A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is one of the best-known and most popular places to visit in Iceland. Being an Icelander I have visited the Blue Lagoon many, many times through the years, and have always enjoyed my visit.

But in the past few years, the Blue Lagoon has become so popular amongst our foreign guests that pre-booking became required. That is when I stopped visiting the Blue Lagoon. As earlier on it was a spur of the moment decision to visit the lagoon - if we had sunny weather we would consider a visit to the lagoon, but now we locals cannot do that anymore. I heard stories that it had become too touristy and too pricey so I took a break for 3 years.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

But an opportunity arose to visit the Blue Lagoon again when I was invited to the lagoon with a group of Finnish teenagers and their group-leader. I jumped at the chance to see my beloved Blue Lagoon again :)

We arrived at 18:30 at the Blue Lagoon and stayed for 4 whole hours - the sun was shining and at the end of the day, the midnight sun cast an orange hue on the blue water, creating a surreal scene.

There I was with a glass of sparkling wine in one hand (complimentary) floating in golden water with light steam surrounding me - it was pure heaven :) I didn't have a camera with me but shot this photo below of the midnight sun outside the lagoon.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Everybody was so happy and serene and all over there were couples of all ages in love. My extremely social husband, on the other hand, had gone somewhere with another group leader, leaving me alone in the lagoon ;)

Floating there alone for a while I listened to what the other guests were saying about the lagoon and they were in the same state of mind as I was "heavenly", "wow, what a treat", "once in a lifetime...", "Where else can you sit in a hot spring by a volcano drinking beer and having the time of your life - only in Iceland"!

I was so happy to hear that people were enjoying themselves so much. One joker said: "Imagine that there was no water and we were all crawling around like crabs or zombies" :) As you can only move slowly in the water almost like a supernatural being floating around.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Finnish teenagers looking like zombies behind me ;)

The beautiful blue water in the Blue Lagoon is actually excess water from the geothermal power plant, Svartsengi, next to the lagoon, but good as such as it has healing properties and works wonders on psoriasis and eczema. The geothermal sea-water comes from very deep wells and the temperature is around 36-39 degrees C.

The white stuff in my photo above is a silica mud mask, which is provided by one of the bars in the Blue Lagoon. It used to be found in kegs in certain areas of the lagoon, but now I only found it at the bar. You put the silica mud mask on your face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes until it is dry. The silica mud mask acts as an exfoliant and it is supposed to make your skin look younger.

Just a word of warning - the minerals in the water will leave your hair feeling like hay after a dip in the lagoon, especially if chemically treated (coloured) so use plenty of the conditioner provided by the Blue Lagoon - I wash my hair and then put their conditioner in 3 times.

After my very first visit to the Blue Lagoon, I didn't know about this and my hair had the feel of a haystack on my head - it was pointing in all directions and was totally unmanageable - like big time.

Remember to drink water while in the lagoon, as the water in the Blue Lagoon is sea-water. Of course, there are other drinks as well at the bar...

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes peninsula in SW-Iceland, and is the most frequented tourist attraction in Iceland. It is on the National Geographic list of 25 wonders in the world and makes for a fantastic visit. 

After the visit to the Blue Lagoon, you can take a stroll in a beautiful area next to the lagoon. Here are some great photo opportunities as you walk by a miniature version of the Blue Lagoon. 

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The colours here are very vivid and beautiful; the spectacular blue colour of the water set in pitch black lava whitened around the edges by the silica.

In some places, this area of the Blue Lagoon looks like a glacial lagoon and reminded me of a miniature version of Jökulsárslón glacial lagoon. Here we are walking in the lava field Illahraun or Evil Lava, which is believed to have come from a volcanic eruption in 1226.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Parts of the lava are covered with green moss. It has become downtrodden and access to the lava is now restricted to protect it. So let's stay on the paths. There is no bathing here, just wonderful scenery.

As you walk further on the blue water runs in lava chutes - until it then disappears into the lava in one spot. In that spot, the lava is white like someone had painted it with white paint. But it has become coated with the silica deposit.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

This area is especially beautiful in the sunshine. It is only recently that I discovered the spot where the water disappears into the ground. It will clog up the lava eventually though, as the silica fills up the pores and holes in the lava.

That is how the Blue Lagoon was originally created - the excess water clogged up the lava and this wonderful lagoon was created back in 1976. The first person to venture bathing in the Blue Lagoon in 1981, and the one giving it its name, was Valur Margeirsson, who had psoriasis.

The blue water, which is rich in minerals and algae, did wonders to his skin.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Here is where the blue water disappeared into the lava

And here you can see it in a video I took:

Then the locals started bathing in this warm lagoon when public bathing with showers was offered in 1987. Back then the Blue lagoon was open with free access to everybody, and we locals would soak there at will.

Times have changed for sure with the increased popularity of the lagoon, but soaking in the Blue Lagoon is always a very enjoyable experience. To those of you who are contemplating visiting the Blue Lagoon, I would say: "Go for it!". Pricey or not it is a once in a lifetime experience!

Even though I as a local cannot afford to frequent it anymore as I used to do, then visiting it at least once is an unforgettable experience and very much worth it.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Check out Blue Lagoon tours and transport:


A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

To book a ticket and a slot at the Blue Lagoon you do so on the website of the Blue Lagoon.



The Blue Lagoon of the North - the Mývatn Nature Baths

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Jarðböðin á Mývatni - the Mývatn Nature Baths

By Mývatn in North-Iceland, you will find another Blue Lagoon type of experience, on a much lesser scale though than the Blue Lagoon in SW-Iceland. This lagoon is called Jarðböðin á Mývatni - the Mývatn Nature Baths and is partly owned by the Blue Lagoon.

The blue water here is also rich in silicates, minerals and geothermal microorganisms, which are beneficial to the skin. I visit the Mývatn area every year and it is wonderful soaking in the Mývatn Nature baths after a day of travelling and taking in all the interesting sights in the Mývatn area.


Visiting these two lagoons should not be missed while travelling in my country, it is such a wonderful experience. More and more geothermal baths are being opened in Iceland, making use of our plentiful geothermal water.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Soaking in the Geosea geothermal sea baths with an infinity view

I recently visited the Geosea geothermal sea baths in Húsavík in North-Iceland, where you soak in geothermal seawater from a borehole, with an infinity view over the bay.

Krauma geothermal baths in West-Iceland are also a new addition. There you soak in the geothermal water from the most powerful hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver. I will be visiting it next summer.

A Local's Experience of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

I getting a massage in the Secret Lagoon in South-Iceland

Another geothermal bath is the Secret Lagoon upcountry in South-Iceland. And Fontana, which is located on the Golden Circle of Iceland. I have yet to visit it, but will add photos after my visit next summer.

I visit these geothermal baths from time to time, but mainly I go swimming in the geothermal swimming pools - Árbæjarlaug is an all-time favourite of mine. It overlooks the beautiful Elliðaárdalur valley, where a salmon river runs through Reykjavík.


Have a lovely time visiting the geothermal baths of Iceland :)


Soak in geothermal waters as you travel around Iceland on a Ring Road Tour.

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