6 Things You Need to Know before Going to Iceland's Blue Lagoon

18 January 2015

If you ask anyone what to do in Iceland, I guarantee the first thing they'll say is to take a trip to the Blue Lagoon. Just a short drive outside of Reykjavik, the Blue Lagoon is a great, easy day trip from the city, but there are a few things you should know while planning your trip.

6 Things You Need to Know before Going to Iceland's Blue Lagoon | The Brave Little Cheesehead
I bet you didn't expect a trip to the spa to be at the top of your list of things to do in the land of fire and ice! Despite it being perhaps the most touristy destination, it was certainly one of the highlights of my trip. If you keep these 6 things in mind while planning, I'm sure your experience will be as unforgettable as mine!
6 Things You Need to Know before Going to Iceland's Blue Lagoon | The Brave Little Cheesehead

1. Plan for a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik
This might not be an issue for those that will rent a car or plan a few extra days for their trip to Iceland, but since I was only there for 5 days, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to do everything on my list. Spending nearly an hour and half getting to and from the Blue Lagoon could have cost me some valuable time wandering around Reykjavik. The good news is that if you plan ahead, you can reduce your transit time to the Blue Lagoon.

You can actually get to the Blue Lagoon in route from the airport! For my trip to Iceland, we had purchased a package through IcelandAir that included flights, lodging, a Northern Lights tour and a trip to the Blue Lagoon. We decided to go to the Blue Lagoon straight away after landing at the Keflavik airport. Shuttles leave regularly, but make sure you check schedules to plan accordingly. Once you're finished at the Blue Lagoon, you can take the same shuttle down to Reykjavik. This was advantageous because we not only saved time, but we also saved money from having to pay for an airport transfer upon our arrival on top of transportation to and from the Blue Lagoon. It was also a nice cure for jet lag.

Don't worry about having all of your luggage with you -- you can pay 3 EUR per bag to store your luggage right near the shuttle pick-up. There is an attendant to watch your bags, so we felt very safe about this, but I would still suggest making sure to bring a lock to secure your luggage. I also had a small backpack as my carry-on, so I made sure to have my swimsuit, toiletries and change of clothes easily accessible so that I didn't have to repack in the middle of the parking lot. This worked out really well.

Another reason I was glad that we decided to go to the Blue Lagoon on our way to Reykjavik rather than to the airport for our departure is because of the water residue that dries on your skin. It is true that the water from the Blue Lagoon makes your skin feel silky soft, but first it's rough and flaky until you take a shower. There are showers at the Blue Lagoon, of course, but to me, sitting on an airplane for 7 hours with sopping wet hair sounds just about as enjoyable as feeling scaly, frizzy and dry.

2. Be sure to bring or rent a towel and footwear
I did not think to bring either of these items. Lucky for us, a towel was included in our admission package, but we wished we had flip flops with us. Since it was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the ground was pretty cold, especially after we'd gotten out of the hot water. I definitely recommend having a towel as well to keep you warm while outside.

If you're trying to cut down on what you pack, I suggest checking out the various package options for the Blue Lagoon before planning your trip. You might be willing to pay a bit more while there so that you don't have to lug around extra items.

6 Things You Need to Know before Going to Iceland's Blue Lagoon | The Brave Little Cheesehead

3. Protect your hair with conditioner
Okay ladies (and gentlemen, too). Here's the thing: You might be tempted by the natural, healing and smoothing properties of the water in the geothermal spa. You might think to yourself, "If said water is so great at softening my skin, then surely it must be equally awesome in my hair." But let me just tell you that unless you plan on resembling Ms. Frizzle and having random children ask you where you're hiding your Magic School Bus, I urge you to follow the below steps.

Step 1: Find conditioner in the showers at the spa
Step 2: Dispense exorbitant amounts of conditioner into palm of hand
Step 3: Rub globs of conditioner all along hairline (don't be shy)
Step 4: Tie hair up and secure loose ends
Step 5: Go all Katniss Everdeen on anyone who tries to get your hair wet

I had read horror stories from other female travelers that were brave enough to dunk their heads in the Blue Lagoon, so I was already a bit weary of doing this myself (though truthfully, after I got there, I was strangely very tempted to submerge myself for inexplicable reasons). I have thick, long hair that is naturally curly and just loves to go awry, so I did my best to keep it away from the water. Naturally, a few pieces went rogue on me as they tend to do, and those would not stay straight despite how hard I tried for days after my visit to the Blue Lagoon.

Don't do it. Don't get that hair wet. Just do not.

4. It's touristy and a bit pricey, starting at about $40-45
Yes, the rumors are true. The Blue Lagoon is easily the most touristy place in Iceland. And yes, it is expensive. The cheapest package is 30 EUR in the winter and 35 EUR in the summer (about $40 - $48 USD at the time of this blog post) and only includes admission to the spa. The package we had was about $85 USD and included a bathrobe, towel, drink and facial treatment, but we were glad it was part of our IcelandAir bundle and not an additional cost.

5. You can avoid crowds by going early in the day
The first transfer from Keflavik airport to the Blue Lagoon in the winter leaves at 9:30am, and since our flight arrived so early our first morning, we managed to catch this bus. This was perfect timing because the spa opens at 10am from January until May, so we arrived just as it was opening. As we soaked in the thermal pools, sipping ice-cool, green smoothies from the swim-up Lagoon Bar, crowds and crowds of people poured in. This is one of the most popular things to do in Iceland, so we weren't surprised, but by the time we left for Reykjavik about 2 and a half hours later, the locker rooms were quite a zoo.

We arrived early to the Blue Lagoon by accident, which was good fortune for us. If you're planning ahead and want your experience to be as relaxing as possible, I recommend considering an early trip.

6. But all in all, it's totally worth the trip!
The Blue Lagoon was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. At the end of the day, it is a spa, it will be crowded, and you may have to shower a handful of times afterward, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The water was very warm and relaxing, and it's the craziest blue color you'll ever see. There are bowls of silica in the spa for DIY facial treatments if you want a little extra something something (or, if you want to do some face-painting of mustaches and monocles like my sister and me...). With a little bit of advanced planning, I highly recommend adding this to your list of things to do in Iceland.

6 Things You Need to Know before Going to Iceland's Blue Lagoon | The Brave Little Cheesehead

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  1. Iceland is a place that we have been wanting to go for some time not. I have heard and read a lot about the Blue Lagoon, but your post gives some straight facts and information which I am sure will be very useful.

    1. Icleand is great! It's unlike anything I've seen before. I highly recommend it!

  2. My flight arrives in KEF at 5:55am, so I am thinking of taking the 8:30am bus to the Blue Lagoon. Would you suggest I make the Blue Lagoon reservation for 9am or 10am? I will also have to stop by the luggage storage area. I can't seem to find information on how much time the Blue Lagoon will allow for lateness until they give the spot to someone else. Thank you!

    1. Hi Annis! I would definitely recommend giving yourself time to get from the airport to the Blue Lagoon and ensure that you've accounted for time spent storing your luggage, dressing in changing rooms, and any potential lines for check-in. There were lines when we arrived for the earliest reservation of the day. It's been a while since I visited, so I can't remember how long the transfer was from the airport to the Blue Lagoon, but sometimes when I'm trying to make decisions like this, I'll try to roughly plot out how long I think it will take me to accomplish certain tasks to make an informed decision. And personally, I always prefer to be early instead of late. Good luck!