We’d booked up to visit Iceland’s Blue Lagoon before even leaving the UK – it was an attraction we were really keen to visit, but weren’t totally sure how suitable it was to visit the Blue Lagoon Iceland with children. Turns out, it was was perfect! Here’s the full details of our family day out at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon…
The Blue Lagoon is one of, if not the, most-popular tourist attractions in Iceland. It’s a large pool of geothermal heated seawater just a short drive from Iceland’s international airport and only 45-minutes from the capital Reykjavík.
From everything we’d read about the Blue Lagoon before our trip, it seemed it was one of those ‘must see’ attractions – and that it was recommended to pre-book online before you travel as it gets busy in peak seasons and the price goes up the busier it gets.
The Blue Lagoon is actually completely man-made and the water in it is waste water pumped from a nearby power station.
That makes it sound pretty bad, but please don’t let it put you off – it’s nothing like it sounds and is a brilliant experience for all the family and definitely lives up to its reputation.
There’s a fairly small geothermal power station which pumps this naturally heated sea water from deep underground to create hot water that’s piped direct to the hot taps and radiators of Iceland’s homes.
But the geothermal water itself isn’t what’s pumped to homes, it’s just used to heat fresh water – meaning the volcanically-heated water that’s extracted from underground then needs to be disposed of once it’s served its purpose.
It turns out this geothermal water at the Blue Lagoon is apparently full of minerals that are great for the skin – so much so that sufferers of skin complaints like Eczema and Psoriasis travel from far and wide to bathe in it to relieve their conditions.
All these minerals also turn the water a spectacular milky blue colour.
Sensing a business opportunity, the Icelandics built a huge man-made lagoon to channel this water in to (with an accompanying hotel and spa), which is the Blue Lagoon you can buy tickets to spend the day at today.
It gets very busy in peak season but we were here in May, which is quieter than the peak summer and winter months – though we still pre-booked our tickets in advance.
Like everything in Iceland, it’s expensive – but luckily our two children were just under the age threshold where they’re allowed in for free, which certainly helped!
Arrival at the Blue Lagoon is an experience in itself. The road cuts through a huge lava field with a mass of black, moss-covered lava stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s like a landscape from another planet!
As you approach, you see steam rising in to the air all around – and pools of the bizarre, metallic milky water form in the black lava. It’s a truly spectacular sight – and this is only the road on the way in!
The reception building has a very high-end, luxury feel to it. This is meant to be a premium, luxurious resort and spa and it’s a really fancy, high quality venue.
It’s clearly very well built to cope with high volumes of people with plenty of very well-maintained and clean changing, shower and locker space – along with a cafe, bar and restaurant in the building that surrounds the lagoon itself.
After getting our towels and changing, we headed through and out in to the lagoon itself.
Wow, it is really a stunning sight to behold.
It’s all man-made but with a natural feel to it with lots of curved edges and little coves and corners to explore.
We were here on a stunningly bright, sunny end-of-May day and the contrast of the milky water, with its steam rising against the blue sky was really impressive.
You’re in your swimming stuff in the cold Icelandic wind, but as soon as you step in to the lagoon itself you’re instantly warmed to just the right temperature.
The water is just deep enough to swim, or you can wade around to explore, finding yourself a quiet corner to lay back and relax or – like most others there – take photos and selfies in a place which must be unique on earth.
Phones and cameras are allowed in – and they sell waterproof phone cases if you need them, though with the cost of everything in Iceland being so high, you’d be better off sorting this out at home before you travel.
There’s a bar in the lagoon selling drinks (including giving each bather a drink of their choice, which is included in the price).
And there’s another ‘mud pack’ bar dishing out free facial silica mud, which is apparently good for the skin, particularly in conjunction with the minerals of the lagoon water itself.
There’s also a steam bath as well as some indoor facilities like a cafe, ‘relaxation area’ with loungers overlooking the lagoon – and a high class restaurant too.
On top of all this is a luxury hotel and spa – unfortunately not something our budget could stretch to!
This is one of those experiences that’s probably a once in a lifetime thing. Where else on earth can you bathe comfortably in a freezing cold arctic environment in steaming hot, naturally heated water in a huge pool carved in to thick volcanic lava rock? And with water that’s a mystical milky white blue colour from the minerals infused in it from deep within the earth?
It’s for this reason that it’s such a popular attraction in Iceland – not to mention the fact that it’s only a few minutes from Keflavik airport – the airport for all international flights to Iceland.
Perhaps in peak season its popularity makes the experience less enjoyable as the lagoon gets more crowded. But on this day in May, while it was certainly busy, it was by no means crowded, as you can see from our photos. There was ample space to relax and take photos that at least made it look like there was no-one else around!
We wished we’d timed our visit here for our last day – as we had an evening flight home and it would’ve been a perfect way to end the holiday, coming here mid-morning, relaxing all day, having lunch before making the short 20-minute drive to the airport and then home later in the day.
As it was, we had to drive back to our apartment in Reykjavik, only to then drive all the way back to Keflavik again for our flight the next day.
The Blue Lagoon operates bus trips both from the airport and from Reykjavik centre so you don’t need a car to get here.
Yes, it’s something that’s a bit of a man-made tourist ‘gimmick’ – in a country where all the other attractions are created by nature. But it’s really well done and feels like a very natural experience – and it’s still amazing to think the water itself is heated and coloured in this unique way by nature, even if it’s man that’s carved the lagoon in to the lava and built the facilities around it.
We loved it – children and parents alike – and lost track of how many hours we’d spent just floating, lazing, relaxing and marvelling at this amazing spectacle. An expensive tourist trap it may be, but we all felt it was money and time very well spent and couldn’t imagine our trip to Iceland without the visit to the Blue Lagoon!