Skipping Blue Lagoon in Iceland

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

1. It 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.

2. 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!

3. 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!

46 replies
  1. Sonam says:

    I’m a little shocked as to how u skipped the blue lagoon because u were afraid to ruin your hair. That’s crazy! I was there this week and tied up my hair up with conditioner and that didn’t ruin my pics. I came back with softer hair.

    Also the timings of the lagoon as so great. Their last slot is 8pm so I think it’s quite amazing!

    Cost yes is a little steep but worth every penny spent..

    Plus I’m soooo happy with how organised the whole set up was.. I really think u missed it 🙂

    Reply
    • Danielle Desir says:

      Hi Sonam, maybe I’ll make it for my upcoming trip (third time in Iceland). I’m so happy you had a great time, all of my points still stand and I’m happy with how everything turned out without going to the Blue Lagoon.

      Reply
    • Katelyn says:

      I think you made a lot of assumptions here.

      I got into KEF at 5:30am and by the time we went through customs, got our bags, and got our rental car, we were only about 20 minutes from our opening time at the lagoon. And it took us exactly 30 minutes to get there after getting gas.

      Next thing… I have ethinically mixed hair. It’s extremely textured and wavy/curly and my hair was FINE. You have to shower before entering the lagoon but I didn’t wash my hair. I just pinned it up and no one said anything to me. I got it minimally wet in the lagoon, then washed it after I got out. Everything was fine.

      So last thing is the price… yes. The price is what it is. But what no one tells you is how much of an attraction the whole facility is. There are relaxation rooms inside, beautiful grounds to walk around, saunas, etc. It’s easily a 4-6 hour affair. And comfort package (what I paid for) was USELESS. Only difference is a drink at the swim up bar, algae mask, and a towel. And there are literally towels everywhere. Plus all of the towels end up soaked on the racks so they’re pretty pointless.

      If you return, I suggest taking the trip. And while you’re at it, the views from the Empire State Building are much better in person than the pictures. Hit that up too 🙂

      Reply
  2. ramblinglaceyfae says:

    Thanks so much for your thoughts on this! I found this article because I was looking for justification to skip the blue lagoon, but I ended up deciding not to miss it! Here’s why:
    1. It looks to me as though 80% of my time in Iceland will be spend “adventuring;” ie: just pulling the car over and looking at cool stuff. So my daily activity cost will be really low, apart from fuel and car rental.
    2. I still have never been to a spa and I used to think that this sort of thing was SO not my deal, until I went to the Spas in Bath. In my 46 day dream trip, this turned out to be a total highlight. This is where my love of hot springs was born.

    So although your reasoning was bang on, and if I was only in Iceland for 4 days I’d probably skip it, you actually made me want to go!

    Reply
    • The Thought Card says:

      Funny because I recently visited Bath myself and I skipped the spas there too, I hadn’t packed a bathing suit for a day trip sadly enough. But I’m happy that this post motivated you too go! Don’t miss the thermal pools studded throughout Iceland on your road-trip! I loved the thermal pool I visited in Reykjavik. Maybe Blue Lagoon will be on my list of things to do next time I’m in Iceland.

      Reply
  3. JGirl says:

    Just got back from the Blue Lagoon. It was AWESOME! Yes a bit expensive but well worth it. We just put the conditioner that was provided on our hair and face. It was the most relaxing couple of hours in Iceland.

    Reply
  4. Live Learn Venture says:

    I love that you had clear reasons — and they make total sense. It now has me re-thinking a. whether I will be able to ever afford Iceland lol and b. if I will do the Blue Lagoon. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Vyjay Rao says:

    I agree sometimes we may have to compromise on must see attractions, but you always then have the incentive of visiting again.

    Reply
  6. Karen Wanderlustingk says:

    I skipped the Blue Lagoon myself. Instead, we went to Myvatn Nature Baths, which were absolutely stunning and fairly inexpensive. They were not crowded at all although I know my parents are planning on visiting the Secret lagoon when they visit soon. I’m interested to hear about it as that + the hot springs river was on my list, but we didn’t have time or the ability to find the path in the snow in December.

    Reply
  7. Pinay Flying High says:

    While I think it’s perfectly fine to skip an attraction which you think isn’t for you (this time), I probably wouldn’t be able to forgive myself knowing that I’m already in Iceland and didn’t go to the Blue Lagoon. Lol. I’m into places with any kinds of bodies of water and I think Blue Lagoon is kinda like the holy grail of it. I’d never really know myself if I’d be able to or can go back to the same place so I think you’re really very brave to decide to skip it. :p With or without the Blue Lagoon, I’m sure you’re going to have such a fab time! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Stephanie Rose says:

    Oh no! I didn’t know it was such a mess for your hair!! Do they have onsite salon for a nice condition and blow out?!?! Haha That would probably help sway my decision in favor! Can’t wait to see what you DID do in Iceland. It’s on my shortlist.

    Reply
  9. Amanda Williams says:

    I went to Iceland and skipped the Blue Lagoon too. I was worried it might just be a little too touristy and thought it was a bit overpriced. I went to the Secret Lagoon instead, when I was doing the Golden Circle. I loved it and think it is a good lower-key alternative.

    Reply
  10. Hannah Rollings says:

    I appreciate this post because so many people go and see things because someone told them they should, or they feel as through they should. So what if you missed this? Iceland is a whole country filled with wonders and one landmark doesn’t define a nation. I don’t feel like you needed to explain yourself, but you did and I get it.

    Reply
  11. Tales From a Fork travel blog says:

    So interesting because this is someplace I always see on blogs and want to go to. It’s nice having another perspective. I might still go though…

    Reply
  12. Shayan Naveed says:

    Oh wow, really? You have some good points of why you would skip the
    place but I wouldn’t mind waiting 2 hours to go to this place. It looks
    magical but I see what you’re saying as well. It also does seem a bit
    expensive and I’m sure there are nicer more beautiful things to see in
    Iceland. However, since I live in Thailand, if I do ever get to go
    there, I CANNOT miss this place cuz who knows when I will ever go
    there…if I do get to anyways.

    Reply
  13. carlingdoodling says:

    Thanks for sharing your post. When i visit iceland soon i would still go and see blue lagoon. For i think its a matter of planning the arrival timings and might as well spend $45 since its a once in a lifetime experience for me!

    Reply
  14. Canadian Abroad says:

    I disagree, I went to Iceland for 5 days in November and the Blue Lagoon was on the top of our list of things to go to. Yes it is somewhat expensive but I think it was still one of the highlights of the entire trip. I would just find a tour that will pick you up in multiple locations in Reykjavik and can bring you back usually every 2 hours. As for your hair, it won’t be a problem, they have special conditioner in the showers that you put in your hair before you go in and it is amazing (not speaking for myself but for my girlfriend who had the same concerns at first). That dryness you think of does not happen. I have not written about it on my blog yet (since I just started it) but I do have a video from my trip to Iceland, and the blue lagoon if you are interested to see it.

    Reply
    • Danielle Desir says:

      That’s so awesome that you had such a great time. I think it not being convenient is a primary reason why I’m skipping it this time around. I think a lot of people have a hard time skipping something they’ve heard so many great things about. It was a hard decision but I’m hoping I can find other things to do on my trip.

      Reply
  15. Megan Claire says:

    I skipped the Blue Lagoon while in Iceland for all the same reasons – mainly because it was too far out of the way and it just wasn’t convenient to get there. I could have afforded the expense lol though I was pretty worried about my hair after having heard from previous travelers that it takes forever to condition it back to normal!! So I’m with you!

    Reply
  16. Jenna says:

    I don’t think that’s a bad decision–we really enjoyed the Blue Lagoon, but there are so many natural hot springs and public ones that are cheap or free to visit that are really cool in their own right. Plus there are so many other amazing sights in Iceland that you probably won’t have time to see everything you want anyways! I would check into Airbnb if you are still looking for accommodation–we found some fairly affordable properties there, much cheaper than hostels even. We managed to travel for less than the mid-range budget, so it’s possible with some planning–gas stations have pretty decent, affordable food actually! Hope you have a great visit and enjoy Iceland!!

    Reply
  17. Barbie Biik says:

    I could’ve written that first sentence myself – lusting over Iceland too! But you’re luckier bec you’re actually about to go, must be so exciting! Personally, I’d try my darndest to see the Blue Lagoon, but that’s probably because I’m not in your shoes and havent actually done my research. In general, I have missed many “must-sees” in the interest of time and $$, too! And hey, better to deliberately miss something – at least you’ve already set the expectations! 🙂

    Reply
  18. Serendipity Tess says:

    I love how brave you are to decide to skip a major attraction. I wish I could do the same sometimes but i’m honestly too weak haha! I would feel so guilty every time I skipped a major attraction. 🙁 I’m shocked how expensive the Blue Lagoon is….i may well think twice myself now! Whooa!

    Reply
  19. Megan MacNee says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it’s completely fair to skip major tourist attractions if they aren’t for you. I’m a fish and any experience in the water is one I can’t skip, but that’s just me.

    Reply
  20. Jackie | Globetrotting Teacher says:

    There are no rules when it comes to deciding what to see and what not to see. You want to enjoy yourself so why stress out over seeing something if you’re not into it or does’n’t work with your itinerary. Good for you for not feeling obligated to check off a box just because!

    Reply
  21. adventureinyou says:

    You gotta do what you gotta do. I have learned through time that I should only go to places that I really want to…regardless if people think im missing out or not!

    Reply
  22. Sally Howard says:

    Love the quote. I spend more time worrying about what I’ve missed than appreciating how many things I’ve actually got to see. Great post x

    Reply
  23. Priya says:

    Haha thanks for pointing it out – I don’t think I want Silica in my hair either… I think I will skip the Blue Lagoon too!

    Reply
  24. Terri Huggins says:

    You’ve certainly done your research. I never would thought to list my hair as one of the reasons to miss an attraction. But having known the atmosphere, I’d probably do the same thing. I’ve totally missed attractions before as well for the sake of saving money. I figured I’d go back to those places again regardless.

    Reply
  25. Mags says:

    I had a great time at the Blue Lagoon, but I agree, it’s EXPENSIVE. It also absolutely fried my hair. So enjoy not looking like a monster all of your photos after like I did.

    Reply
      • Mags says:

        I did enjoy it, but to be honest, I got a great deal in exchange for a review on my site. The prices are very high and if it’s not on your “must do” list, then there is no reason to spend that just because you feel like you are “supposed to”

  26. Wanderlust Marriage says:

    I think it is ok to miss attractions, though warm thermal waters are not one I’d being willing to miss! But each to their own 🙂 When time is precious something always has to give, I hope you enjoy your trip to Iceland!

    Reply
  27. Natasha says:

    I went to Iceland in 2013. Spent 7 days there on $100 total. I skipped the blue lagoon, ate at grocery stores, and couchsurfed. Most days were spent hiking and I had the time of my life. You will definitely have a great time whether or not you go to the blue lagoon. Iceland is a beautiful country and can be done on the cheap. Also, the locals I stayed with took me to the public baths. Yes they are not as beautiful our picturesque, but they are cheap and are still thermal water. Plus, you get to hang out with the Icelanders and not tourists.

    Reply
  28. Brianna @ The Casual Travelist says:

    There’s no problem in skipping a popular tourist attraction, it’s your trip! Looks like you knew what was import to you for this trip to Iceland.

    Reply
  29. Hannah Logan says:

    I did go to the Blue Lagoon when I was in Iceland and loved it, however it was super convent too as we had about 6 hours before our flight to burn and there’s a bus direct to airport from the lagoon. I knew about the hair issue ahead of time and just didn’t get my hair wet- it was fine. I have to say I’ve craved the lagoon since- my skin felt AMAZING after it.

    Reply
      • Hannah Logan says:

        No I didn’t! They have conditioner in the shower room before you go in so I put that in my hair beforehand then just tied it up in a messy bun. Some people did get their hair wet but just kept going back in the apply conditioner after.

  30. Robert Doyle says:

    I think for a short trip it is perfectly okay to limit yourself to just enjoying yourself and not rushing off to check something off a list. I’ve been to London twice, and because they were both short visits, I still really haven’t ‘seen’ London. But that’s okay because I enjoyed what I did and did not feel pressured in any way. Think you are making the right call.

    Reply
    • Danielle Desir says:

      And I’m sure next time you’re in London you’ll have more time to see and do the things you’ve always wanted to. I think this approach is less stressful – I can’t wait to come back with thousands of photos though!

      Reply
  31. Jey Jetter says:

    Oh I hear you, we went to Belize and diving the Blue Hole there really exceeded our budget expectations! We had to become creative to and yes, sometimes you have to make a decision in favour for your bank account! 🙂

    Reply
  32. OpenWideTheWorld says:

    As the travel scene becomes a world of people in constant quest for “the” perfect instagram shot, it’s refreshing to see someone decide for herself where to go and what to skip. Love this!

    Reply

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