The Blue Lagoon had been at the top of my bucket list ever since I saw photos of the ethereal-looking, milky-blue coloured waters underneath the delicate blanket of mist, and after visiting Iceland last year, I finally had the opportunity to cross it off my bucket list. Was I beyond excited? You bet! Was it the highlight of my trip? Definitely not.
I wouldn’t go so far to say that the Blue Lagoon is overrated, but, honestly, I didn’t think that the lagoon is nearly as beautiful in real life as it is depicted in photos – most likely because all of the photos you see crop out the power plant right next door. Uh-huh.
Here are some reasons why the Blue Lagoon isn’t the highlight of Iceland.
1. The entry cost to get into the Blue Lagoon
Entrance fees range from 40 euros for a basic standard ticket which gets you entry to the Blue Lagoon as well as a silica mud mask, up to the luxury package costing 195 euros which also includes entry to the exclusive lounge and a table reservation and wine at the on-site LAVA restaurant. My hubby and I opted for the comfort ticket which cost 55 euros and included a towel and a drink of choice from the Blue Lagoon bar. You’ll be given an electronic wrist band which acts as the key to your locker as well as a ‘credit card’ to pay for refreshments when you’re in the lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon prices seem particularly ridiculous when you compare it to Iceland’s extraordinary sights and landscapes that you get to see for FREE. However, they can charge as much as they want because the crowds will still come. Speaking of which…
2. You’ll be sharing the Blue Lagoon with A LOT of people
Unless you’re going during the colder seasons, chances are that you’re going to be sharing the Blue Lagoon with a gazillion other couples, families and large groups of friends. It’s not as intimate as the photos make you think. Booking online in advance is recommended as it’s not guaranteed that you will be able to get in if you show up without a reservation. To avoid the rush, try going early in the morning or as close to closing time as possible. The crowds tend to congregate around the silica bars, so find a nook or cranny away from these areas if you’re after a bit of privacy.
3. The Blue Lagoon is man-made
The Blue Lagoon is actually the product of the run-off of the geothermal power plant next door, which is in plain sight of the lagoon. The water is heated to 38-degrees and is said to have beneficial effects for your skin as it contains a combination of silica, algae and minerals. Interestingly, the water isn’t blue but is actually a milky white colour; the blue that you see is due to the reflection of the sun on the water.
4. The Blue Lagoon water may ruin your hair
I read a lot of travel blogs before going to the Blue Lagoon and all of them advised not to put your head underwater as the silica in the water will dry out your hair. In fact, the Blue Lagoon website states that hair can become ‘stiff and difficult to manage’ after bathing. Conditioner is provided in the changing rooms to slather into your hair before entering the water, but I still chose to play it safe by tying my hair up and keeping my head out of the water. Note that swimming caps can also be purchased at the reception desk. After bathing, it’s also recommended that you wash your hair thoroughly and to apply lots of conditioner.
BUT, don’t worry about getting naked! Phew!
One thing that often gets discussed in relation to Blue Lagoon etiquette is the topic of nudity. Although you are required to shower without your bathing suit on before entering the Blue Lagoon, there are private shower stalls available in the change rooms if you’re feeling a little shy – you may just have a wait a little while if it’s particularly busy.
Still, the Blue Lagoon needs to be done…
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time at the Blue Lagoon and it was fun to lather on the silica masks, sit in the sauna and to sip cocktails by the lagoon bar. It was great to indulge in a little pampering in a unique spa setting, particularly when we had just spent a busy 5 days road-tripping around the south of the island. Furthermore, with its convenient location between Reykjavik and the airport, the Blue Lagoon is often a stop for visitors immediately after arriving to Iceland or just before departing the country.
At the end of the day, the Blue Lagoon is the token Icelandic experience, much like the Eiffel Tower is the token French experience, and it needs to be experienced in person so that you can make your own mind up.
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