It’s possible, but requires some planning and a good amount of alone time
While planning our long weekend to Reykjavik in January 2018, we agreed a trip to the Blue Lagoon was a must. But were babies welcome? And if so, where could they go? Since Eliza would be only five months old, we knew we needed to plan ahead. Here’s what we learned.
1.) You can bring your baby to the Blue Lagoon, but expect a lot of solo time in and out of water
A few months in advance (i.e., October 2017), Sean reached out to the Blue Lagoon via email to ask if we could bring our daughter. The Blue Lagoon responded rapidly—within five minutes!—explaining the following:
- Due to safety reasons, children under 2 years old are not allowed to enter the water.
- The Blue Lagoon does not provide day care or any special facilities for children.
- Guests are welcome to bring their children but adult supervision is required at all times.
- Children of any age, including under 2, are welcome in the cafe. Small strollers are allowed.
(You can read the Blue Lagoon’s latest policies about visiting with children here.)
You can imagine our disappointment to learn that Eliza couldn’t join us in the water, but we weren’t entirely surprised: we had wondered whether the temperature or mineral levels would be safe for her. Since it was clear one of us would have to stay out of the water with Eliza at any given time, we were more disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy any time swimming together. But Sean had gone to the Blue Lagoon years ago and argued it’d still be worth our visit, especially for me to experience.
I can’t say how glad I am that we made the decision to go! While it took far longer and at times felt awkward being at the Blue Lagoon with an infant, it was such a magical day.
(And we should note up front that we’re writing this post as a couple who could take turns watching our daughter, so these recommendations unfortunately won’t apply to anyone traveling solo with an infant.)
2.) Book ahead of time, and get there early
Don’t show up at the Blue Lagoon without a reservation. And I don’t mean for its main restaurant. Especially if you’re traveling during a popular time of year, be sure to book your tickets and entry time online in advance.
We had discussed a few different times of day, but never really made a decision. Then, after a few weeks went by, we took another look at the Blue Lagoon’s website and found that most of the times we wanted were all booked up. We begrudgingly booked the first bus of the day from Reykjavik at 6:30am, arriving just as the Blue Lagoon opened at 7am. And though it seemed unnecessarily early, it turned out to be perfect.
It wasn’t too crowded and the line moved quickly, so we didn’t find ourselves jostling for space (especially with a baby and bags in tow). Being there early also meant we had more room and locker choices in the changing areas, and could take turns getting ready without being rushed.
3.) Take turns and talk about your expectations for time before taking your turn
I waited with Eliza and a book in the cafe as Sean made the first trek into the water. Only one day after a literal blizzard, it was so cold outside, but this made the water and temperature that much lovelier. Sean coined this as a “geothermal calm,” that is: going for a dip while it’s still dark out and then witnessing the sun begin to rise.
After less than 30 minutes in the water, Sean made an earlier-than-expected appearance at the cafe. He insisted that we switch spots so I could have the same serene and dreamy experience before the crowds began to arrive. He took over baby duty, and I made my way into the Blue Lagoon for the first time. Swimming alone in the dark made for a strangely meditative morning, an absolute highlight of this trip.
Within an hour, the lagoon filled with couples, families, and groups. As the crowds arrived and the sun lifted, the Blue Lagoon became less magical, though still stunning in it’s own right.
Unfortunately, there were no changing tables at the Blue Lagoon in either the women’s or men’s changing rooms, so we made creative use of the benches near the lockers. It was fine but far from ideal, especially if you have an older or more mobile baby.
4.) Plan ahead with food and your out-of-water entertainment
The gift shop at the front of the Blue Lagoon features plenty of face masks and branded souvenirs, but you won’t find a book shop or newspaper stand. If you think you’ll be all set with your phone or tablet, take time to charge your device in advance, since you’re unlikely to find a seat near an electrical outlet.
We were lucky with our timing that Eliza wasn’t yet eating solid foods, otherwise we would have asked in advance if we could bring our own baby food with us. (We saw the Blue Lagoon staff give out, quite politely at that, to a few adults and teens in the cafe who brought packed lunches from elsewhere.)
Apparently the Lava Restaurant on-site at the Blue Lagoon is well known for a delicious meal, but it’s pricey and more of a sit-down dining experience inside the complex, not a spot to sit in a bathing suit. The waterside cafe was expensive (i.e., around US$15-20 for a vegetarian sushi roll), but since it was the only option available, we accepted the pricetag, didn’t overindulge, and considered it part of the cost of entry.
Likewise, take a look at the Blue Lagoon’s policies and ticket classes to see if you can bring your own towel and flip-flops or if you should anticipate these being included in the price of your day. Obviously, if you can bring your own, it’ll be more affordable; however, if you’re going from the Blue Lagoon to the airport, you might want to pay the price of a rental instead of packing a damp towel in your carry-on. We ended up bringing an old towel and sharing it between the two of us, tossing it when we were finished. If we were to visit again, we’d bring two towels or just cough up the price for two there.
5.) Visit the Blue Lagoon immediately before or immediately after your flight
If you’re arriving or departing from Keflavik International Airport, you might be surprised to find that you’re still nearly an hour away from downtown Reykjavik. And the Blue Lagoon is perfectly located in between.
If you’re renting a car, you can plan a visit on your own terms. But even if you’re taking the bus, a Blue Lagoon stopover on your way to or from Reykjavik is an easy and ideal way to optimize your time.
In our case: we caught the bus from Reykjavik to the Blue Lagoon, basked in the warm waters all morning and into the early afternoon, then packed up and said adieu wearing several layers again. We waited out front for our bus, talking quite naturally with other travelers, and went straight to the airport with just the right amount of time.
Even if you’re in Iceland for only a short visit, and even if you’re traveling with a child and taking a dip alone, I could think of no dreamier kind of stopover before boarding your flight.