Ahh, yes, Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, one of the things that drew me to Iceland in the first place.
But, weirdly, one of the things I always forget to talk about when telling stories of my Iceland trip.
Now, the main international airport most flights come in on is actually Keflavík International Airport — about 40 minutes outside of Reykjavík. Blue Lagoon is located in the middle of a lava field (seriously) in Grindavík, which is conveniently situated between KEF and Reykjavík. So for most people traveling to Iceland from the United States (read: us), it’s pretty typical to land in Keflavík in the morning, and head straight to the Blue Lagoon to relax and fight off the jet lag before going into Reykjavík and checking into hotels… so that’s exactly what we did.
After long delays, we finally landed in Iceland. Going through customs was super quick, and Jonny’s brother Alex was waiting for us on the other side. We had originally booked our tickets in advance for the Blue Lagoon, which included a shuttle from the airport, but because of the delays we were unsure when the next bus would arrive. Being tired from an overnight flight, excited to finally be in Iceland, and just wanting to get into those warm waters, we took a taxi instead. I definitely don’t recommend this, as we’re pretty sure we got extremely overcharged for the ride.
I had read a lot online about the Blue Lagoon. How it’s not very authentic, is extremely touristy, and if you want a REAL Icelandic hot spring experience, you’re better off exploring the many natural hot springs throughout the country. I did find Blue Lagoon to be really commercialized — one blog had described it similar to a Vegas-style pool, and I can’t disagree — but it’s just one of those things that you have to cross off the bucket list, ya know? As much as I hate bringing social media into this, Blue Lagoon makes appearances EVERYWHERE: Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook. Why would you make it all the way out to Iceland and then NOT go to one of the most well-known and photographed places there?
When we landed in Iceland, it was cold, grey, rainy, and wet. This actually made for a great experience in Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately, I didn’t get ANY pictures on my phone, because I was too nervous it’d get ruined. Why I didn’t bring my waterproof case I usually bring, I’ll never know. (Actually, it’s because I’ve mainly brought it to tropical destinations with an ocean, and didn’t think about the waterfalls and potential wetness in Iceland.) I say it was nice because, while it may have been freezing and wet and gray and rainy, it made the “blue” of the lagoon stand out more, and the warmth of the springs more enjoyable with it being otherwise downright disgusting outside.
We went to the entrance of Blue Lagoon through a long, hectic line — and with our luggage in tow. Inside was LOUD, and there was five people in our group… I’m not sure how, but I was standing behind everyone, so I couldn’t really hear or understand the instructions the check-in woman was telling us. The boys went to their separate locker room, while the girls stowed away our luggage (which cost extra, and was in the middle of a hallway). This whole part of the experience I could definitely do without. I was tired, having just gotten off a plane, still had all my luggage, as did a lot of others around us, and there was no rhyme or reason to what was going on. I just wanted to get out into the lagoon!
As is custom in Iceland, we changed into our swimsuits, put all our clothes into lockers, then took a full-body naked shower. I lathered the shit out of my hair with conditioner, because I heard the lagoon water can be very damaging. With our robes and flip-flops, eventually we made our way out to the lagoon. We took off our robes and immediately ran into the warmth, in order to escape to 40° wet weather. With our ticket came a free drink, so Alex and I headed straight for the bar, while everyone else went to get some face masks.
So, yeah, definitely Vegas-style with a swim-up bar. At check-in, they gave us wristbands that we could scan at the bar, basically adding to our tab, and we would settle the bill at the very end. They had wine, beer, and even waterproof cell phone cases (that I think, if I remember correctly, would have been about $30 USD). We spent HOURS in the lagoon, until maybe a little after 3 or 4pm when we ate lunch at their sit-down restaurant, Lava. I believe I had the langoustine soup and the lamb filet if I’m remembering correctly. While the food was good, it’s nothing to write home about.
Although I dinged the lagoon for being “Vegas-y”, I definitely still feel as though Blue Lagoon is an essential part of any Iceland itinerary. With its proximity to the airport, how could you not make a pit-stop here? The otherworldly views of the black lava fields surrounding us as we made our way through turquoise water, seeing the heat rise up throughout the lagoon, was just a small taste of the surreal landscapes Iceland would afford us that week.
We did eventually catch a shuttle back to our hotel in Reykjavík, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fall asleep on the way there. We got settled into our hotel, then eventually wandered into an Italian restaurant for dinner, before checking out Harpa Concert Hall at night and heading back to get some rest before our campervan pick-up in the morning.
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