A trip to Iceland is not complete without a stop at the Blue Lagoon. A short drive from Reykjavik Airport, it’s the country’s most visited site — the fact it is man-made, does not diminish the charm. This geothermal spa located in Grindavik’s black lava fields (the southwestern corner of the island), is a fortuitous by-product of the country’s commitment to geothermal energy. The spa features state of the art facilities and is very Scandinavian – it’s immaculately clean and well organized.
Thanks to Iceland’s volcanic activity, the country has a never ending supply of geothermal energy from natural hot water bubbling up from the earth’s core. Eighty-five percent of the country’s atmospheric heating is generated from geothermal sources. At power station Svartsengi, superheated water originating 1.2 miles below the earth’s surface, passes through an exchange process to provide fresh water for heating while also generating electricity. The runoff water forms a lake nearby and functions as a spa. Rich in salt and minerals and possessing an otherworldly milky blue hue, the Blue Lagoon’s warm waters (98-102° F) are praised for their healing qualities.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR BLUE LAGOON VISIT:
Make a stop on your way to or from Reykjavik Airport…
Depending on your travel schedule, plan a visit either before you head to Reykjavik or at the tail end of your vacation – it’s 14 miles from the airport and 29 miles from downtown Reykjavik. There’s even a place on site to store your luggage. If possible, arrive early (8am) before the crowds for the most relaxing and authentic experience.
Book tickets in advance…
Purchasing tickets online is required and makes your check in process hassle-free. Upon arrival, enter the welcome area and receive your wrist band which tracks any purchases you make. There are changing facilities, lockers, and showers to pass through prior to taking your dip in the lagoon. The lagoon area has a swim up bar, a place to receive your silica or algae mask, a sauna, steam room, and lava steam cave.
The sprawling facility also features a lobby gift shop with Blue Lagoon branded facial and body products, a full-service restaurant, and to-go style café where you can grab a quick bite after your spa experience.
Choose a service level…
On the Blue Lagoon website, under the ticket purchase section, are descriptions of the four categories of service each with increasing levels of amenities and services:
Standard: This entry level option provides entrance to the facility and a silica mud mask, applied as you soak in the blue waters, which acts to “deep-cleanse and leave your skin fresh and clear.”
Comfort: Adds on use of a towel, a complimentary drink at the swim up bar, and an algae mask that promises to “nourish your skin and minimize fine lines and wrinkles promising a youthful glow.”
Premium: Adds on the use of bathrobe and slippers, a reservation at full-service Lava Restaurant and a glass of sparkling wine with your meal.
Luxury: The top tier of service, includes all of the above plus entrance to the Exclusive Lounge. You are met by a customer service person at the entry to the spa facility and immediately whisked into your assigned (and lockable) changing room — a lovely private area with a shower stocked with amenities and spa products, with direct access to a common lounge complete with comfy couches, cozy fireplace, and light snacks and beverages.
If making a stop on your way to or from a flight, make sure to place items in your carry on that you might need during your spa visit: change of clothing, bathing suit, flip flops. A waterproof lanyard pouch for your smartphone comes in very handy. Prior to entry into the lagoon, put conditioner in your hair to protect it from the silica (it’s definitely not good for color treated or keratin treated hair).
Care to spend the night at the spa?
Consider the adults-only Silica Hotel, a boutique 35-room property just steps from the Blue Lagoon with an expansion slated for next year.
Before you leave, head up to the roof top viewing platform for some great selfies.
For more travel tips on Iceland’s capital city, check out my recent article: Best of Reykjavik
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