Why I Did Not Go Into the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I have heard a lot about the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and how it is apparently a destination on the list of anyone who visits Iceland — especially as it is one of the most visited destinations in Iceland — and is located only approximately 12 miles from Keflavik International Airport, which is a drive of 20 minutes or so…

Why I Did Not Go Into the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

…but as I was doing my research, my desire to visit the Blue Lagoon waned more and more; so I decided not to purchase a ticket for admission.

Still, the Blue Lagoon was on my way from the Valahnúkamöl Cliffs to the Krýsuvík thermal area — so I thought I would stop by and see exactly on what I was missing out; and perhaps I might somehow still be able to pay for admission if I changed my mind.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The parking lot was filled with cars, vans and buses. Parking is free of charge. I do not like crowds; so I was already thinking that I made the right decision not to purchase a ticket in advance.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

This is the sign which greets visitors at the entrance.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Behind the sign is a paved path which winds amongst the rocks. The walk of several hundred yards or so takes a few minutes from the parking lot to the door.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Visitors must pass through this door of the main entrance of the reception building to gain access to the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The first thing I noticed is that the lagoon is not blue, but rather a sickly shade of green.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The lagoon is not even fed by a spring or formed naturally; but rather, it is man-made and artificial. When a pool formed at the site from the waste water of the geothermal power plant which had just been built there in 1976, some people considered that an environmental disaster — and some people still feel that way today despite the perceived positive and beneficial aspects of the Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The Blue Lagoon — which was established in 1992 when the bathing facility opened to the public — is situated close to the first renewable methanol plant in the world, which uses a fuel process to convert carbon dioxide to methanol. Because its citizens highly respect the environment in which they live, Iceland is known for using geothermal energy as a source of heat for generations.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

“Since the water is continually streaming into the lagoon, all the water is renewed in 48 hours, making sure it stays clean”, according to this article written by Nanna Gunnarsdóttir for Guide to Iceland. “The first person to bathe in it was a young man called Valur Margeirsson. He had Psoriasis and wanted to try anything to help relieve the skin.” People started bathing in it in 1981 after its purported healing powers were popularized — especially for skin diseases.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Water — at the very hot temperature of 392 degrees Fahrenheit — is vented from the ground near a field where lava once flowed; and it is used to run turbines which generate electricity. The silica in the water formed mud and created a thick layer in the otherwise porous lava so that the water no longer seeped into the lava and disappeared. That layer resulted in the formation of the lagoon because it held the water in place.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

After passing through the turbines, the steam and hot water go through a heat exchanger to provide heat for the municipal water heating system before then being fed into the lagoon in which bathers can enjoy its recreational uses and purported medicinal properties.

While there is theoretically nothing wrong with that, it is still not a natural process.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The Blue Lagoon can get quite crowded. In the background are more bathers in the water; and above them are people wearing white robes while standing.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Bathers line up at the waterside bar to order drinks.

Blue Lagoon Iceland

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

The white silica deposits are easy to see at the edge of the water.

Admission Fees

Tickets cost:

Comfort Package Premium Package Retreat Spa Package

From 6,990 Icelandic krona

Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
Silica mud mask
Use of towel
First drink of your choice

From 9,900 Icelandic krona

Entrance to the Blue Lagoon
Silica mud mask
Use of towel
First drink of your choice
Second mask of choice
Slippers
Use of bathrobe
Table reservation at Lava Restaurant
Sparkling wine if dining

From 29,500 Icelandic krona

4 hour exclusive entry to the Retreat spa and the Blue Lagoon

Summary

The reasons why I decided not to purchase a ticket for entrance to use the Blue Lagoon is because it was too expensive for my taste, it would most likely be too crowded for me, and the lagoon itself was not formed naturally.

I was not willing to pay $84.00, which is the typical entrance fee for the Comfort package. Because I was driving around virtually the entire country of Iceland, I found something which was better for me — as well as free of charge — and I will highlight that thermal option in a future article. For me, that was the right decision.

If you really must indulge in thermal waters and your time is limited, the Blue Lagoon may be your only option — if you are willing to pay as little as $59.00 or 6,900 Icelandic krona for an appointment during the evening. Admission fees are discounted for children; and infants younger than two years old are not permitted in the lagoon.

Keep in mind that prices are not set; but rather, they fluctuate based on factors such as availability. 6,900 Icelandic krona is the minimum you should expect to pay for the experience.

Tickets for admission must be purchased in advance. If you want to store your luggage, each bag will cost you 550 Icelandic krona, which is approximately $4.75 in United States dollars.

Blue Lagoon
Nordurljosavegur 9
Grindavík 240, Iceland
+354 420 8800 Telephone

Opening hours — including for holidays — are:

  • January 1 – May 24 — 8:00 – 22:00
  • May 25 – June 28 — 7:00 – 23:00
  • June 29 – August 19 — 7:00 – 00:00
  • August 20 – November 30 — 8:00 – 22:00
  • December 1 – December 23 — 8:00 – 21:00
  • December 24 — 8:00 – 15:00
  • December 25 — 8:00 – 17:00
  • December 26 – December 30 — 8:00 – 21:00
  • December 31 — 8:00 – 17:00

All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

12 thoughts on “Why I Did Not Go Into the Blue Lagoon in Iceland”

  1. CATHY K says:

    I wouldn’t go near there, simply because of the ick factor: people with possibly questionable cleaning habits scrub their skin with the silica, then all those dead skin cells are swimming in that water and onto YOU. No thanks!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Nothing that a shower could not handle, CATHY K; and shower facilities are available there…

      …and aside from the silica, your statement could apply to many bodies of water — such as an ordinary swimming pool.

    2. Mike D says:

      Actually, not only are there showers, it is required at practically all thermal baths in Iceland that you take a shower before entering the water. This was the hard part for my wife – communal (gender-specific) showers that require full nudity. The rest of the world is amazed at how prudish (modest, ashamed) we Americans are about our bodies. I had a great day at the Blue Lagoon, despite the high cost, and had a fantastic massage while floating in the hot waters. As to the costs, the point of this hobby is to save money on travel by taking advantage of the benefits out there, so splurge!

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        You are absolutely correct on all counts, Mike D.

        I am not really into the spa experience in general; so just because the Blue Lagoon did not interest me does not mean you should not indulge in it if you really want to do so.

        I am glad to read that you and your wife had a great time at the Blue Lagoon!

  2. Z says:

    When we were in Iceland five years ago—before it became the touristy Insta-good destination, we checked both the Blue Lagoon and Myvatn outside of Akuryeri. I’d say the latter is better—tranquil, cheaper, although not as party-ready as the former, and when the wind comes in the afternoon it’d be quite an experience.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for relating your experiences, Z.

      Although I had been to both Myvatn and Akuryeri — I intend to write about my experiences in future articles — I did not go to the thermal facilities.

  3. caveman says:

    I am curious to know what you found better and free of charge. I hope that did not involve renting a car.

    1. lenin1991 says:

      > I hope that did not involve renting a car.

      I don’t know what his secret location is, but it would be challenging to experience much of Iceland without a car.

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        The location to which I went is no secret, lenin1991. I simply intend to write an article about it in the future — and not everybody will like it.

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      A number of places exist in Iceland where you can enjoy thermal water free of charge, caveman — but yes, where I went did involve renting a car.

  4. Allen says:

    “The lagoon is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant, and is renewed every two days”

    This line appears plagiarized this from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lagoon_(geothermal_spa)

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Pretty strong allegation, Allen, as I have no reason or desire to plagiarize since I was actually at the Blue Lagoon — the history of greater than 12 years of articles here at The Gate proves that I provide attributions to sources whenever possible — but that was merely supposed to be a placeholder until I found a more reliable source with more information and details to which I can attribute…

      …and this article fit the bill:

      https://guidetoiceland.is/best-of-iceland/blue-lagoon-the-ultimate-guide

      The information is not exactly considered proprietary, as it is available from other sources; and the text has since been replaced — along with errors corrected and additional details added in other areas of the article.

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