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The Blue Lagoon for the timid traveler

Last weekend the boyfriend and I got to live the good life with some fantastic people at Kvosin Downtown Hotel. The folks at  Kvosin were celebrating the fact that they are opening up some new much awaited rooms and invited us and Inga from Tiny Iceland to join them for a staycation at their hotel. Because they were feeling extra generous they also invited anyone who wanted to join us to participate in a little prize draw and in the end 4 lucky winners joined us for our #ReykjavikLife weekend.

The #ReykjavikLife crew after a happy hour at Klaustur bar. We all look a bit awkward there, we just met a few hours earlier, but before the end of the night we were eating of each other’s plates and drinking out of each other’s glasses like we’d be friends for a 1000 years.

We became fast friends and the weekend was in one word amazing. We all got our own #ReykjavikLife itinerary and some went horseback riding while others went on a Reykjavík Summit helicopter tour and then we had dinners and all kinds of activities together as a group. The last activity we did was a group trip to the Blue Lagoon. Which brings me to the point of this post. Yes, you guessed it: The Blue Lagoon.

I’ve written a lot of posts where I mention the Blue Lagoon and the whole showering naked before entering a pool debacle and sometimes I’ve noticed that people are a little bit afraid of visiting both the lagoon and the swimming pools because of aforementioned nakedness.  So I decided to approach this visit to the Blue Lagoon as a timid traveler and see whether the Blue Lagoon is really something to be scared of.

First, a practical point

As you may or may not know, the Blue Lagoon is a pretty popular place. They get about 80% of all tourists that come to Iceland and we got almost a million tourists last year so you do the math. Because they are so popular they recently introduced a system where you can pre-book your visit to the lagoon. If you are not pre-booked and the lagoon is full then, so sorry, you won’t get in. This winter we’ve already seen more than one weekend where they’ve been completely booked out so I can only imagine what it’s going to be like in the summer.

So make sure you pre-book your visit. 

If you book a Blue Lagoon trip from Reykjavík with bus transfer then the visit has been booked for you and you don’t have to worry about it. If you decide to do a private transfer to the Blue Lagoon you have to book the visit separately as the transfer doesn’t include admission.

Hrannar and Ross
Ross, one of our #ReykjavikLife partners in crime and the boyfriend. Mine. Not his. 

And then on to the nakedness

You know I haven’t always been very enthusiastic about the Blue Lagoon and to be honest, even though they graciously invited us this time, I’m not sure that my position has changed that much. I still prefer other places over the Blue Lagoon, including all our wonderful thermal pools, but like always I also totally understand why you feel like you need to visit it. It’s that once in a lifetime thing. However, I have to give the Blue Lagoon credit for taking into consideration that not everyone is comfortable with being naked in front of other people and the steps they have taken to ensure that these people can enjoy the lagoon too.

The changing rooms

First of all, if the thought of undressing in front of other people, even though they all have the same bits as you have as there are obviously female and male changing rooms, you don’t need to worry because you can get your privacy. Basically the changing rooms in the lagoon are divided into a few rooms where you’ll find a number of lockers and in each room there’s a small stall where you can change unseen. Of course there are probably only 8 or so stalls and 750 lockers so you might have to wait a while to use one but at least it’s there. No one used the one in our room when I was there.

The walk to the showers

We got the Premium package which included a towel, bathrobe, slippers, some Blue Lagoon products and a drink at the bar. I felt a little silly getting a bathrobe and slippers but it was actually rather nice. For the timid traveler that also means that you can put on your robe in your little modesty stall and walk to the showers in the robe. The best thing about the robe in my opinion was having it on the way out of the lagoon as it was a cold day and it was good to have something to put on for the walk back inside.

Since everyone has the same kind of towels and robes they have a number system on the hangers to help you remember which one is yours. They also have bathrobes in various sizes which is good when you are a one-size-does-not-fit-all kinda gal like me (bringing booty back and all that).

If you have booked a Blue Lagoon bus tour it comes with the cheapest package but you can upgrade to Premium to get the robe on the spot or you can just rent one for 10 Euros.

The much dreaded showers

Things have changed since I went to the lagoon the last time and now they offer quite a few showers where you can shower behind a screen. So there’s no need to worry there either and you can visit the Blue Lagoon without anyone seeing your private parts. The wobbly bits however, well, don’t we just have to come terms with those? In any case, if you rent a bathrobe they’re only on display in the minute or so it takes you to hang the robe and get into the lagoon. You will survive that!

When I came out of the lagoon again there were probably 20 women waiting for the private showers while the other showers were empty.

So in conclusion…

The Blue Lagoon is not scary. Not one bit.

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  1. I just wonder if all those hygienic precautions make sense when your bathing suit is dirty inside and / or people pee into the water and / or do other naughty things…

    1. I would rather have everyone wash just in case than not 🙂

  2. Well you know my thoughts on this 🙂

    I’m glad they’ve put some options in for the more timid traveller, but that the relaxed and groovy can still go and be relaxed and groovy. Some of us are just a bit messed up and thats all we wanted, an option – we didnt want to offend anyone with our timidness, but for some of us its a bit more complicated than “i think people will look at me” – at worst, put some hooks on the ceiling and ill bring my own shower curtain 😉

    that said, i’ve been twice and have no desire to go again 🙂

  3. The naked thing can be a bit daunting for those of us not used to it but it’s easily overcome even for fun loving Aussies like me who have grown up with the whole modesty thing. I was in Iceland last Summer and I guarantee that if you take a deep breath and do it once your fears will fade. It was only weird for a minute! And, like me you might just go home and realise that it all makes perfect sense and wish it was the same where you live. Blue Lagoon is worth a visit but there are so many other pools that are nicer. What’s the name of the geothermal pool near Akureyri? It’s like the Blue L but with amazing views and fewer people.

  4. Hi there
    We’re coming to Iceland in August and had planned to go to the Blue Lagoon (of course – we’re tourists!!). I have heard mixed things (as you’ve mentioned in your post as well). Would you suggest going somewhere different? And if so – where would you suggest? We have our 12-year-old son with us, as well, if that makes a difference.
    Thanks so much (and I look forward to meeting you on our walking tour!!)

  5. i was just there a few weeks ago and hordes of people were either showering in their suits or pretending to shower and just walking out. They even had to station a woman in there to ask people to shower and they still snuck past her in droves. It made me pretty angry.
    We went to lagavulan and the secret lagoon in fludir (my favorite) so we had two others
    To compare blue lagoon to and while I loved the restaurant (made the trip worthwhile) the mobs at the lagoon made the experience unpleasant. But I see they are expanding the whole place so perhaps it will end up like a watery Icelandic Disney world.

    1. WHAT? They are extending the place? Disneyworld??? And I ‘ve just read another post about Iceland avoiding chains (about food). OMG, hopefully this doesn’t happen!
      I visited Blue Lagoon, I wanted to know the concept but I didn’t go bathing. What’s interesting about bathing there,if there are so many other “hot” 😉 and more interesting and more chilling bathing spots. (hot pools)

  6. I wouldn’t care about the modesty things, but it’s nice you reviewed and they took steps to help those who are worried. Most of all, I’m glad you mentioned how they keep track of the robes that all look alike AND that they have a variety of sizes. Often times when I think I’d like a robe, it’s too small to use! Yay for plus size and bringing booty back!

  7. It has nothing to do with being timid, it has everything to do with being modest. Intolerance aside, a good tour operator takes advantage of every situation and understands that income and providing for tourist needs are directly related. Your reference to “these people” is condescending and rude; are you sure you’re in the right industry?

    1. I’m sorry you feel I’m rude and condescending but I don’t share your opinion. I suggest you look at some of the many other pages available for information about Iceland if my writing style and views do not agree with you.

    2. I don’t think Audur has been rude at all, nobody said that ‘timid’ (or modest, shy or anything else) was a bad thing 🙂 And she’s taken the time to write the article from the perspective of someone not wanting to be naked so it’s not condescending.

      I’m interested to read other comments here, including people saying that not everyone showers (yuck) and sneak past anyway. I think I’ll give it a miss, I’m not much of a fan of swimming or being in water, unfortunately. The idea of doing that in a crowded place doesn’t make me want to go, plus being naked in the freezing outdoors? 😉 I’d rather spend more time in the amazing landscapes nearby.

      Just a question though, are people not allowed to wear swimsuits or bikinis in the lagoon? 🙁

  8. My husband and I read the I Heart Reykjavik Blog inside out planning for our trip Feb 2015 (thanks I Heart!).

    One thing I felt timid about was the whole change room/shower thing – it’s just not part of how I grew up. For me it was not modesty – it was a deep discomfort for something I was unfamiliar with. I appreciated the I Heart Reykjavik blog posting “6 step guide to swimming pools in Iceland”. Given the number of questions attached to that blog it looks like other’s appreciated it too. https://www.iheartreykjavik.net/the-6-step-guide-to-swimming-in-iceland/

    Informed with these tips I decided to get over my discomfort and go enjoy Reykjavik’s pools. I had multiple swims (and showers) at 4 different locations – the discomfort diminished, but I think I’ll have to return again to Iceland to work on this some more, luckily returning to Iceland is no hardship.

    I smiled (and said a quiet thank you to I Heart Reykjavik) when at the shower in Sundhollin someone started chatting away to me in Icelandic, and then when we switched to English she said she thought I was an Icelander : – )

    In Reykjavik we took the I Heart Reykjavik Tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Auður’s knowledge and humour is the perfect combination. She also left the group with many tips for our visit. I highly recommend this blog and tour to others.

    I guarantee you Auður in the right industry!

  9. We will be at the BL in a few weeks. Would you suggest taking our own towels and passing on the robes and slipper package? Thank you for the post as I will have a modest teenager.

    1. Of course you save money by bringing your own towel. The walk from the changing rooms to the lagoon is not long so you don’t need a robe (and to be honest the slippers seemed a but redundant).

  10. I’m planning a trip to Iceland in the fall and love reading your blog! You have a lot of great information!

    I read an article that said people could wear swimsuits in the lagoon, is that true?

    1. Yes, you can wear a swimsuit in the lagoon and every pool, you would be asked to leave if you don’t wear one.

  11. Hello!

    I am hoping to visit Iceland soon and would loveee to visit the Blue Lagoon and/or other pools. However, I dress very conservatively for religious reasons (I cover basically everything except my face/hands/feet) and was wondering if it would be too difficult for me to keep covered throughout the experience, what with the changing rooms and showers and whatnot? I generally wear a normal swim suit and cover it with an oversized shirt and leggings/sweatpants and a scarf for my hair when I go swimming.

    Thanks so much for your blog, I’m learning tons!

  12. The booking link on the “Blue Lagoon trip from Reykjavík with bus transfer” page doesn’t seem to be there. Below the “Book now!” heading it says “No such activity found.” 🙁

    1. The Blue Lagoon is changing things so the companies can no longer sell the transfers with admissions and my partner forgot to let me know that they were discontinuing this tour. Sorry about that.

      1. Ok, thanks for clearing that up 🙂

  13. This may be a silly question, but can I bring my phone and/or camera with me when I go in the water? Is there somewhere safe to leave it nearby? I’d like some pictures of me and my friends in the lagoon, but wasn’t sure if that would be possible?
    Thanks so much!

    1. I wouldn’t leave it anywhere unattended – you can go in an out of the changing room and leave it at your locker.

  14. I’m not clear from the blog post or follow up comments, when does one change into a bathing suit? Why does one need to walk naked to the shower if there are towels available to wear? From some descriptions it sounds like people are walking into the lagoon naked but then you said a bathing suit is required

    1. I give up – I don’t know how many different ways I can explain this process 🙂

      You can walk to the shower in your towel or bathrobe if you have one of those. When you get to the showers you need to shower without a swimsuit. Then you put on the swimsuit (a very important step that cannot be forgotten!). When you have your swimsuit on you walk to the lagoon, either in your swimsuit or in the robe if you got one.

      1. This thread is wonderful in the diversity of concerns and you have the patience of a saint in dealing with them, Audur – there’s a halo waiting for you somewhere. As a year-round swimmer at the Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath in London I’ve no concerns about the nudity in the changing room and shower – as an old lady of 64, I notice that it’s the younger women – whose bodies are more likely to conform to modern ideas of beauty – who seem most concerned about privacy.

  15. Hey Auður! Great page. With the robe ticket for the blue lagoon, do you get to keep the robe afterwards or is it a hire thing? We’re flying in on the 10th March, mostly for photography of the amazing landscapes but will be booking tickets for the blue lagoon…simply because (as you said) it seems to be one THE things to do when there.

    Oh yeh, Ignore the one person who said you shouldn’t be in the business. 😛 You NEED a sense of humour to be in most public services for sure, if only for your own sanity!

    I especially liked the bit in the comments on your 6 step guide to swimming in iceland regarding the naked showers…

    “People don’t stare usually. Even though we don’t have a problem with showering naked in front of other people it doesn’t mean we’re going all out having long discussions and braiding each other’s hair”

    I definitely laughed out loud at that part!

  16. Thank you for this wonderful and informative article! This has been a “bucket list” location for me for ages. Your article really clarified the process in an understandable way. Thank you. It’s halfway through 2016, I wonder, do you still recommend going? Or are there other pools you recommend instead?
    Very best wishes and do please keep writing!

    1. I have never tried to hide the fact that I am not a big fan of the Blue Lagoon but I also know that many people love it. The only thing that is similar in Iceland is Jarðböðin in Mývatn but on my tours for example I recommend to my guests to visit the local pools also.

  17. I know the robe is on loan but do you get to keep the slippers?

    1. You know what – I’m just not sure. If I remember correctly you can take them with you but I’m not a 100% sure.

  18. Thank you so much for this post! More informative one I’ve read on the subject and I feel 100% better about going to the blue lagoon now especially as I am going on my own so I know exactly what to expect/do!

  19. I’m traveling to Reykjavik the last week in March. What’s the temperatures like and what are my chances of seeing the Northern Lights?

  20. I don’t get it. Why don’t people just wear swimsuits? (I’m leaving for Iceland tonight for my first visit!)

  21. Hey there! SOOOOO happy to find this blog post! One additional detail…. can you bring your own robe, and when you change, put your robe on and enter the shower in your robe, of course, then disrobing for a shower in privacy? Not cool with being nude for even a second in public. It really is just me being considerate to others. lol

    1. Post comment

      Auður - I Heart Reykjavík says:

      You can probably bring your own robe but I can’t imagine that it’s convenient to travel with one. There are modesty stalls in the Blue Lagoon though where you can put on your suit and walk to the showers and take it off again or you can rent the robe there.

      I wish women would stop talking down their bodies – every body is a good body!

  22. Thank you so much for this article. I assume all this info about private change rooms and private showers is the same for the guys? It’s important to note that this can be more than a modesty thing. There are conditions such as body dismorphic disorder where a forced nudity experience would be very traumatic. This isn’t just a female thing. I am a guy and I suffer with BDD. This article was helpful for me since my wife wants to do the BL and this experience makes me want to dread going to Iceland. I feel a bit more at ease. Thank you!

    1. I assume so too since I’ve never been in the male changing room 🙂

      Of course, I know there may be other reasons for why people feel uncomfortable with showering naked in front of other people but for the majority of people, it’s just that they aren’t used to it.