I’ve been lusting over Iceland for a while now. I love the natural landscapes and I can’t wait to see the glaciers, volcanoes, rainbows, caves, and waterfalls. I’m finally heading to the world’s northernmost capital city in a few weeks but the only thing that’s standing in my way is how expensive this trip is turning out. To save money on the road, I decided to spend four days in Reykjavík and I’m skipping Blue Lagoon. I know what you’re thinking, how can you skip one of Iceland’s most popular attractions? It’s like skipping the Eiffel Tower in Paris, right?
Here’s my rationale: I’m a New Yorker and I haven’t visited the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock. If I missed these iconic New York City landmarks, I’ll be just fine skipping Blue Lagoon this time around. In fact, I’m not worried. I know that I’ll visit Iceland again.
Update September 2017: I visited Iceland again in September 2017 and although I seriously considered spending my birthday pampering myself at the Blue Lagoon, I skipped it. In case you’re wondering, these reasons why I’m skipping (and have skipped) the Blue Lagoon are still valid almost two years later.
Again, these are my personal reasons for skipping the Blue Lagoon during two trips to Iceland. If you had a great time at the Blue Lagoon during your visit or disagree with my rationale, I respect our differences of opinions. At the end of the day, there’s no wrong way to do Iceland.
Here are some of my favorite memories from Iceland despite skipping the Blue Lagoon.
Why I’m Skipping Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Isn’t Convenient
Since I arrive at Keflavík International Airport at 7 a.m. and the Blue Lagoon opens at 9 a.m., I’m going to have to wait around for two hours. I usually don’t mind waiting while on vacation, but since I’m only in town for four days, time is precious.
What about visiting the Blue Lagoon on my way back home? Nope, it’s even less convenient. My flight departs at 8:30 a.m.
Let’s Be Real – Blue Lagoon Is Expensive
The cheapest Blue Lagoon package which includes admission and a silica mud mask costs 40 € or $45 USD. For a bit more comfort (which I would want) I’d get a towel, drink and algae mask but I’ll be down 55 € or $62 USD.
Update September 2017: Standard admission to the Blue Lagoon now costs 6,100 ISK or $47 USD. To put this into perspective, I’ve seen Northern Lights tours where you can see the natural phenomenon for less.
I also considered transportation costs from the airport to the lagoon and back to my hostel in Reykjavík. With that kind of money, I snorkeled Silfra!
Update September 2017: Gray Line Iceland offers Blue Lagoon admission, transportation from the airport as well as drop-off to hotels and guesthouses in Reykjavík for 84 € or $100 USD. So in other words, transportation to the Blue Lagoon costs an extra $53 USD!
My Hair Would Be A BIG Problem
As much as I want to relax in the Blue Lagoon’s milky blue waters, the geothermal water will probably fry my hair. The Blue Lagoon has high levels of silica which causes hair to become stiff and difficult to manage. What a headache!
Taking photos with a swim cap would be less than ideal. Also, I’ve heard that the conditioning process takes days. The Wyld Family confirms my dry hair concerns and if you’re traveling to Iceland with family, this family of four offers great tips for visiting Iceland with kids.
Lastly, I decided to skip this must-see attraction in Iceland because it honestly doesn’t fit my interests. I’ve never been to a spa so I’m not going to lose too much sleep over missing this experience. Timing wise, visiting the Blue Lagoon isn’t convenient for this trip. Also, blowing my budget for the sake of saying, “I’ve been there” doesn’t cut it for me.
So you’re not wrong if you want to skip the Blue Lagoon.
Cheaper Blue Lagoon alternatives include finding open-air natural hot springs like Reykjadulaur Hot Springs (free) or a local swimming pool in town (less than $10 USD). After traveling to Iceland twice, I continue to have no regrets about skipping Blue Lagoon.
Maybe next time Blue Lagoon but most likely not.
Skipping Blue Lagoon? Share why in the comments below!
Iceland Budget Breakdown - Excel Spreadsheet
FREE spreadsheet download of my May 2018 expenses during my 3rd trip to Iceland. You'll also get regular emails by joining the list.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, writer, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 25 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.