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An Honest Review of Sky Lagoon Iceland: Does it Live Up to the Hype?
Where is the Sky Lagoon, Iceland?
The Sky Lagoon opened in April 2022 – and quickly caught the attention of both locals and travellers, alike. Located just a 10-minute drive from central Reykjavik, in the suburb of Kópavogur, the Sky Lagoon is ideally located for those visiting, or staying, in the city.
When I was researching lagoons in Iceland, I originally planned on visiting the headline grabbing Blue Lagoon. However, located a 50-minute drive from Reykjavik, close to the country’s airport, working out when – and how – we’d visit this tourist hotspot was proving difficult. With our flight times not lending themselves to a quick dip when we arrived and left Iceland, we realised we’d have to dedicate at least half a day to visiting the Blue Lagoon.
A bit deflated, I then thankfully stumbled across details of the Sky Lagoon and was incredibly excited when I realised we could easily include a trip here, without forgoing anything else in our jam-packed itinerary. In fact, the location of the Sky Lagoon is the main reason why we decided to book it, instead of the Blue Lagoon.
However, and as we discovered, there were a lot more perks than just its location, when it came to visiting this brand new lagoon – as I detail below.
How to Get to the Sky Lagoon, Iceland
1. By Hire Car
The easiest way to get to the Sky Lagoon is by hire car. We had our own rental car during our visit to the country, and were at the Sky Lagoon less than 10 minutes after leaving our hotel (located in central Reykjavik).
There is plenty of free parking there and the route was incredibly straight-forward.
2. The Sky Lagoon Shuttle Bus
If you don’t have a hire car, the Sky Lagoon does offer a shuttle service, but be sure to book this alongside your ticket. This option will set you back an additional 2,000kr (just over £11) and will mean you’ll only have 2.5 hours at the Lagoon. However, and having visited, I don’t think you’d want much longer there – unless you were planning an epic soak and a big meal in the Sky Lagoon’s restaurant.
Alternatively, you could book a taxi from your hotel. We saw plenty of taxis dropping off and picking up while we were visiting – although don’t expect the fares to be cheap.
3. A Bus from central Reykjavik
To save money, you can get a bus from Hlemmur Square in Reykjavik to the Lagoon, but unfortunately it’s not direct. You will need to change once (full information is supplied here) and then walk the rest of the way.
Finally, if you’re feeling energetic, you could walk or bike to the Sky Lagoon. On a nice day (i.e. summer and not in the depths of winter), the bike ride along this route would be straightforward and offer pretty views of the coastline.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Sky Lagoon, Iceland?
The Sky Lagoon is open all year round and despite the short winter days, is open until 10pm. During the summer months, this extends to 11pm, in order to make the most of the midnight sun.
We specifically chose a late afternoon/evening slot for our visit, knowing it would be dark during our time there. It was nice to know that we had a geothermal pool to unwind in after a long day of sight-seeing – and there was also something exciting about visiting under the cover of darkness.
On the day of our visit, the weather was temperamental and extremely windy – with rain showers on and off. We were definitely concerned that the lagoon might close due to the high wind, but were pleasantly surprised to find the waters (inside the lagoon) very calm. Nestled into the side of the rocks, we were all protected from the worst of the gusts.
There was something very calming about being in the Sky Lagoon as the icy rain fell and the choppy Atlantic crashed below. There were lights illuminating the pool as it grew dark and the result was a secluded, cosy experience. Although there is no ‘wrong time’ to visit, I highly recommend an evening visit, to really experience the Lagoon’s magic.
Can Children Visit the Sky Lagoon?
One of the major differences between the Sky Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon is that children are not allowed in the Sky Lagoon.
Here, entry is only open to those over 12 – and 12-14 year olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. At the Blue Lagoon, however, entry is open to those from 2+ years. As the mum of a toddler, I must admit that I seek out adult only experiences while travelling alone – and so this was another reason why I chose the Sky Lagoon over the Blue Lagoon.
Due to the age restrictions, the atmosphere at the Sky Lagoon is very different. Relaxed and calm, with adults enjoying all the benefits of a swim up bar (sipping Prosecco as they floated around the balmy waters), the Sky Lagoon felt more exclusive and well, spa like.
What’s the Difference Between the Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon?
Aside from the Sky Lagoon being aimed at an adult audience, there are a few other differences between the Sky Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon:
1. Hair: At the Blue Lagoon, you can’t get your hair wet, due to the mineral rich waters. At the Sky Lagoon, however, getting your hair wet is encouraged. We stood under the waterfall and floated on our backs looking up at the stars. The result? A more immersive and sensory experience.
2. Ritual v Spa: While the Sky Lagoon offers the Seven-Step-Ritual, the Blue Lagoon offers spa services and face masks. I think the Ritual experience is particularly immersive and unique (more on this below) – and perhaps more memorable than paying for just a spa treatment.
3. Size: The Sky Lagoon is far smaller than the Blue Lagoon but again, this works in its favour. Creating a more exclusive, quieter retreat, the Sky Lagoon better suits those travelling without kids.
What Do I Need to Bring to the Sky Lagoon?
Surprisingly, very little.
In fact, all you really need to bring is your swimsuit (and hair brush) – and even those are available to buy there. A towel is included in the price of all their packages, and as the changing rooms directly meet the lagoon, you don’t need to worry about a dressing gown or flip flops (although we did see lots of people bring their own flip flops for walking through the changing rooms and showering).
The only other item you might want to consider taking with you to the Sky Lagoon is a waterproof phone pouch. Unsurprisingly, there are very few places to put your phone down safely in a geothermal spa, and when we wanted to take a few photos, we had to wade with our phones above our heads. It all felt a little hazardous and I would have felt more confident if my phone was in a waterproof pouch (plus, everyone else seemed to have them).
Alternatively, forget about trying to capture the moment on your phone and instead leave your phone behind in your safe (free) locker.
What is the Sky Lagoon Like?
The Sky Lagoon blends perfectly into its surroundings.
Carved into Iceland’s infamous craggy black rock, the geothermal pool boasts a waterfall, an infinity drop that seemingly falls into the Atlantic Ocean below, a swim up bar (snuggly located inside a cave) and a hobbit-like, grass-covered Ritual House.
The views over the Sky Lagoon are what really makes it unique, offering its visitors spectacular vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, Kársnes Harbour and, in the distance, Mount Keilir.
The pool consists of fresh geothermal water, which is pumped and cooled, before being mixed with fresh cold water. The result? Delicious 38-45 degree silky water for visitors to soak-up and enjoy.
As part of this review of the Sky Lagoon, I’d say the pool’s location is definitely what makes it just so special, so be sure to allow plenty of time to enjoy it.
Review of Sky Lagoon: What’s the Best package?
In terms of how much the Sky Lagoon costs, this depends totally on the package you decide to buy. There are three packages available:
1.Pure Lite Pass: 7,990kr (£47)
The Pure Lite Pass is the cheapest package at the Sky Lagoon. If you’re short on time and simply want to experience the geothermal pool and views, this package is for you. The package includes: admission to the Sky Lagoon, changing rooms (and locker) and a towel.
2.Pure Pass: ISK 9,990 (£59)
We chose the Pure Pass when we visited the Sky Lagoon, which is the most popular package. As well as entry to the Sky Lagoon, use of the changing rooms and a towel, the Pure Pass allows you one ‘journey’ through the seven-step-ritual (more on this below).
3.Sky Pass: ISK 13,900 (£82)
If you’re seeking more privacy, then look no further than the Sky Pass – the Sky Lagoon’s signature package. The only difference here, between the packages above, is that it gives you access to private changing rooms.
Before writing this review, I actually presumed that there must be more benefits to this package, such as unlimited access to the Ritual experience. However, it doesn’t seem that the package gets you a whole lot more.
Although you must shower naked before getting into the Sky Lagoon, the showers are individual, with doors (in the communal changing rooms), so I’m not sure why you would need a private changing room on top of this.
4. Sky Lagoon for Two: ISK 28,490 (£168)
The Sky Lagoon for Two is the most expensive package on offer by the Sky Lagoon. This package gives you:
- 2 Sky Passes
- A complete seven-step Ritual
- Private changing facilities with a signature Sky Body Lotion and towel
- A drink per person (house wine, anything on tap or non-alcoholic beverages)
- Sky Platter from the Smakk Bar
I think this package would be really good for those looking for an extra special experience with a loved one – but perhaps not for those visiting alone or with a group of friends.
What is the Best Package at the Sky Lagoon?
In my opinion, I think the best package at the Sky Lagoon is the Pure Pass. What makes the Sky Lagoon different to its competitors is definitely its ‘Ritual’, and I think all visitors should definitely try to experience it.
The communal changing rooms at the Sky Lagoon were clean, sophisticated and pretty luxurious – and so I don’t think paying for the Sky Pass, simply for access to private changing rooms, is worth the money.
Review of the Seven-Step-Ritual Experience at Sky Lagoon
Aside from floating around in a beautiful geothermal pool, visitors are also encouraged to experience the Seven-Step-Riutal at the Sky Lagoon. This is an altogether different offering compared to other lagoons in the country, and one that makes your visit here feel all the more special.
Here are the seven-steps you’ll experience during your ‘ritual journey’:
1. Enjoy a Soak in the Sky Lagoon
Before beginning your ritual experience, you’ll begin with a nice long, warming soak in the Sky Lagoon. At 38-45 degrees, this is like having a lovely hot bath, all whilst enjoying breathtaking views out across the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Cold Plunge Pool
Once you’re all warmed up, it’s time to take the plunge – quite literally. The icy cold plunge pool is located just outside the turf covered, hobbit-house where the rest of the ritual takes place.
We were dreading this bit, but found it weirdly exhilarating. While some visitors dipped a quick toe in before running off towards the sauna, others really took the plunge; submerging themselves in the water. For a real contrasting effect (and to get those endorphins truly pumping) we recommend at least getting your shoulders under.
You’ll thank yourself later.
Shivering, it’s time to scuttle into the warmth of the sauna.
Opening the door to the sauna and we were met with a mesmerising view. Home to the largest single pane window in Iceland (a niche fact, for you), the sauna at the Sky Lagoon boasts panoramic views out over the Atlantic Ocean. Filled with long wooden benches – all looking over this view, sitting here is not only relaxing, but an incredibly mindful experience.
Tip: look hard enough on a clear day and you’ll see the President of Iceland’s house across the water.
4. Cold Mist
My second favourite experience during the seven-step-ritual at the Sky Lagoon was the Cold Mist room.
From the warmth of the sauna, we immediately walked under an icy rain cloud that got our blood pumping (once again). The cold mist that drizzles down is actually made from small pieces of snow and ice – and standing here, shivering, is an oddly addictive experience.
5. Exfoliate with the Sky Lagoon Body Scrub
After getting our fix of icy water, we found ourselves in a communal area, being offered a homemade exfoliating scrub. This scrub is made especially for the Spa Lagoon, from salt and local herbs. It smells truly divine.
The idea is to completely cover your body in the scrub (excluding your face), before heading into the steam room.
6. Steam Room
It was somewhere around the steam room that I felt that our seven-step-ritual process became less smooth. Due to the large numbers of people going through, the steam room was full and so we had to spend a few minutes waiting for a space to become available. We didn’t have to wait too long, but I think the pause interrupted the flow a little.
Once inside the steam room, it was time to let the pores soak in all the goodness from the scrub. The steam room was perhaps less impressive than the other rooms, but it did the job, nonetheless.
The final step is to shower (communally), to wash off the remaining exfoliating scrub. Our skin was feeling incredibly soft at this point and we left the little hobbit house feeling refreshed and with a little spring in our step.
Is the Ritual Experience at the Sky Lagoon Worth It?
While the seven-step-ritual at the Sky Lagoon was lovely, it wasn’t perhaps as luxurious as I’d imagined, and it’s here where my review of Sky Lagoon becomes a little less glowing.
Rather than being able to turn up whenever we felt ready, there was an orderly queue to join (we queued outside, while bobbing under the warm water). Although this wasn’t a huge issue, it still made the experience feel a little transactional.
Indeed, we had to wait to be called in groups of five, where we handed over our wrist bands (so we couldn’t go through again), before being allowed in. From there, the process did feel quite congested, with upwards of 40 people going through the ritual experience at any one time.
Although this didn’t take away from the actual experience, I did want to mention this in my review of the Sky Lagoon – as it takes the shine off the experience, a bit.
Do I Still Think it’s Worth Paying for a Package that Includes the Ritual Experience?
Absolutely. Those views out over the Atlantic, from within the sauna, are worth it alone – honestly.
The Swim up Bar at the Sky Lagoon
Much to our delight, we discovered that there is a swim up bar at the Sky Lagoon. Much to our disappointment, however, we didn’t dare use it.
On arrival, staff offer to add your credit card to your wrist band, so you can easily buy drinks once in the lagoon. However, aware that we were visiting Iceland on a budget, and fearful we would get carried away, we declined.
Once we were in the Sky Lagoon, I did regret this decision a little bit – as we watched people sipping champagne as they gazed across the ocean. Perhaps we should have allowed ourselves a little indulgence, or two.
For those not using the bar, there is ample fresh water and glasses available in the changing rooms.
Dining at the Sky Lagoon
Dining at the Sky Lagoon is impressive. Cosy, expensive-looking and offering tasty snacks and platters, guests have the choice between the Sky Cafe and the restaurant, called Smakk Bar.
Saving our pennies (again), we decided not to eat or drink here – but it did look the ideal place to relax after a float in the lagoon.
An Honest Review of Sky Lagoon: Is it Worth Visiting?
In summary of my review of Sky Lagoon, our visit to the Sky Lagoon was truly enjoyable and I’m really glad we visited.
The opportunity to experience a geothermal pool, as rain fell and the Atlantic Ocean crashed below us, was truly unique and a memory I’ll never forget.
However, and as part of this honest review of Sky Lagoon, I’d definitely note that the Seven-Step-Ritual experience isn’t as individual or luxurious as portrayed in the marketing materials. Instead, it felt a little impersonal, and the queuing to enter made it feel less than organic and seamless.
Having said that, the ritual was still a fun and memorable experience (particularly the sauna and cold mist room), and so I’d still recommend visiting the Sky Lagoon, if in Reykjavik.