I can’t think of a better way to feel refreshed and reinvigorated after a long overnight flight than relaxing in a geothermal spa. This was the perfect way to start our one-day stopover in Iceland – even with a 5-6 hour layover at Keflavik airport would give enough time for a visit to the world-renowned Blue Lagoon Spa.
Many come to Iceland solely for this experience, some for its healing properties. It is said that the warm water rich in minerals helps those with skin conditions like psoriasis. It also feels pretty good for those suffering with aching muscles and joints. Rejuvenating in such a unique and strangely beautiful environment is a truly unique experience.
The Blue Lagoon contains 9 million liters of geothermal seawater, which is naturally renewed every 40 hours, so it’s clean even if it’s opaque because of the high silica content. The warm water comes from volcanic aquifers deep down beneath the surface of the earth, more precisely 1981 meters (6500 feet) below. The water temperature is at a balmy 38°C (100°F). Just like a warm bath.
The lagoon is nestled into an 800-year old lava basin and its water is rich in minerals, silica and algae. The water appears blue when the sunlight reflects off the silica. White deposits of the latter can be seen all over the lava rocks surrounding the lagoon and on the bottom but we were told not to use it on our faces. They have a silica and algae bar for that.
The white silica mud fortifies the skin for a more radiant and dare I say youthful look. The lagoon’s algae promote and increase the skin’s ability to produce collagen leaving the skin feeling soft and rejuvenated. The mineral salts of the Blue Lagoon’s water revitalize both the mind and body.
The silica mud mask is available ‘à volonté” to all visitors but to get the algae mask one must purchase at least the comfort package. There are 4 types of packages ranging from standard to luxury. We opted for the 2nd level, the comfort package, which included on top of the entrance fee and silica mask the use of a towel, an algae mask and one drink. Some pay more for the use of a bathrobe and slippers and honestly not having those didn’t hinder my spa experience. The standard package includes only the entrance fee and the silica mud mask. It’s ok if you want to bring your own towel but keep in mind that the silica is very sticky, my hair and bathing suit needed multiple washes to get it all out. We were also told that the water could damage our jewelry.
Tip: Reservations are necessary especially if you want to reserve a specific time-slot.
The locker rooms are very well equipped with multiple changing rooms, showers with shower gel, shampoo and hair conditioner. Make-up stations with hairdryers, q-tips, cotton balls and obviously toilets are all available. There are also some private changing-rooms for those feeling a bit shy or self-conscious. All lockers open and lock with a bracelet received at the entrance, which was very convenient. No keys to worry about or to loose. If lost, it would be very difficult if not impossible to find it the opaque silica water!
In Iceland, everyone must shower naked and wash their hair before getting into the spa. I can’t imagine what the water would look like with thousands of visitors per day if it wasn’t – it would be pretty gross I’m sure! There’s even a shower attendant to enforce this rule. No (for those who were wondering) you do not have to shower naked in front of everyone at the Blue Lagoon Spa. They added opaque privacy glass to all shower stalls. Although, this might not be the case at some of the other spas, it’s just the way it is in Iceland!
The Blue Lagoon Spa is a full service spa with saunas, steam rooms, a waterfall, a relaxation area, and for additional fees one can book in-water massages or silica and algae masks to take home. There are restaurants and bars including one in the lagoon. No need to bring money with you in the water, just charge it to your bracelet and pay when you leave.
Those who choose to have diner at the Lava restaurant must make a reservation. We didn’t try the restaurant since we were there early in the morning and wanted to get on the road for our Golden Circle Tour during our one-day stopover in Iceland.
If we have the chance we would revisit the Blue Lagoon Spa for another rejuvenating spa experience and perhaps even stay at the Silica Hotel next door.
Related post: How to spend a one-day stopover in Iceland