When suggesting to visit Iceland to my friend Sandra, she said she would tag along under one condition: we had to visit the Blue Lagoon. Immediately my eyes started rolling and I thought: “why?” I’d been there before already and ever since had heard many stories about the increasing crowds. Her answer was “because whenever you see/hear something about Iceland, The Blue Lagoon is mentioned.” And so we went to Iceland and The Blue Lagoon…
This post about why not to visit The Blue Lagoon isn’t written with the purpose of keeping you away from it. However, I’m a little tired of reading just how great The Blue Lagoon is, while many people fail to mention any of my five reasons. I want to give you, my readers, an honest and realistic blogpost about my experience at The Blue Lagoon and more important: what to expect of it. After reading all of it (yes, please continue all the way down to the bottom) I’m sure you will be able to decide for yourself if you should or should not visit The Blue Lagoon…
1. The price
The moment I purchased a ticket for the Blue Lagoon, was a moment with a lot of pain in my heart. Did I really just spend € 45 on a ticket to get into some hot water pool? Yes, I did … Although everyone has to decide for themselves whether you want to spend this amount of money on bathing in thermal water, I think the entrance fee for The Blue Lagoon is outrageous. To give you an idea: just outside of downtown Reykjavik, next to the city campsite, there’s a swimmingpool where they have various open air hot baths. The entrance fee is about 5 euros and you get to stay as long as you want…
Note that the entrance rate for 2020 starts at € 66 per person, but these are the end of the day rates so you won’t be able to stay long. Generally, admission throughout the day will be around € 85 so that means it has almost doubled over the past four years since I first wrote this article.
2. There are many other thermal pools
Iceland is filled with thermal pools. Apart from the swimmingpool in Reykjavík, I’ve been to various other ones, such as the hot stream at the Reykjadalur area and the hot pools in Landmannalaugar. Just outside of Reykjavík, near the lighthouse at Grótta, is a small thermal bath as well. It can only fit 3-4 people but you have the most amazing view of the bay and the city. And you know what … all of those are entirely free!
Alternatively, if you just want to bathe in hot water that is not as blue, you can visit the Secret Lagoon instead but it must be booked in advance as well.
Also read: the best free alternatives to the Blue Lagoon
3. The crowd
Unless you are either super early or extremely lucky, you can forget about having the pool for yourself and being able to take a romantic picture with your lover in the bright blue water. While we were in Iceland sometime mid-June (not even extremely high season) The Blue Lagoon was full. And I mean FULL with tons of people. Tourists from all over the globe such as large groups of Asians sticking together, families with crying children, backpackers drinking too much beer… you get my point, right? Even though it wasn’t as busy as I expected, it still was way too crowded for my taste.
4. The fact that you have to book it
My first time at Blue Lagoon was back in early 2006 on our way back home from New York. We made a short stopover on Iceland and thought it would be fun to visit The Blue Lagoon, which turned out to be no trouble at all to arrange the same day on the spot. Nowadays it’s essential that you book your visit selecting a date and time you are expecting to arrive. Bye bye flexibility.
You can book your visit ahead here.
5. The queue
Although we booked tickets for a certain time slot, we still had to queue. And I’m not talking five minutes here, I’m talking about at least 45 minutes. We had just arrived by plane and should have known it would be a busy hour, however as we pre-booked it, we expected that there wouldn’t be a line. Staff were explaining that people were staying inside longer than usual and there for they could not allow more people inside. Needless to say, it really pissed us off because we booked ahead of time with a reason: we still needed to drive to Hella for the night and had arranged an hour of arrival with the owner of the property we were staying at. So we had to shorten our planned time at Blue Lagoon and could eventually only stay 1.5 hours. Needless to say I wasn’t happy about it.
Below you will find a short 15 second video that gives you an impression of my time at The Blue Lagoon. As our time was a bit shorter than planned, I decided to not spend too much of my time on taking pictures but instead just enjoy being there…
Ofcourse, it’s not all negative. As I was bathing in the blue water and trying to relax while sipping from a drink, the sun shortly peeked through the clouds and I loved being there. So in addition to the things I mentioned above, here are my five reasons why you definitely have to go to The Blue Lagoon, if only once in your life:
1. The water is blue!
Did I mention that the water is blue? I meant that the water is extremely blue. Not the kind of blue you will see in the Caribbean or Thailand, but some kind of light turquoise blue, like ink from a pen mixed with milk. You won’t experience this somewhere else in the world, at least not to my knowlegde, which makes it a pretty unique experience.
2. Staff is friendly
Whatever I said about the queueing, The Blue Lagoon staff remained super helpful and friendly. They offered the guests waiting in the queue icecreams and water and they were always available to answer questions and explain the situation. When we had additional questions, they were very helpful and they spoke in perfect English. Thumbs up for the staff!
3. You can take your camera (and selfie stick!)
As opposed to some other tourist attractions in the world, you are allowed to bring your own camera including a selfie stick into The Blue Lagoon. You can take it with you into the water (be careful though) and take as many pictures as you want. There was free wifi in many parts of the swimming area so I got to upload them to Facebook and Instagram straight away, making my friends back home jealous that they were still working while I was bathing …
4. It’s warm
Weather is generally cool (or rather: cold) in Iceland. Believe me, unless you are some kind of lucky bastard, you will be experience being very cold in Iceland. Warming up in the hot waters of The Blue Lagoon and the ongoing memory of that will definitely help you to keep warm during your time in Iceland. So if you plan to go: do it before you are visiting the rest of Iceland and you won’t be sorry!
5. You just cannot go to Iceland without entering The Blue Lagoon
Did I just say that? Yes, I did! Going to Iceland without going to The Blue Lagoon would be the same as going to New York City without going to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s just not done. You will forever regret if you travel all the way to Iceland without experiencing the Blue Lagoon, including the crowds. So just go … for the sake of it!
Are you still going to visit The Blue Lagoon after reading this post? I sure hope you will! If you have been, do you agree with my opinion? I’m curious! Be sure to also read my post with the best free nature baths in Iceland! They will make sure you’ll save a lot of money! Also make sure to check out this article with more pro’s and cons for visiting the Blue Lagoon.
Where to stay near the Blue Lagoon
Most visitors to the Blue Lagoon will choose to stay in Reykjavík which is an excellent choice as the Blue Lagoon is right on the way from the international airport to the city. I can truly recommend staying The Marina Hotel which is right across the harbourside and offers amazing views over the water and the mountains in the distance. Alternatively, check all possible accommodation for Reykjavík here. In case your flight is out early the next day, you may want to overnight near Keflavík airport, check all possibilities here! Iceland is popular and after my 11th visit to this amazing country in July 2019 I can’t stress enough that booking ahead is smart since everyone wants to visit this amazing country. Feel free to reach out in case you may have any questions!
Plan your trip to Iceland
Going to Iceland? Awesome, you will not be disappointed, I promise. These will help you to plan your trip to Iceland:
– Order your copy of the Lonely Planet Iceland guidebook here.
– Check flight prices and schedules from anywhere in the world on Skyscanner
– Go here for the best hotel options near The Blue Lagoon.
– Check and compare rental car rates for Iceland here
Conclusion and disclaimer
Whether you should go or not is completely up to you. I wanted to go again in 2019 but when I saw the giant increase in price I figured it wouldn’t be worth it and so I went to other hot springs instead.
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