Icelandic Air gave us a free stopover from our European vacation and my husband can’t resist a good deal so we took advantage, spent 3 days in Iceland, and hit its famous Blue Lagoon. Even though we hardly saw any kids there, much less toddlers like Juliet (who is 3), we found it to be a once-in-a-lifetime, kid-friendly (and fun) spa experience for Juliet. Here are some handy tips and things you’ll need to know before you take your kid(s) to Iceland’s blue lagoon:
It won’t be too cold. Before trying it out myself, I couldn’t fathom how one would shed their coat and wintery layers for a swimsuit in 40 degree weather much less bring their kids into such extreme conditions but I also didn’t know that the water would be 94-102 degrees or that there was a special indoor spot from which you could swim to the outdoor area fully immersed in the geothermal heat. We actually only discovered this indoor/outdoor tunnel after our break and found it made a world of difference when transitioning out of the towel. So take advantage of that indoor pool and look for the underpass into the outside world!
2. Get hands on! Even the most manly man won’t be able to resist the pure, childish joy of dunking his hands into the gooey mess. This is one time when you can encourage messiness. It’s kind of like finger painting but you get to paint faces and bodies and what kid wouldn’t love that?! Everyone gets to dig their hands into a tub of this white goop in order to apply their own masks or apply them onto someone else. This tactile experience is one the kids really get into plus it is hilarious to see all the white-masked faces hanging out around you! Juliet was fascinated by all the white faced swimmers and couldn’t wait to try her hand at it. Having her apply my silica mud mask was a mother’s day treat unlike any other and such a unique interactive spa experience for us both.
3. Photography. This place is so exotic, that you’ll be kicking yourself if you lost yourself in the tranquility of it all so much so that you didn’t fully capture how epic this spa was. Either prepare yourself with an underwater camera or iphone cover (they even rent iphone covers on-site if you need) or take turns being the out-of-water photographer like we did. DON’T be one of those people who bring their $10,000 SLR INTO the pool with them and cause everyone to stress out about the chance of it getting wet. DO find the Blue Lagoon staff who will take a group photo for you with their iPad, and immediately send it to your email. We did that and ended up loving those family photos as our favorite ones from the day! (see below)
Also most people don’t know this but there are 2 terrific photo opps that you shouldn’t miss. Veer to the left of the main entrance, and right outside it, you’ll find an untouched area of the lagoon, separate from where the guests are allowed. Take the trail to the end for a mystical view and photo. Also, know that there is a rooftop viewing area -don’t miss that!
Photo from inhabitat.com
4. What to bring. In addition to your bathing suit and flip flops you’ll want to bring (if you can) your own towel, cover-up (the venue charges for both), and sunglasses to block the intense brightness. The lagoon will supply (and require) that any child 7 or under wear these whether or not they can swim. Be prepared to be chased down if your child is caught without them on in the pool. For us it was nice to know we wouldn’t have to worry about her safety. For kids older than 7 though they should be warned that the bottom of the pool is uneven and may drop to deeper depths without warning. Most places are so shallow you have to crouch down to keep underwater but there are areas where shorter people may need to rely on their swimming and treading skills.
4. Hair Care. While the minerals may be touted for its healing and anti-aging properties, it sucks for your hair! Your hair is likely to feel like straw for days so unless you want to feel like a scarecrow, either keep your hair out of the water or apply leave-in conditioner in your hair before entering AND post soak, use clarifying shampoo before regular shampoo and conditioner and then brush in leave-in conditioner. It sounds like a lot of steps but trust me you’ll need them! I learned the hard way by just jumping in without any pre- or special post treatment and my hair felt so damaged I ended up having to research what the heck happened to my hair post lagoon which is how I learned these tips! I did make sure to also bring a baseball cap and hair elastic. When you have a wet wiggly toddler to dry and dress, the last thing you want to worry about is styling your hair in a crowded locker room! Though if you have patient kids who will sit put during a hair styling session, the locker rooms do have hair dryers in addition to the provided soap, shampoo and conditioner. Below is a great video showcasing all the details.
5. Eating. We made and then cancelled our restaurant reservations because we wanted to spend our limited time (literally) soaking up this amazing experience. But if you have the time (and money as it is NOT cheap), you can enjoy a gourmet Icelandic meal prepared by Iceland’s top rated chef. There is also a large, ground-floor cafe of sorts where you can purchase pre-preared meals ( We bought the sushi platter and the cheese and cracker platter) along with an assortment of beverages for a quick eat. The views are outstanding and remind you of the other-worldly beauty that you are surrounded by. You could also enjoy your own snacks at one of the outdoor seating areas though that seating is more limited and not insulated from the cold. Additionally, the bar that you can swim up to offers alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks as well as the popular Icelandic treat, Skyr mixed into a smoothie which our toddler loved!
6. Easy Airport Access. Being that the Blue Lagoon is about 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik (the capital and city center where you’re likely to have booked your hotel) and about 20 minutes away from the airport, I highly suggest you shuttle yourself to/from the airport in order to avoid an extra cab fee. There is really no other reason to be in that area other than to visit the Blue Lagoon. In fact the entire area will make you wonder whether you’ve landed on the moon. There is nothing but lava rock for as far as the eye can see. Conveniently, there are shuttle transfers available to the Lagoon from both locations and the Blue Lagoon has special luggage storage service for an extra cost. Just make sure to have packed a separate bag with all your swim essentials so you’re not left rummaging through your luggage upon arrival.
7. Kids 2-13 are FREE. As if you needed another reason to visit with your kids, kids 2-13 are free. They do not recommend kids under 2 to participate which is why the age range starts at 2 though I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to so long as the adult is holding them… Teenagers 14-15 are half off and anyone older is charged at the regular rate (you’ll have to check the website as prices vary depending on the time of year you go).
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon for us will be forever remembered as a a surreal first-time spa experience for Juliet. I hope that you won’t hesitate in bringing your kids and found this post helpful when planning. Leave comments with what you’re most excited about. Bon Voyage!
For more information, visit www.bluelagoon.com