After visiting Forest Lagoon and Hvammsvik and coming back to Reykjavik, we found ourselves missing the experience of relaxing in a hot pool while enjoying nature. This is when the mood struck us to make one more visit to such a place before we left Iceland and we were lucky enough to come across Sky Lagoon.
This gem is only a few minutes away from Reykjavik city center and, even though a man-made lagoon, it still managed to give us the same experience of tranquility and serenity that we found in more remote natural locations.
We were glad we took the time to visit this place as it offered a very different experience than the one we found at other hot springs in Iceland, like Vok Baths, Forest Lagoon or Hvammsvik. From a multi-step wellness and self-care ritual to a 230-foot infinity pool, we knew we had stumbled across something unique within the first few minutes of our visit.
We’ll give you a breakdown of all the things you should know about Sky Lagoon and even walk you through each step of their wellness ritual to ensure you have the best trip you possibly could.
All About Sky Lagoon
Iceland has no shortage of lagoons, springs, and pools, so the competition is pretty high, with each one going to great lengths to differentiate themselves from the rest. It’s no double that visiting one is one of the best things to do in Iceland and an integral part of Iceland travel. Sky Lagoon’s unique selling point is the “7-Step Ritual“, an experience that exposes you to both hot and cold repeatedly, through a hot lagoon, a cold plunge, a sauna, mist, steam, and more.
You don’t have to do the Ritual, and it is an add on to the basic Sky Lagoon experience. Those who do not pay for the Ritual experience will not have access to any of the amenities like steam bath and sauna, which is unusual of other hot springs in Iceland where one ticket typically gets you access to everything on offer.
We opted for the Ritual because we didn’t want to miss out on the experience and it’s part of what differentiates the Sky Lagoon from the Blue Lagoon.
Located only 15 minutes from downtown Reykjavik, this man-made lagoon uses natural water and geothermal sources to provide an amazing hot springs experience, with incredible views to boot. This place is so popular that many people who have layovers in Reykjavik take advantage and head over to Sky Lagoon for a dip in the hot spring lagoon.
Sky Lagoon may be a man-made lagoon, but it offers the same natural beauty and serenity you would find in nature, and you get the same geothermal experience without the smell of sulfur that you find in natural hot lagoons. Not to mention the place is incredibly gorgeous, from the rock faces of the lagoon to the interior design and overall aesthetic of the place.
The goal is to promote wellness, relaxation, and rejuvenation. While it might sound a bit cheesy (we were skeptical at first as well), this isn’t a gimmick! The seven steps are rooted in Icelandic tradition and each step has a purpose. By the end, we were BEYOND relaxed and my skin felt like a newborn’s.
The Seven Step Ritual
Step 1 – The Lagoon
The experience starts at the main lagoon, where the warm soothing water and refreshing ocean air put you at ease. The rock faces and winding waterway make for a tranquil and peaceful setting. Everyone who visits the Sky Lagoon has access to the main lagoon, you do not need a special ticket for it.
The temperature of the water stays between 38°C and 40°C, but there might be further fluctuations in temperature depending on the weather. There’s also a swim-up bar in the lagoon that sells both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Prices are about on par with the rest of Iceland.
The hot water is supposed to soothe your body and get it ready for the remaining experience to come. We lounged in the hot water to our heart’s content and we were so relaxed we couldn’t imagine what could make the experience better. Little did we know that we were in for a huge surprise.
Step 2 – The Cold Plunge
The second step isn’t so much relaxing as it is stimulating. Right beside the lagoon is a small pool, a bit bigger than a Jacuzzi, where people take a cold plunge. Cold therapy is known to stimulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, and boost endorphins. In simple terms, your aches and pains will feel better, you’ll feel happier, and a lot less lethargic, which was exactly how we felt after we were done with the cold plunge. Everyone who visits the Sky Lagoon will also have access to the Cold Plunge.
After testing the water with my toe I thought I wouldn’t be able to go through with it, but once I got inside the cold pool and managed to get the water over my shoulders it got much easier. We stayed in the water for about 5 minutes, and it’s recommended you not stay in for much longer than that.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the cold pool. Even if it’s for a few seconds, make sure you take a dip. It’s good for circulation and it’ll keep your body temperature in the right place for the next step.
Step 3 – Sauna
After treating your body by relaxing in the hot pool and being stimulated by cold therapy, it’s time to get started on the skin. The next step is to head back into the heat of the sauna, where your pores open up, cleansing the skin and detoxifying it. Only those who purchase the ritual experience will have access to the sauna.
This has to be one of the most aesthetic saunas I have ever seen, with wood covering almost every inch, a classic rock stove, and a large single window on one side of the room offering incredible views of the surrounding water.
In addition to it being a treat for the eyes, it’s just as pleasing to the ears and nose. The acoustics of the room are incredible and the silence is so soothing. There’s also a pleasant aroma in the sauna; almost a mix of warm cedarwood and coastal smells.
No matter how relaxing it is, make sure you don’t spend more than 20 minutes inside the sauna.
Step 4 – Cold Mist
Back to the cold again.
After the sauna, we headed over to the cold mist shower, a beautiful open-ceiling room where the cold mist stimulates the senses once more and also closes up the pores that we opened up and cleaned out in the sauna.
As with the cold plunge, try to spend at least 2 minutes inside the cold mist. If you’re not interested in the refreshing and stimulating properties of the cold water, then use the opportunity to rinse off the sweat you gathered in the sauna. This not only prepares you for the next step but also allows you to get the full benefit of it.
Step 5 – Sky Body Scrub
After the cold mist, we were handed small bowls of Sky Lagoon’s signature body scrub to continue working on our skin. We were led to a corner of the main room with stools where we could sit and scrub our bodies with ease.
If you have any nut allergies then make sure you tell the staff so they can offer you an alternative if available. The signature scrub contains different nuts and nut oils and you could end up getting very sick.
We scrubbed ourselves fully and thoroughly and even though it felt a bit tingly, we felt amazing and it felt like our skin was already glowing. Avoid scrubbing on any sensitive areas though, including fresh wounds or freshly shaved areas.
Step 6 – Steam
The penultimate stage of the Ritual involves exposure to heat, which is the last extreme temperature. The steam room is used to open the pores once again to absorb all the goodness and hydration of the signature body scrub. Also, the heat offers another opportunity to relax.
We stayed for 10 minutes, which we were told was enough for us to get the most benefit from the experience. Good thing too because it was getting a bit hard to breathe with the heat and steam.
Step 7 – Shower
The final step of the ritual is a cleansing shower, where you wash away all the scrub, sweat, and impurities. It felt AMAZING to wash everything away and the feeling of relaxation just poured over me like a waterfall. My skin also felt noticeably different, glowing bright and feeling firm and smooth.
After The Ritual
After the ritual you’re allowed to go back into the lagoon and relax more if you want. We decided to jump back into the lagoon for a while, bought some cold drinks, and relaxed. We thouragly enjoyed the infinity pool, which has a 230-foot edge and brilliant views of the ocean.
How Much Does The Sky Lagoon Cost?
The Sky Lagoon is far from the cheapest thing to do in Iceland. At a base price of $50 it’s about on par with many other hot spring experiences in Iceland, and cheaper than the Blue Lagoon. Though, it doesn’t offer the free drink and mud mask that the Blue Lagoon offers or an included sauna or steam room. However, like the Blue Lagoon, the Sky Lagoon uses dynamic pricing meaning prices may be higher during peak usage times.
Sky Lagoon offers 5 different types of passes, two of which are for couples.
The most expensive pass is the Sky Pass, where you get access to the lagoon, the 7-Step Ritual, and the use of private showers and changing rooms. A Sky Pass for one costs 12,790 ISK or $98 and a couples pass, which also includes drinks and a food platter from the bar, costs 36400 ISK or $275.
After that is the Pure Pass, which costs 9790 ISK or $75. The Pure Pass offers the same access to the lagoon and 7-Step Ritual as the Sky Pass, but you won’t get access to private changing rooms and showers, but instead shared changing rooms and showers. The couples pass is for 30400 ISK or $230 and also includes drinks and a food platter.
The last type of pass is the Pure Lite Pass, which costs 6790 ISK or $52. The Pure Lite pass grants access only to the lagoon and cold plunge, which is still great because even the lagoon on its own offers an amazing relaxing experience.
- Prices start at ISK 6,790
- Sky Lagoon admission (cold plunge pool access)
- Includes towel
- Prices start at ISK 9,790
- Sky Lagoon admission (unlimited cold plunge pool access)
- One trip through the seven-step ritual
- Includes towel
- Prices start at ISK 12,790
- Sky Lagoon admission
- One trip through the seven-step ritual
- Private changing room
- Includes towel
- Prices are lower in the early morning hours, or late evening hours right before close.
- It’s best to book tickets in advance online, rather than walk up.
The Food at Sky Lagoon
Sky Lagoon has two options for eating, both offering rustic dishes that highlight Icelandic cuisine and culture.
The first is ‘Smakk Bar’ which offers small and large tasting platters and an assortment of beers, wines, cocktails, cold drinks, and hot beverages. A popular option is the Cheese and Chocolate Platter (which we, of course, ordered) which comes with Icelandic cheeses, like Auður and Feykir, and an assortment of chocolates from Nói Siríus, the oldest chocolate factory in Iceland.
The second is Sky Cafe, offering a menu of soups, sandwiches, and some rustic Icelandic dishes. We stopped at the cafe after we were done and filled up on some different Skyrs, another Icelandic cheese that has a yogurt-like consistency. We also grabbed a couple of lattes to keep us from drifting off to sleep because of the excessive relaxation we enjoyed in the lagoon.
Sky Lagoon is surrounded by some great sights, like Mount Keiler, a cone-shaped mountain that has been used by sailors for centuries to help them navigate, including Vikings!
Snæfellsjökull, a 700,000-year-old glacier, is also nearby towering on the horizon and offering spectacular sunset views. You can also see the northern lights during your trip if you are visiting between September and April/early May!
Bessastaðir, the official residence of the President of Iceland, is also nearby. This historic property is an ancient manor farm that dates back more than 1,000 years to the Age of Settlement.
When we visited the Sky Lagoon, we enjoyed one of the best hikes in Iceland earlier in the day, which is Glymur Waterfall. It’s just an hour away from the Sky Lagoon and leads up to one of the most magnificent waterfalls in all of Iceland.
The Sky Lagoon vs Blue Lagoon
Iceland is renowned for its geothermal wonders, with none more iconic than the Blue Lagoon. This natural marvel stands out as one of Iceland’s top tourist destinations, primarily due to its convenient location near the airport and its distinct milky blue waters teeming with silica, algae, and minerals. 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.
We booked the 7am slot, and were shocked that there was still a lineup to get in the door. Although thank God we booked that slot as it allowed us an hour or two of tranquility before the true crowds descended at 9am. There was a bit of a football match crowd, even early in the morning, if you know what I mean. A bit Disneylandish, without Mickey Mouse.
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 there killed it for me. Although neither lagoon is natural, I would recommend the Sky Lagoon to any visitor any day of the week.
Is The Sky Lagoon Worth It?
Sky Lagoon offers a unique experience as far as hot springs in Iceland go. With its convenient location and the 7-Step Ritual that promotes wellness, relaxation, and rejuvenation, it is definitely worth the experience.
The only drawback to Sky Lagoon is that if you want to use the sauna or steam room, then you’ll have to buy a more expensive pass. In comparison, other hot springs and pools offer access to all their facilities (which includes saunas and steam rooms) for the same price as the Pure Lite pass offered by Sky Lagoon. An argument can be made that other places offer more value for the same money.
However, as far as convenience goes, Sky Lagoon does offer the best experience without visitors having to leave the city. Other notable hot springs and lagoons are a bit further away from Reykjavik, but Sky Lagoon is only a few minutes drive from the city center. Also, if you are one of those people who would be interested in something like the 7-Step Ritual, then Sky Lagoon is the place for you!
Sky Lagoon FAQ
How long can you stay in Sky Lagoon?
You can stay in the Sky Lagoon as long as you want, though it’s recommended to stay in the pools between 2-3 hours. We personally spent about 3 hours at the Sky Lagoon enjoying the whole experience.
Can I put my hair in Sky Lagoon?
Yes! Unlike the Blue Lagoon where the minerals can make your haid feel dry and matted after dipping it in, the Sky Lagoon is safe for hair. That being said, I did try to avoid getting my hair completely wet in the lagoon. There is shampoo and conditioner in the showers to use.
How deep is the Sky Lagoon?
At its deepest point, the lagoon is 120 cm (3’11” ft) deep.
What is the temperature of the Sky Lagoon?
The lagoon maintains a temperature range of approximately 38 to 40°C (100 to 104°F), but the ever-changing Icelandic weather can significantly impact the guest experience, leading to fluctuations in temperature.
Is the Sky Lagoon wheelchair accessible?
The Sky Lagoon facilities have been designed to be wheelchair accessible, offering accessible change rooms and showers. Additionally, a chairlift to assist with entering the lagoon.
What all is included in the admission price?
Towels are free for all guests, which is not the case for most Icelandic hot springs. There is also shampoo and conditioner in the showers and blowdryers in the changing rooms. All guests have access to the main lagoon, cold plunge, and swim up bar.
Is There an age limit to enter the Sky Lagoon?
Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to enter Sky Lagoon. Visitors between the ages of 12 and 14 must be accompanied by a guardian who is 18 years or older.
How do I make purchases while I’m in the lagoon? Do I Need cash?
As with most hot springs in Iceland nowadays there is no need to carry cash or card on you and instead you’ll be granted a wristband. This serves as both your locker key and credit card for all your expenses throughout your visit. Sky Lagoon will link your credit card to this wristband when you make your reservation. This wristband will also grant you access to exit at the conclusion of your experience.
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