12 Feb Swimming in The Blue Lagoon in Winter
The Blue Lagoon. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of it on Instagram and Pinterest. It’s one of the most visited and recognisable attractions of Iceland, with water so icy blue you can’t quite believe that colour even exists.
Where does the water come from?
The Blue Lagoon contains 6 million litres of water and is heated to 37-40 degrees Celsius- it’s self cleansing, so renews itself every 40 hours. It is fed by the water output from the nearby geothermal power plant, which you can see as you drive near.
2,000 metres below the surface, freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed via drilling holes at the Svartsengi power plant, to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities.
On its way to the surface, the water picks up silica and minerals, before emerging at a lovely 38°C (100°F).
Is the water really that Blue?
Yes, the water really is that icy blue colour. Sometimes when you see pictures on the Internet, the colours are enhanced in Photoshop. For instance when I visited the Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, I thought it was cool but not as bright as it looks in the pictures. With the Blue Lagoon, you won’t be disappointed.
The waters contains a combination of silica, algae and minerals- it’s the light reflecting off the silica that gives it that magnificent colour. If you poured the lagoon water into a cup it would be milky white but the sun makes it look that colour. Apparently in summer it has a hint of green because of the algae.
The Comfort Package
We visited on the Comfort Package, which included:
- An Algae Mask
- Towel use
- Trial samples of the skincare products
- A drink of your choice in the Blue Lagoon
This package is definitely worth getting. When we arrived we were handed towels, as well as a little bag containing the skincare products- these are really useful when you get out because your skin will be dry and in need of moisture. They included some of the best anti aging cream I ever used, what a tease.
Anna and I were then given a wristband, which can be used to activate the lockers and to pay for drinks or food in the Blue Lagoon. The changing rooms have plenty of lockers and attendants on hand if you’re struggling to figure out how to use them. There are showers with shower gel and conditioner, toilets, changing facilities, hairdryers and vanity mirrors so you can dry your hair afterwards.
We collected our algae masks from the swim up bar inside the Blue Lagoon. The bartender basically hands you a funny solid block of clay-like material, which you’re supposed to submerse in the water till it melts a bit. You then rub it all of your face and leave it on for 15 minutes. This is what I looked like:
In addition, you get a free drink of your choice. Anna went for a banana smoothie but I thought ‘I’m on my holidays!’ so opted for a beverage of the alcoholic variety. I have to say, while the fizzy strawberry wine tasted delicious, it probably wasn’t the best idea. Combined with the heat of the lagoon, I felt really rather tipsy and dehydrated afterwards.
Swimming in Winter
The day we visited the Blue Lagoon, it was roughly -4 degrees, which meant I inevitably had to brave the cold in a bikini. I whipped off my robe, hung it up on the coat hooks and stood there shivering for a minute so Anna could take a video of me. It was freezing- the things I do for YouTube.
It looks like it does in the pictures- really icy blue. The setting is stunning in winter as you have the snow on the mountains in the background, plus you get the steam rising off the water. With the sun low in the sky, it made for some great photographs.
When you’re in the water it’s nice and HOT and steamy! Simply chill, relax, lay back and float. It’s quite shallow when you get in and gets a bit deeper the further away you get. It also gets a bit hotter in certain places. If you want to switch it up you can sit under the waterfall, hit up the sauna and steam room, or lay down on the loungers in the indoor relaxation area.
Ladies, the Blue Lagoon really frazzles your hair.
There’s conditioner in the bathrooms, so apply plenty to your hair before you go in. Not just a little bit, pile it on from root to tip. Alternatively just don’t put your hair under the water, but where’s the fun in that?
Don’t get dehydrated.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and don’t drink too much alcohol.
Take your camera + waterproof casing.
If you have a fancy DSLR, you can take lots of photos of the lagoon from the viewing platform on the roof of the main building before or after bathing. Otherwise, what I would do is get changed into your swimwear and dressing gown in the changing rooms, take your DSLR down, snap some pictures from the boardwalk, then head back up and put it in your locker before swimming.
If you have a GoPro or waterproof camera then brilliant, although I wouldn’t recommend actually submersing it under the water. I actually wasn’t very prepared and took my iPhone in but didn’t have any waterproof housing for it. I risked it and took it in the lagoon with me, keeping my hand well above the water. Not recommended because if you drop it you’re screwed- do so at your own risk! LifeProof offer some really good waterproof cases for the iPhone, so check them out.
Remove your jewellery
The water can damage some jewellery, so remove your necklaces, watches etc and put them safely in your locker.
I didn’t need them because it was winter and the sun was pretty low but I can imagine in summer you would need sunglasses.
Go straight from the airport
If you’re just super keen to go to the Blue Lagoon, you can head there from the airport as soon as you land. Don’t worry about your luggage- they have luggage storage facilities at the entrance.
Getting to the Blue Lagoon
We took a bus from central Reykjavik with Reykjavik Excursions. You are picked up from the hotel in a mini bus that takes you to their BSI bus terminal, where you transfer to a big, heated coach. It takes roughly 50 minutes drive from Reykjavik.
Blue Lagoon (transfers and entry) starts from £45
Getting to Reykjavik
WOW air currently flies 10 times per week from London Gatwick to Reykjavik with twice-daily departures on Monday, Thursday and Sunday.
WOW air’s direct route between London Gatwick and Reykjavik costs from just£49 one way, which includes taxes and hand luggage allowance (one bag measuring 56cm x 45cm x 25cm) plus handbag and duty-free shopping bag.