Iceland's Blue Lagoon is world famous, but is it worth the cost?
I had extremely high expectations for the Blue Lagoon. After seeing countless Instagram posts of seemingly topless models in powdery blue water, I wanted to experience it for myself (although, skipping the topless part).
We landed at Keflavik airport at around 5am, picked up a rental car and drove straight to the lagoon. You need reservations in advance, and we had ours for 8am that morning, keeping in mind this was during winter time, and the sun doesn't rise until 10-11am or so, we wanted to experience the whole thing at sunrise. It's a short drive (about 30 minutes) from the airport to the lagoon, and by the time we arrived at about 7:30, the place was already crowded with visitors, even though it was still dark.
The check in process was pretty easy and we went through the whole thing in about 10 minutes, including line times. Once you're in the building, there are plenty of lockers to store your stuff in. Make sure you bring a waterproof phone or GoPro type camera. We didn't, and I regret that. They give you a little bracelet that syncs to and unlocks any locker you choose. You can then change into your bikinis and go for the obligatory shower - the ladies that work here WILL tell you if your shower was too fast, or if they notice you didn't use soap, or if you didn't wash your private (YIKES!). Luckily, I have very good shower habits and did not get called out. Guess it's a good thing they want to make sure everyone is squeaky clean before going into the Lagoon. They do tell you this when you check in, but I want to stress the importance of putting A LOT of conditioner in your hair before going in, and avoiding getting your hair wet. Whatever is in that Lagoon water, leaves your hair completely coated in a thick layer of a yucky something for days! It took me maybe 5-6 washes to get it out completely.
Now this is where the magic happens. Once you exit the shower area, you walk through a little tunnel and - voila - witness a miracle of nature. Well... kind of. The whole thing is very commercialized. There are big giant loud heaters in every corner of the giant lagoon, bridges (which the workers use to make sure no one is causing any trouble), and bars....IN. THE. LAGOON. The bars only serve alcohol, which was a shame because a cappuccino would've been fantastic! There is also a couple of "spa" bars where you can get Icelandic mud face masks for free, with optional paid upgrades. It is not uncommon to see people rubbing the mud ALL over their bodies, so feel free to do so, if you wish (I may have).
The whole experience was surreal. It was about 30 degrees and windy outside, and the Lagoon was like a hot tub (sans bubbles). There was a thick fog covering the surface of the Lagoon, which looked unbelievably beautiful and eerie. As the sun started to rise, we were finally able to see the landscape surrounding us. There were a few snow covered mountains, but other than that - nothing much. The real treat here is the incredible feeling you get just being in this amazing place.
After watching the sunrise, we headed back inside - frozen ears, pruny fingers, and sticky hair - to the shower area to clean up. They do have mirrors and hair dryers you can use for free. You can hang out in this area for as long as you need to get ready for your next adventure. They have a restaurant onsite as well, but we didn't check that out - too expensive.
Overall, this was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It really is hard to believe this is a real place. It's well worth the $70-something dollar ticket, and I'd highly recommend going at sunrise, if you can. Even during 30 degree weather, you stay very warm and comfortable - although your head may get a little cold above water. The Blue Lagoon is definitely an incomparable experience, and a spot everyone should visit while in Iceland.