Reykjavik Excursions Blog
  • Blue lagoon, bláa lónið, ísland,

The Blue Lagoon

Blue-green Oasis in a Lava Field

22/8/2017 Blog

The milky blue lagoon in the Reykjanes peninsula is quite striking in contrast to the black lava field and the fragile green moss growing on it. The geothermal water is between 37° and 40° C (98-104°F) but can sometimes fluctuate beyond that range.

What many people do not know is that the lagoon is man-made and was in fact originally an environmental disaster. The water is a waste water from the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi. When it opened in 1976, they decided to let the water trickle into the lava field, thinking it would be absorbed by it. That did not happen and the dissolved minerals in the water made a blanket of mud and the lagoon was formed. 

ThrounarverkefniI-Svartsengi.width-1024Svartsengi power plant. Photo from here .

Five years later, or in 1981, people started bathing in the small lagoon. There were no facilities, not unlike the hot springs in Landmannalaugar, so people had to get undressed either in their cars or just out in the open. Stories about the healing powers of the water soon spread out, and soon people suffering from psoriasis in varying degrees swore it helped them with their disease.

In 1992 the Blue Lagoon company was established. They built facilities where people could undress and shower before entering the lagoon, and it has since then become one of the most visited locations in Iceland.

A couple of decades ago the power plant was moved, which in return meant the lagoon itself had to be moved. New facilities were built, and in recent years, a restaurant, research facilities as well as a hotel have been built in the area.

The lagoon gets its colour from the silica in the water. However, the algae sometimes gives it a greenish hue in the summer.

1976-Landsvirkjun The Blue Lagoon as it was. Photo from here

The silica is in barrels around the edges of the lagoon for swimmers to slather on them. It is reportedly very good for your skin. We do not recommend you put it in your hair though, and it is even advisable to put conditioner in your hair before you go out into the lagoon because the hair can become very stiff and difficult to manage.

From where does the water come?

The water comes from the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi Geothermal power plants use boreholes which sometimes go down to 5000 metres to get their water. In Reykjanes, there is no need to go further down than 2000 metres to get to the superheater water. At this depth, the water is infused with sea water and is very mineral rich.

On the way up, the water changes to steam due to pressure changes. The steam then powers large turbines which in turn create electricity for the municipalities of Reykjanes.

Leftover steam is used to heat up fresh water which is pumped up from the groundwater contained in the area. The heated freshwater is then used to heat up houses. Reykjanes is one of a few places in Iceland where you can use the hot water from the tap and use it in your tea or coffee. In other places, like the capital area, for example, geothermal water is used for heating.

The output water from the power plant is then used for the Blue Lagoon.

BL-14The Blue Lagoon today.

Shower before entering the lagoon

There are strict rules regarding hygiene before going into the Blue Lagoon (and swimming pools in Iceland for that matter). Everyone must wash his or her whole body (even the hair) without swimsuits and with soap before entering. There are closed cubicles in the shower area for those who are uncomfortable with being naked in front of other people.

Popular Posts

Hestur, Hestar, Icelandic Horse, Iceland, Nature

Say What? - 23/6/2017 Blog

Did you know you need permission from the local government to own a dog? Or that we had special state-run milk stores which were the only ones who could sell milk between 1910 and 1977? Did you know "I come completely from the mountains" is a saying in Icelandic?

Gullfoss, gullni hringurinn, golden circle, waterfall, summer, iceland, water, nature

The Golden Circle - 2/6/2017 Blog

The Golden Circle includes some of Iceland's most stunning sites; Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and the waterfall Gullfoss.

laki, lakagígar, iceland, ísland, volcano, eldfjall

Volcanos in Iceland - 1/6/2017 Blog

Iceland is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world. There are about 130 volcanos in Iceland, 30 of them are considered active, and 18 of those 30 have erupted since the year 900, with only a handful regularly erupting, like Hekla, Grímsvötn in Vatnajökull Glacier and Katla in Mýrdalsjökull Glacier.

Hallgrimskirkja Church on Skolavorduholt

What to do in Reykjavík - 8/12/2016  

Things to do in Reykjavik

Recommended Posts

Tjörnin í Reykjavík, iceland, pond, the pond, ísland, sumar, summer

5 festivals and 5 sports events in Iceland - 24/5/2017 Blog

If you want to do something different in between the sightseeing while your stay in Iceland, there are quite a few festivals and events you can choose from - this list only includes a handful.

landmannalaugar, iceland, ísland, travel

Hike in the Icelandic highlands - 17/5/2017 Blog

The Icelandic highlands are extremely beautiful and colourful. They are easily accessible but you must have the right equipment if you want to hike there.


Eurovision - 9/5/2017 Blog

It is Eurovision week. Tonight, Tuesday 8 May, Svala will compete in the first semi-finals for Iceland, and we are, of course, convinced she will get through to the finals.

Skogar Folk Museum

6 Museums to Visit in Iceland - 23/3/2017 Blog

Iceland has a few hundred museums spread around the country. It is impossible to visit them all on a short visit to Iceland, but we have made a list of six museums it is worth it to check out.