming like we are at a waterpark.

Where Do Those Bridges Lead?

This one drove me crazy. As soon as you get to the outdoor area of the Blue Lagoon you’ll notice all the cool pathways that crisis cross over the pool. We kept getting out of the pool to take the pathway to what we thought was another pool. However, these pathways went nowhere and just led to the same giant bathtub we were talking about. Yes, they looked cool and otherworldly, but other than that, they completely lacked purpose.


The Blue Lagoon – The Good

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

Okay, after all that I think it’s time I noted some positives, because there are plenty of those to note before visiting the Blue Lagoon.

It’s Well Run

As with many things Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is well run. They’ve been doing this for awhile, and it shows. From the check in, to the cleanliness, shower attendants, towel boys, bar girls, and even the pool attendants and “lifeguards,” everyone has nailed their job role.

It’s Clean

For how many people roll through here every hour, it’s impressive how clean not only the pool is, but the shower and changing rooms!

It’s BLUE

That water is without a doubt the milkiest and bluest we’ve seen in Iceland, the only other comparable would be at the Myvatn Nature Baths, which are also geothermal runoff.

“Freebies”

I won’t say things like the free drink, mud mask, and towel are exactly free, because obviously you are paying for it in your admission fee, but it’s a nice little perk that many of the other hot springs don’t include. Although hot springs like the Vok Baths and Krauma are cheaper, they do not include a drink or towel – so even though you’re paying for it somewhere, it feels like a little perk.

It has a Great Location

It’s close to Downtown Reykjavik, it’s close to Keflavik Airport. Really it’s in the perfect location for those visiting without a vehicle in Iceland or those that just have a few days and are basing themselves out of the capital city.

It’s BIG

It’s easily the biggest hot spring area we visited, even compared to the large Sky Lagoon nearby. Although it’s busy there is still plenty of space for people to spread out, and you don’t feel like you are on top of anybody.

Plus…

The timed slots at hot springs are nothing new, and most are now implementing them. At the Blue Lagoon the timing system is 100% necessary to prevent from overcrowding.

It’s Open Late

During the summer season the Blue Lagoon stays open until Midnight on some days, which is the latest out of any of the hot springs we visited. If you are trying to jam pack your days you easily can go for a hike around Glymur Waterfall, Múlagljúfur Canyon, visit Skogafoss and drive the whole South Coast, and STILL make it back for a dip in the evening.

The Water is Good for the Skin

The Blue Lagoon’s geothermal seawater flows from volcanic aquifers deep within the earth, emerging at the surface enriched with silica, minerals, and algae. You’ll see the white silica mud everywhere and this strengthens the skin’s barrier function, providing a healthy and radiant appearance. The minerals have salts that are said to have revitalizing effects on the mind and body, while the algae is unique in that it reduces collagen breakdown and increases collagen production.


Things To Know About the Blue Lagoon


The Blue Lagoon Isn’t A Natural Spring

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

Iceland is packed with natural hot springs due to its high geothermal activity, but you should know that the Blue Lagoon isn’t one of them. The landscape and shape of the pool have been created naturally, but the hot milky blue water is thanks to the nearby power plant.

After the power plant was set up, people took advantage of the natural landscape and pool and used the filtered runoff from the power plant to keep the water heated.

However, regardless of the Blue Lagoon’s non-natural origins, the surrounding landscape is as natural and beautiful as it gets.


When is the Best Season To Visit the Blue Lagoon?

The best time to visit Iceland depends more on preference than anything else. If you’re not a fan of the cold and don’t mind the usual tourist foot traffic, then the summer months are best suited to you. The weather is pleasant, the days are long, and access to places becomes much easier.

However, the summer months are also when everything becomes a bit more expensive and, with the increase in tourists, demand is high and accommodation and flights will be a lot more expensive. 

On the flip side, while winters in Iceland can be very harsh, you can travel on a decent budget and not have to put up with crowds of other tourists. Winter is also when you’re able to see the northern lights, one of the most amazing natural phenomena on the planet.

Many visitors also prefer to go to the Blue Lagoon at night during the winter months so they can enjoy the views of the northern lights while they soak in the hot water.


When is the Best Time To Visit the Blue Lagoon?

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
The Blue Lagoon at 7am

For the most crowd-free experience, we recommend visiting before 9 am or after 8 pm. And while you may be thinking before 9 am sounds a little excessive, I need to put an extra emphasis on the before 9am especially in the summer. We were there at first opening at 7 am on a June day, and I was shocked that a line had already formed at the entrance when we walked up at 6:45 am.

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
The Blue Lagoon at 9 am

I changed and showered quickly and was in the water by 7:15 am. Our first hour in the Blue Lagoon was surreal, and despite cutting myself short on sleep, I was so happy we booked the 7 am time slot. By 8:30 am, the masses had arrived, and we watched the pools and locker room get quite crowded. By 10 am we were on our way out the door.

Between 9 am and 8 pm, especially during the summer months, the pools will be very crowded with groups, and it may ruin your peaceful experience. By 9 am, people were chugging beers already and acting like they were on a Carnival Cruise bound for a college football game – I’m not joking.


Operating Hours

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Blue Lagoon is open from 8 AM to 9 PM from January to May, 7 AM to 12 AM from June to August, and 8 AM to 10 PM from August to December.

However, despite the long opening hours, it’s best to get in as early as possible so you can enjoy the relaxing warm waters of the Lagoon with as few people as possible. Alternatively, you could also go a little later in the day as well to avoid any tourist rush.


Cost & Packages

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

Visitors to the Blue Lagoon have the option to choose from different tiers, but the most popular ones are the Comfort Package and the Premium Package.

The Comfort Package was what we went with as it includes entry to the Blue Lagoon, a towel, a mud mask treatment, one free drink at the swim-up bar, and a complimentary towel. Tickets for the Comfort Package start at €57.

The Premium Package includes everything available in the Comfort Package, with the addition of two more face separate mask treatments, a bathrobe, and one glass of sparkling wine if already dining at Lava restaurant. Tickets for the Premium Package are a bit more expensive, starting at €73.

It's important to note that those €57 and €73 prices are starting prices, and despite being displayed on the website, I rarely found those price points. Prices change depending on date and time. Typically the earlier in the day you book, the cheaper your ticket will be. If you book on a weekday vs a weekend, your ticket will also be cheaper. You'll have to play around with the website to get the best deal!

Save Some Money at the Blue Lagoon on Combo Tickets

If you pre book sometimes you can save a buck. Some companies also offer combo tickets that will include other attractions with the Blue Lagoon to save a few dollars.


How Hot & Deep Is The Water?

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

The waters of the Blue Lagoon stay between 98F and 104F (37C and 40C), although the temperature can still fluctuate slightly depending on the surrounding climate at that time.

When we were visiting, the weather was a bit chilly, but the water was so warm and comfortable that it didn’t make much of a difference. We stayed in the Blue Lagoon for a few hours comfortably. It’s worth noting that the waters were the most luke warm out of all the hot springs we visited in Iceland, which was great for staying in the pool for hours on end, but not so great when I wanted more heat. Sometimes you could find little warm pockets where the water was being pumped into the pool, but that was it. A slight disappointment compared to other hot springs, like Hvammsvik hot springs, with separate pools for those wanting more heat.

The maximum depth of the Lagoon is almost five feet, so if you have little children with you, make sure they’re careful and don’t venture into deeper water. Though I am only 5’2″ and had no issues with water going over my head anywhere in the Blue Lagoon.


The Changing Rooms at the Blue Lagoon

The changing rooms at the Blue Lagoon, like most such places in Iceland, are communal so be prepared to get naked while surrounded by other people. However, despite the lack of privacy, nobody stares and everyone keeps to themselves in the changing rooms.

The changing rooms are, however, divided by gender. There are also a couple of stalls with frosted glass if you’re a bit shy and don’t feel comfortable changing in front of everyone else. The stalls tend to be a bit busy though so you’ll need to wait and when you’re in, you should be courteous and change as fast as possible.


Showering Facilities

Showering is mandatory before you go into the water at Blue Lagoon, or any public pool and hot spring in Iceland. A lot of emphasis is placed on the waters of the Blue Lagoon (and even other hot springs) staying clean, so everything is done to ensure that as little dirt or debris contaminates the water.

So be sure to shower with all your clothes off (even your swimsuit) before you get into the water. Both Cameron and I noted that many shy Americans, were showering with their swimsuit on, which is not the correct way in Iceland. There is a public showering area, but there are also private shower stalls with shampoo, conditioner and body wash for those who are a bit shy.

You might feel a bit cold, but the walk from the showers to the Lagoon is very short and you’ll be warm before you know it. If you have opted to rent a bathrobe, the short walk should be no problem for you.


 Don’t Be Alarmed By The Slight Sulfur Smell

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

You might notice a slight sulfur-like smell when you enter the Lagoon, but don’t be alarmed. The entire area experiences geothermal and volcanic activity and this slight smell is nothing to be alarmed about. 

As you spend more time at the Lagoon you won’t even notice it. Personally, I only noticed it when I was in the changing rooms. Once I showered and was out, my nose had gotten used to the smell and it didn’t bother me anymore for the rest of my visit.


 The Size & Features of Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

Unlike other hot springs where there are multiple different-sized pools, the Blue Lagoon is one large pool filled with milky blue water. One distinct feature is the dark lava-rock formations that form the boundaries of the pool.

I was disappointed in the fact that the Blue Lagoon was essentially just one large lukewarm bathtub that you shared with hundreds of others, when all the other Icelandic hot springs were smaller and had separate pools.

There’s also a swim-up bar where you can buy alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and cold drinks. The wristband that you get on entry connects directly to your card, so you won’t need to carry anything while you’re in the pool. The bar will scan your wristband and give you whatever drinks you would like. They also have fresh juices and smoothies, which is ideal if you visit at 7 am like we did and are not in the mood for alcohol.

If you’ve never had a drink while relaxing in a hot pool before, I would highly recommend it. The cold drink and the warm water combined made for a unique and soothing experience. 


There’s No Cold Plunge

Because it’s all just one giant pool, we didn’t find a cold plunge at the Blue Lagoon. It’s the only hot spring in Iceland we visited without one, and as cold plunge lovers, this was a bit disappointing to say the least. If your heart is set on a cold plunge, we recommend heading to the nearby Sky Lagoon.


Other Amenities At Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon doesn’t just offer a hot spring where visitors can lounge and relax. The facility also has a mist and steam room that is made completely of wood and looks incredibly rustic.

There’s also a mask bar to get different face mask treatments. We had bought the Comfort Package which included one face mask treatment, which was more than enough for my sensitive face.

You can also get an in-water massage and float therapy, where a therapist guides you to float in the water and performs light massage. The experience aims to help you enter a meditative state and relax while you’re floating on the warm soothing water. It might sound gimmicky, but when we spoke to a couple who took part, they said it was a very relaxing and therapeutic experience.


The Exclusive Spa Experience

The Blue Lagoon also has a Retreat Spa package, which includes private access to the Lagoon, private changing rooms, spa treatment, reservation at the Spa Restaurant, and a free drink.

The spa offers a luxurious relaxation experience while giving floor-to-ceiling views of the milky blue waters of the Lagoon.

The Retreat Spa package is a luxurious experience and the price reflects that, with tickets costing €502 per person.


Beware! The Water Can Damage Your Hair

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
Hair was slicked back with layers of conditioner!

Before you head into the water, you should know that the high silica content can be absolute murder for your hair. It’ll become dry and brittle, and even break off if there’s too much exposure to the water. Despite being told by the staff multiple times, and plenty of signs saying this, I saw multiple people soaking their entire head underwater. I’m unsure if they know what the consequences will be!

If you have long hair, just make sure you tie it up and keep it dry. I have very long hair, and at the recommendation of the Blue Lagoon, I coated it in conditioner and tied it in a bun before hitting the water. I didn’t have any issues with my hair after our day at the Blue Lagoon.

We also saw some visitors wearing tight swimming caps and that seemed to do the trick, but it would be best to keep your hair as dry as possible.


You Can Stay The Night at the Blue Lagoon

If you’re in the mood to spend the night, the Blue Lagoon offers some incredible accommodation options. We didn’t know we had the option of staying overnight before we visited, otherwise we definitely would have taken advantage.

The first is Silica Hotel, just a 10-minute walk from the Blue Lagoon which features its own private lagoon. Room prices start at €480 and the Hotel consistently scores favorable visitor reviews.

Then there’s The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, a luxury resort with 60 rooms, a spa, a private lagoon, and even a Michelin-star restaurant. The experience has a heavy price tag though, with room prices starting at €1500. 


Buying Skincare Products

The Blue Lagoon also has its own line of skincare products, made from the minerals and salts found in the waters of the Lagoon. You’ll find masks, serums, and creams for all different skin types. If you want to buy a €40 jar of mud mask, it’s a great memento from visiting the Lagoon.


Hike Around The Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
The hike around the premises

A 1.6-kilometer walking trail surrounds the entirety of the Blue Lagoon allowing you to explore the area (for free if you don’t want to enter the lagoon at all!)


Dining Experiences at the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland

The Blue Lagoon has no shortage of gourmet dining with three different restaurants; Moss Restaurant (which has been featured in the Michelin guide as well), Lava Restaurant, and Spa Restaurant. The menu at all three restaurants is wide and varied and also features vegan and vegetarian options. If you’re not in the mood for a full meal and just want something light and fast then head on over to the Blue Cafe.


Things You Should Take With You to the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland
Make sure you bring sunglasses if it’s a sunny day!

The essentials to bring to the Blue Lagoon include a swimsuit and a plastic bag or dry bag if you plan on taking your phone into the water. A towel is included with the entry fee, but a robe is not included in the comfort package. I would suggest not adding on a robe to your package as it will 100% get lost among the other hundreds of white robes.

You don’t need to bring any toiletries for cleaning up, since the showers have complimentary shower gel, conditioner, and shampoo. However, there was no body lotion provided, so make sure to bring some! Since we got to the Blue Lagoon at 7 am, I brought a change of clothes and all my makeup to get ready with, there were blow dryers provided in the changing rooms.

What to Pack for Iceland • Our Ultimate Iceland Packing List

My Top Tips For Visiting the Blue Lagoon

blue lagoon
  • You must prebook, and time periods do sell out!
  • If a few photos are your only objective, you can do so for free on the outside of the building.
  • Go right after you land so you can get a shower. Did you arrive to Keflavik early and your hotel isn’t ready yet? Go take a shower and soak at the Blue Lagoon!
  • Get the comfort package. Seriously, you’re going to lose that “free” robe they give you real fast, and I really don’t think the extra face mask is worth more money.
  • Don’t wear any jewelry! They say the waters won’t tarnish your jewelry, but I wouldn’t chance it.
  • Get a dry bag. I didn’t have one, and ended up fussing with keeping my phone dry way too much. But I knew I wanted the photos to write this article, so I couldn’t not bring my phone. If you don’t care about photos, don’t mess with the phone at all!
  • Don’t get your hair wet! Coat it in the provided conditioner like I did and leave it up! Trust me!

The Sky Lagoon vs Blue Lagoon

sky lagoon and blue lagoon

Iceland is renowned for its geothermal wonders, with none more iconic than the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is well known, but there’s a new guy in town. It’s no secret that the Sky Lagoon is a direct competitor to the Blue Lagoon.

We visited both the Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon and much preferred our time at the Sky Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon is larger, more iconic, has a beautiful milky blue color, included mud masks, and an included drink. Though the drink is nothing more than a basic alcoholic drink (or we opted for a fruit smoothie as we visited at 7 am), and the Blue Lagoon costs just a bit more. However, the Blue Lagoon loses on so many categories to us simply because of one thing – the crowds.

That doesn’t mean the Sky Lagoon is a hidden gem, as plenty of people are heading here. However in comparison to the Blue Lagoon, the vibe was much chiller, and the crowds were at bay. Built in 2021, the Sky Lagoon is newer, and the whole area has a more upscale feel. If we had had a clear day, the views from the Sky Lagoon would have been unparalleled.

In general, I liked soaking in the Blue Lagoon as the milky blue water is a unique phenomenon, though the vibes killed it for me. Although neither lagoon is natural, I would recommend the Sky Lagoon to any visitor any day of the week.

10 Things to Know About The Sky Lagoon (IS IT WORTH IT?)

Other Nearby Attractions

If you have a car, Krauma is 1.5 hours away from Reykjavik and a much quieter experience

There are a lot of activities and attractions close to the Blue Lagoon. Natural wonders like Gullfoss Falls and Thingvellir National Park are some options. You can also visit Hallgrimskirkja, a beautiful Lutheran church that stretches almost 250 feet into the sky. The Viking World Museum is also nearby, where you can climb aboard a replica of a 9th-century Viking ship.


Overall Impressions

Hvammsick Hot Springs (our favorite)

The Blue Lagoon is a hit for some people, and a miss for others. For Cameron and I, it was a miss and we much preferred any of the other hot springs we visited in Iceland. Although the blue milky silica water was amazing, and I enjoyed the mud mask experience and our morning in a geothermal area I feel there are better places to spend almost €100 a person.

We visited many hot springs in Iceland. If you are looking for a nice free hot spring, check out Reykjadalur Pools. Our favorite paid hot spring was, hands down, Hvammsick Hot Springs. Or if you want to go enjoy an Icelandic pool like the locals do, that’s another great budget option!

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.