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  • Post published:21/09/2021
  • Post last modified:21/09/2021

It’s a given — when you take a trip to Iceland, you must take a dip in one of the many pools, lagoons, or geothermal swimming holes around the country. Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is considered one of the wonders of the world, and it’s a spot on many travelers’ bucket lists. With the new Sky Lagoon, residents and visitors get to continue to enjoy Iceland’s natural geothermal waters and landscapes.  But if you are only in Iceland for a short amount of time (or for one of Icelandair’s famous stopovers) fitting in a visit to both lagoons could be tricky. Here is our guide to help you choose which lagoon best fits your travel itinerary.

People in the Blue Lagoon Iceland

Credit: Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

What are the lagoons?

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a massive geothermal seawater spa with picturesque milky blue waters and a backdrop of mossy green and black lava fields. The man-made lagoon is a top tourist destination and a beloved local gem that opened in 1992. Its waters are known for their magical skin benefits since they are enriched with silica and other seawater minerals. The lagoon is at a constant 100 degrees F and renews itself every 48 hours.

Sky Lagoon

New to the Icelandic lagoon scene, Sky Lagoon opened up in late March of 2021. This man-made lagoon also includes a 230 foot infinity edge that looks directly over the Kàrsnes Harbour. The pool is filled with Iceland’s well-known geothermal waters which are warm enough for you to relax all day in. 

The Sky Lagoon in Iceland

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Streck

How much do the lagoons cost?

Blue Lagoon

There are three levels of admission to the Blue Lagoon – Comfort ($53), Premium ($68), or Retreat Spa ($372). Each ticket gives you access to the iconic lagoon, use of a towel, a silica mud mask, and your first beverage. Your Premium ticket steps things up with use of a robe and slippers, a second mask, and a reservation with one glass of sparkling wine at the Lava Restaurant. If you decide to book the Retreat Spa experience, you are getting full access to the Blue Lagoon and the private Retreat Lagoon with the three-step Blue Lagoon Ritual in the subterranean spaces.

Sky Lagoon

Similar to Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon has three types of passes – Pure Lite Pass ($56.57), Pure Pass ($80.85), and Sky Pass ($112.49). Tickets prices change for those traveling with children. For those short on time, it’s recommended to just do the Pure Lite Pass, which gets you admission to the lagoon, a towel, and access to the public changing area. With Pure Pass, you get everything in the Pure Lite package and the seven-step ritual. Sky Pass has everything in the two previous packages, plus use of the lagoon’s signature skin care products and a private changing room.

The infinity pool at Sky Lagoon

Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Streck

What does the ritual include?

Blue Lagoon

If you hold a Retreat Spa ticket, you will get to experience Blue Lagoon’s three-step ritual. The ritual was built around the natural elements of the lagoon: silica, algae, and minerals. You will be guided throughout the entire process in three subterranean chambers with someone who works at the spa. If you are coming from the Blue Lagoon, you will be directed to shower off in one of the rain showers (you’ll be rinsing off between each step, too). After your first rinse, step one is a mineral scrub which is meant to exfoliate and energize your skin. Step two is the silica face and body mask — this white mineral mask will cleanse and strengthen your skin. The third and final step is the algae face and body mask, which will moisturize your entire body. After your final rinse, your spa guide will hand you a hot towel for your face and will give you a few drops of facial oil from the Blue Lagoon’s skincare line.

Sky Lagoon

Sky Lagoon has a seven-step ritual that is designed to “nourish your senses.” Much like the Blue Lagoon’s ritual, it’s recommended to follow the process in order. Step one is your first dip in the geothermal lagoon where you take in the sights and the fresh air. Once you have taken your swim, step two is submerging yourself in the glacier pool (and yes, it’s as cold as it sounds). After a couple minutes in the glacier pool, step three is taking a nice five to 10 minute steam in the sauna (which has even more panoramic views of the Icelandic coast line). Step four is a nice walk through some mist to cool down from the sauna. Step five is everyone’s favorite, exfoliation with Sky’s signature body scrub, which should be applied all over your body. To maximize the benefits of the scrub and hydrate your skin, step six is a steam room. To cap off the entire experience, step seven is a gentle rain shower.

Aerial view of Blue Lagoon Iceland

Credit: Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

Do the lagoons have restaurants?

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon has a public café right when you walk in the door — it’s open to any patron with admission to the lagoon. Premium ticket holders can also make a reservation at the Lava Restaurant overlooking the main lagoon pool. The Retreat Spa goers have a private swim-up bar and a private in-spa restaurant with views of the lagoon. If you hold a Retreat Spa ticket or are staying at the Retreat Hotel Blue Lagoon, you can also make a reservation at the Michelin-starred Moss Restaurant.

Sky Lagoon

It’s a bit more casual at the Sky Lagoon. There is a small café that offers soups, sandwiches, coffee, and tea. The lagoon does have a swim-up bar with a selection of wine, beer, and non-alcoholic sparkling wine. Both the café and swim-up bar are open to all lagoon guests.

How do you get to the lagoons?

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is situated about 30 miles outside Reykjavik (13 miles from the Keflavik Airport). While you can’t take one of the Straeto buses (Reykjavik’s bus service) to the lagoon, renting a car or booking a spot on one of the many charter buses is your best bet. It’s about a 45-50 minute drive from the city.

Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon is only about five miles from downtown Reykjavik. Getting there in a rental car will take about 15 minutes. Your other option will be hopping the Straeto bus to get there in about 30 minutes. A new shuttle service has also just started through Reykjavik Excursions, and it has multiple pick-up points in downtown Reykjavik.

The spa at Blue Lagoon Iceland

Credit: Courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland

How long should you stay?

Blue Lagoon

It really depends on what experience you book! If you book a Comfort ticket, you probably need no more than four hours. Premium ticket holders should plan for about six hours if they have a reservation at the Lava Restaurant. And if you book the Retreat Spa experience with a dining reservation, plan for about seven hours.

Sky Lagoon

Go to the Sky Lagoon to enjoy sweeping views of the harbor while sipping on champagne. To get the full experience, plan to stay about five hours.

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