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The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is an experience that cannot really be described without being there first hand, but I will try no less to tell you about this lovely place.
Location / Getting There ------------------------------
The Lagoon is based in the middle of nowhere in Iceland; it is about a 35-40 minute drive from Reykjavik via road, and is a short detour past Keflavik airport.
The only way to the Lagoon is via road as I stated, there are regular departures from Reykjavik Excursions BSI bus terminal daily or there are other excursions from different tour operators.
The actual Lagoon is literally in the middle of nowhere in the depths of the beautiful Icelandic landscape. The surrounding area is barren and reminded me of what I would expect the moon to look like. There are a few mountain ranges within view and besides the power station located nearby, not a lot else.
So what is it? ----------------
The Blue Lagoon is a man made Lagoon using the natural hot water and minerals that Iceland is famous for. Iceland has a lot volcanic activity, which results in a lot of geysers and hot springs. The vast majority of this hot water is used to power Iceland's heating, hot water and used to produce electricity for its inhabitants.
The Lagoon is built around one of these hot springs and the hot water is pumped into the complex, where the minerals and natural healing elements of the water are available to tourists and locals alike, for a price
The Complex ------------------
Upon arrival to the Lagoon, once inside the actual building, it reminded me very much of any spa/leisure centre (be it a fancy pricey one) the complex is built using a lot of glass to allow views of the stunning surroundings and a lot of natural materials like woods. It automatically struck me as very clean.
There is a large restaurant and a small cafe serving hot and cold drinks and food, as well as a small bar further through towards the back. There is also a shop in this area which I did not have a look round, but appeared to sell all beauty and therapy products with the minerals from the Lagoon contained in them.
The reception area is immediately in front of you as you walk in, where the shop etc lead off from. Here is where you can pay for admission as well as order spa treatments and hire towels, robes and bathing suits if you do not have any with you.
Once you have paid and acquired any bits you might need, you are issued a locker / tag wristband. The wristbands are electronic and you will have to swipe yours to go through to the changing area.
The changing area is immaculately clean again and decorated very simplistically and modern. Here are the lockers for your items, they have a system in place using the electric wristbands, you close a locker door and a display panel will confirm the locker number, you hold your wristband to the panel and it allocates the number to you. Only swiping your wristband again to the panel will unlock the door. I was quite impressed with this system, being safe, secure and frankly quite fun! (I'm one of those people that get excited about self service checkouts too...)
One slight negative with the changing rooms is the nudity. I am nothing less than indifferent when it comes to seeing another person's body. I just do not really mind and never have, especially when it's in context of someone showering, but those who do mind and would like a bit more privacy, may be quite uncomfortable because pretty much everyone showers and changes in the open and in the nude. These changing rooms are segregated into male and female and we did find one cubicle with a door for my sister (who is slightly more modest) to change in.
The showers do not have doors or curtains so again, nudity is expected, but they do provide shampoo, conditioner and a body lotion in each for everyone's use.
The Lagoon Itself ----------------------
You can enter the Lagoon either straight from the changing room through the doors to outside and step in, if you fancy being outside in nothing but a swim suit in minus 4 degree weather, or take the wimp route, as we did, and leave the changing rooms to enter a shallow part of the Lagoon which is inside and follow it gradually deeper and through a door in the water to outside.
The Lagoon as I stated is a man made pool basically, with various nooks and crannies, bridges, caves and coves to investigate. The water is a milky light blue and is very dense and salty, the consistency of the salt means it's very easy to float. The pool at its deepest that I found was roughly 5ft or slightly less.
There are various "Silica stations" dotted around the Lagoon in buckets, Silica is the natural mineral that is said to exfoliate and moisturise skin. Many people can be seen swimming around covered in it, or with face masks of it on.
I had read before our trip that the waters in the Lagoon reach 38 degrees, I couldn't quite wrap my head around this and though maybe I read it wrong....but no, the waters can actually get as hot as 40 degrees in parts of the Lagoon and as such create a lot of steam when in contact with the lovely Icelandic air temperatures. This makes the visibility of the Lagoon very poor, we got in about 2pm and it was rather steamy, by 5 when the sun is set and the temperatures drop even more it gets a lot worse, at points you can easily lose sight of someone a few feet in front of you. The temperature can get quite uncomfortably hot in places, best to avoid if with smaller children, generally the shallower water is cooler.
On our trip to the Lagoon, we booked in advance for a 20 minute long massage. This massage took place in one of the small sealed off coves; we were issued another tag to show to get in to the massage area.
The massage consisted of a face and neck massage as well as a back massage. It was wonderfully relaxing as you have the massage while laying on a kind of lilo but covered to keep you warm as your body is raised out of the water. The massage is given through your swim suit between your back and the lilo.
It really added to the relaxing atmosphere of the place and was well worth it.
Depending on what you are after in the Lagoon the price will vary; most things in Iceland are VERY expensive at present, admission to the Lagoon was roughly £20 and towel and swimsuit hire were a few pounds each.
As we booked our massage in advance through the Blue Lagoon website we paid 6100 Icelandic Kroner on our arrival this equates to roughly £40, for this we got admission to the Lagoon (which is as long as you want to stay in it, you could come in at 8am and not leave till 10pm if you wished) towels and free moisturiser as well as the 20 minute massage.
As I mentioned previously, to get to the Lagoon you will need to arrange transport through an excursion company, we used Reykjavik Excursions who charged us 2500 kroner for the return 45 minute bus journey; you could pay the bus company up to 4000 Kroner which would include admission also.
Overall this was a fantastically enjoyable experience, the views and landscapes and the surreal feeling of being warm and swimming outside when the air temperature is minus 4 was brilliant, the price is a little steep, but it's a once in a lifetime thing which we all know is why prices are high, people will pay regardless, and in my opinion it is well worth it. It is a family friendly great day out.