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Blue Heaven on Earth
Ever since I first heard of the Blue Lagoon and saw photos of its milky blue water I have wanted to go there. I know it’s touristy; I know it’s pricey, but I didn’t care. I was going. And so I did.
Driving into Grindavík, about an hour outside of Reykjavík, there are signs at almost every intersection directing you to the Blue Lagoon or Bláa Lónið in Icelandic. Once you get there, you can’t even see the building, just a small information center that has lockers for your luggage. I couldn’t believe how many busloads of tourists were coming straight from the airport. Some were on a layover tour and some just wanted it to be there very first thing they did, so they dragged in all their luggage to find their swimsuits.
There is a well thought out path leading from the parking lot to the main building, and there you will find the chained airport-type queuing system, which is always your first clue that every tourist in the country is going to be there with you. It was again evident when we paid our outrageous entrance fee of 35 Euros (about $50) to get in and rent towels for the two of us. This is the basic package which basically is entrance to the lagoon and saunas, no extras. There are other packages for that.
However, we happily paid as we were excited to try out this outdoor spa treatment. We trundled off to our respective changing rooms, and then it got a little confusing. First you must take off your shoes and put them on a rack, then change. All suited up, you start to walk outside where you encounter the showers. No big deal, right? You have to shower before entering any pool….But! You have to do it without your swimsuit on? Huh? I just put my suit on. Well, off it came, and shower I did. The great thing was that they provide soap and conditioner for you. They even have posters telling you which areas they want you to concentrate on (yep those ones!). The conditioner is for you to put in your hair and leave on while you are in the pool to help enhance your hair’s experience. Note: If you are shy or have children, there are some changing rooms and showers with doors, but most people are walking around in the suit they were born in. (Just saying.)
Wearing only a swimsuit, it was cold so Jim and I quickly entered that mystical milky blue water of my dreams. I was….surprised. To begin with, I thought it would be hot. Hot springs, like in Japan, are hot! This was only warm. I guess it is really regulated, and scalding hot doesn’t bring in the same cash as mildly hot. There were a few places that got really hot, probably where the water was coming in.
The people. There were so many of them! I stopped counting languages at about 13. Yes, the word is out! If you are going to Iceland, don’t miss the Blue Lagoon.
The experience. Pretty good. I expected crowds, and I expected the expense. I also think it could have been better. We later found out there is another “blue lagoon” near Mývatn Lake. There it seemed a more organic experience, still a little crowded with folks from everywhere, but not as….commercial!
If you are going to fly through Iceland, take that free stopover. I would take it for as long as they would allow and really get out and see some of the country, but if you cannot at least do the Blue Lagoon. It’s pricey, crowded, and really pretty unique. It’s worth it!
However, if you do have the time to get out and see Iceland, give the Blue Lagoon a pass and head to the Nature Baths at Lake Myvatn.. I think you will really enjoy the experience more.