A Layover in Iceland: The Blue Lagoon
Yesterday was the final day of my long Euro trip where I managed to go to eight countries in 12 days. The finishing touch to this awesome trip was going to Iceland and seeing the infamous Blue Lagoon. Iceland would be country #8 for this particular trip and was country #40 for my total count of places visited in my lifetime, so it was pretty monumental.
For this portion of my trip it wasn’t particularly hard to plan it out because Iceland and their main airlines (WowAir and Icelandair) encourage taking advantage of your layovers there to explore the country. I flew with Icelandair from Luton to Keflavik and then later in the day would have my flight from Keflavik back to Toronto.
My time of arrival in Keflavik was 11am and the departure was set at 5pm. Let’s say it would take about 30 minutes to get through customs etc. that would put me at 1130am and I’d have to be back at the airport at 3pm for pre-boarding stuff to fly home.
I knew that the MAIN thing I wanted to do in Iceland was see the Blue Lagoon. I looked at booking my slot for the visit there back in October because I had read through various blog pages to book as early as possible because they are very busy and these slots fill up quickly.
The nice thing is that you could book your roundtrip transfer from Keflavik airport to the Blue Lagoon while also booking your time slot.
They have two primary tiers for your visit:
1) Comfort: this includes your entrance, a mud mask, a towel and 1st drink of your choice. The cost of this option is ISK 6990 which amounts to $79.02 Canadian.
2) Premium: this includes your entrance, a mud mask, a towel, 1st drink of your choice, second mask of choice, slippers, use of bathrobe, table reservations at Lava Restaurant and wine included if you chose to make that reservation. The cost of this option is ISK 9900 which amounts to $111.92 Canadian.
I chose to go with the premium package because I was traveling with only a backpack so bringing a bathrobe and slippers with me was not going to be possible and I KNEW I’d be freezing the second I stepped out of the water. I also (obviously) chose to add the roundtrip transportation to and from the airport for an additional $61.00 Canadian. This would bring the total of my booking to about $173.00, which isn’t exactly a cheap layover activity you know?
Luckily, it totally ended up being worth every penny! I landed a little earlier than anticipated so the bus was able to take me to the Blue Lagoon for their 1130am departure, instead of the 1pm one I had booked. Sadly, they won’t actually let you into the Lagoon until your designated time slot but I was able to use my premium package and go have lunch at the Lava Restaurant there. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. They have three options for different two or three course meals, I went with the Icelandic option. Had the most amazing Atlantic char for a starter, lamb shoulder for my entree and some type of caramel ice cream as my dessert. So good, came to about $100 Canadian for it all. My belly was very happy and now I was fully prepared for my venture into the Lagoon.
When you are about to enter the Blue Lagoon the person at the front desk will give you a wristband and that is the MAIN thing you want to make sure not to lose. This is how you lock and unlock your personal locker and this is what any additional items you choose to purchase there (drinks etc.) will be logged into as well.
I was given my slippers, bath robe and towel at this moment as part of my premium package and then I was on my merry way to the change rooms. I will warn you, the change rooms are crazy busy. You will have all the women who are entering at the same time slot as you getting changed as well as all the women who are departing. You choose whichever locker you want because your wrist band will be programmed at that point to only lock and unlock the one you chose. I had a backpack and a laptop bag with me, along with a very large winter coat and boots – it ALL fit in their locker. Just in case you do have one of those really large checked-in luggage bags with you, there was a paid luggage storage building before you enter the Blue Lagoon where you could also put it. Within the Blue Lagoon the locker was included with your cost of entry.
After you get changed into your bathing suit, you HAVE TO take a shower naked. There are signs everywhere stating that anyone who wants to enter must first take a shower naked. So you put your bathing suit on, go enter the shower and take it off, shower, and then put it back on and head for the warmth of the Lagoon.
PRIOR to that warmth though, you will feel the wrath of the wind in Iceland while only having your bathing suit on. Listen, I had my bathrobe on and I still was well vexxed having to take it off and enter the water. I made that transition as quickly as possible.
Once you enter the water you feel soooooooo damn good though. I believe the temperature is 38 degrees Celsius in the water and it sends your body into an automatic relaxed mode. For my 2pm slot I didn’t find the waters particularly busy. For as hectic as the change room felt, the space in the water was pretty great. Didn’t feel crowded at all.
Make absolutely sure you bring your waterproof phone case with you when you go to into the Lagoon! I saw some people braving the waters with trying to keep their phone high above their heads and stuff, but between the splish splashing of some kids there and the steam radiating off the water – don’t risk it, just buy a cheap waterproof case from Amazon or something like I did. They do have them for purchase AT the Lagoon as well, but just come prepared and pay less OK?
As I mentioned, the damn splish splashing kids. Let’s talk about your hair for a second. I read MANY MANY posts about what the Lagoon water can do to your hair and how much it’ll suck after contact. I am tall enough to prevent my hair from touching the water while it was tied up. I knew I didn’t have time to condition it heavily, swim around and then have to wash it out after and blow dry it before my flight home. I was on a serious time constraint so I just chose to avoid Lagoon water touching my hair. I failed. The children that were at the Lagoon decided to swim around flapping all their limbs enough to splash everyone around them, which included me….. and my hair. So although I didn’t dunk my head into the water, it definitely got wet and I did not have the suggested conditioner in it before entering. Let me tell you, the current texture of the parts that did get wet? NOT AWESOME. NOT AWESOME AT ALL. So please if you aren’t on a time constraint like I was, ensure that you just do the damn conditioning before entering even if you don’t plan on dunking your head in.
I swam around for a little bit in the Lagoon, got some pictures, got my free drink (banana smoothie) and I indulged in their amazing mud mask. I should say, even though my hair feel like shit right now, my face feels incredible from that mask. WOW. They blob it onto your hand and you apply it to your face, leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off. Your skin is left feeling so soft. I guess because your pores are already surrounded by steam and warmth, adding this mask to it makes it that much better. Make sure you do it while there!
When I noticed it was about 240pm I hopped out and went to the change room so I could be on time for my 310pm bus back to the airport. I was glad I chose to not fully dunk my head in at this point as well because the long-haired-lasses had the blow dryers going and if I would have waited for them to finish to blow dry my hair? I definitely wouldn’t have even made it on time for my flight departure at 5pm.
This blog post ended up being way longer than I anticipated. Shit. Sorry guys, I just wanted you to know ALL the goods. I hope you go to the Blue Lagoon at some point as well, it’s worth the money and I would especially suggest doing it before your flight home because you’re so relaxed after the experience. It makes the long flight home just a bit less shitty you know? Also, make sure you put some money aside to buy the products at their gift shop. They aren’t cheap, but it’s hard to resist taking some amazing skin products from there. Because I was traveling with only a carry-on bag I took all the products out of their packaging and threw them in my ziploc bag to make sure it would be close to the liquid allowance. I got them into the plane and back to Canada, great success.