Iceland has an abundance of natural hot springs throughout the country thanks to geothermal activity below ground. Some of these are far too hot for humans to go in without burning to death. However, there are a few that people can relax in throughout the year. The water retains the same temperature year round despite the changing air temperatures (yes, even in the cold snowy winters), making them a perfect place to unwind during your busy visit. There are 2 hot springs that are popular amongst visitors to relax in. They are The Blue Lagoon and The Secret Lagoon.
I was fortunate enough to spend time in both of them and was asked which lagoon was “better”. My quick answer is neither one was better than the other because they were so different from one another. They were both the same temperature (about 100 degrees F, 38 degrees C), but other than that they each had their pros and their cons. If you only have time or money to do one of them, the rest of this post should help you choose which one is best for you!
- Blue Lagoon: 5400 isk ($47)
- Secret Lagoon: 2800 isk ($25)
If budget is a big factor in determining which one to go to, Secret Lagoon wins this category. Almost half the price of Blue Lagoon. Prices above are the least expensive options. Both places have options that include rentals (towels, bathing suits, etc.) for a bit more money.
- Blue Lagoon: huge (almost 7000 sq m!)
- Secret Lagoon: small/more intimate size.. size of small swimming pool
This is preference. Blue lagoon has more space to move around, but also has more people in that space. Lagoon is much much smaller, but has far less people in that space.
- Blue Lagoon: 20 minutes from airport or 40 minutes from downtown Reykjavik. Tour buses arrive here multiple times daily.
- Secret Lagoon: 1 hour and 20 minutes from downtown Reykjavik in town of Fludir.
Neither one is “close” to popular places to stay. A car or bus is definitely needed to get to either one. Blue Lagoon is often done on the way to or from the airport as the first or last thing done in the country. Secret Lagoon is off the Golden Circle if you have plans to be in that area any day.
-Click on Map below:
Touristy/Amount of People:
- Blue Lagoon: VERY crowded. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. My arrival time was before sunrise to give me time to change before watching the sunrise and it was semi-quiet at that time. But an hour later, it was packed with people.
- Secret Lagoon: quiet. I went on a rainy day shortly after they opened, but there was only about 20 other people in the lagoon while I was there. Their website says tours only come between the hours of 3:30 & 5:30 (15:30-17:30).
Despite the size of the Blue Lagoon, it sells out so you have to make an advanced reservation online before visiting!!! However, the Secret Lagoon is quiet enough that you can just walk-in and a buy ticket there.
- Blue Lagoon: A lot of extras. The basics of locker room, restroom, showers, hair dryers, plus mud masks included in cost. They have an option to enter the lagoon from inside so that you don’t have to expose yourself to the cold air in your bathing suit in winter months. Amenities for extra purchase such as: massages, algae masks, alcohol, full restaurant at LAVA, hotel on site, gift shop, etc.
- Secret Lagoon: Just the basics. Locker room, restrooms, showers, hair dryers. Small snacks and beverages for purchase.
- Blue Lagoon: man-made mixed with natural. Sand/silicia/minerals on the bottom of lagoon (really just feels like moosh on your feet.. but the silica and minerals great for your skin). Blue water result of silica reflecting in the sun. Geothermal power plant next to the lagoon that helps provide the water in the lagoon. Cannot see through the cloudy water. Great view of sunrise.
- Secret Lagoon: all natural. Black rocks on the bottom of the lagoon. Small geysir on the side of the lagoon that provides steam in the air. Surrounded by green grass and a small old building made of stone. Can see through the water more clearly. In the dark you may see stars and northern lights.
- Blue Lagoon: more expensive, crowded, larger, near airport, modernized setting, more amenities.
- Secret Lagoon: Cheaper, less people, smaller, harder to get to, more natural setting, less amenities.
Click on their names above to be re-directed to their websites for more information or bookings!
Hope this post helped you in determining which lagoon best suits your needs! If you have time, get to both as they are both worth crossing off your bucket list 🙂 Happy Travels!