The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. Its stunning blue waters contrast beautifully against the surrounding black volcanic rock, but its immense popularity leaves many potential visitors wondering if it’s too touristy to bother with. There are numerous pros and cons for visiting the Blue Lagoon, and you should weigh them all before deciding to buy a ticket or skip it.
Why you should visit the Blue Lagoon
It’s pretty – While the color of the water varies a bit – the day we visited it had more of a green tinge than blue – the sight of the milky water set against the black volcanic rocks is gorgeous. There’s a reason the Blue Lagoon has become Instagram-famous.
It’s fascinating – Learning about the way that Iceland uses geothermal energy to produce clean power and then in turn reuses the water that is involved in that process is very interesting. Sea water is pumped deep below the surface where the naturally occurring geothermal heat causes it to turn into steam. That steam is used to produce power, and the resulting water, full of minerals, is pumped into the Blue Lagoon for visitors to soak in. Don’t worry: swimming in runoff from a power plant sounds like a terrible idea – and it probably would be in most places – but the water here is packed with restorative compounds.
It’s relaxing – We timed our visit toward the end of our time in Iceland. After spending four days road tripping around the southern part of the country, going morning to night, and taking part in as many activities as possible, we were ready for a relaxing soak in the Blue Lagoon. The water is the perfect temperature, even in winter, and it’s a wonderful spot to spend an afternoon just floating in peace.
It’s convenient – Getting there is incredible easy, whether you’re renting a car or relying on public transportation. There are buses that make stops at the Blue Lagoon on the way from the airport to Reykjavik, and it’s not far out of the way if you’re driving yourself. The trip from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon only takes about 40 minutes. It’s even closer to Keflavik airport. If you’re looking for a soak in an Icelandic hot pool and don’t have a lot of time, the Blue Lagoon is going to be your best option.
Why you should skip the Blue Lagoon
It’s expensive – There’s no way around this. Blue Lagoon tickets are expensive (although after spending a few days in Iceland, you might not find them unusually pricy). The standard package, their cheapest, will cost you 6100 kr, approximately $58 at the time of this writing. I’d spend the extra 2000 kr ($19) for the next package up to get a towel just so you don’t have to carry one around with you for your whole stay. Plus, it includes a drink at the swim-up bar, which is a nice addition. You will definitely find cheaper hot pools, many even free, if the Blue Lagoon is too expensive for you.
It’s touristy – I don’t like the touristy argument because I think it’s just a word used to describe somewhere popular that snobs have decided to disdain, but the Blue Lagoon is definitely a tourist attraction. The fact that there are buses dropping visitors with their luggage straight from the airport will tell you that. Just because something is popular with tourists doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value though.
It’s crowded – Depending on the time of day and year, you might find the Blue Lagoon a bit too crowded for your tastes. The good news is that timed tickets can be pre-purchased, so you can save yourself from having to wait in the longer line and guarantee your desired time slot. Pre-purchasing tickets is now required, so while you may have to wait a few minutes to get your wristband and head into the locker rooms, it shouldn’t be too bad.
It’s not authentic – You’re not going to meet a lot of Icelandic people at the Blue Lagoon. In fact, I don’t think I heard any language but English spoken the whole time I was there. That being said, local Icelanders were the ones who first realized that the Blue Lagoon could be a great place for relaxation.
Should you visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?
In the end, it’s a decision you have to make for yourself. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. We had a great time exploring all of the different sections of the pool and finding our way through the steam. I would disagree with anyone who says that no trip to Iceland would be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon, but I think it’s a beautiful place. If you’ve decided to visit, you can start booking your visit at the Blue Lagoon website.
Read more about winter in Iceland here:
- What to Pack for Winter in Iceland
- Your Perfect Six-Day Southern Iceland Itinerary
- Iceland’s Golden Circle in Winter
- Snowmobiling and Caving in the Vatnajökull Glacier
- The Best Spot to Ride Icelandic Horses
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