After a few days of outdoor exploits (lava tunnel hiking, black beach walking, geysir watching, glacier hiking, and more) on our trip to Iceland, we were more than ready for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation. The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa filled the bill spectacularly.
If you really want to splash out, and have plenty of money to burn, you can stay in one of two Blue Lagoon accommodations: Silica Hotel (from $564 per night) or Retreat Hotel (from $1,297 per night), both of which come with complimentary access to the Blue Lagoon. Otherwise, staying at a hotel in Reykjavik works just as well as the Blue Lagoon is just a 40 minute drive from Iceland’s capital. We stayed at the Northern Lights Inn which offered a complimentary shuttle from our lodging to the Blue Lagoon (we had booked our group’s entrance reservation three months prior).
The Blue Lagoon is geothermal utopia
After a bracing walk through a short maze in the lava field, we exchanged our vouchers for robes, slippers, towels, and an RFID bracelet per entry, having chosen “Premium” entry option over “Comfort”. Premium includes upgrades like: use of robe, slippers, a second free drink, a second mask of your choice, booking at Lava restaurant, and a glass of fizz with the meal.
The place was quite busy by the time we’d changed and stored our clothing and other items in the complimentary locker, but the staff was extremely efficient in directing clients to ensure smooth flow. We wrapped in our robes, slipped on our slippers, and headed outside to experience bliss!
Plenteous towel and robe racks are available directly outside the entry point, both inside and outside, but we chose to leave our wrappings on the rack next to the water outside – a great choice, because the chilly November air really felt frigid to our group from the southeast US. Once we submerged ourselves, though, the air was perfection – a comfortable counterpoint to the perfectly warmed geothermal waters which average 102º F. Our group split up to wander lazily through the waters exploring all the lagoon had to offer – fresh drinks at the swim-up bar, the steam room and sauna, and the mask bar. We heard many accents and languages – a testament to the international appeal of this serene place.
Lunch in your bathrobe at Lava Restaurant
Before we knew it, the time for our lunch booking at Lava Restaurant arrived, so we quickly exited the geothermal lagoon, shivering, dashed for our robes and slippers, and were seated at a table in the middle of the room, still with a fantastic view of the afternoon sun. Our group was initially unsure about dining in swimsuits and robes, but enough other clients were doing it and we quickly felt at ease. The waitstaff brought glasses of bubbly to start the dining celebration, as well as some delightful fresh and crusty rolls with local butter while we perused the menu.
Lava offers both lunch and dinner. We opted for lunch, in part because the dinner menu is a 4-course tasting menu, and we wanted to choose our courses – both number and item. The lunch menu can be vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore, or one can mix items for each course. I started with the birch and juniper-cured Arctic Char, which was absolutely divine – the perfectly smoked char was complemented by horseradish foam, cucumber, pickled mustard seed, and arctic char roe. Next, I had the fish of the day, just arrived from the nearby harbor of Grindavik, with potato, langoustine sauce, kale, and spring onion – a sumptuously warming and hearty main course. And never one to resist dessert, I ordered the sorrel and skyr (Iceland’s famous yogurt) with rhubarb and oats – a perfect sweet ending for an exquisite repast!
The waitstaff was perfectly attentive – anticipating our needs and desires, while miraculously not appearing to hover. We had a relaxed meal while discussing our impressions of this eden-like place, and sat for a bit in perfect tranquility, just absorbing the peacefulness of our last full day in Iceland.
After lunch, we headed back into the lagoon to enjoy a bit more soaking in the steaming waters before reluctantly returning to the dressing area to change. The dressing area has showers and hair dryers so we were able to go outside in a short while and not wind up with ice hair hats. As we left the lagoon dressing area, we turned in our RFID bands and checked out the skin care shop, to see what wonderfully healing and calming mask products we might take home with us. Once everyone was sated with skin product purchases, we headed out to the shuttle pickup area as the sun set, ending this ambrosial day in this geothermal utopia.
Tips for blissing out at The Blue Lagoon
- Unless you have a dressing gown/robe, it may be worth it to splurge for the Premium Entry rather than the Comfort Entry – the price is about $20-25 more, but for that, you try two face masks instead of one, have use of robe and slippers, an extra free beverage, and a reservation at Lava if you want one (and a free glass of fizz to accompany your meal).
- If you want some delicious food in an outstanding space, try the food at Lava – either the prix fixe ⅔ course, or choose just one (or all three) from the a la carte.
- Pre-book your entrance, preferably as soon as you settle on your travel dates.
- Note that your entrance booking is timed. If you can make yourself rise early, book the earliest time slot at 8am – the lagoon gets busy by noon and stays crowded until late afternoon. Having it to yourself for a bit in the morning is heavenly.
- You can book a massage at Blue Lagoon starting for $139 for 30 minutes. If that’s too steep a price tag, try the absolutely bliss-inducing massage at Reykjavik Day Spa, where an 80 minute massage is about $122. Adam, one of the massage therapists, is a master of his craft and will completely unkink your muscles, making them melt like warm butter.
- If you want convenience of nearby accomodations without the high cost of the two hotels that are part of Blue Lagoon, stay at the nearby Northern Lights Inn, like we did. The Inn boasts a small but delightful spa, fitness area, and a generous buffet breakfast, as well as other perks (books, coffee, puzzles, an honor bar, and more). The current $400/night cost for two in a deluxe room is still less than the cost of the Silica and Retreat hotels within the Blue Lagoon.
- Or if you prefer to stay in a hotel in Reykjavik proper, you can book discounted transport ($44 round trip transfer per person) to and from Blue Lagoon when you book your reservation.
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