Blue Lagoon Iceland in Winter
Normally, I struggle with the cold and feel down in the dumps in the dreary winter months. I think a lot of us can relate! Who wants to deal with scrapping ice off windshields and limited sunlight after a long day at work? Not me, that’s for sure!
But I have a confession to make to all you travelers out there: I loved visiting Iceland in winter. I originally expected dark and bleak weather, few tourists, and very limited activities. Part of me wondered if I was making a huge mistake especially traveling alone. Would I even meet anyone? Or would I be all alone on New Year’s Eve?
My cynical 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! The memories will last a life time.
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 all the famous images of this place. Hot wonderful water everywhere, meaning there are lots of hidden hotsprings in Iceland waiting for you to explore them!
But back to the Blue Lagoon.
My Verdict on Seeing the Blue lagoon Iceland in Winter?
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!
Now you might think you’d freeze to death hitting up the Blue Lagoon in winter. Not at all! Once you enter the water, you feel super warm and comfortable, and you might not even notice the snow falling from the sky.
How to Pre-Book Your Visit
You need to make a reservation if you plan to visit the Blue Lagoon in winter. Yes, those dark winter months require a reservation! Shocking, right?
Especially plan ahead for holidays. Well ahead. Meaning weeks, possibly months in advance. I failed to do this and my lack of planning almost bit me right in the butt.
“Travel Mess Up” Story Time, folks:
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 – even in December and January.
You can book on the official Blue Lagoon website or reserve a spot on a guided tour.
Helpful Tips for your Visit to the Blue Lagoon
You don’t want to be unprepared for your trip to the Blue Lagoon. Mistakes might result in your destroying your hair (noooooo), spending more money than you intended, and destroying your phone.
I know, I know, all this sounds very scary, but here are a few suggestions to make your winter trip to the Blue Lagoon a good one.
- 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.
- Have cash with you if you want to drink. The Blue Lagoon has a bar inside! So make sure you have a bit of cash with you (not in your locker) so you can take advantage.
- 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. Sad news, my “body shy” friends… 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
Knowledge is power, right? It’s always cool to know some tidbits before visiting a cool new attraction, especially a place as awesome as the Blue Lagoon. Here are some interesting pieces of information that I learned on my winter trip to 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. Like I already said, don’t worry about freezing in the water itself. You’ll feel so comfortable as snow pours from the sky all around you. It’s an interesting experience, to be sure. You’ll feel like an empowered Ice Princess, haha.
- The water contains minerals, algae, and silica. All these elements are great for nourishing 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. Ahhhhh, who doesn’t love a bit of luxury? 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. So those reservations? I wasn’t joking in the slightest, haha.
Winter in the Blue Lagoon
Okay, so just to reiterate. How exactly is winter in the Blue Lagoon? Did I freeze to death? Did my fingers hurt at all? Not quite. I already survived Silfra. The Blue Lagoon was child’s play, honestly.
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. In fact, it was busier than normal since my visit happened to fall on New Year’s Day. 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. I would go again.
Have you ever visited the Blue Lagoon? What are you favorite spas around the world? Does soaking in a spa in the middle of a snowstorm appeal to you? Share in the comments.