Our guide to the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Picture this: a series of mist-shrouded, turquoise-blue pools, against which a striking slate-grey series of buildings sit. This is Iceland’s renowned Blue Lagoon. You might have seen it. You might have seen us talking about it (which is quite likely, considering our intense adoration for this little corner of the earth). But whether you have or you haven’t, in our detailed guide to this phenomenal geothermal resource, we’ll show you precisely why it’s one of our favorite things to do in Iceland. And when you’re ready to start planning your own trip to this captivating island, our luxury Travel Experts will be only too happy to help.

So, what follows is our breakdown of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon – what it is, where it is, and why you should go there. And, we promise, the water is startlingly warm.

What is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa found on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland. Rich in microalgae, silica, and minerals, its soothing waters are known around the world for their healing properties – and their iconic milky blue color. Originating deep underground as geothermal seawater, it is then drawn to the surface where it comes into contact with the volcanic rock and arctic climate – making for delightfully warm and strikingly blue pools. And a unique spa experience.

Iceland Blue Lagoon Retreat
blue lagoon spa iceland 2

Where is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland located?

This enticing destination is located in the southwest corner of Iceland – and just 45 minutes from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Conveniently situated between this bustling city and the airport, the location of Iceland’s Blue Lagoon makes it the ideal place to indulge in a spot of relaxation – particularly, at the beginning or end of your trip. Of course, if you wish to do so at any other time then that’s fine too. Our luxury Travel Experts will ensure your trip to Iceland is completely bespoke, just as it should be.

And that’s not all. The lagoon is also situated on a geothermal hotbed – or the Reykjanes Peninsula, as it’s otherwise known. Home to otherworldly volcanic craters, bubbling hot springs, and expansive tectonic rifts, this is the perfect place to explore – and to cross between continents. Straddling the Mid-Atlantic ridge, the tectonic boundary where the North American and Eurasian plates converge, here you can experience the feeling of being in two places at once – quite literally. All you have to do is walk along the aptly named ‘bridge of continents’.

If you’d like to explore the surrounding volcanic landscapes as part of your visit to the Blue Lagoon, then we’ll arrange that too. Just ask.

Iceland holidays
Reykjavik in Iceland

Why is the water in the lagoon blue?

The water in the lagoon is blue due to the way silica – the lagoon’s most abundant element – reflects light when it’s suspended in water. And it’s this reaction that gives the geothermal pools their characteristic milky blue color, enticing travelers from around the world to take a dip.

How warm is the water in the Blue Lagoon?

Averaging at around 37–39 °C in the bathing and swimming areas, the water temperature of the Blue Lagoon is delightfully warm. The perfect temperature in which to simply lie back, relax, and let your worries drift away.

Can you see the Northern Lights at the Blue Lagoon?

In short, yes. If you visit during prime viewing times (for more information about when to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, check out our in-depth guide here). Since it is far away from any other sources of light, it’s possible to see this breath-taking natural phenomenon from the lagoon’s glistening waters. On top of this, the staff at the Blue Lagoon monitor the aurora forecast for signs of solar activity and, if there is a chance of the lights appearing, then they’ll dim all the lights to maximize your chances of spotting these dancing arcs of color.

blue lagoon iceland
See Iceland's Northen Lights

When is the best time to visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is only an hour away from the capital, making it a good first (or final) stop in the country – before or after you’ve experienced its hinterlands. The hotel and lagoon itself are located an invitingly short 20 minutes from Keflavik airport, and less than an hour’s journey from Reykjavik itself. In other words, it places one of the world’s best geothermal spas within throwing distance of an airport. This is unusual, but something to be excited for. Not least for its enviable position on the edge of the UNESCO-protected area of Grindavik.

On another note, if you’re staying during the summer, you can also visit later due to the longer days – and experience the wonder of swimming beneath the Midnight Sun. And if you’re still not sure when you’d prefer to visit – or if you want some ideas on which time is best for you – you can read our full guide on when to visit Iceland.

Can you visit the Blue Lagoon at night?

Yes, it’s possible to visit the Blue Lagoon at night. As mentioned above, if you visit during summertime you can come at 9pm and there will still be some dusky light illuminating the pools. It tends to be quieter at night as well.

For a true luxury travel experience, there are also certain suites at the retreat hotel that allow for direct access to the lagoon. Here, you can have a relaxing evening float in your private corner of the mineral-rich waters – while you keep your eyes on the Icelandic skies for a glimpse of the aurora borealis. Remember to keep the lights low to maximize your chances of catching this breath-taking natural phenomenon.

Things to keep in mind when visiting the Blue Lagoon

First things first, don’t get your hair wet. Why? Silica – this ingredient may give Iceland’s Blue Lagoon it’s beautiful blue color and be good for the skin, but it can make your hair become quite dry and difficult to manage. But not to worry, simply make sure to coat your hair with leave-in conditioner beforehand and you’ll stop this from happening. Next up, shower before you bathe. For hygiene purposes, when you go for a swim in the lagoon, you must shower beforehand without a swimsuit and there are privacy stalls for this.

Another thing to consider is the kind of experience you’re looking for. For example, if your visit is part of a family trip then perhaps daylight hours are best – this way you’ll watch your kids’ faces light up when they see the strikingly blue waters surrounded by the exciting volcanic landscapes. If you’d like to visit during quieter times, then the evening hours make for a much “moodier” atmosphere with fewer visitors.

suite retreat blue lagoon iceland
blue lagoon spa iceland

Is there a hotel at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland?

Yes, there is a hotel at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Although technically, The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is two things. Firstly, it is, quite literally, a blue lagoon – a series of geothermal pools, boasting enriching mineral water amid spectacular natural surroundings. This is accompanied by a stylishly James Bond-like underground spa and hotel complex. The hotel, and exceptional Moss restaurant, nestled in its grey-black-gold center, give you yet another reason to stay once you’ve soaked up the healthful properties of the lagoon’s warming waters. One thing’s for sure, a stay here is the perfect way to wind down on your way home from a heart-racing exploration of Iceland. And if you choose to stay in a Lagoon Suite, you’ll even have access to your own private corner of the lagoon.

The Retreat itself plays off its otherworldly setting through its bold and striking architecture and interiors – with slate-grey rocks, cast-iron fireplaces, and moss-covered buildings. The structure folds itself into the earth – becoming more an extension of it than an imposition placed over it. A striking feat of architectural wonder, cocooned by the warmth of the lagoon, it’s the perfect excuse to spend a couple of extra hours, or days, soaking in the magic of it all.

Inside, the spa treatments at the Blue Lagoon extend from the bountiful healing properties of the water itself – part of its ‘ritual’ of cleaning, exfoliating, and moisturizing – to luxurious beauty treatments and in-water massages, making it the most sensory of luxury spa experiences. Depending on whether you want to experience Iceland’s ‘white nights’ of summer, or the vivid colors of the Northern Lights, it would be best to travel in summer and winter respectively. It’s a tough choice, isn’t it? But not to worry, our luxury Travel Experts will be sure to create the perfect Iceland trip specifically curated for you with only the best Iceland hotels.

The spa at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Home to a subterranean spa, hewn out of volcanic rock and surrounded by geothermal waters – a stay at The Retreat at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon isn’t complete without a spa treatment or two. One of our favorites? The Blue Lagoon Ritual. Incorporating the health benefits of the silica, algae, and minerals of the lagoon waters, this must-do spa journey nourishes and revitalizes the body, leaving you feeling utterly relaxed and refreshed.

For something completely different, you’ll also have the opportunity to indulge in a delightfully soothing in-water floating massage. In a serene corner of the lagoon, warmed by the calming waters, it’s a whole new level of relaxation. And a luxury travel experience like no other.

Dining at the Retreat at Blue Lagoon

Occupying the highest point at the Blue Lagoon, its renowned Moss restaurant offers stunning views of the volcanic horizon – and delicious Icelandic cuisine. That The Retreat at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon also boasts one of the best Icelandic restaurants on the island is a gentle nudge to the fact that even while the Retreat is ‘of the earth’, it’s also a world-class and international place to wine and dine. Here, Icelandic tasting menus and wine pairings compliment the health-giving properties of its local waters; all silica, algae, and minerals.

Snorkelling in Iceland's Silfra Fissure
Jeep tour in Iceland

A luxury trip to Iceland featuring the Blue Lagoon

Fluorescent glaciers, thundering waterfalls, temperamental volcanoes, and a historic swim between tectonic plates – this is luxury travel in Iceland, Black Tomato style. On one of our bespoke Iceland trips, you’ll get to explore this striking land of fire and ice to your heart’s content. And you won’t want to miss this adventure – or leave, for that matter.

Whether you wish to chase the Northern Lights or bask beneath the Midnight Sun, this is an ideal all-round trip that works any time of year. Covering all the classics you’d expect from a trip to Iceland, we’ll take you quad biking across dramatic black sand beaches, exploring cascading waterfalls at sunset, and trekking across the glittering glaciers of the South coast.

And that’s not all. We’ll also take you to the temperamental Eyjafjallajokull glacier volcano, the mesmerizing Gígjökull glacier tongue, and Nauthúsagil canyon – by super jeep, of course. Then continuing on towards Thórsmörk nature reserve, you’ll travel in between glaciers to reveal rivers and valleys surrounded by breath-taking canyons and rock formations. Next up? You’ll dive headfirst into electric blue waters on an epic snorkeling adventure between two tectonic plates at the Silfra fissure. And it doesn’t stop there. You’ll then embark on a private tour like no other – inside the chamber of the dormant volcano, Thrihnukagigur. The only place on earth where this is possible, after hiking through the lava field, you’ll descend down through the top crater and the magma chamber filled with steaming hot lava.

Finally, from one geothermal hotbed to another, we’ll take you for an indulgent stay at The Retreat at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. Here, you’ll be able to dip into the enticing waters directly from your suite, enjoy in-water floating massages at the spa, and feel truly immersed in Iceland’s beautifully raw, natural landscapes. Of course, this can all be adapted to form your perfect trip. Just say the word and our luxury Travel Experts will make it happen.

Ready to take the plunge?

Have an unforgettable stay at The Retreat while discovering Iceland’s rugged landscape under the Midnight Sun. Waterfalls, volcanoes, and the Blue Lagoon – this five-day itinerary is Iceland at its very best.