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Ultimate Guide to the Blue Lagoon

Ultimate Guide to the Blue Lagoon

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What is the Blue Lagoon? Where is the Blue Lagoon located in Iceland? What makes this luxury spa so special, and how was the lagoon formed? Find out all you need to know about the Blue Lagoon Spa in Iceland here.

What is the Blue Lagoon?

What is the Blue Lagoon?

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions, and it's little wonder as to why. The beautiful milky-blue water is unlike anything else found on earth, and makes a stark contrast to the surrounding black lava fields and its creeping grey moss. It sits at 39°C (102°F) year-round, making it the perfect temperature for bathing. 

The lagoon is situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, a region renowned for its barren landscapes and cone-shaped volcanoes. 

It is only a 15-minute drive from the Keflavík International Airport, and around a 30-minute drive from the capital city, Reykjavík. That makes it the perfect first stop when arriving in Iceland, or last stop before you leave the country.

Due to its excellent location, its soothing waters and rich skin nourishment, the Blue Lagoon quickly became Iceland's most visited attraction, rivaled only by the Golden Circle sightseeing route.

Green moss making contrast with the Blue Lagoon in summertime

Aided by world-renowned media outlets — such as the National Geographic, which named it one of the top 25 Wonders of the World, and Condé Nast Traveller included it on a list of the top 10 spas in the world — the Blue Lagoon is now internationally famous and on the top of many bucket-lists around the world.

In fact, the Blue Lagoon has become so popular that in order to get in you’ll need to book your entry days or even weeks in advance.

Björk and her son in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. Picture by Jürgen TellerPicture by Juergen Teller

And who knows, you might be rubbing shoulders with international celebrities when you do go. Celebrities such as Björk, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have all been spotted in the Blue Lagoon, much to the delight of other visitors.

But what is the history of this lagoon, why is it so blue and what makes it so special? Read on to find out all there is to know about the Blue Lagoon. 

The History and Concept of the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon and geothermal power plant Svartsengi

Quick Facts About the Blue Lagoon

If you don't have time to read this whole article, here are the most essential points about the Blue Lagoon.

  • The Blue Lagoon is a spa in Iceland and is open all year round.

  • Entry fee starts from 6990 ISK for adults (14+).

  • You can choose between comfort level, premium entry or the retreat spa.

  • The minimum age to enter the Blue Lagoon is 2 years old, entry is free for 2-13 year olds.

  • Pre-booking is required, we recommend booking days or weeks in advance.

  • Best time to visit is in the evening to enjoy the midnight sun in summer or the Northern Lights in winter.

  • The average temperature of the water is 39°C (102°F) all year round.

  • The Blue Lagoon is not natural and formed in 1976.

  • The warm seawater is rich with minerals such as silica that do wonders for your skin.

  • The Blue Lagoon offers Psoriasis treatments.

  • The water in the Blue Lagoon completely renews itself every 48 hours.

Is the Blue Lagoon Natural?

The Blue Lagoon, contrary to popular belief, is not a natural pool in Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon history dates back to 1976 when it formed next to the geothermal power plant, Svartsengi. 

Contrary to many people's belief, the lagoon is not a natural hot spring but a pool created by a man-made structure. It is, in fact, waste-water from the power plant which is drilling for steam and hot water.

Worry not, however; the water is completely clean and does not contain any harmful chemicals, only natural minerals that have been proven to be very good for people's skin. 

Since the water is continually streaming into the lagoon, all the water is renewed in 48 hours, making sure it stays clean.

How was the Blue Lagoon Formed?

The Blue Lagoon in 1989, recently after its openingPhoto credit: Einar Falur Ingólfsson

Work on the geothermal plant Svartsengi started in 1971, and the geothermal plant was put to use in 1976. 

Iceland has a long history of utilising the country's geothermal energy, both for heating buildings and for cooking, such as baking bread by burying it in the ground.

For heating, Iceland's houses have radiators that are pumped with boiling hot water that comes directly from the ground. The Svartsengi plant drills for hot water for this purpose, and the water that it receives is around 200°C (392°F). 

However, this water is full of dissolved minerals mixed in with seawater and therefore not suitable for direct use to warm up houses (the minerals would damage the pipes). Instead, the water is used to heat up freshwater that is pumped to nearby urban areas.

After the water has been used, it is simply released into the nearby lava field. The lava field surrounding the geothermal plant is called Illahraun ("Evil Lava") and is fairly young in volcanic terms, believed to have come from a volcanic eruption in 1226.

Lava is very porous, so usually water just sinks into it and seemingly disappears. This water, however, is rich with silica, which separates as it cools down. The silica quickly formed a mud layer in the lava which stopped the water seeping through, forming the lagoon.

Why Did People Start Bathing in the Blue Lagoon?

The 'Old Blue Lagoon' with Svartsengi geothermal plantPhoto credit: Qishimai

When the first person decided to try bathing in the Blue Lagoon, in 1981, people weren't all too sure about the idea. 

A young man who had psoriasis wanted to try anything that might help relieve his skin. He got permission from the chairman of the geothermal plant to go in the lagoon and quickly saw that the water and the algae did wonders for his condition. 

The young man, Valur Margeirsson, was the first one to name the site 'the Blue Lagoon' or 'Bláa Lónið' in Icelandic, and the name stuck.

The first public bathing facilities opened in 1987, first mainly intended for people with similar skin problems. 

These first facilities were very basic, consisting of only a few showers and a little white sand beach, located right next to the geothermal plant. This is now referred to as the 'old Blue Lagoon' as the whole area had a transformation in 1999.

An older photo of the Blue LagoonPhoto credit: Wikipedia

There is a rich bathing culture in Iceland, with a number of swimming pools all over Iceland and in Reykjavík, and plenty of natural hot springs dotted across the country. 

Therefore it didn't take long for locals to start flocking here, especially as it was so conveniently located a short drive from the capital city. Many older Icelanders miss these days, when you could hop into the pools free of charge.

The Blue Lagoon quickly became one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, both frequented by locals and foreign guests. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and after constant developments and renewals, the Blue Lagoon is now a world-class spa, catering to hundreds of thousands of guests each year.

Aerial view of Iceland's Blue Lagoon

In the transformation in 1999, the lagoon was moved further away from the geothermal plant and modern changing facilities were built. 

They also added a café, hotel, restaurant and a shop where it is possible to buy the Blue Lagoon’s luxury skin products. Walking paths, small bridges and saunas were also added to the site.

In fact, the Blue Lagoon is constantly getting larger and larger and was recently enlarged from 5,000 square metres to 8,700 square metres.

Newest Additions to the Blue Lagoon 

The beautiful Blue Lagoon spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

In 2018, the Blue Lagoon opened Iceland’s first five-star hotel, the Retreat Hotel. In the works since 2014, the 62-suite hotel boasts beautifully landscaped rooms, incredible views across the dramatic lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula through floor-to-ceiling windows, and a wealth of services available.

Most notable among these is the Retreat Spa. Designed to bring utmost luxury to its guests, it has its own pool, a steam room, a cold well, morning yoga and a list of treatments and therapies available, including in-water massages. 

Without a doubt Iceland’s most luxurious hotel, the price of the rooms reflect the quality of the establishment; the cheapest are 162,000 ISK (well over €1,000) a night.

Why is the Water in the Blue Lagoon Good for People with Psoriasis?

The Blue Lagoon appearing green. Picture from Tumblr.

It’s not known exactly why the water is so good for the skin, but it is believed to be the mix of the dissolved minerals in the water, the blue-green algae that thrives in the water and a type of bacteria that has only been found in the Blue Lagoon. 

The algae is the reason for the milky, blue colour of the water, but when it's in bloom on sunny days it lends the lagoon a more greenish tinge.

Some of the dissolved minerals in the water include chloride and natron (that together form sea salt) and calcium. There are also some traces of sulphur, carbonate and magnesium.

The Blue Lagoon Skin Treatment

Blue Lagoon Mud Mask is a part of the skin treatment

Since 1994 the Blue Lagoon has offered skin treatments for people suffering from psoriasis. The Blue Lagoon Skin Treatment is one of the few natural treatments available for those suffering from psoriasis, and the treatment can be continued at home.

In 2005, the Blue Lagoon Clinic opened for in-house treatments, in a private lagoon, supported by UV light therapy and special skin care products.

Architecture of the Blue Lagoon

Path leading to the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is renowned for its simplistic, respectful architecture reflective of Icelandic Modernism. The parking lot is a few hundred metres away from the entrance to the lagoon, so you will need to walk through a carved out path through the lava before reaching it.

As a result, you will never see a car or a bus, or hear the traffic noise, from the lagoon itself. The walk is a beautiful preparation for what’s to come.

The architecture of the Blue Lagoon buildings is in harmony with nature

The buildings are low and in harmony with the surrounding landscape, using mostly natural building materials, such as wood and lava. 

The restaurant on site, Lava Restaurant, is built around a lava cliff, so one wall is a solid rock and the outlines of the room follow the curves of the natural lava hill.

The buildings have tall windows so a view of the lagoon can be clearly seen as soon as you enter the building from the reception room.

How Does a Visit to the Blue Lagoon Work?

First of all, you will need to book your entry through the Blue Lagoon's website. You'll want to book your entry slot well in advance, as it is the most popular attraction in Iceland and it does sell out almost every day.

The prices fluctuate depending on availability and if you are booking last minute the price will rise, which is an even better motivation to make those bookings early. 

If you are trying to book your ticket with only a day or two in advance then it is likely that it will be fully booked, or only have one or two slots available, for a higher price.

After booking you’ll need to arrange how you will get to the lagoon. If you are booking it just after you arrive, then you can book a bus that takes you from the airport to the Blue Lagoon and then to Reykjavík afterwards. 

Or, if you are booking it just before you depart from Iceland, there is a bus from Reykjavík to the Blue Lagoon that can take you to the airport afterwards.

Perhaps you will be renting a car for your stay in Iceland, and then you can simply drive there yourself. The drive is about 35 minutes from the city centre of Reykjavík.

Blue Lagoon luggage storage and start of walking path

Alternatively, you can book a tour that takes you to the Blue Lagoon and on another activity, such as an ATV tour, lava caving or a Golden Circle sightseeing tour. Note that you will still need to book your entry ticket to the Blue Lagoon yourself for these tours.

You can also book a self-drive itinerary through Guide to Iceland for your whole stay in Iceland, or a guided summer package or winter package that includes a variety of interesting tours, accommodation and your Blue Lagoon visit arranged for you.

When you arrive at the parking lot by the Blue Lagoon, there is the aforementioned walking path that stretches a couple of hundred metres through the lava to the entrance. If you have large bags that need to be stored during your visit then there is a luggage storage by the start of the path, next to the parking lot. 

The route is suitable for people in wheelchairs. Make sure you dress warmly if you are coming in winter as even a few minutes outside can be very chilly.

Blue Lagoon entrance

You will enter the main reception building where you might have to queue up before talking to a member of staff that will hand you your electronic wristband. If you ordered a comfort, premium or luxury package, you will also be handed a towel, bathrobe and slippers here. 

When you've gone through the reception you will need to take your shoes off and enter a changing room. There is one changing room for males and another one for females. 

There you can take your clothes off and lock them inside a locker, using your electronic wristband. You will then need to shower naked, before putting on your swimsuit and entering the lagoon.

For some people showering naked is not something they are used to, but it's mandatory at all public swimming pools in Iceland. The water in the lagoon doesn't have any chlorine in it and it is, therefore, essential that people enter it completely clean. 

There are shower curtains and cubicles for you to shower in if you find it uncomfortable to use the communal showers. You will almost certainly be publicly called out if you try to sneak through without showering.

It's never crowded in the Blue Lagoon in IcelandPhoto by National Geographic

Leave your towel inside by the showers instead of taking it out to the lagoon with you (it may be raining or snowing outside, and you can swim between the indoor and outdoor areas). 

When you've entered the lagoon itself, make sure you check out the built-in bar where you can purchase drinks using your electronic wristband if you wish.

There is also a mud bar, where you can get a Silica Mud Mask for your face - included for all those who are visiting the lagoon. Additional Algae Masks can also be purchased, using the electronic wristband. An Algae Mask is included if you book the Premium package. 

Explore the lagoon, let the water drum on your shoulders at the small waterfall by the saunas, and cleanse your skin inside the three different saunas and steam rooms. If you've booked an in-water massage, then there's a special location for that by the saunas.

And if it's dark outside, remember to search the skies for the aurora!   

How to Get the Most of Your Stay at the Blue Lagoon

Relaxing in the soothing warm water of the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Opening Hours & Best Time to Visit

Many people wonder when is the best time to visit, both in terms of the season and the time of day.

The opening hours of the Blue Lagoon are as follows:

*See below for Christmas Holiday opening hours.

The Blue Lagoon in winter wonderland

The least popular slots to book are the first ones in the morning and the last ones in the day. There may be fewer people around at 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, and you may be able to book a slot with shorter notice.

Even though the last slot of the day is not so popular, the lagoon will be full at the end of the day since there is no limit to how long you can spend in the lagoon, and most people want to spend at least two hours in it.

Even when the lagoon is 'full', you will still have plenty of room around you as there is a limit on how many guests can enter.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is a romantic destination

To make the most of the lagoon, don't book a slot an hour before closing time, even though you can stay in the lagoon for 30 minutes after. 

Entering will take some time as you need to possibly queue for your key, then inside the changing rooms you'll have to undress and shower. After enjoying a soak in the lagoon itself you might want to take your time getting ready again.

The evening slots are probably the best time to visit. This is at the end of a day when you may have been sightseeing or doing some activity, such as horseback riding, ATV riding, snowmobiling or whale watching, and what better way to relax than to hit the spa for a couple of soothing hours?

At the height of summer, the opening hours are until 23:00, so you might want to snatch a slot at 20:00 or at the latest at 21:00, which gives you time to sightsee, have dinner, then relax in the lagoon and enjoy the midnight sun.

Northern Lights dancing over the Blue Lagoon

In wintertime, however, the lagoon closes at 21:00. Evenings are also popular in wintertime, especially because there's no better place to admire the Northern Lights than from a comfortable warm pool.

Look up what time the sun sets (since it varies a lot depending on which month you're visiting Iceland) and try to book a slot that will give you at least two hours in the lagoon.

Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Christmas holidays. A surprise visit to the Blue Lagoon is the perfect holiday gift.

Make sure you've booked your entry in advance, seeing as this is both a popular time to visit and the opening hours are more limited.

Blue Lagoon Spa Amenities

The Icelandic Blue Lagoon is perfect to soothe sore muscles

The Blue Lagoon has a number of spa amenities available to all guests. 

These include the silica mud mask, sauna and steam rooms, a man-made waterfall, a cave to relax inside, an in-water bar, the option to book an in-water massage and an indoor relaxation area with a view over the lagoon itself.

Relaxation room indoors at the Blue Lagoon

The silica mud mask can be obtained from the mud bars inside the lagoon. Cover your face with the white silica mask (be careful not to put it in your eyes), let it rest for a few minutes and then wash it off. You'll have incredible smooth and beautiful skin afterwards.

Blue Lagoon waterfall is great for relieving muscle tension

There is both a traditional Finnish wooden sauna and a steam bath with a window out to the lagoon. 

Right next to it is a man-made waterfall, and the strength of the hot water crashing down on your shoulders will relieve any tension you might have in your muscles.

Enter the cave to listen to an audio guide about the Blue Lagoon in several languages. It's also the perfect spot for photos.

Blue Lagoon Bar

The bar inside the Blue Lagoon

The bar is inside the lagoon and there you can purchase both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The purchase is made with your plastic bracelet that you receive on arrival and payment is made when you exit the premises.

There are refreshing smoothies and slushies available, as well as red, white and sparkling wine, beer, cider and sodas. There is a limit of three alcoholic beverages per person whilst in the lagoon itself.

Blue Lagoon In-Water Massages

Getting a Blue Lagoon massage, whilst floating in the lagoon itself

You can book in-water massages that last from 30 minutes to two hours, or book an exclusive lounge that will only accommodate a maximum of 12 people. These massages need to be booked well in advance as they tend to get fully booked.

The relaxation massage is the foundation of all the massages at the Blue Lagoon, and you can choose between a 30-minute session for 10,200 ISK or a 60-minute session for 16,300 ISK. Note that entry to the Blue Lagoon is not included in those prices and needs to be booked additionally. The massages are suitable for anyone of the age of five and up.

Extra treatments are available to add on top of the massage for 12,900 ISK for additional 30 minutes. Your options are a full body silica salt scrub, foot and leg silica wrap and an upper body scrub.

Or you can simply choose to do the two hour signature treatment for 31,200 ISK, that includes a salt scrub, silica or algae wrap and an in-water relaxation massage. 

Your skin is scrubbed and polished with minerals and salt to begin with as you float in the warm lagoon. 

After the invigorating scrub, you can choose between being wrapped in either silica or algae whilst also enjoying a gentle massage on your face and your scalp. 

Finally, indulge in a full body massage for 50 minutes. It doesn't get more relaxing than that!

Blue Lagoon Skin Products

Blue Lagoon skin products

The Blue Lagoon is famous for its incredible skin treatment, and a big part of the skin treatment is the products. 

In the lagoon itself, all guests are treated to the silica mud mask, and the algae mask can be purchased for use in the water. Additionally, guests are treated to the Blue Lagoon hair conditioner in the showers.

But it's also possible to buy these skin products to take home with you, along with many others. Although the algae and silica mud masks are the bestsellers, along with shower gel and a foaming cleanser, there is an enormous selection of additional products for sale.

Bath salts, body lotion, foot balm, foot scrub, hand cream, home treatment sets, lava scrubs, mineral face exfoliators, day cream, night cream, moisturising cream, eye cream, lip balm, shampoo, bath oil, body oil - you name it, they've got it!

The first five products were released in 1993 and initially, they focused on treatment products. In the following decades, the skin care line expanded into cleansing, boosting, healing and nourishing products as well. 

The algae is anti-ageing, the silica is strengthening and the minerals are revitalising. The skin care line adheres to an eco-friendly sustainability model and is harvested by way of a zero-waste process.

Blue Lagoon Lava Restaurant

Lava restaurant at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon has its own top-notch restaurant with a view towards the lagoon. It provides the perfect stop for a romantic meal before or after soothing your muscles in the lagoon itself. The restaurant is also suitable for relaxed lunches or family dinners.

Although casual clothing is allowed, Lava restaurant is a little upscale, as to be expected at a spa resort, and the prices go along with that. 

Expect to pay a similar amount for your meal as you do for the entry to the lagoon. But the food is delicious, so for any food lovers out there, this gourmet treat is worth it.

The design surrounding Lava restaurant is gorgeous and within the theme of using the natural lava rocks as a decoration. The restaurant is actually built into the lava rock, so behind the floor to ceiling windows facing the blue waters is an entire lava cliff. 

Lava restaurant in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The menu consists mainly of traditional Icelandic ingredients, with emphasis on wild and flavourful ingredients. In the evening menu, all starters are priced the same (2,900 ISK), all mains are priced the same (5,900 ISK) and all desserts are priced the same (2,400 ISK). 

A highly recommended four course tasting menu is available for the whole table for 10,300 ISK, and a children's menu is available as well. There are of course some vegetarian options on the menu.

You can get an accompanying wine menu, or buy drinks by the glass.

The lunch menu is somewhat cheaper, when the starters are priced at 2,700 ISK, the mains for 4,500-4,900 ISK and the desserts at 1,900 ISK each. A two-course meal goes for the price of 6,600 ISK, while a three-course meal will set you back 7,600 ISK. 

The menu changes regularly, although some favourite dishes remain the same. You can expect to see Icelandic classics such as lamb, arctic charr, root vegetables, langoustine, cod and beef on it, along with Icelandic herbs, berries and of course the traditional Icelandic dairy product skyr. 

Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel

A room at the Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel

Only a 10 minute walk from the Blue Lagoon itself lies the Silica Hotel. If you want your own private lagoon, then be sure to book a night's stay here, as the hotel has its own bathing lagoon that's only available to hotel guests. The Silica Hotel Lagoon is accessible between 9:00 and 22:00.

This is the ultimate romantic getaway, as the hotel is for adults only, 18 years and older, and has rave reviews from visitors. 

Silica Lagoon, private lagoon at Blue Lagoon's Silica Hotel

Rates include breakfast, free Wi-Fi, access to the Silica Lagoon, access to gym facilities and complimentary Premium Admission to the Blue Lagoon that's valid during your stay.

Check availability and book your hotel stay here.

The Retreat Hotel at Blue Lagoon

The Retreat's stylish design marries the contrasting nature it inhabits.

In 2018 another hotel was opened at the Blue Lagoon, offering a spa within the spa. This is an exclusive luxury hotel, only offering private suites, 62 of them in total. The suites are either 40 square metres (431 square feet) or 60 square metres (646 square feet).

In addition to including access to the Blue Lagoon, all suites come inclusive with access to the exclusive and subterranean Retreat Spa, private Retreat Lagoon and Blue Lagoon Ritual.

You cannot imagine a more peaceful place to find your inner peace.

Guests are welcomed by their private host and are offered daily group yoga sessions and group hikes. A la carte breakfast is included in the price for a night's stay, as well as a traditional Icelandic coffee with baked goods in the afternoon at the hotel's lounge.

There is, of course, wifi available, as well as 24 hours room service and unlimited access to the Blue Lagoon itself, but additionally, guests have a turndown service, concierge service and valet parking. The suites are aimed for an exclusive clientele, and all come with a hefty price tag, with prices up to 230,000 ISK per night. For the larger suites, the Lagoon Suite and Moss Suite, guests get their own private lagoon and a two-night minimum is required.

This is currently the only five-star hotel in the country.

The Retreat Spa at Blue Lagoon

At the Retreat you have unlimited access to the Blue Lagoon and spa.

The entire Retreat Spa is subterranean and very exclusive. A four-hour visit includes access to the Retreat Spa, Retreat Lagoon, the Blue Lagoon, the Blue Lagoon Ritual, as well as providing guests with skin care amenities and private changing rooms.

The Retreat Spa itself includes a steam cave, a terrace, a lava spring, and soothing lounges to relax in, one with a fireplace and another with hammocks where you can gaze out onto the beautiful lava field surrounding the building.

The Retreat Lagoon is a private lagoon, only accessible to Retreat guests. The Blue Lagoon Ritual provides guests with silica, algae and minerals in a spacious chamber that is sure to be a healing sanctuary for all those that enter. 

If you’re feeling peckish, you can enjoy the spa's exclusive restaurant, offering breakfast and an all-day menu.

Guests have access to a butler, on-call masseuse, on-call chef and on-call yoga instructor. The four-hour visit doesn't come cheap, with entry from 59,000 ISK per person.

Moss Restaurant at Blue Lagoon Retreat

Heady views from the delux and delicious Moss restaurant.

The newest addition to the Blue Lagoon is Moss Restaurant. Their menu is seasonal and therefore ever-changing, but relies on Icelandic fresh ingredients. 

It's located on top of The Retreat, giving its customers beautiful views over the surrounding lava landscapes, through wall to wall windows.

The menu is created from the high-quality ingredients sourced straight from farmers across Iceland and is developed by a team of esteemed chefs dedicated to getting to know the producers as well as the product. Each dish is well conceptualised and meticulously delivered with a passion so characteristic of the Icelandic nature and volcanism.

Moss Restaurant is only open for dinner reservations, with the first seating at 18:30 and the last one at 21:30. It's recommended to reserve a table in advance.

What Attractions Are in the Area?

The Blue Lagoon is like an oasis in the lava field of Reykjanes peninsula

The Blue Lagoon is situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula, and besides the lagoon itself, this area is often overlooked by visitors coming to Iceland, who only see it on the journey to and from the airport. 

This is really a mistake travellers make because the peninsula has plenty of beautiful attractions to admire and there won't be hordes of tourists around.

Attractions in the area include countless craters, the geothermal area of Krýsuvík, Gunnuhver hot spring, lake Kleifarvatn, the Bridge Between Continents, the natural 'pool' Brimketill, and the town Keflavík.

Seltún geothermal area by Krýsuvík on Reykjanes peninsula in IcelandPicture from Visit Reykjavík

The Reykjanes Peninsula has its fair share of geothermal areas. The most well known geothermally activity ones are Seltún in Krýsuvík, by lake Kleifarvatn and Gunnuhver, closer to the Blue Lagoon and the town of Grindavík.

Seltún is a colourful area, the earth dyed with bright yellow, orange, red and green. It has a wooden path snaking its way past boiling mud pots, hot springs and hissing fumaroles, and many educational signs in the area.

Gunnuhver is a large hot spring area only consisting of fumaroles and mud pools that are way too hot to bathe in.  This place has a haunted past, with the murderous ghost of a peasant woman said to be trapped in the steam.

Kleifarvatn lake in IcelandPicture from Grindaví

Lake Kleifarvatn is the largest lake on Reykjanes peninsula, and the 26th largest lake in Iceland, at about nine square kilometres. 

At its deepest it is around 90 metres, making it one of the deeper lakes in Iceland. However, after a couple of earthquakes in the year 2000, a crack opened that made the water level drop. 

As a result, the coastline of the lake is extremely interesting, with steam from hot springs rising around it and gorgeous lava flow rock formations that are well worth exploring.

Cliffs by Reykjanes seaside in Iceland

Brimketill, or the Whitewater Cauldron, is a naturally shaped pool by the seaside. The water is, however, freezing cold seawater and shouldn't be entered, especially not during high tide or in windy weather as enormous waves continually crash on it. 

It is, however, a sight to see in rough weather. A viewing platform is close by, accessible for everyone.

A selection of guitars owned by Icelandic rock legend Björgvin Halldórsson

Picture from the Icelandic Museum of Rock & Roll, from Ljósanótt

Keflavík, or Reykjanesbær, is the largest town on Reykjanes peninsula. It has some lovely cafés and shops, holds the annual Night of Lights festival at the end of summer, and the Icelandic Museum of Rock & Roll is well worth a visit.

Right by the town is the former US Navy Base, which has now been turned into university housing and apartment blocks. It's interesting that you can still see street names in English here.

Cone-shaped Keilir mountain on Reykjanes peninsula

You can also choose to walk between continents on the Bridge Between Continents, hike up the cone-shaped Keilir mountain or visit the lava cave Leiðarendi by the Blue Mountains, Bláfjöll.

Check out this day tour, Reykjanes Peninsula | Blue Lagoon Tour with Lava Landscapes, which will take you to all the wonders in the surrounding area of the Blue Lagoon.

Similar Experiences in Iceland

Although the Blue Lagoon is by far the most popular bathing spot in Iceland, it is far from being the only one. Iceland is filled with water in every imaginable form; steaming, frozen, hissing, fresh, cool, scolding, bubbling or muddy. 

The hot water running underground is tapped and used in radiators to warm up people's houses, comes directly out of the showers and faucets, and is used in dozens of warm outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs.

Besides all those swimming pools that can be found in Reykjavík, and in Iceland's countryside, there are also multiple natural hot springs, man-made pools and luxurious spas.

Mývatn Nature Baths in North Iceland

The Mývatn Nature Baths in North Iceland are a somewhat comparable attraction to the Blue Lagoon. These baths have the same opaque blue texture as the Blue Lagoon, modern shower and changing facilities, a sauna and a restaurant/café on site. 

The Mývatn Nature Baths are much smaller than the Blue Lagoon. They receive fewer guests and are more modestly priced but there are also fewer spa amenities and no in-water massages.

Secret Lagoon in IcelandPicture from the Highlands Superjeep Tour | Langjökull & the Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon is found in South Iceland, not far off from the Golden Circle. The water here is nice and toasty but doesn't have the same opaque blue, milky waters as the Blue Lagoon and Mývatn Nature Baths have. It does have an adjacent geothermal area, however.

It is located inside a man-made rectangular concrete structure, although the water comes straight from the ground. There's a small, bubbling hot spring right next to the water to remind you of where exactly the hot water is coming from.

For the cheapest and most convenient alternative, head to Laugardalslaug in the capital. It may not have the natural surrounding beauty and mystical charm of those above, but it's the only pool with waterslides.

There is however no place that can fully compare to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. We highly recommend you visit the famed geothermal spa on your visit to Iceland.

We hope you hope our ultimate guide to the Blue Lagoon proved helpful to you in ensuring you make the most of your visit to Iceland. There are plenty of hot springs in Iceland to explore, but the Blue Lagoon should be well up there on your list. We'd love to hear and respond to your questions and comments below.

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