I recently had my very first whirlwind trip to Iceland and stayed in Reykjavik for my short trip. While I didn’t get to explore much of the island’s beauty, one of the big things I wanted to experience was a hot springs lagoon. Here’s my day trip Sky Lagoon review along with photos from my experience.
Hot springs bathing is a popular social activity for many Icelanders. Even during the cold and harsh weather months, you’ll find locals spending time relaxing in hot springs and pools to wind down and socialize with friends.
A big thank you to Sky Lagoon for hosting me as part of a press trip. All thoughts and opinions are my own and shared based on my personal experience.
How to Get to Sky Lagoon
The great thing about Sky Lagoon is that it’s very close to the city of Reykjavik. Sky Lagoon is located at Kársnes Harbour, Kópavogur. You can easily take a taxi to and from the city center. A taxi from Reykjavik city center to Sky Lagoon will cost about $25-$30 USD and takes about 15 minutes.
Personally, I think a taxi is one of the easiest ways to get to Sky Lagoon from Reykjavik. Have your hotel order a taxi for you and then when you’re ready to leave there are normally a few taxis queuing in the Sky Lagoon parking lot.
You can also arrange bus transfers if you don’t want to take a taxi. Sky Lagoon offers package rates that include bus transfers to and from Reykjavik, which are operated by Reykjavik Excursions.
If you want to visit from the airport, you can arrange Flybus transfers from the airport to the BSÍ Bus Terminal in the heart of Reykjavik. At the terminal, you can rent a luggage locker and grab a taxi to take you to the Sky Lagoon. Sky Lagoon does offer luggage storage for a fee, in case you are visiting during a stopover.
A taxi from Keflavik Airport (KEF) to Sky Lagoon will take about 40 minutes and cost around $140 USD.
Is Sky Lagoon a Hot Spring?
This is a popular question! Sky Lagoon is actually a man-made outdoor geothermal pool. It is naturally heated from the hot water in the ground. The water itself is completely cleaned and treated every day to give guests a crystal-clear pool experience. It does not have any harsh chemicals or minerals, i.e. no chlorine or silica, so it’s completely safe for your swimsuits and hair!
Even though Sky Lagoon is a man-made experience, the designers and architects found a way to make you feel like you’re nestled into the edge of a natural hot springs pool in Iceland. It’s truly stunning as well as relaxing.
Sky Lagoon is like a giant outdoor hot tub and is heated to around 100–104° F (38–40°C). It’s also not very deep, it varies in depth but the deepest sections are 3 feet 9 inches deep.
Sky Lagoon Design
You can’t see the lagoon from the parking lot or even lookout spots from Reykjavik. It’s hidden behind turf and rocks, with an opening view over the Atlantic Ocean and Skerjafjörður fjord. When you arrive at the Sky Lagoon you might even be a little surprised as you have to drive past an industrial area just before reaching the lagoon.
In the summer, you’ll enjoy the midnight sun with almost 24 hours of daylight and an 11 pm closing time. In the winter, the open infinity edge view will let you stargaze as well as have the chance to glimpse the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).
The lagoon entrances are tucked into the rocks so you leave the changing rooms and step down into the lagoon. It’s a very welcoming and naturally designed process.
After walking away from the changing rooms, you’ll find your way to the main lagoon area which is an infinity pool looking out over the ocean fjord. There are rocks and ledges situated around the pool and on a cool day the evaporating heated water gives a misty layer on top of the water.
At one end of the lagoon is a waterfall, perfect for a quick dunk or for water massage therapy on sore shoulders. The opposite end of the lagoon is where you’ll find the Lagoon Bar as well as the exit to start the Seven-Step Ritual. There are two single-use bathrooms located next to the swim-up bar in case you don’t want to go back into the changing rooms.
Sky Lagoon Pricing Options
When you’re booking your Sky Lagoon experience, you’ll notice there are three different packages pass options. You can also book your package with a bus transfer to/from Reykjavik. Based on my experience, I highly recommend the Sky Pass! But to help you make up your mind, here are the differences:
Pure Lite Pass Package (ISK 9,990 / $73 USD):
- Sky Lagoon Admission
- Public changing facilities (male and female)
This package might be good for guests who have a very limited amount of time and those who don’t mind public changing rooms.
Pure Pass Package (ISK 12,990 / $95 USD):
- Sky Lagoon Admission
- Public changing facilities (male and female)
- One Journey through the Seven-step Ritual
This package is good for guests who don’t mind public changing rooms in order to save some money.
Sky Pass Package (ISK 16,490 / $120 USD):
- Sky Lagoon Admission
- Private changing facilities with signature Sky Lagoon amenities (co-ed locker room with individual private changing & shower rooms)
- One Journey through the Seven-step Ritual
This package is the ultimate way to enjoy Sky Lagoon and is also ideal for guests who will be continuing on to other activities after the lagoon visit. The private changing facilities and bathrooms are clean and stocked with Sky Lagoon bath products.
Sky Lagoon for Two
If you’re visiting as a couple (2 people), you can book a two-person package for either the Pure or Sky pass and it includes a drink (house wine, anything on tap or non-alcoholic beverages) and a shared Sky Platter from Smakk Bar.
Seven Step Ritual
One of the unique aspects of the Sky Lagoon that sets it apart from other springs and lagoons is its signature Seven-Step Ritual. This is based on the Icelandic beliefs of the healing powers of warm water, cold water, warm steam, dry heat, and fresh air.
Even the location where you perform The Ritual has special meaning. It’s located in a building that has been created to mimic an Icelandic turf house.
I will mention that we were visiting during a busier season and some of the ritual spaces were crowded. But I still immensely enjoyed the experience. Two things I learned from the Sky Lagoon employees, 1) visit early in the morning to have fewer crowds, and 2) there are plans to eventually enlarge the space for The Ritual since it is such a popular offering.
Step 1: Lagoon
Slow down and relax in the geothermal lagoon while breathing in the fresh Icelandic air.
Step 2: Cold Plunge
Cool down in a glacier-fresh cold plunge pool to stimulate your immune system, increase blood flow in the body, and tighten your skin.
Step 3: Sauna
Relax with a view in the heated sauna to open pores, remove toxins and cleanse your skin.
Step 4: Cold Mist
Refresh your senses with a quick walk through a cold mist spray.
Step 5: Body Scrub
Renew yourself and your skin with the signature Sky Scrub. The scrub does contain almond and sesame seed oils, and Sky Lagoon does a good job notifying guests of that at the scrub bar station.
Step 6: Steam Room
Clear your senses inside the steam bath where your skin will absorb the key therapeutic elements of The Ritual and the hydrating benefits of the Sky Body Scrub.
Step 7: Shower & Lagoon
Rinse off your Sky Scrub for your final step and bring your ritual to a close when you reconnect to nature back outside in the lagoon.
Dining at Sky Lagoon
If you’re wanting to eat or drink while visiting Sky Lagoon, you’ll have a few dining options on-site.
Craving some light café bites? Sky Café is the perfect place to grab a late breakfast or early lunch. You’ll find pastries and coffee as well as soup and sandwiches. I enjoyed a delicious croissant and shared an Icelandic donut (kleina/klenät/kleinur) with friends before we went into the lagoon.
Charcuterie board lovers will want to eat at the Smakk Bar, which is located next to the Sky Café. Smakk Bar features a variety of great-tasting platters, many with unique Icelandic specialties.
I was happy to see that there is a swim-up bar serving drinks while you’re soaking. You can order a variety of beer, wine, or non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy in plastic glasses in the lagoon.
Tips for Visiting Sky Lagoon
Based on my experience at Sky Lagoon, here are some tips that will help you plan your visit.
It’s not uncommon for passes to sell out at Sky Lagoon, especially during the peak summer season. It’s a good idea to book your pass in advance and don’t count on just showing up. When you reserve your entry you’ll choose a specific day and time (on the half hour). There is a 30-minute buffer for your arrival time in case you’re worried about delays.
The biggest difference between the Pure and Sky Pass options is the changing rooms. Pure pass guests use a pubic changing room (male and female) with lockers and benches. Pure Lite guests don’t get to do the Seven-Step Ritual Experience and use the public changing rooms.
Sky pass guests have access to individual private changing rooms with body products and a private shower. They use a co-ed locker room since the changing and shower spaces are individually closed.
What to Wear at Sky Lagoon
All guests have to shower naked before putting on their bathing suit and before entering the lagoon. Pure guests will use one of a row of shower stalls that are enclosed for privacy. Sky guests will be able to use a private room for changing and showering. There are hair dryers provided as well as bags for your wet swimsuits.
Bathing suits are required for Sky Lagoon. But, don’t worry if you forgot one. You can buy 66°North swimsuits or trunks onsite or even rent a swimsuit.
You can wear sandals or flip-flops while in the changing room and there is a shoe cubby at the entrance to the pool. Most people don’t wear water shoes in the lagoon.
Paying for Food & Drink
You’ll provide a credit card at check-in that will be linked to a bracelet you wear. The bracelet works to unlock your locker as well as lets you pay for food and drinks with your saved credit card. This lets you enjoy the spa experience without needing to keep a credit card on you.
Phones are allowed in the lagoon, which means you can take photos. A few things to keep in mind, the heated water can fog up camera lenses as well as any phone cases. And, holding a phone or dealing with a phone pouch attached to your neck can be a little less than relaxing.
I’d recommend you do what I did and take some great photos then go put your phone back in your locker and come enjoy the lagoon and the ritual experience without your phone.
When to Visit Sky Lagoon?
Summer months are peak season for visitors, especially as there are many tour groups and cruise ships visiting those months. Plan to visit at the beginning of the day if you want to avoid crowds. Later in the evening, you might see locals as well as tourists visiting the lagoon, especially on the weekends.
Traveling with Kids
Kids under 12 are not allowed in Sky Lagoon, and kids ages 12-14 must be accompanied by a guardian 18+ years old.
Remember to stay hydrated while relaxing in the lagoon. The warm waters will feel great, especially on a cold Iceland day, but you need to remember to rehydrate your body. You can get complimentary water cups at the Lagoon Bar.
FAQ About Sky Lagoon
What are the hours for Sky Lagoon?
From October 1 to May 1
Monday: 11 AM – 10 PM
Tuesday – Thursday: 12 PM – 10 PM
Friday – Sunday: 10 AM – 10 PM
From May 18 to August 14
All day: 10 AM – 11 PM
From August 15 to September 30
Open Sunday to Friday: 11 AM – 11 PM
Open Saturdays: 10 AM – 11 PM
Keep in mind that the Lagoon area closes 30 minutes before closing time. And the Seven-Step Ritual and Lagoon Bar close an hour before the closing time. The restaurants have their own operating hours.
How long do people stay at Sky Lagoon?
Most guests spend between 1.5 and 2 hours at the lagoon. I was there for about 5 hours enjoying dining as well as the full lagoon experience. There is no specified time limit for your visit.
Can I take photos?
Yes, you can take photos but cannot use large-size cameras. The cameras need to be small and unobtrusive. It’s also recommended you try to avoid photographing any other guests. Keep in mind that it is a wet and humid environment so camera lenses will fog.
How much does Sky Lagoon cost?
There are three different packages that range from ISK 9,990 ($73 USD) to ISK 16,490 ($121 USD).
Drinks at the Lagoon Bar cost between ISK 450-1,090 ($3-$8 USD) for non-alcoholic and ISK 1,290-2,690 ($10-$20 USD) for alcoholic drinks.
Is the Sky Lagoon worth it?
I say yes! It’s a relaxing way to enjoy the Icelandic outdoor bathing culture. It is an expensive activity however the prices seem on par with many other attractions you can visit. If you’re looking for a relaxing heated pool experience, Sky Lagoon is a great option.
Does the Sky Lagoon smell?
No, the Sky Lagoon does not contain minerals like sulfur that cause unpleasant smells. Sky Lagoon also doesn’t have chlorine in the water so there are no chlorine smell or sensitivity issues. However, the water is cycled and cleaned every day.
Can you get your hair wet in the Sky Lagoon?
Yes! Unlike the Blue Lagoon, Sky Lagoon doesn’t contain minerals in the water that damage hair. You can feel free to play in the water and completely submerge yourself in the Sky Lagoon water.
Sky Lagoon vs Blue Lagoon
It’s not a surprise that many people want to know the differences between Sky Lagoon versus Blue Lagoon. A few simple differences:
- Sky Lagoon was created to look natural and make you feel like you’re part of Icelandic nature. Blue Lagoon is surrounded by buildings and feels more like a hotel pool, but it does have some volcanic rock edging.
- Sky Lagoon doesn’t have any additives to its water and the water is manually cleaned, meaning it’s clean and clear. Blue Lagoon has a high silica level in the water giving it a milky blue color but also making it damaging to hair and some swimsuits. The Blue Lagoon is considered self-cleaning as it has a continuous stream of water (from powerplant wastewater) and the high mineral content prohibits bacterial growth.
- Blue Lagoon is closer to the KEF airport. Sky Lagoon is close and easy to reach from Reykjavik.
- Sky Lagoon and Blue Lagoon are fairly comparable in price with a few differences in their offerings so it’s difficult to compare exactly.
- Blue Lagoon allows children 2 and older. Sky Lagoon does not allow children under the age of 12.
Is Sky Lagoon Worth It? My Review Conclusion
Visiting a lagoon or hot spring should definitely be on your Iceland must-do list. The outdoor spa culture is an important aspect of Icelandic culture. I absolutely loved my visit to Sky Lagoon and highly recommend it to any visitor that wants to enjoy a relaxing outdoor heated pool while surrounded by the natural beauty of Iceland.
One of the things that I was most impressed with was the cleanliness of the lagoon. I could see clearly to the bottom and had no issues with my skin or contacts from the water. It truly felt like a natural experience. The atmosphere of the lagoon is also so inviting. The whole design has a natural feel and seems designed to bring you to being one with Icelandic nature.
I was thankful to experience the Sky Pass which includes the private changing rooms. While I’ve visited plenty of public pools with a community locker room, the private changing space to get ready helped add to the relaxing and calm atmosphere that I was looking for.
I’d also recommend planning to spend a few hours at the lagoon relaxing and then enjoying lunch or dinner after your visit. The pastries I had at the cafe were wonderful and the platter board of Icelandic treats from Smakk along with some delicious sparkling wine is an excellent way to wind down at the end of a busy travel day.