Most people planning a trip to Iceland have dreams of visiting the milky blue geothermal waters of the blue lagoon and experiencing their healing powers. Visiting the blue lagoon in Iceland is definitely one of the most amazing experiences I have had in my travels. Here’s what you should expect when you visit the blue lagoon some tips for making the most of your visit.
For diabetes specific tips, scroll to the end of the article.
Planning your visit
The blue lagoon requires reservations. This is something that seems so obvious, but that I wish someone had told me. I tried to book our tickets 3 weeks out and the time/date we wanted was not available so we had to make some adjustments to our schedule for the trip. Book your visit as soon as you know when you’ll be there!
A lot of people visit the blue lagoon on their way to the airport. The blue lagoon is located somewhat between the airport and Reykjavik. Their locker rooms come equipped with large lockers capable of storing suit cases and a mid-day visit is usually perfect timing between checking out of a hotel or Airbnb and catching a flight.
The blue lagoon is going to be wonderful any time of day, but the earlier you go, the less busy it will be. We went when they opened at 9 am and we were able to see the sunrise since the sun rises late during the winter. It was absolutely stunning! I definitely noticed that there were a lot more people there when we left than when we had arrived.
When you are booking, there are 3 different packages to choose from. On the blue lagoon website you can compare packages.
The blue lagoon is definitely driveable by car, just be aware that it could be snowing or hazardous to drive in the winter if you are unfamiliar with driving in winter conditions. (See my post on planning your trip to Iceland to help decide if renting a car is right for you.)
If you are staying in Reykjavik and planning to take a bus to the blue lagoon, be aware of the timing. The nice thing about the blue lagoon website is that you can book your bus when booking your ticket. Just know that the time for the bus will be about an hour before your visit time, and you have to be at the bus stop a half an hour before that since there is a pick-up window, and you definitely don’t want to miss your bus.
When you arrive
From the parking lot you will walk down a looooong sidewalk between lava rocks up to the building. They really know how to build the anticipation! When you enter the building, you will wait in line and while you are waiting they have an audio “how-to” guide playing on a loop for what to do and expect. When you get up to the counter you will check in and get a plastic bracelet. This bracelet is super important because it is your key to unlock your locker and your method of payment at the bar and spa. They charge a fee if you lose it.
You’ll get your towel and then head in to the locker room. Getting a locker was a little bit confusing at first because it involves scanning your bracelet at a central kiosk for the whole wall of lockers, then picking any locker on that wall and closing it. If you have trouble there are bathroom attendants there who are happy to help.
Before you enter the lagoon, they ask that everyone shower and wash their hair to get all of the oils off to help preserve the water in the lagoon.
In the lagoon
- One of my biggest worries was getting in and out of the lagoon with it being freezing outside. Don’t worry. They’ve thought of it all. From the locker rooms there is an indoor entrance to the lagoon so you can get in the toasty warm water and then swim out the door.
- The lagoon is gorgeous, and much bigger than I thought it would be. Do some exploring and you might stumble across some extra warm pockets of water where the geothermal water is entering the lagoon.
- Word to the wise-if you let your ears get wet, they will probably freeze like mine did. 🙂
- Hit up the bar! All of the packages include 1 drink. They have quite a variety of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. I opted for the strawberry sparkling wine and it did not disappoint. I even bought a few for home at the airport before we left!
- Do the silica mud mask. It’s a little bit weird, but such a fun experience while you are there. It’s great for softening your skin too! If you chose a package with the algae mud mask, make sure you do it. They say it rejuvenates and nourishes from within and I can tell you that it really felt amazing. I was partial to the algae mask over the silica mask.
Take care of your hair
There’s a lot of signage and tips for pre-conditioning your hair and not submerging your hair in the lagoon water because the high levels of silica will cause it to become very dry and unmanageable. Let me tell you from personal experience, they are right! I sort of ignored all of them because I wanted an awesome hair down blue lagoon picture. The pic was totally worth it, but I had a tangled mess of hair to deal with afterwards, even with conditioner.
It ended up being fine. I did my own DIY olive oil hair mask back at our Airbnb, mainly because all there was at the Airbnb was olive oil! But if I were to do it over I would plan a little better and be a little bit nicer to my hair. One of my favorite travel bloggers, The Blonde Abroad, wrote this great article on protecting and treating blue lagoon hair.
Don’t let this scare you away from getting an epic shot! The lagoon water is not harmful for hair, it just makes it hard to manage.
Tips for diabetics
Diabetes and water. Diabetes and hot-silica filled water. Insulin pumps and water. All sound like they could be a recipe for disaster. But don’t worry! Experiencing and enjoying the blue lagoon as a diabetic is completely doable.
- Keep your insulin and/or insulin pump safe in the locker. The lockers are very secure, so keep your supplies and devices locked up and safe.
- In case you were wondering, my pump site and dexcom site were not affected by the silica water.
- Stay hydrated-the hot water can cause dehydration, which can be more harmful to diabetics.
- Hot water, in general, can speed up the metabolism of insulin, so if you give a large dose or a meal dose of insulin shortly before entering the lagoon, be cautious for a low blood sugar. (This is also good to know in your regular life for hot tubs, showers, etc.)
- Being in the hot water and freezing temperatures can make feeling a low blood sugar more difficult, so test before entering and every so often during your visit.
- Bring low blood sugar snacks to keep in your locker. They do have drinks for sale at the swim-up bar, but they run $11+, so I’d stick with juice boxes and glucose tabs. 🙂
I hope you have a magical experience at the blue lagoon! If you have any additional tips or stories from your stay, I would love to hear them.