We had absolutely nothing to do on our third and final full day in Iceland. Our plan for our third day was to visit a geothermal spa but Peter wanted to “play it by ear” (also known as PIBE). As our trip to Iceland approached, I bravely brought up the geothermal spa idea to Peter every so often. His response was always the same, “Let’s just play it by ear. See if either of our tour guides have a better suggestion for how to spend our third day.”
In my heart I knew we would go to The Blue Lagoon because we were incredibly lazy with researching and planning our trip to Iceland. Doing anything else would have required us to rent a car and I don’t think doing so would have been worth it for one day.
The closest (and man-made) geothermal spa to Reykjavik is The Blue Lagoon. I knew from my research that it is highly advised to book tickets as early as possible to ensure entry. I also knew we were toast when we were on our Golden Circle tour and we still had not looked at tickets or decided how to spend our third day.
Following our Golden Circle tour, we searched for tickets and availability was slim. There are four Blue Lagoon ticket tiers: Standard, Comfort, Premium, and Luxury.
If I remember correctly, the only tickets remaining were a few Premium and Luxury slots and they were late at night. I think the Premium tickets had more terrible times than the Luxury tickets, so through an unscientific process of elimination, we ended up purchasing the Luxury time slot from 8pm – 11pm.
Protip: Unlike the price of the lower three ticket tiers, the price of Luxury tickets is for TWO guests. If you are a group of two persons, purchase ONE Luxury ticket.
Heading into this trip, I would have said that it would have been ideal to visit The Blue Lagoon during daylight hours but after having visited at night, I recommend visiting at night. There is something whimsical about the dimly lit green (not blue!) water surrounded by pure darkness. I think it’s also a bit more chill at night (less day drinkers, less children).
It took about one hour to bus from Reykjavik to The Blue Lagoon. We arrived and due to our ticket tier, skipped the queue and were whisked away into a private area of the facility. There were eight private changing rooms, a large lounge with a mountain of fresh fruit, coffee, and tea, and a private indoor section of the lagoon. We also had a butler who was fantastic and funny. Icelanders are so funny.
Everything, and I mean everything, at The Blue Lagoon is operated by color-coded electronic wristbands. From opening doors to buying drinks to getting face masks from the kiosk, it’s all done through the wristband.
After changing into our swimming costumes, I slathered my hair with the Blue Lagoon-provided conditioner. For anyone who does not want their hair to feel and look like straw after a few hours in the lagoon, slathering your hair with conditioner (and leaving it in for the duration or your visit) is something you must do. Also do not put your head underwater.
Contact lenses are also not recommended to wear in the lagoon which was good because I forgot to bring mine. Speaking of eyes, do not get the water in your eyes. It burns like a bitch!
From our private changing rooms, we descending into the lounge area, ate some fruit, and then slipped into the indoor private lagoon. This all sounds more exotic than it actually was. One of the best things about the indoor lagoon is that there is a door that separates the indoor lagoon from the main lagoon – it saves you from having to get out of the water outside in the cold.
We spent three hours in the lagoon, applying mud face masks (again, watch the water in your eyes!), drinking cocktails, and people watching. Actually Peter did all the people watching. I just stared at blurry objects and walked into things like those mother fucking benches built into the sides of the lagoon that are 100 percent concealed below the green water.
Cocktails were no more expensive than they were in Reykjavik which was surprising. So roughly $15 USD for an airplane-size bottle of wine and $10 USD for a draft beer. All ticket tiers except Standard include one free cocktail per guest. There was a glitch with our wristbands and we were charged $0 for six cocktails and two sandwiches. I have no guilt about not informing checkout of this glitch but do regret not drinking my face off during our visit.
The lagoon water temperature was warm but not hot. It was much warmer than the water temperature at Szechenyi Spa Baths in Budapest but not as warm as I would have preferred. It rained for a short period of time which was neither neat nor warm. We gave the rain about one minute to stop before we slithered into the indoor lagoon area.
Protip: There are a few large wooden boxes on the lagoon deck surrounding the lagoon. Like really big boxes, a few feet tall and wide. These boxes send out hot water. If you are cold, go loiter around one of these boxes.
The most disturbing thing in the lagoon was that I felt something brush my foot on two occasions. It felt like a giant hairball. I freaked out the first time it happened and Peter told me it was algae (lied?). It may have been algae but I’m sticking with a straw hairball. On a side note, it takes 48 hours for the entire lagoon to cycle through its water. This means that the water on our visit was different than the water two days prior.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to The Blue Lagoon. I do not think it would have been as enjoyable without a private changing room, butler service, and a wristband that failed to ring up charges, but I still would recommend it. If you’ve got a longish layover in Reykjavik, catch a bus from the airport to The Blue Lagoon and waste away your layover relaxing and drinking $15 airplane-size bottles of wine.
Buses back to Reykjavik were only running once per hour at that time of night and we just missed the bus so had to wait about 50 minutes for the next bus. We arrived at our hotel around 1:30am after an hour’s drive back to Reykjavik, an emergency roadside stop for one idiot to pee, and five drop-off stops prior to our stop. This is another reason to rent a car in Iceland.
Unfortunately, I only have one picture of our visit to The Blue Lagoon. I’m not one of those people who brings their phone into large bodies of water and even if I were, the lagoon was so dimly lit that any photos would have not turned out anyway.
Since our time slot at The Blue Lagoon was so late in the day, we had all day to burn. We spent our time walking around in the cold drizzle, briefly stepping into Hallgrímskirkja church, and going to a museum. We are not museum people but the weather was crappy and I was not willing to day drink at inflated Iceland prices, so a visit to the National Museum of Iceland was in order. I took zero pictures in or of the museum. It was a museum. Not great. Not terrible. Just a museum full of tourists and screaming children wanting to get out of the elements.
Hallgrímskirkja church is the largest church in Iceland. The church’s facade and height (74.5 m / 244 ft) make it an impressive structure. It is only slightly shorter than the Statue of Liberty (93 m / 305 ft) which tells me the Statue of Liberty is tiny. It is said that it was designed after the Iceland landscape: trap rocks, mountains, glaciers, etc. It took 41 years to build and was completed in 1986.
The statue of explorer Leif Eriksson in front of the church predates the church. It was a gift from the United States in 1930 commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Iceland’s parliament at Thingvellir. This paragraph is about as boring as our visit to Thingvellir National Park.
We stepped inside the church for a quick reprieve from the wind and it was equally unique inside. Not Sagrada Familia unique or impressive but its definitely a unique church.
After meandering around Reykjavik for several hours, we hoofed it back to our hotel for happy hour. On our way back to our hotel, I spotted this fizzy drink variety pack sitting on a patio. In all our travels, I’ve never seen a fizzy drink variety pack. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Mostly I think it is weird and probably not a very popular item.
And that’s a wrap on Iceland!