The plan was always to visit The Blue Lagoon at some point during our short break to Iceland; we just hadn’t pinpointed ‘when’.
But as the days sped past and we fell into whale watching, then Golden Circle touring, we realised that the only time we’d have available to go and soak in Iceland’s most famous thermal springs would be the morning before we flew out.
This wasn’t really a problem. The Lagoon is only 20 minutes from the airport, and is between Reykjavik and Keflavick ( the airport) so it was on our way. The only problem was that we were going to have to be very organised to get there.
Organised is not something our family does well or calmly; there is a lot of yelling and flapping when it’s necessary, but we can do it.
We arranged for the bus to pick us up at 10:30 am the next day but we were going to have to get the kids out of bed ( they were sleeping late despite the lack of darkness), get them dressed, feed them, get everything packed and be on the street ready to go.
Up until this point DH had taken responsibility for most of the planning; he usually comes up with good places to go and I’m mostly happy to fall in with his plans. If there is something I really want to see, we’ll do it and if I really can’t be bothered with something he suggests , I’ll tell him. We usually work something out.
So I started googling The Blue Lagoon, and ended up on Tripadvisor, as you do. The reviews I saw were mixed, to say the least. Sheep dip was mentioned, the hygiene of the attraction was questioned, and people called it a tourist trap. I began to have second thoughts.
In the end we decided to go. The Blue Lagoon is one of those must do experiences if you are in Iceland. It’s not that it’s that great, but if you don’t go you will always be wondering if you should have gone.
We managed to get up and packed in time to get the minibus to the bus terminal, where we caught a Reykjavik Excursions coach to the lagoon. The bus was chockablock, so we were glad we got there early and got seats together. The coaches are comfortable and have WiFi on board. It was a 40 minute trip to the Lagoon from Reykjavik and when we got off at the other end, another coach had just arrived so there was quite a queue. We left our bags in the luggage storage, and stood in line for 15 minutes, when we were issued with wrist bands and towels. DH took DS and I took the girls to our respective changing rooms, where we found lockers and got changed.
The empty lockers are the open ones and you use your wrist band to lock, then unlock them. Just try to remember the number! The changing rooms are communal but there are private cubicles available if you want them.
They do ask that you shower without you swimsuit on before you get into the water, and again there are private and communal showers for this purpose. The girls were a little flabbergasted at the variety of the naked female form; there really are all shapes and sizes using this facility so don’t worry too much about what other people will think about you.
After that we had to stop by to pick up some inflatable armbands, all kids 8 and under have to wear these in the Lagoon and it was into the pools.
The water really is an odd, opaque, milky colour.
You can’t see beneath it, so when you get in your body disappears. It’s not very deep; DS could touch the bottom around most of it, and the bottom is a very fine gravel. The sides are coated with shiny, smooth, white silica deposits.
The water is heated by the nearby geothermal power plant and is renewed every 2 days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for the municipal hot water heating system. The Lagoon water is kept at a constant 37-39C so even if it’s cold out, the water temperature is always very pleasant.
We were a bit rushed and only had 40 minutes in the water in the end, as our cab would be arriving at 1:30. It was enough time for a bob around which we all really enjoyed; a silica face mask (they put out free silica around the side of the Lagoon) and an ice cream! (Yes, really!) We would like to have stayed a little longer, I think.
Then it was time for a quick shower after which we all got dressed and stampeded for the cab. Be warned; tie your hair up before going in the water, the silica makes it very dry and frizzy.
We got to Keflavick in plenty of time for our flight as it had been delayed by half an hour. But it seemed this was because the flight time was going to be half an hour shorter as our arrival time was estimated to be the same.
And because it was so clear, we got a wonderful view of Iceland as we left.
As we exited T1 at Heathrow, the sun was beginning to set and dusk was falling in the UK. And after three 24 hour days, I had never seen a prettier sight.