- The Blue Lagoon: Where It All Began
- The Sky Lagoon: Comfort in the Capital
- Hvammsvik Hot Springs: A New Contender
- The Location of the Lagoons
- Location of the Blue Lagoon
- Location of the Sky Lagoon
- Location of the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
- Price Range, Experiences, and Spa Rituals
- Entry to the Blue Lagoon
- Entry to the Sky Lagoon
- Entry to the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
- Opening Times and When to Visit
- When to Visit the Blue Lagoon
- When to Visit the Sky Lagoon
- When to Visit the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
- Food and Drink Options
- Food at the Blue Lagoon
- Food at the Sky Lagoon
- Food at the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
- Accommodation Near the Lagoons
- Age Limit and Water Depth at the Lagoons
- Wheelchair Accessibility
- What To Know About Icelandic Bathing Culture
- Lagoons, Pools, and Hot Springs around the Country
- Geothermal Power
- FAQ's about Visiting Geothermal Lagoons in Iceland
- So Which Spa Is The Winner?
When it comes to geothermal spas in Iceland, two of the most popular options are the Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon, but which one is the best? Could the recently opened Hvammsvik Hot Springs pose a challenge? Let's take a closer look!
Iceland features an array of natural wonders and unique experiences. Thanks to the country's raw geothermal power, it also boasts a lot of naturally heated pools, lagoons, and hot springs. No matter where you choose to stay, you're sure to find a relaxing bathing experience close to your accommodation in Iceland. If you're planning on soaking in warm geothermal waters, check out our wide selection of hot springs tours in Iceland. They're generally reachable by bus, transfer, or taxi, or you can enjoy the benefits of having a rental car during your trip.
Among the geothermal spas in Iceland, two stand out as the most well-known: the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon, famed for its milky-blue waters, combines wellness and luxury in a picturesque setting. Similarly, the Sky Lagoon, with its dramatic 70-meter infinity edge, offers relaxation with an immersive view of the ocean and coastline.
There are, however, many more lagoons and spa experiences popping up over Iceland, and a notable one near Reykjavik is the Hvammsvik Hot Springs. It definitely deserves a place in the discussion of which lagoon is best to visit.
All locations promise rejuvenation set in Icelandic tranquility, but each one has its own unique characteristics. So which experience is the best? Read on to learn everything you need to know about visiting the Blue Lagoon, the Sky Lagoon, and the Hvammsvik Hot Springs on your trip to Iceland. Let the battle of the spas begin!
The Blue Lagoon: Where It All Began
The Blue Lagoon, located in an 800-year-old lava field on the Reykjanes peninsula, is one of Iceland's most iconic attractions, drawing visitors from around the globe. This geothermal lagoon was formed in 1976 during operations at the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power plant. As the hot, mineral-rich water used to generate electricity was released into the surrounding lava field, it began to accumulate, forming the pool that is now the Blue Lagoon.
The milky-blue waters of the Blue Lagoon contrast starkly with the surrounding black lava rocks. The lagoon's striking color is due to its high silica content, which reflects sunlight and gives the water its unique hue. The temperature of the water averages around 98-102°F (37-39°C), and it's rich in silica and minerals that are said to have healing properties. It's also said to be particularly beneficial for people with skin conditions like psoriasis.
The unique mineral content of the water does mean that you will have to take special care of your hair when going to the Blue Lagoon. If it gets wet, you may find that your hair will have a straw-like texture afterward that will go away after a few days. The minerals don't actually damage your hair long-term but can be a bit bothersome before your hair texture gets back to normal.
To prevent this, make sure to use a lot of the lagoon's complementary conditioner and keep it in your hair while you're in the water to protect your hair. You can also simply keep your hair out of the water, but of course, that is easier said than done.
The Blue Lagoon is designed to blend with the volcanic rock of the surrounding area, featuring modern buildings with a futuristic appearance inspired by nature. The lagoon itself is man-made but appears entirely natural, adding to the harmony between architecture and the environment. You'll find many crevices and caves in the water, which offer more privacy, with walking paths and bridges on the edges of the water. If you want to stay close to the iconic spa, make sure to book a hotel near the Blue Lagoon ahead of time.
- See more: Iceland's Blue Lagoon - The Ultimate Travel Guide
- See more: My Experience at the Blue Lagoon
The Sky Lagoon: Comfort in the Capital
Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean within the capital region, the Sky Lagoon offers an unparalleled geothermal spa experience that fuses natural beauty, Icelandic tradition, and modern luxury. Opened in 2021, it quickly became one of Iceland's must-visit destinations, bringing a unique twist to the country's famous geothermal bathing culture.
The geothermal waters in the Sky Lagoon are warm and comforting, typically maintained at a temperature of around 100-104°F (38-40°C). Coupled with breathtaking views of the mountains, ocean, and skies, it offers an immersive experience that seems to blur the boundaries between the man-made lagoon and the natural world.
The Sky Lagoon's most distinctive feature is its impressive 70-meter infinity-edge pool. The pool's edge appears to merge with the vast Atlantic Ocean, creating an illusion of endless water that seamlessly blends with the surrounding sea. The architecture is distinctly modern yet pays homage to traditional Icelandic design principles, utilizing clean lines, minimalistic aesthetics, and natural materials.
A special highlight is the spa area, which includes an incredible sauna with amazing views of the ocean and an outside cold mist room where it feels like you're being embraced by the rain. The entrance of the spa area mimics a traditional Icelandic turf house, and the same inspiration can be found on the outside of the main building.
The entrance of the Sky Lagoon is lined with a turf wall, built with the same technique used in historical Icelandic turf houses. There are very few people left in the world that know how to build from turf in this traditional way, making the outside design of the Sky Lagoon quite an accomplishment.
Even with all the aforementioned features that make Sky Lagoon a great place to visit, at the top of the list is probably its destination. It is only a 10-15 minute drive away from Reykjavik's city center, located in the suburban town of Kopavogur. This makes it highly convenient to visit if you're staying in a hotel in Reykjavik, as you won't have to leave the capital region to get there.
Hvammsvik Hot Springs: A New Contender
A recent addition to the natural bath scene in Iceland is the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, opened in 2022. This unique destination is rising in popularity and was even named the number one best thing to do in the world by TimeOut in 2023. Hvammsvik offers geothermally heated pools along the coastline and in the ocean, quite literally letting guests bathe in the beautiful Icelandic landscape. These distinctive characteristics make it a must-try experience for anyone interested in exploring the country's nature and immersing themselves in the culture.
Water levels and temperature of some of the pools fluctuate as the tides of the Atlantic Ocean rise and fall, providing an experience in harmony with nature. The temperature of the hot springs mostly ranges from 99-104°F (37-40°C), so you're sure to have a relaxing experience with the best possible nature view. There's also a lounge pool up against the building, making accessing the bar easy, and sunny days also provide the perfect opportunity to take a dip in the ocean.
The establishment has a very interesting past. It was built on the foundation of barracks used by the Allies in World War II. The architecture draws inspiration from this history but with the comforts of modern decor. The hot spring pools themselves are made to look as natural as possible and were formed with rocks from the surrounding area. The scenery changes dramatically depending on whether it's high or low tide, creating a unique experience for every visit.
The Location of the Lagoons
The Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, and Hvammsvik Hot Springs offer exceptional geothermal spa experiences but have significantly different settings, though all are within driving distance from Reykjavik. Whether you prefer a location within city limits or don't mind a short journey, accessibility is something to account for.
Location of the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is situated amidst the rugged, otherworldly volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes peninsula. It's an approximately 50-minute drive from Reykjavik and about a 20-minute drive from Keflavik International Airport. It's most convenient to reach by car, and you can easily pick up a rental car by Keflavik Airport for convenience.
There are also many Blue Lagoon tours available if you prefer not to drive or plan to take advantage of their in-water bar. You can choose the quick Blue Lagoon shuttle bus from Reykjavik or transportation to the Blue Lagoon from Keflavik Airport for the start of your visit. Then you can take advantage of the return transfer to Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport, which even includes the comfort admission ticket in the pricing!
We also recommend pairing your Blue Lagoon trip with another experience. Take the time to explore the surrounding natural wonders with a self-drive tour, or choose from the many guided Reykjanes tours available. There are even multiple tours from Reykjavik that offer the Blue Lagoon as part of the journey, like this highly-rated Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon tour, which we recommend checking out.
- See more: What to Do During a Stopover in Iceland
- Learn more: 22 Best Things to Do on the Reykjanes Peninsula
Location of the Sky Lagoon
The Sky Lagoon is located in the Karsnes harbor area in the municipality of Kopavogur in the capital region. This proximity to the capital makes reaching Sky Lagoon very easy, as it's only about a 15-minute drive from downtown Reykjavik. The city bus, taxi, or rental car in Reykjavik are all viable options for transportation. You can also simply book a convenient transfer to the Sky Lagoon from your hotel in Reykjavik.
The in-city location doesn't affect the relaxation, however. Because of the lagoon's positioning in Skerjafjordur bay, you'll feel separated from the noise of the bustling capital during your visit and be able to unwind in peace.
Location of the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
Nestled along rocks on the shore and surrounded by dramatic mountains, the Hvammsvik Hot Springs is truly a special location. You'll find it in the fjord of Hvalfjordur, only around an hour's drive from central Reykjavik. The journey is easy, and you just need a small rental car, but if you don't have one or simply don't want to drive, you can take advantage of their shuttle service to and from Reykjavik. Make sure to book ahead of time so your visit is as stress-free as possible.
We recommend taking time to explore the Hvalfjordur fjord as part of your visit to the Hvammsvik Hot Springs. You can enjoy a day hiking up Glymur, the second-tallest waterfall in Iceland, and explore the beautiful scenery along the fjord before unwinding in the warm water. Make sure to stop by the charming War and Peace Museum on your way as well.
If you're traveling during the darker months, keep in mind that the fjord is also a very popular destination for northern lights hunting from Reykjavik, which can make a great addition to your itinerary.
- See more: Best Places to See the Northern Lights in Reykjavik
- See also: The Best Time to See the Northern Lights in Iceland
Price Range, Experiences, and Spa Rituals
The spa experiences of the Icelandic geothermal lagoons are quite luxurious, but you can choose from differently priced entrance passes and customize your visit in other ways. Choose the option that best fits your needs and interest, but keep in mind that the prices mentioned may change with time.
Entry to the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon has two main entry options to choose from. You can book a Blue Lagoon Comfort ticket for the most affordable entry at around 107 USD. It's slightly more affordable if you go at opening time and later in the evening. Along with entrance to the lagoon, it includes a silica mud mask and a drink of your choice to enjoy as you relax in the water. You also get access to a towel, so you don't have to bother with bringing your own.
Your second option is to book a Blue Lagoon Premium ticket which costs around 125 USD. It's a great way to maximize your experience. It includes the same benefits as the Comfort entry, but you will also get a cozy bathrobe during your stay and two additional mud masks of your choice. If you're planning on dining at the Blue Lagoon Lava restaurant, then you will also get a complimentary glass of sparkling wine with this access!
They also offer a third luxury access option, which gives access to their amazing Retreat Spa and costs around 642 USD. You'll get a private changing room and access to a more private part of the area known as the Retreat Lagoon. This option is especially beneficial if you're curious about the famous skincare line of the Blue Lagoon, as you can try some of their products as part of their Blue Lagoon Ritual treatment before making a purchase. Additionally, you will have access to the Spa Restaurant.
Entry to the Sky Lagoon
At the Sky Lagoon, guests can choose from three entrance options, and each one offers a different experience. You can book the most affordable Sky Lagoon spa admission ticket, which is the Pure Lite option. It gives you access to the main pool area of the lagoon, where you can enjoy the beautiful view from the infinity edge. They also offer towels, so you don't have to bring your own.
If you want the full spa experience, which we recommend, then book the Sky Lagoon full-access ticket. It's called the Pure Pass, and it gives access to their seven-step spa ritual that's intended to rejuvenate and relax you. The first step is enjoying the main geothermal pool of the Sky Lagoon. You then take a dip in cold water which is intended to stimulate your immune system and reduce inflammation while giving you an endorphin rush.
This is when you enter the main spa facilities. Relax in the sauna that has a huge window showcasing the beautiful ocean views. Once you're thoroughly relaxed, you take the next step to the cold mist sensation room. After that, you exfoliate your body with the Sky Body Scrub, and then the penultimate step is a steam bath, where you'll be able to maximize the hydrating benefits of the scrub. Once you're content, you take the last step, which is a shower, before returning to the main geothermal pool.
If you want more privacy during your visit, you can book a Sky Lagoon premium ticket. This entry, called the Sky Pass, gives you access to all the aforementioned activities with the benefit of a private changing room.
Entry to the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
You can book Hammsvik Hot Springs tickets for around 58 USD, as they only offer one type of entrance pass. You can have a premium upgrade for 14 USD which adds a complimentary drink to your entry price and a rented towel. This can be a great option if you don't want to bother bringing your own. Additionally, you can rent swimwear, a single-use waterproof phone case, and even swim shoes for a small price.
During your stay, you'll have access to all their hot springs and pools, a steam bath, outdoor and indoor changing facilities, and outdoor showers. You can also enjoy their free paddle board sessions when available.
If you want to add to your experience, you can treat yourself to yoga lessons, meditation, Wim Hof Method breathwork, and gradual cold exposure before unwinding in warm water with a drink. Make sure to check what is available at the time of your visit and to book ahead of time.
Depending on the weather and time of year, we also recommend taking a dip in the ocean and then going back to the warmer hot springs for optimal relaxation. You can even try a free guided beginner's introduction to ocean swimming!
Opening Times and When to Visit
The Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, and Hvammsvik Hot Springs all offer long opening hours to suit a wide group of guests. Your experience may have different advantages depending on what time of year you're traveling to Iceland and what time of day you book your visit. Also, be aware that exact opening times may change.
- See more: Iceland in Spring - The Ultimate Travel Guide
- See More: Iceland in Summer - The Ultimate Travel Guide
- See more: Iceland in Fall - The Ultimate Travel Guide
- See more: Iceland in Winter - The Ultimate Travel Guide
When to Visit the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon's opening hours vary depending on the time of year and as the tourist numbers in Iceland fluctuate. From August to the start of January, they're open from 8 AM to 10 PM, and from January to May, opening times are from 8 AM to 9 PM. This period is the low season in Iceland, so you'll likely have more privacy.
During peak travel season, from June to August, they're open from 7 AM to 12 AM. This means you can take advantage of the midnight sun and enjoy the Blue Lagoon as a treat after a long day of exploring. It can also serve as a relaxing start to your day if you go at opening time.
As the Blue Lagoon is arguably the most famous attraction in Iceland, you can expect a lot of people when you're visiting. What's helpful, however, is that you have to book a specific time for your arrival, which means that it shouldn't be too packed in the changing room.
There's no limit to how long you can stay in the water, but people generally spend up to three or four hours relaxing at the Blue Lagoon. This will depend on which entry pass you booked and whether you choose to eat at their restaurants.
If you want to visit but prefer to avoid crowds, we recommend going in the late afternoon or early evening as it's likely to be less crowded. The area is also very large and has many nooks and crannies, so even if the lagoon is fully booked, you can find more privacy if you move away from the main entry area.
It's also much better to go during the low season, as there are fewer people, and you can enjoy the twilight and the starry night sky. If you're lucky, you may even be able to spot the northern lights in the winter darkness!
When to Visit the Sky Lagoon
The Sky Lagoon has opening hours that change depending on the season. From mid-August to September, they're open from 11 AM to 11 PM, and on Saturdays, they open an hour earlier.
During winter, from October to mid-May, they're open on Mondays from 11 AM to 10 PM, on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 12 PM to 10 PM, and on Friday to Sunday from 10 AM to 10 AM. Their summer hours, from mid-May to mid-August, are from 10 AM to 11 PM every day.
If you tend to start your day early, we recommend enjoying a lovely breakfast or brunch in Reykjavik or the nearby capital area before going to unwind in the relaxing water at opening time. However, like the Blue Lagoon, it will be less crowded in the evening, which is the best time to go.
One of the magical city experiences of the darker months in Iceland is visiting the Sky Lagoon in the early evening and staying until closing. Because of the stunning ocean views, you can experience the beautiful sunset reflecting on the water as the sky transitions into darkness. If you're visiting during the darkest months, you may also be able to spot the northern lights or at least enjoy the starry sky on a clear night.
The Sky Lagoon is very popular, but it likely won't be as crowded as the Blue Lagoon. You can still expect a lot of people, especially if going during the high season. The area is also smaller than the Blue Lagoon, and the most crowded area is along the glass infinity edge, but you can find more privacy along the cliffs and at the bar area. You also have to book a certain time for entry so the changing rooms should not be too crowded when entering.
There's no limit to how long you can stay during opening time. It's common to spend between three and four hours, but this depends on whether you choose to include the spa access into your trip and if you plan to grab a bite to eat afterward.
When to Visit the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
The Hvammsvik Hot Springs have consistent opening hours from 10 AM to 10 PM daily and throughout the year. The last entry is 1,5 hours before closing, but it nonetheless offers great flexibility for your visit. Unlike the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, we recommend going early during the day as you'll be able to better enjoy the beautiful view and all the activities on offer. The warmer months will also let you make the most of the other activities available.
The Hvammsvik Hot Springs themselves are relatively small though there are a few to choose from. This does mean that it can get quite crowded during peak visiting hours, but if you go early or late, it can offer a more calm and intimate experience. Like the Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon, you'll have to book your arrival time, meaning the changing room should not be too crowded.
Generally speaking, you can spend everywhere from two hours to a full afternoon at the hot springs as it depends on what you plan to do. You can have lunch or dinner at their on-site restaurant. There are also regular paddleboarding sessions and kayaking.
For optimal relaxation, you can enjoy their guided meditation experience with breathwork and restorative yoga. Make sure to check out what activities are available during your visit. You may also want to experience the location at high and low tide, which would mean spending most of the day at the spa. If you have to choose, we recommend going during high tide, as the ocean will be up against the hot springs, creating great photo opportunities.
If visiting in winter, keep in mind that the Hvalfjordur fjord is a popular location for northern lights hunting. This can make going during the evening of the darkest months a wonderful experience, as you may be able to enjoy the aurora dancing in the sky as you soak in the warm water.
Food and Drink Options
You're likely to be spending a while relaxing at your geothermal spa adventure, so one of the factors to consider when choosing a location is the food available. All three locations offer a range of food and drink options, but there are some differences to consider depending on what kind of experience you're seeking.
Food at the Blue Lagoon
There are multiple locations at the Blue Lagoon where you replenish your energy. For the quickest and most casual experience, you can grab a bite at the Blue Café. It's an especially good option for an easy breakfast if you're arriving early. You can also order drinks, both with or without alcohol, at the in-water bar.
For a more formal experience, there are several restaurant options to choose from. Their most popular one is the Lava Restaurant, which offers a beautiful view of the blue water. They offer a fine dining experience that focuses on Icelandic cuisine. If you choose the Premium Pass to the Blue Lagoon, you will get a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for your meal!
Their second option is the Moss Restaurant, which received a Michelin star in 2023. With innovative seasonal multi-course menus, you're sure to have a fantastic culinary experience. Make sure to book your table well ahead of time.
If you choose the Retreat Spa access to the Blue Lagoon, you will get access to their third dining option, the Spa Restaurant. You don't need to book a table, and you can even relax in your comfy spa robe while savoring their delicious menu.
Food at the Sky Lagoon
Sky Lagoon also offers great food inspired by Icelandic and Nordic food culture. You can order a tasting platter at the Smakk Bar for yourself or for sharing. You could also grab a tasty treat at the Sky Café. These options are a good way to end your trip to the Sky Lagoon, but be aware that you must order at least 30 minutes before closing time, so account for that in your plans.
While they offer great drinks along with their food options, you simply must take advantage of their in-water bar while you relax in the lagoon. There's a three-drink limit per person, and they have many options with or without alcohol.
Food at the Hvammsvik Hot Springs
When spending the day at the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, make sure to visit the Stormur Bistro and Bar to make the most of your experience. They have simple and light options, like soup and fresh open sandwiches, as well as tasty desserts that go great with coffee or tea.
Their drinks menu is also extensive, with sodas, sparkling tea, Icelandic beers, cocktails, and a varied wine list. You can even bring your drink with you in the water to relax and enjoy.
Accommodation Near the Lagoons
If you're planning to maximize your spa experience, then staying in the vicinity of the Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, or Hvammsvik Hot Springs is a good idea. There are many accommodation options to choose from, so you're sure to find something to suit your needs and preferences.
The Sky Lagoon is located within the capital area, so it's likely no surprise that it doesn't offer its own accommodation options. You can, however, find accommodation in Kopavogur for optimal convenience. No matter where you stay in the capital area, you'll have an easy time getting to the Sky Lagoon with either a rental car, taxi, or city bus.
You can also easily stay in accommodation in Reykjavik if you want to visit the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, though it's best reached by rental car. You can also find accommodation in Borgarnes, a charming town which is around a 50-minute drive away.
Hvammsvik Hot Springs also offer their own accommodation options, as you can rent one of the four beautiful houses on the property. Each one offers a homey and stylish environment with stunning views over the Hvalfjordur fjord. One offers access to a private hot tub, and another has its own private hot spring! This option is perfect if you're traveling in a group and want to make the most of your vacation.
If you're looking for accommodation at the Blue Lagoon, you have a few options. The lagoon itself offers two choices: the luxurious Retreat Hotel and the Silica Hotel. Both provide exclusive guest-only areas and a complimentary Premium Experience at the Blue Lagoon. The Retreat Hotel, with its suites offering lagoon views, also houses the Michelin-star Moss Restaurant and the Lava Cove spa.
Another hotel close to the Blue Lagoon is the Northern Light Inn. The 3-star hotel is just a 3-minute drive and an 18-minute walk from the lagoon. It's a popular choice and has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 700 guests!
You can also stay in the nearby towns of the Reykjanes peninsula if you have a rental car. You can book different types of accommodation in Grindavik or choose from hotels in Keflavik, the two closest towns to the Blue Lagoon. If you're planning a Blue Lagoon visit for your first or last day in Iceland, you may rather want to stay in accommodation near Keflavik Airport.
- See more: The Best Hotels Near The Blue Lagoon in Iceland
- See more: Best Hotels Near Keflavik Airport
- See more: An Afternoon in Keflavik
Age Limit and Water Depth at the Lagoons
If you're traveling with children, be aware that the Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, and Hvammsvik Hot Springs all have some form of age limitation for entry. This varies by location, but it's something to account for in your travel plans.
For the most family-friendly location, the age limit to the Blue Lagoon is 2 years old. Children between the ages of 2 and 13 get free entry, though they have to share a locker with a parent or guardian. For both the Sky Lagoon and the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, the age limit is 12 years old, and an adult guardian must accompany any children under 18.
In the Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon, the water is rather shallow, so you don't have to worry about the depth. It's around the hip level of the average adult, and you also don't have to know how to swim to enter. The same does apply to the Hvammsvik Hot Springs, as long as you stay in the hot springs themselves. If you're not confident in your swimming abilities, you would simply skip going into the ocean during your visit.
Both the Blue Lagoon and the Sky Lagoon offer commendable wheelchair accessibility. The Blue Lagoon ensures ease of entry through a private changing area, a specially designed pool access and lift to enter, and loaned wheelchairs for in-water use. Similarly, the Sky Lagoon's inclusivity features a ramped entrance, a spacious changing room, and wheelchair-friendly pathways.
Both places deliver impressive accessible amenities, although the Blue Lagoon’s in-water wheelchair may be a unique advantage for some visitors. Consequently, their commitment to inclusivity makes them welcoming destinations for all visitors.
Accessibility at the Hvammsvik Hot Springs is a bit more difficult, however, as their design focuses on blending into the rugged nature. There are stairs leading down to the pools, and most of them have rocky bottoms and surrounding areas. Some pathways are also made from slaps of stones that lie on the beach sand that encompasses the area. While some accommodations can be made, the Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon are the better options when it comes to easy wheelchair accessibility.
What To Know About Icelandic Bathing Culture
Swimming is an integral part of Icelandic culture, with both recreational and health benefits highly valued by locals. The tradition of swimming in Iceland is influenced by the abundance of geothermal energy, which heats the country's many pools, lagoons, and natural hot springs. Swimming lessons are also compulsory in the Icelandic education system, instilling a strong culture of swimming from a young age.
There are some things you need to know about the Icelandic swimming culture before visiting any lagoon, spa, or swimming pool in the country. Icelanders emphasize the cleanliness of their public bathing facilities, so you should be aware that it's mandatory to shower without a swimsuit before soaking in any public body of water.
This is done to maintain the water's purity and out of respect for your fellow visitors. It's also recommended to shower well afterward. You'll find free soap at any public swimming location in Iceland.
Many locations that are popular among travelers, like the Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon, and Hvammsvik Hot Springs, offer closed shower stalls so those not accustomed to public showers can enjoy some privacy. The Blue Lagoon and Sky Lagoon also offer private changing rooms for an additional price.
Lagoons, Pools, and Hot Springs around the Country
Iceland has a plethora of lagoons, hot springs, and public pools to choose from, and don't be fooled into thinking that just going to one place is enough for the full Icelandic bathing experience! Each location offers a different feature and unique adventure, with some set amidst lush landscapes and others nestled within urban environments.
Public pools, in particular, provide an authentic glimpse into Icelandic daily life. They're communal gathering spots where locals unwind, exercise, and socialize. Most locations have a pool intended for swimming, though kids often play there as well, and you will almost always find at least one hot tub. Most places have two or more hot tubs with different temperatures to choose from.
It's common to have water slides in public pools, some intended for children and others for everyone. You may also find special play areas with different water features! Make sure to check out the local public pools during your journey around Iceland to make the most of your visit, and check out the many other geothermal spas, lagoons, and hot spring establishments.
- See more: The 30 Best Hot Springs And Geothermal Pools in Iceland
- See more: Best Swimming Pools in Iceland
- See more: The Best Swimming Pools in Reykjavik
Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Hansueli Krapf. No edits made.
Geothermally heated water is one of Iceland's most valuable natural resources, providing the country with a sustainable source of heat and electricity. The island is situated on a hot spot in the Earth's crust called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, with abundant volcanic activity that heats underground reservoirs of water. This geothermally heated water can emerge naturally as hot springs, or it can be harnessed through boreholes to supply the country with hot water.
All outdoor and indoor swimming pools in Iceland are heated, so you don't have to worry about missing out when visiting during the colder months. In fact, many Icelanders will tell you that the best time for swimming is when it's cold outside, especially if it's raining or snowing! The refreshing cold makes relaxing in the hot water even more enjoyable.
FAQ's about Visiting Geothermal Lagoons in Iceland
- Is it safe to swim in the Blue Lagoon? Yes, it's completely safe to swim in the geothermal lagoons in Iceland. The water is regularly tested to ensure its safety and cleanliness. The lagoon is naturally self-cleansing, renewing itself every 40 hours.
- Can you wear jewelry at the Blue Lagoon? It's recommended not to wear jewelry in the Blue Lagoon. The mineral-rich waters, while beneficial for the skin, can cause discoloration and build-up of dirt in jewelry. It's also generally a good idea to remove jewelry before entering any geothermal lagoon, pool, or hot spring, including the Sky Lagoon and Hvammsvik Hot Springs.
- Does the Blue Lagoon smell? There can be a slight sulfur smell due to the geothermal nature of the waters, but it's very mild, entirely natural, and harmless. Most visitors don't notice it after the first few minutes.
- Do I need flip-flops at the Sky Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, or Hvammsvik Hot Springs? Flip-flops are not necessary but can be useful. The floor tends to be uneven and rough in places, though most visitors go barefooted.
- Can the Blue Lagoon damage your bathing suit? The mineral-rich water of the Blue Lagoon won't ruin your bathing suit, but it can leave a residue. It's suggested to rinse your suit thoroughly in fresh water after use. Some visitors choose to wear an older suit or simply rent one during their visit.
So Which Spa Is The Winner?
The Sky Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, and Hvammsvik Hot Springs in Iceland all offer unique experiences, leaving visitors charmed by their beautiful vistas. As each one has different characteristics, it makes it nearly impossible to choose a clear winner as everyone will have a different opinion, and honestly, they're all pretty amazing.
The Blue Lagoon, with its milky-blue therapeutic geothermal waters, has earned a reputation as a must-visit destination for global travelers. The silica-rich mud and soothing temperatures provide a luxurious spa experience, truly making it a destination worth visiting.
The Sky Lagoon, situated along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, features a beautiful 70-meter infinity edge pool and offers a beautiful and calming experience in Reykjavik. It's well worth experiencing the seven-step ritual of warmth, coolness, and relaxation that makes for a unique wellness journey.
The Hvammsvik Hot Springs is great for those that want to harmonize with nature and get away from the stress of day-to-day life. With unique bathing experiences, stunning surroundings, and fun activities, this location is not to be missed during your visit to Iceland.
Each one is worth a visit, so you'll have to look into which one best suits your needs during your visit. No matter which one you choose, you're sure to have a fantastic and rejuvenating time. If you can, we recommend experiencing more than one location during your time in Iceland.
Which Icelandic geothermal lagoon would you choose? Have you visited any one of them before? Are there other lagoons or hot springs that deserve a mention? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Guide to Iceland | The Story of the Leading Travel Agency of Iceland
The Complete Guide to the Midnight Sun in Iceland
Top 20 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland
22 Photos of the Aurora in Iceland
Other interesting articles
22 Best Things to Do on the Reykjanes PeninsulaThe Reykjanes Peninsula is the first stop for anyone coming into Iceland. Driving through otherworldly lava fields on the way to the city from the airport, one might think that the area seems empty, b...Read more
What to Wear in Iceland: The Ultimate Guide for All SeasonsIceland is infamous for its ever-changing weather, with mild winters and often cool and windy summers. Packing for a country with weather gods prone to mood swings can seem daunting, but don't worry -...Read more
Top 5 Destinations in IcelandWhat are the must-see places to visit on every journey to Iceland? See our list of the top 5 destinations in Iceland, find out where to go and how to get there! Find out What to Do & Where to...Read more