Day 4: The Blue Lagoon!
We made the determination early in the planning stages of this trip that we’d do the Blue Lagoon for an entire day. You’ll have the option to book your Lagoon experience as a pre- or post-flight pitstop, but we both wanted to make sure we didn’t feel rushed or like we had to run off to check into the AirBnB or the flight. Next time we’re here it would be a great way to handle the jet lag or say goodbye to Iceland, but for the first time, I highly recommend putting it on a full day so you can take your time and relax.
Brendan and I vacation in different ways sometimes – since I am normally off to the next item on our list as soon as I’ve seen the last, whereas Brendan is great at enjoying something, relaxing and lingering in the moment. All about balance – which is a little bit of what the Blue Lagoon did I think – restored some balance to the vacation and life in general as we prepare to close out this trip.
Getting there – super easy! We walked back to the BSI bus terminal, which is about 1 mile from the AirBnB and swapped our voucher out for our actual tickets.
Tip 1 – when you book your ride back and forth from the Lagoon with FlyBus you get a voucher with all of your information and a QR code. When you get to BSI the day of you have to turn that in at the counter to get the actual ticket(s) to board the bus, otherwise you are left standing there with the bus driver telling you to run back inside. No one wants to be the person who makes everyone else late for their spa day.
Once on the bus, we left about 15 minutes after our departure time, which seems to be about normal since it’s a 45-minute ride to get there for “on-the-hour” reservations with Blue Lagoon. In our case, we had a 9am bus ticket (with an open-ended return time for the same day) that left at 9:15am and got us there at exactly 10am for our 10am reservation with the Lagoon. Once there we walked up the lava stone walkway that leads you up to a beautiful building, surrounded by a beautiful lava formation and blue-blue water – with steam gently rising off the surface. A literal postcard.
Front of the Blue Lagoon
Checking in was painless – we had booked a “Premium” package which was slightly more expensive (9990 krona v. 6990 krona), but came with a few extra perks and a much shorter check-in line upon arrival.
All checked in with our magic wristbands strapped on, we headed for the locker rooms and showers to get ready for a day of total relaxation and floating! The wristbands have a waterproof chip in them that grants you admittance to the next part of the building, locks and unlocks your locker, and allows you to use your perks – like the drinks and two masks that our package came with (the first is silica, which everyone receives – the second is algae, which only comes with the higher-tier packages). After that, you can use the bands to charge additional items to your account, and on your way out you pay your tab, tap the band at the exit gate, and drop it into the receptacle that opens up. Insanely high-tech in my opinion. Here is the video they send you the day before your trip so you can get excited and learn how to navigate the place without looking like a complete lost puppy.
Two quick items about showering: (1) prepare to do it naked, (2) if you have hair, leave the conditioner they provide you in so not to come out looking like Bride-of-Frankenstein-esk after exiting the lagoon. The silica, while great for your skin, will give your hair a brittle quality afterward if you don’t. And don’t worry, they actually tell you to do this with their conditioner. Don’t be doing this with some cheap-ass Herbal Essences, mucking up the place for the rest of us.
General comment about “mucking it up for the rest of us” – don’t be that person that leaves a mess behind, whether it’s in the lagoon, the streets of the city, or in the lava fields. We came across an increasing amount of trash and discarded stuff over the course of the week. Be an adult and pick up after yourself. Also, stop yelling in churches – I’m looking at your Yankees fan from earlier today, as I write this.
Tip 2: There are two ways to enter the lagoon as you exit the locker rooms – one that is a ramp that slowly drops down into the water while you’re still inside the main building – the other is completely outdoors, so you exit the building, walk onto a raised patio, then descend into the lagoon. We opted for the indoor entrance every time so to avoid as much of the cold as possible.
Tip 3: The lagoon is not “temperature controlled” i.e. there will be hot and cool spots as you move throughout the different parts of it. If you want to find the warmest possible zones (around 104 degrees F) navigate towards the enclosed boxes – these are the areas where the lagoon is replenishing itself from, therefore the water is really warm.
See! Aim towards these bad boys. Plus, this is a great place to rest your drink, sunglasses, cellphone, etc. That brings us to….
Tip 4: If you’re going to take pictures either pre-purchase a waterproof cellphone bag (Example) or just pay the premium at the Lagoon store and have it ready to go. You don’t want to be stranded internationally with a wet phone, frantically looking for a bag of rice while doing the soggy phone prayer dance.
So – our package came with a “free” 1st drink for each of us from the outdoor bar, and reservations at Lava with a “free” glass of Prosecco if we decided to make the reservation and dine with them. We took them up on both drink offers. Beer and wine outside (you can do a smoothie if you want that healthy spa feeling) and then a 2pm reservation at Lava, with a glass of Prosecco each.
The food at Lava was amazing – the bread and Icelandic butter alone were worth the reservation. Brendan went with a vegetarian two-course, while I went with a fish three-course meal (when in Iceland, have the fish).
See the drool-worthy menu here.
Overall the meal was delicious – rich, but delicious. It wrapped up with americanos and creme brûlée, topped with lemon sorbet. I mean, I’m going to need the Icelandic butter to grease the plane seat so I can get in and out of it on the way home.
Satiated, we headed back upstairs, showered again (we follow the rules), purchased one of those waterproof cell phone cases (learn from our mistakes…paid the premium), and dove back into the water (via the indoor option!). I also bought a couple of pairs of cheap sunglasses since the occasional sunlight was reflecting off the lagoon with some intensity. For the next hour, we floated around, took some photos and enjoyed the ever-changing weather. Those sunglasses I just bought..useless…as soon as we got in the water and put them on we tempted the Norse Gods and brought about a 20 minutes snow squall…which. was. awesome.
Watch a bit of it below:
Having had our fill of salty water and relaxation, we timed it so we could exit the lagoon, rinse and dress, then poke around the gift shop before catching our bus back to Reykjavik. As promised there was a bus ready to rock-and-roll at quarter past the hour. We boarded and dozed off for the 45-minute ride back to the city – the unexpected bonus with this bus was that it dropped off at several locations around the city, not just the BSI terminal. Armed with Google Maps, we jumped off a little ahead of schedule for a more favorable stop within closer walking distance to the AirBnB.
Tip 5: If you do not plan on having a full data plan while in the country and will be relying strictly on wifi – first – don’t – it’s terrible. Second…if you still decide to reply on cafe and bar wifi, download the map of your region before departing. If you go into Google Maps you can download offline versions of their map for a specific selection/area, which comes in really handy when you can’t just jump on LTE. Learn more about that from the Time article here.
After having navigated our way back we crashed hard for a bit – just long enough to regain some energy and head out for a late night bite at Glo again. This was followed by dessert and wine/coffee at Le Bistro, around the corner. Glo was just as great the second time, and Le Bistro did not disappoint with their tapas-style dessert option where you got a little bit of coffee, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, and creme brûlée (because who wouldn’t have that twice in one day?).
And that concluded our evening – relaxed and FULL we headed back.