Friday 12 April 2019

Visiting the Blue Lagoon Iceland with Kids

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland is undoubtedly the Blue Lagoon - a geothermal spa located 45 minutes from Reykjavik.

 It might look like a natural hot spring but the lagoon is actually man-made, The water comes from a nearby geothermal power plant where superheated water is pumped from the ground and used to run turbines that generate electricity. The water cannot be recycled due to its rich mineral content so it is pumped into the nearby landscape. The water renews itself every 2 days.

I have seen so many pictures of the Blue Lagoon on Instagram and although we were only in Iceland for 5 days, I knew it was definitely somewhere we needed to visit!

The question was, could we take the children? Is it suitable for children?

Yes and Yes!

The minimum age for visitors is 2 years old so my kids were above the minimum age. They are both water babies and adore their swimming so I knew that they would enjoy it - although I did have to warn my son that it wasn't like a regular pool. He wouldn't be able to jump in from the side - it was more of a floating pool!

You MUST pre-book tickets online before visiting otherwise there's a risk of it being fully booked. When you book, you choose an hour slot and you can arrive anytime within this hour. Prices vary from the comfort package at £75pp to the premium at £94. You can get cheaper tickets if you are willing to go at off-peak times but it's best to check the website for these. The good news is that children under 14 go free - which made the eye-watering entry prices slightly better when there were just two tickets to pay for!

Our reservation was 11am and we arrived straight from the airport which is just 20 minutes away. We had a hire car but there were a lot of buses coming in and out so I think it would be relatively straight forward to get there using public transport. We were a bit early so we had a little wander along the pathways that snake around to the left of the lagoon. Wow, that's when the wind hit us!! We'd left all our hats/gloves/thick coats in the car as I wanted to take as little as possible into the lagoon so we didn't hang around outside for long.

I'd heard bad reviews about lots of queues at the entrance but we went straight in with no problems. Although the children were free, they were still given a colour coded wristband as were we. The adult wristbands are used to pay for drinks once in the lagoon so don't lose them - they are also used for the lockers.

We had the comfort package and so everyone was given a towel and off we went to the locker rooms which are separate for male and female. Paul took Elliot and I had Erin...I think he had the easy job ;)

I was worried that we would have to get undressed in front of everyone - this is not something I'd like to do by myself let alone with a 2-year-old!! But I needn't have worried, there were several cubicles so we found an empty one and got our swimsuits on.

The Blue Lagoon are apparently very strict about visitors showering naked before entering but in all honesty, I didn't see any staff enforcing this. There are plenty of shower cubicles so we hopped in and had a quick shower - I also made sure I lathered my hair with the conditioner that is supplied. Your hair gets very dry in the lagoon due to the silica in the water so it's really important to keep it conditioned!

Erin was not a fan of the showers and screamed her head off so that was a bit stressful - there wasn't anywhere in the cubicle where she could stand and not have water in her face so she wasn't too happy! In all the drama of showering minus our swimsuits, we also dropped both towels on the floor drenching them....doh! Fortunately, there seemed to be plenty of towels to help yourself to so we had no issues replacing them.

Once showered we went to the meeting area and found Paul and Elliot, we also picked up armbands for the children. All kids under 8 must wear these and the lifeguards were very strict about this. There were lots of coat hooks and people were leaving their towels and robes here. To be honest, all the towels were identical so you might have to memorise the number of the peg!

There are two ways of getting into the Blue Lagoon. You can easily go through the double doors and be faced with the freezing Icelandic temperates whilst lowering yourself into the pool.

We chose a much nicer way! There is a ramp inside where you enter the water from - as you exit, you don't feel the cold as much because you're already in the pool. And wow, that water temperature is lovely! It's just like getting into a bath.  The temperature outside was probably around 3/4C but it honestly didn't feel like it due to the warmness of the water.

The lagoon is quite big and there plenty of places to explore such as waterfalls that massage your back and neck, the mask bar where you can scoop up some white silica to put on your face, the drinks bar and the sauna and steam room. Or the smoke room as Elliot called it!

What surprised me was the difference in temperature in different parts of the pool. The water is generally between 37-40C but there were some real hot spots!

All packages (except kids) allow you to have a drink from the bar and there were alcoholic beverages such as beers, or you could have something healthier like a smoothie. Paul had a beer and I had a slushie. I didn't fancy sharing it 3 ways so we bought the kids one too! I think it worked out about £4 when we came to pay at the end.

We ended up spending almost 2 hours in the pool - the children were happy to stay longer but we were starting to resemble wrinkly prunes! The time went so fast and it was lovely floating around in the warm water.

Once out of the water, Paul and I went our separate ways with a child each. This is where I found it a bit stressful! The first problem was showering - again Erin screamed her head off and it wasn't a very relaxing experience! She kept trying to escape out of the shower cubicle (there aren't any locks, it's just a swing door) so I was having to hold her and try and wash our hair etc.

The next issue was the logistics of getting back to the locker! You are meant to dry off before entering the changing area to keep it dry. Being a plus size lady, I found the towels quite small so I had to grab a couple of fresh towels and attempt to wrap a couple round me and keep them well as getting Erin dried and stop her screaming/slipping over, plus also carrying our wet costumes!

We managed to shuffle back to the changing area without flashing too much flesh and I was relieved to find an empty cubicle to get us dressed in!

There are lots of mirrors plus hairdryers in the changing area which is useful - they even have cotton buds to make sure you have all the silica mask out of your nooks and crannies!

Once you leave the changing area, you swipe your wristband and settle up any money that is owed. You then have to swipe again to get out and your wristband is popped in the turnstile as you leave.

We were all really hungry after all that floating about so we headed to the cafe for a bite to eat. There are several dining options at the Blue Lagoon ranging from the sit-down Lava Restaurant to the grab and go cafe. We didn't want to hang around too long so we just bought a few snacks from the cafe. Be warned, it is very pricy but if you're heading to Iceland then you'll know how expensive everything is!

Final Thoughts

Is the Blue Lagoon worth the money?
The entry price is expensive but it's a fantastic experience and definitely not like any pool I've ever visited before! If you want to save money, consider going early in the morning or last thing at night when the prices are slightly cheaper.

Is it suitable for Kids?
Yes! Although we only a handful of children while we were there, it's definitely somewhere children would enjoy, especially if they love the water like mine do. It was a real novelty for them being outside in the very cold temperate but being all warm in the pool. Elliot even said it was his favourite part of the whole holiday!

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