Geysers, hot springs, and the Blue Lagoon spring to mind when you hear ‘Iceland.’
Iceland’s geothermal environment makes hot springs, geysers, and heated streets possible. With so many options for a hot water soak, you have to decide which pools you want to experience on your visit.
I visited a local City Thermal Pool, and the Blue Lagoon on my visit. I loved both experiences, for different reasons. Having visited both, I’m here to weigh in and help you answer the big question: Which one should you visit? A local pool, or the blue lagoon?
Here’s my experience and recommendation after visiting both!
City Thermal Pools
City thermal pools are the local experience. The water in Iceland is naturally hot, so Reykjavik has many neighbourhood thermal swimming pools. There’s likely one walking distance from wherever you’re staying!
City Thermal Pools are great if you want the true local experience. Go in the evening, and you’ll be enjoying the hot water along with Icelanders who are unwinding and chatting with friends after a day at work.
I went to Vesturbaejarlaug, a local favourite. There were multiple swimming pools, varying in temperature and size.
Things to know before you go to a local Iceland pool:
- it is standard to shower without your bathing suit on before entering the pool.
- flip flops are a good idea for walking from the change room to the showers.
- you must not track any water from the showers to the changing rooms after you leave. The floor in the change rooms are completely dry.
- access to local swimming pools are included in the Reykjavik City Card.
- regular price of a City Pool: 500-600 ISK.
It didn’t seem appropriate to take photos, as the pools were full and it’s not a tourist spot.
The Blue Lagoon
The moment that I saw a photo of the Blue Lagoon, it became a bucket list item for me. Yes, it’s packed to the brim with other tourists, and yes, it’s still totally worth going!
Get the Comfort Package and dive in. The Blue Lagoon is much larger than it appears in most photos, but just as blue. There are a lot of people, and there’s also a lot of space so you won’t feel squished in.
Enjoy silica and algae face masks, and grab a cold smoothie at the swim up bar. Drift around on a pool noodle, or open your pores in one of the saunas.
The Blue Lagoon is built for tourists, and you’ve probably seen and heard tons about it, and for good reason. I loved the Blue Lagoon and can’t wait to go back!
Things to know before you go to the Blue Lagoon:
- whether or not you receive a towel or sandals depends on which package you get, so pay attention to what is included and what’s not. The Standard Package is the cheapest option, but I chose the Comfort Package so that a towel and drink were included.
- it’s a great idea to bring a small, carry-on sized bottle of clarifying shampoo, to remove the silica from your hair. (I like Live Clean Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo.)
- you can arrange transport to and from the airport and Reykjavik directly on the Blue Lagoon’s website.
- If you have an afternoon or evening flight, make the Blue Lagoon your last stop in Iceland! Remember to bring a bag for your wet bathing suit.
- the grounds surrounding the Blue Lagoon are beautiful, so leave a little time to explore afterwards!
Local Iceland Pool vs. The Blue Lagoon
If you have time, do both! The city pools are the local experience, and the Blue Lagoon is an incredible, bucket list experience.
I loved both!
Have you been to a local thermal pool in Iceland, or to the Blue Lagoon? Did you prefer one over the other? Leave a comment below!
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