Inside Edition to Iceland: The Mystique of the Blue Lagoon
Let me begin by saying that I did not expect to fall in love with the blue lagoon. Given that 1), it is heavily marketed to international tourists, 2), all celebrity visits to Iceland feature the blue lagoon as a top Instagrammable moment and, 3), it was artificially created from wastewater pumped out by a neighboring geothermal power station, I was prepared to shudder delicately and turn up my highbrow nose at such an obvious touristy attraction. Since I’m not a spa aficionado, I expected to spend no more than fifteen-twenty minutes in testing the waters and finding it too crowded or too cold (the outside temperature being a bone-chilling 38°) I would deign it to be “done.” I would clap my gloved hands briskly together as if to say, “checked off the bucket list” and stride off to find the next big adventure.
Instead, I ended up frolicking in the blue waters of the lagoon for two hours without getting bored with the experience. Despite its popularity, the blue lagoon remains an eerie, mystical destination. Here are the top reasons why the blue lagoon is a must-see-must-relish experience:
Named in 2012 as one of National Geographic’s ‘25 Wonders of the World’ the blue lagoon has evolved from its origin as a reservoir of geothermal runoff into a geothermal wonder. The beautiful milky-blue opaque water makes a stark contrast to the surrounding black lava field covered with dark green moss, making it a picturesque location to hang out in.
The warm seawater is rich with minerals such as silicon and sulfur that reputedly do wonders for your skin. The large man-made lake has the perfect temperature to bathe in—on average it’s 39°C or 102°F—and spacious enough that it’s easy to find “quiet areas” for intimacy. The constant bath temperature and waist height depth make it so relaxing that even a wimp like me who always feels cold, could enjoy it for two hours, sipping bubbly at air temperatures just above freezing.
The lagoon is fed by the water output of the energy geothermal power plant built in 1976. Since the water is continually streaming into the lagoon, all the water is renewed every 48 hours, making sure it stays pristine-clean.
There is a pool bar in the lagoon and the purchase of a ticket includes one free drink. There is also a swim-up mud bar, where you can get a silica mud mask for your face—also included in the basic package.
The blue color of the lagoon comes from the blue-green algae that thrives in the water. The algae is also one reason touted for why the water is supposed to be good for the skin.
Things to watch out for:
It’s not cheap. A swim in the milky blue waters will cost you a minimum of $64, which includes a silica mud mask, a towel, and a drink. You can upgrade to a premium package for $91, which includes a second mask, use of slippers and a bathrobe, a table reservation at the lagoon's Lava Restaurant, and sparkling wine if eating at the restaurant. You can also shell out $268 for four-hour exclusive entry to the spa in addition to the pool.
Though some Insta photos make it seem like an oasis in the middle of Iceland’s rugged landscape, the blue lagoon is actually a developed resort. Pre-booking is required, days up to weeks in advance as it gets very busy and they limit the numbers for safety and comfort.
Expect the crowds. Indeed, you can scarcely turn your head without seeing snap a selfie. And, watch out for your bathrobe. Even if you pay for the upgraded package and get a robe, it’s a struggle finding it after your swim among dozens of other identical robes hanging on hooks.
Hair warning! Ladies, your hair will get ruined from the salty water. In spite of the advice given to apply loads of conditioner, your hair will dry out. There is no conditioner around the lagoon—you need to go back to the changing rooms to get some for free. The advice is to take your own moisturizer with you, to apply before, during and after your visit—your hair will thank you!
In a nutshell, don’t let people convince you the blue lagoon is too touristy. So is the Eiffel Tower in Paris . . . but, would you miss it?