Blue Lagoon picture
DieterMeyrl/Getty Images

Key Info

Nordurljosavegur 9

Details

Natural Wonders, Spas Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

About 30 miles southwest of Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions. This geothermal mineral spa gives off an almost otherworldly look with azure-colored water and steam rising from its surface. The lagoon receives more than 700,000 annual visitors. For a little perspective, that's double the country's entire population.

When you arrive at the property, you're given a locker key, in which you can deposit your valuables and superfluous clothing. Next, you can shower and help yourself to the buckets of silica mud, which is said to condition and exfoliate the skin. And then you can hop into the about 100-degree lagoon to soak. Spa treatments cost extra.

Recent visitors described their time at Blue Lagoon as magical and well worth the steep price. To minimize your commute to or from the lagoon, travelers suggest visiting after landing at or before departing from Keflavik International Airport, which sits just 13 miles away.

Blue Lagoon's hours vary by season, but the property is generally open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. In addition to the attraction's lagoon, you'll find a hotel, restrooms, a gift shop and multiple restaurants, bars and cafes on-site. Ticket prices vary by type and booking date. Basic passes, which only include entry and a silica mud mask, start at 6,100 Icelandic króna ($59) but can cost as much as 8,000 Icelandic króna ($77) if few tickets are left. Each upgraded ticket costs up to 12,100 Icelandic króna ($117) but offers additional perks like a loaner bathrobe and towel, one drink and an algae mask. To get to Blue Lagoon, plan on driving and parking for free in the on-site lot or paying for bus service from operators like Gray Line Iceland and Reykjavik Excursions. Visit the attraction's website for more details.

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#1 Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

The aurora borealis (or northern lights) can be an almost eerie sight: Picture emerald green swirls coloring the otherwise darkened sky. But scientists have a boring explanation for this phenomenal natural light show – "collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere," according to the Northern Lights Centre. Still, it's a pretty breathtaking sight, and if you're visiting Reykjavik in winter, you might want to stake out some time for northern lights gazing.

Although you can see the lights from Reykjavik, you'll increase your chances of viewing them outside of the city. Previous travelers recommend taking a tour with local companies like BusTravel Iceland or Reykjavik Excursions. (But keep in mind that the aurora borealis requires a perfect cocktail of climate conditions in order to show – so you're not guaranteed to see the elusive display of lights even if you book a tour.) If you'd rather hunt for this natural phenomenon on your own, time your visit between September and mid-April.

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