I loved visiting Iceland in winter. I originally expected dark and bleak weather, few tourists, and very limited activities. My predictions were so, so, so completely wrong. So wrong.
Iceland is an incredible winter destination. In particular, Reykjavik for New Year’s Eve rocked my world. Trust me, I highly recommend it, even if you’re normally a sofa bum on New Year’s Eve … like me!
While Iceland’s winter weather is unpredictable, all the major sites in Reykjavik and the surrounding area are open for business! Just don’t be put off by the sun rising at 11 am. Trust me, winter in Iceland makes for a magical trip.
One of Iceland’s most popular attractions is the Blue Lagoon. Now you can read all sorts of articles about whether or not the Blue Lagoon is worth the hefty admission fee. After all, Iceland has tons of natural spas due to its geographical location. I mean, look at this place. Hot wonderful water everywhere!
Personally, I really enjoyed the Blue Lagoon. Yes, it’s popular. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, Iceland has many hot springs at your disposal. Hell yes, it’s expensive. I can understand why some travelers claim the Blue Lagoon is a big ol’ tourist trap. I know I got frustrated waiting in the long line to enter the Lagoon.
But I still feel like you should visit the Blue Lagoon if you haven’t gone to Iceland yet. It’s a quintessential part of the “Icelandic Experience.” Skipping the Blue Lagoon would be like ignoring the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Don’t write off the lagoon because it’s pricey and touristy. I would actually spend the money again if I ever re-visit Iceland. Hopefully in the summer time.
So what was the main reason I liked the Blue Lagoon so much? The spa was a great way for me to unwind and soothe my nerves before my return flight to the United States. Take that, flying fear!
How to Pre-Book Your Visit
You need to make a reservation if you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon. Plan ahead for holidays. Well ahead. Meaning weeks, possibly months in advance. I failed to do this.
My return flight was scheduled for late afternoon on New Year’s Day. Keflavík International Airport is conveniently located near the Blue Lagoon, so I figured why not enjoy a “spa day” to chime in 2016. I made a mental note of this idea and continued with my life, namely teaching The Odyssey to disinterested 9th graders. Eventually I reached the Blue Lagoon’s official site, roughly a week prior to departure, to make my reservation. No luck. Everything’s already been booked. Luckily, I was able to reserve a place through Gray Line Tours.
Moral of the story? Claim your spot way in advance to avoid disappointment. The Blue Lagoon is popular, and bookings are limited.
You can book on the official Blue Lagoon website or reserve a spot on a tour.
Helpful Tips for your Visit to the Blue Lagoon
- Stick with the standard ticket. The Blue Lagoon isn’t a cheap endeavor. The standard ticket costs roughly $50. I wouldn’t bother upgrading unless you’re reeeeeeeally into spas.
- Bring a waterproof case for your phone. I didn’t take many photos at the Blue Lagoon because I had no waterproof case! Whoops. Buy a cheap one so you can use your phone at the lagoon.
- Use plenty of conditioner for your hair. The Lagoon provides free conditioner. Liberally use it to protect your hair. After I washed my hair, it was a little dry, but nothing too concerning. You can also put your hair up in a bun.
- Don’t be shy … You need to shower before entering the Blue Lagoon. Meaning everything comes off. Everything. I’m an American (read: a prude yo), I’m not used to striping naked in front of strangers, but I did what I had to do. Leave the awkwardness at home, and just get it over with, haha. I promise no one’s looking at you.
- Bring your luggage. Lots of people are coming to the Blue Lagoon from the airport or plan on flying later in the day. You can store all your luggage right at the Lagoon for a small fee. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Really “Cool” Facts About the Blue Lagoon
- The Blue Lagoon is 100% manmade. The lava fields around the Lagoon are almost 800 years old and natural, but not the Lagoon itself. Geothermal power makes the Lagoon functional and a joy for us to visit!
- The average water temperature is around 40 degrees celsius. Mmm, so good.
- The water contains minerals, algae, and silica. All great for your skin. The silica mud masks are free so use as much as your heart desires! The silica is also what gives the Blue Lagoon its famous milky blue color. I still can’t get over the color of the water.
- The Blue Lagoon is luxurious. You can order drinks from the Lagoon Bar without leaving the water. You’re provided with free slippers, towel, and robe, and all of them are so soft. The Blue Lagoon also has a restaurant, LAVA restaurant, that I didn’t have a chance to try.
- The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most visited attraction. Yup. Even more than the Golden Circle.
Winter in the Blue Lagoon
Okay, how is winter in the Blue Lagoon? Did I freeze to death? Not quite. I already survived Silfra.
Don’t let crazy weather stop you from visiting the spas. I stayed at the Blue Lagoon for three hours. I’m pretty sure it iced once and snowed at least twice. But was I bothered? Not at all! Everything was “business as normal” here. I promise you’ll enjoy your stay regardless of snow and wind.
However, January in Iceland isn’t Spring Break in Florida. I think January may be the coldest month in Iceland. Now you won’t freeze in the Lagoon itself, the water temperature is lovely, but brace yourself for exiting the water. Helloooo, Icelandic wind. I literally RAN to the locker rooms. The free robe wasn’t enough to keep me warm, haha.
The experience was still worth it, though.
Have you ever visited the Blue Lagoon? What are you favorite spas around the world? Share in the comments.