Iceland's Blue Lagoon - Travel Tips and Reality Check!

The picturesque side of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

When you dream of Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is probably the first thing that pops into your brain. How can it not? It’s the envy of every Instagram post! In fact, every influencer out there is posting the most luxurious photo drenched in its mineral mask and intoxicating steam. Kudos to them – they’ve done a brilliant job at manifesting the not so natural reality of the Blue Lagoon. It’s the supreme tourist trap of all spa chaos.

Do you remember Señor Frogs in Cancun? In the 1990’s and probably today, people flocked to this crab trap to do cheap tequila shots and bomb down the slide into the open ocean waters.  Guilty – I did it. While not nearly as bacteria ridden, the famous Blue Lagoon has a lot in common with its frogish predecessor in Cancun outside of its swim up bar, a line to get in and overpriced souvenirs. In Iceland, it’s masked itself as the place to be for every visitor. Now, I’m not saying not to go there – shit, I did. But I think it’s a true disservice to anyone planning a trip (or the three people reading this) to not share my thoughts:

A true photo of the Blue Lagoon and thermal plant beyond….

A true photo of the Blue Lagoon and thermal plant beyond….

It ain’t cheap. The average price for entry is about $116 USD pp. The luxe lagoon massage price goes up to a basic Manhattan flat. And since about every tourist in Iceland goes there, the prices are only going up.

Book it ahead. Showing up during peak season without a reservation is a bad idea. This thing sells out. All advice points to going early in the AM or late in the PM for minimal human exchange.

It’s a cattle call. Once you’re in, you’re given robes and towels to first change and rinse off. The bathrooms (especially women’s) are pure bedlam with people from every country trying to shower, change, dry off, etc in sheer panic in public.

It’s natural-ish. The pool itself is not nature’s authentic work. While the water is piped in from the grounds below, the vast lagoon was not naturally created (man beats chest noise).

Point, click, avoid. The lagoon’s backdrop is actually the geo thermal energy factory - Svartsengi geothermal plant. It’s super cool, but it doesn’t make a Rembrandt. Again, kudos to those influencers who cut it out of their grams.

Be patient. The Blue Lagoon is the largest tourist attraction and gateway from the early arrivals at Reykjavik airport. It’s overrun with tourists trying to figure out the best Instagram photo too.

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon backdrop: Svartsengi geothermal plant

My advice? Don’t plan your trip around The Blue Lagoon. While I agree you sort of have to go for any first timers to Iceland, it does no justice to the island nation itself. We made it the last stop on our agenda, booking a later day spot and stayed at the hotel a few steps away so we could make it an early night before flying out in the AM (It’s super close to the airport versus staying in Reykjavik).

Good luck and happy posting! It’s truly a global experience.