Situated in the moss-covered lava fields of the UNESCO-recognized Reykjanes Peninsula, the Blue Lagoon is truly a sight and experience to behold.
During our 2-week adventure to the Land of Fire and Ice we were curious to experience the Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most visited attraction. We knew that the best way to see for ourselves was to book an overnight stay. At the end of our 2-day sojourn, we left convinced that the Blue Lagoon is worth it.
In 2018 Time magazine chose the Blue Lagoon as one of the greatest places in the world. In doing so it became the only Icelandic destination on the magazines’ list of “100 destinations to experience right now.” Not long after that survey was published other travel magazines, newspapers, travelers and bloggers were quick to pick up the news. Before too long the Blue Lagoon was teeming with people from around the world, anxious for a soak in its lukewarm, alien blue waters.
Needless to say, along with the increase in popularity came an increase in opinions from visitors to the Blue Lagoon. A recurring theme among many articles and opinions was, and continues to be…“is the Blue Lagoon worth it?”
Obviously, the question as to whether something is “worth it” is highly subjective and involves many factors. For those who venture to the Blue Lagoon simply to check it off their “bucket list,” there are different expectations. For those going to socialize and party, another set of expectations will prevail. There is yet another group of guests who visit the Blue Lagoon for the various, and highly regarded, therapeutic skin treatments offered.
As the saying goes…” to each their own”.
For us…bucket lists, endless selfies, drinking cocktails in the mineral-rich waters, or expensive skin treatments were not top-of-the-list reasons that drew us to the Blue Lagoon (although the silica does make your skin feel wonderful). Spending time in the warm waters of the lagoon was only one piece of a larger experience that we were seeking.
Knowing that we wanted to spend more than just a day we booked an overnight stay at the Silica Hotel, which was the original hotel at the Blue Lagoon. That modest, yet very comfortable hotel is now joined by the luxurious new Retreat Hotel along with the Michelin recommended restaurant, Moss.
By staying overnight we were able to slow down, relax and enjoy a delicious Nordic-inspired lunch before checking in to our room and heading out for our first bathing experience. Our overnight stay package allowed unlimited access to a more intimate, semi-private lagoon along with the larger Blue Lagoon. The sense of isolation from the day-tripping crowds was one of the many features that made our nocturnal stay worth the cost.
Opting for an overnight stay was also a welcome break from five straight days of hiking and exploring as it gave us an opportunity to relax and refuel before hitting the road for more adventures. Being that we still had another week ahead to traverse the island it was a pleasure just to spend time enjoying the beauty of the moss and lava-covered peninsula while waking up to breakfast and a nearly empty lagoon after a good night’s sleep. For those two days, time slowed down, allowing us to enjoy the otherworldly natural surroundings, some great food and the inky blue night sky from our private lagoon.
Volumes have also been written about how the Blue Lagoon is not a natural hot spring, owing to the fact that it was originally created by the excess water from a nearby geothermal power plant. The runoff from the power plant is filtered directly into the Blue Lagoon which is how the water arrives heated. For those people who prefer a less commercial, more intimate style of bathing there are various Icelandic guidebooks that can direct them to numerous “natural” hot springs throughout the island. While it may not be natural in the strictest sense of the word it is incredibly beautiful.
Another concern voiced by many is that the Blue Lagoon is expensive. Is that so? Yes! But so are groceries, gas, restaurants, and lodging throughout the island. Traveling in Iceland is expensive in general so one needs to take that into account when deciding to vacation there. Compared to the cost of a one-day, one-person pass to Disney World at $109.00 (US) the cost of a daylong visit to the Blue Lagoon seems downright reasonable, although you probably won’t see Mickey.
Plus, the food is much better.
Perhaps it was the time of year (low season) or the fact that the Blue Lagoon had yet to reach the critical mass of international popularity that it has today, but we found it be an amazing experience, particularly at night when a soft rain was falling and we were the only two people in the entire lagoon. The words sublime, and well worth it easily came to mind while bathing in the warm, cerulean water.
It is said that the Blue Lagoon’s water completely renews itself every 40 hours. After two days of taking in the beautiful scenery, the great food, and of course, the lagoons, our spirits were also renewed as we left feeling energized and ready for more adventures in the Land of Fire and Ice.