Is the Blue Lagoon Worth it? An Honest Review (2024 Update)

The outside temperature was 2C but with the wind chill, it felt more like -6c. Now and then, and without warning, Arctic wind gusts whipped hailstones like mini shards of glass across my exposed face.

And here I was, basking in an outdoor pool with the water at a balmy 37 – 39C. Welcome to the Blue Lagoon, Iceland.

An outdoor pool is to Icelanders what a pub is to the British and a café is to the French. It is a place to meet, chat and pass the time of day.

To those outside Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is the most well-known of these outdoor pools. However, this is not a cheap day out and my honest view is that the Blue Lagoon is a bit of a tourist trap.

To help you make your mind up if it is worth it for you, dive into my Blue Lagoon review. This includes a review of my experience, what to expect and practical tips to make the most of your visit.

people drinking at swim up bar in blue lagoon iceland

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What is the Blue Lagoon?

First and foremost, the Blue Lagoon is not a natural phenomenon. It is a man-made lava rock pool, fed by water from the adjacent geothermal power plant (Svartsengi).

The water owes its distinctive milky blue colour to its high silica content, which forms soft white mud on the bottom of the pool.

milky water of geothermal blue lagoon in iceland

It is also rich in other minerals and algae which are reported to have therapeutic properties. The Blue Lagoon’s water completely renews itself every 40 hours.  

My Experience of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

My visit to the Blue Lagoon was very slick. I felt like I was being processed.

Entering the Blue Lagoon

On entry, I was given an electronic wristband. This served as an electronic key to my changing room locker and as a payment chip for additional purchases.

The unisex changing rooms and showers were clean and well-maintained, albeit very busy and cramped. Shampoo, conditioner, powerful hairdryers and vanity kits were available. Additional towels were also available if required.

Like most spas, you are required to shower first. Then it was time to brave the outside temperature and enter the Blue Lagoon.

I chose the gentle introduction, entering through the indoor pool. Alternatively, you can brave the Arctic air and enter the pool directly from the outdoor area.

people in the water at blue lagoon iceland

Taking the waters

I slowly acclimatised, letting the balmy water cover me like a warm blanket. Gusts of wind whipped the steam from the water into clouds.

I waded over to the mask bar and slathered a spoonful of the complimentary face mask over my face. After ten minutes, I washed it off in the Blue Lagoon’s water.

Looking ten years younger already.

Then it was beer o’clock. At the swim-up bar, I ordered my complimentary drink (in my case, an Icelandic draft beer). Wine and fruit smoothies were also available.

Note that the Blue Lagoon imposes a maximum of three drinks per person. No drunken frivolity here.

For an instant massage, I stood beneath the powerful outdoor waterfall shower before checking out the sauna and steam room.

When it’s time to go

My skin felt a little prune-like after soaking in the Blue Lagoon, like after a long bath at home. I was liberal with the complimentary body lotion.

Plastic bags to carry wet swimwear were available in the changing room. Depositing my towel in a bin, I made my way to the spa’s entrance.

As you scan your wristband on the reader, it will alert you if you need to pay for additional purchases. Otherwise, just drop your wristband in the pop-out drawer and you are good to go.

Is the Blue Lagoon Worth It?

In my view, the Blue Lagoon is a complete tourist trap. Even in a country as expensive as Iceland, it is scandalously pricey.

Contrary to commonly held perceptions, it is not a natural phenomenon, owing its existence to a geothermal power station. With this same power station looming large next to the Blue Lagoon, some of the views from it are not exactly picture-postcard perfect. This is a far cry from its marketing material.

But, conversely, the Blue Lagoon is a one-of-a-kind experience and has an almost otherworldly feel. The sight of those milky blue waters in a lagoon hewn out of black lava rock, steam rising from the surface, is unforgettable.

blue lagoon a3

How to Get to the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon sits within a moss-topped black lava field on the Reykjanes peninsula in southwest Iceland. It is around a 35-minute drive from central Reykjavik and 15 minutes from Keflavik airport.

Its address is Norðurljósavegur 9, 240 Grindavík.

Most visitors visit the Blue Lagoon as a day trip from Reykjavik. If you want to maximise your time in Iceland, visiting the Blue Lagoon en route to/from Keflavik Airport is another good option. Luggage storage facilities are available.

If you are not hiring a car, you will need to book a transfer. Alternatively, you can choose a transfer when booking your Blue Lagoon entrance ticket online.

Visiting the Blue Lagoon on a guided tour

If you are only in Iceland for a few days, you can see more and save time – and perhaps money – by combining a visit to the Blue Lagoon with other attractions, including the Golden Circle.

Here are a few highly-rated day tours that would work well:

  • Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon from Reykjavik | BOOK HERE
  • Golden Circle, Kerid Crater and Blue Lagoon tour from Reykjavik | BOOK HERE

Tickets and Prices

Three packages are available: Comfort, Premium and Retreat Spa. Prices as of December 2023 are as follows:

  • Comfort: From ISK 8,990
  • Premium: From ISK 11,490
  • Retreat Spa: From ISK 79,000


Prebooking a ticket for the Blue Lagoon is essential.

The price of the Comfort and Premium packages vary according to the time of day (the cheaper prices are available in the evening). All packages include entry to the Blue Lagoon, a silica mud mask, the use of a towel and a drink of your choice.

The Premium package also buys you the use of a bathrobe and slippers, two additional masks of your choice and a glass of sparkling wine if you dine at the Lava restaurant.

Top of the tree, the Retreat Spa is your ticket to the Blue Lagoon’s spa facilities and a more private bathing area.

As I said, the Blue Lagoon is not a cheap day out.

I recommend saving money and skipping the Blue Lagoon’s Premium package.

The main advantage of this over the Comfort package is the use of a towelling bathrobe. Looking at the sea of identical bathrobes hanging together at the pool’s entrance, good luck identifying your robe when you step out of the pool.

If you need a bathrobe, you can hire this separately.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is open year-round. Whilst there is no good or bad month to visit, bathing under the midnight sun or whilst gazing at the Northern lights could be something quite special.

I visited in challenging March weather but felt it was all part of an authentic Icelandic experience.

Other online reviews suggest that The Blue Lagoon can suffer from overcrowding. However, this did not reflect my experience and my entry time was 2 pm. If you are concerned about overcrowding, time your visit for early in the day or near closing time.

You can visit the Blue Lagoon at night. Opening hours vary based on the season but during the summer months, the Blue Lagoon is open until 10 pm or midnight.

Blue Lagoon FAQs

Most people spend around two hours in the waters of the Blue Lagoon. This reflects my experience.

Swimwear is essential in all areas of the Blue Lagoon, including the sauna. If you forget to pack swimwear, you can rent this from reception.

I also recommend bringing a pair of flip-flops for walking around the locker room and to and from the pool. Although the bottom of the pool is uneven, it is smooth because of silica deposits. Therefore, you will not need water shoes.

If you visit the Blue Lagoon on a sunny day, bring a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen.

The water of the Blue Lagoon, a mixture of fresh and seawater infused with algae and a high concentration of silica, is said to have beneficial effects on the skin. There are claims that the anti-bacterial effects of silica improve psoriasis and eczema and that the mineral water prevents premature ageing.

The minimum age for using the Blue Lagoon is two years old. This is because children younger than two are highly sensitive to the water’s elevated mineral content.

Children aged 13 and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a parent or guardian.

There are no hard and fast rules and each pregnant woman should evaluate her own physical condition before entering the water. It is important to stay hydrated during the Blue Lagoon experience.

Don’t bet your house on it.

Those amazing images of the Northern Lights that grace many coffee table books have been captured in places with little to no light pollution. The Blue Lagoon does not tick that box.

If it’s your ambition to see the Northern Lights, take a dedicated tour.

swirling greens of northern lights

This is not a place to do vigorous laps. The Blue Lagoon is all about relaxed bathing and you do not need to know how to swim to visit.

The depth of the water varies from three to five feet. If you are a non-swimmer, just be aware that there are deeper spots. Lifeguards are also on duty.

people bathing in blue lagoon iceland with steam mist

Although the silica in the Blue Lagoon will not damage your hair, it can make it super crunchy. Therefore, if you intend to get your hair wet, apply conditioner liberally before entering the pool.

When it is time to leave the Blue Lagoon, make sure that you thoroughly wash and condition your hair. I found that my hair was drier than usual for a few days after my visit but, with proper conditioning, it soon recovered.

Eating Options

The Blue Lagoon is home to a handful of restaurants.

Spa Restaurant

For light, healthy dishes in a relaxed environment with a view, grab a table at The Spa Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon. You can dine in your robe or fully clothed and no reservations are needed.

Lava Restaurant

A few notches up from the Spa Restaurant, dine at the Blue Lagoon’s Lava Restaurant Built into an 800-year-old lava cliff on the west bank of the Blue Lagoon, its menu showcases the best of Icelandic cuisine.

Moss Restaurant

If it’s something special that you are seeking, Moss Restaurant at the Blue Lagoon ticks all the boxes. Recommended by the 2019 Michelin Guide, it offers high-end, set menus with views over the volcanic horizon.  

If you are short on time, the Blue Lagoon also has a café.

milky water of geothermal blue lagoon in iceland

Where to Stay

Most people who visit the Blue Lagoon stay in Reykjavik.

If you want to be in the thick of things, then the downtown area of Reykjavik, close to the Laugavegur shopping street, is your best bet. Here you will find most of the museums, restaurants and bars.

However, if you are a light sleeper be aware that there is a high concentration of a few bars that stay open until late in the weekend. But if you are also out burning the midnight oil, this won’t make any difference!

Mid-range Hotel FrönI stayed at this 3-star hotel on Laugavegur. A big bonus was the free breakfast.

Splurge Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Center – In an unbeatable location,  a 2-minute walk from Laugavegur Shopping Street and 500 meters from Harpa Concert & Conference Center, this stylish 4-star hotel features a fitness centre and a bar.

Budget Freyja Guesthouse and Suites – This property, a 3-minute walk from Hallgrímskirkja Church, has excellent online reviews and is a bargain by Icelandic standards.

Visiting Iceland as a Solo Traveller

Not only is Iceland one of the best European destinations for solo travellers, but it is also one of the best places to travel alone in the world.

Safety is important to all travellers, especially for solo female travellers. The crime rate in Iceland approaches zero and there is little chance you will be robbed, attacked or harassed.

It is a staggeringly beautiful country and small enough to be manageable. For example; if you base yourself in Reykjavik, a fabulous destination in its own right, you can take a tour of the Golden Circle.

Meeting other travellers is easy. There’s a vibrant hostel and bar scene and plenty of organised outdoor activities to meet like-minded people.

Iceland’s public transportation system is limited and many visitors hire a car. But if you don’t fancy driving, excursions are plentiful and easy to book. These are also good opportunities to meet other travellers.


bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.

Thank you for reading my review of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Given the choice again, I would opt for a more authentic Icelandic bathing experience.

If you like spas and soaking in warm water, Iceland is not short of natural hot springs, perhaps the Secret Lagoon in Fludir, a small village in the Golden Circle area. Reykjavik tour operators offer this bundle with a Golden Circle tour (check here).

And let’s face it. If you want to view the Blue Lagoon, you can visit it without dipping so much as a toe into its balmy waters. Just buy a return transfer and take in the views from the spa’s café.

Finally, do you need some help with planning your Iceland vacation? If so, take a look at my guide to Reykjavik, discover how to tour the Golden Circle and essential tips for solo travel in Iceland.