When: March 2018
Hotel: AirBnB (the link doesn’t work – I think it’s been taken down)
Why Iceland: Read the recap of why we went to Iceland and what we did the first couple of days here.
The Trip: We had done a lot of driving our first day exploring the Golden Circle and we had already seen the Golden Circle, so we were looking for a way to fill the morning of our second day in Iceland. The afternoon was already planned with a trip to the Blue Lagoon (can you really go to Iceland and NOT visit the Blue Lagoon?) So, Jenna sent me a list of options, we agreed on going for an ATV ride around two Icelandic peaks. I hadn’t ridden a 4-wheeler since I was a kid, and even then, I never drove one. We booked the trip through Viator, and during the booking, you can choose between a single-seater or double-seater ATV – clearly, I was going to drive my own. All gear was included, including a snowsuit, which was needed or it would have been freezing! You get fitted with all of the safety equipment and then take off for the Blue Mountain range for panoramic views of Reykjavik.
There were only six of us on the tour with the guide and it was super fun. The trails were mostly easy to navigate, although I definitely got nervous about going downhill on the rocky paths and the muddy paths – I was completely convinced that I was going to tip over and get pinned under the vehicle, but I am happy to say I made it all the way through! Although expensive, it was super fun.
After the ATV tour, we headed back into Reykjavik for some lunch…and this is a story I tell ALL the time when trying to describe how expensive Iceland is (if $60 on KFC didn’t really drive it home).
We picked a random restaurant and while our friend Chris got adventurous with whale and puffin, John and I played it safe with burgers, fries and a beer each. When we got the bill, we both just started laughing. For two burgers and beers it was $90!! Ninety Dollars. For lunch. It’s just something to really be cognizant of – airfare is cheap, but that’s basically where the deals end. I’m sure you can do it on the cheap – but it would be hard. (We did go cheap for dinner that night – grocery store food…I forget how much it was so I am thinking it wasn’t too crazy. Comparatively anyway).
That afternoon was the trip to the Blue Lagoon and I was so, so excited to finally experience it! There are a few tips/things to know before you go:
- The Blue Lagoon is 45 minutes from Reykjavik, very near the airport. Some people time their trips to go when first arriving in town, or the last stop before leaving. It depends on time, but I am glad we put it on its own day and didn’t visit right when we got there, or worried about time before we left.
- It’s not a natural spring – it is actually manmade and the water is the runoff from a power plant next door (it’s incredibly safe and good for the skin, just know that going in). The land surrounding the lagoon is natural, just know the water is not. Walking to the lagoon, you’ll see the power plant but won’t once in the actual water.
- Book your tickets in advance for sure! Especially in busier times, you may not get to visit without a reservation. There are three tiers of tickets – Comfort, Premium and Retreat Spa. The Comfort and Premium tickets are only different in terms of amenities, but if you opt for the retreat spa, you get access to a private spa and a private area of the Blue Lagoon. We went with the premium ticket, which included entrance to the Blue Lagoon, silica mud mask, use of towel, first free drink of choice, second mask of your choice, dining reservation (optional), and sparkling wine with your dining reservation.
- When you check in, you’ll get a wristband…do not lose it! It will open and close your locker and you can buy stuff from the bar and other stands with it. You settle the bill when you leave.
- As with other spas in Europe, you have to shower before you go in. The difference here though, is everything I read said you have to shower naked. But, the showers are private and no one is watching you, so I don’t know how this is enforced.
- This next tip is KEY. The Blue Lagoon water will (apparently) destroy your hair. So, unless you want straw-like hair, when you shower make sure to use lots of conditioner, put your hair in a high bun, and don’t let it touch the water!
- Make sure to have a water-proof case for your phone (I forgot mine, and they did sell them there, but it’s best to have it ahead of time).
- The Blue Lagoon is only about 4.7 feet (it ranges in heights throughout), and the temperatures stays between 98-104 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Get all the pictures and then just relax. It was kind of busy but not packed at all so we could definitely enjoy ourselves. Eventually, I took my phone (case and all) back to the locker room and just enjoyed the springs.
The Trip: High costs aside, I am super happy we went to Iceland. It is almost otherworldly with the crazy landscapes and the remoteness of it all. Reykjavik is a great town to explore and a good base to see the part so of the island. Take advantage of the cheap flights, budget for everything being more than double what you expect it to be/what it should be and really just enjoy being able to explore a place that doesn’t really look like anywhere else.