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Sky Lagoon Iceland

Why You Need to Visit the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

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If you've heard a word about Iceland, you've heard about the famous Blue Lagoon or at least photos of its milky blue waters on social media. But watch out, Blue Lagoon: There's another geothermal pool that should be on your list if you're heading to Iceland.

The Sky Lagoon opened in 2021, and that might be part of its appeal. It's not a hidden gem by any means – you'll notice plenty of ads for it the moment you land in Iceland – but it doesn't yet have the same level of notoriety or crowds as the Blue Lagoon. Much like other thermal pools, Sky Lagoon leans into a schtick: the seven-step ritual, a wellness routine you can (and should) partake in, inspired by traditional Icelandic bathing culture. But it works.

I visited both on a recent trip to Iceland and let me tell you: If you can only squeeze one thermal pool into your itinerary, Sky Lagoon should be the one. Here's why.



Where is Sky Lagoon?

The Sky Lagoon is located about 15 minutes from the center of Reykjavik and about 45 minutes from Keflavik airport. That makes the Blue Lagoon a more convenient option for a quick visit during a layover, while Sky Lagoon is easy to work into a stay in Reykjavik.

To get to Sky Lagoon, you can take a taxi or rideshare from Reykjavik. If you've rented a car, there's a free parking lot available.

The geothermal spa is located right on the tip of a peninsula. The view of the fjord as you walk in is breathtaking.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


Sky Lagoon Tickets

It's not a better choice because it's cheaper.

Cost-wise, it's on par with the Blue Lagoon – plus, your ticket doesn't come with a free first drink or mud mask. But the experience more than makes up for it.

Like the Blue Lagoon, the Sky Lagoon uses dynamic pricing to account for busy travel times. There are three packages you can choose from, but only two of the three include the seven-step ritual. The general admission ticket starts at $65, but if you want to partake in the seven-step ritual you'll end up paying about $22 more.

Here’s what you get with each ticket:

Pure Lite: The general admission ticket

  • Prices start at around $65
  • Sky Lagoon admission (and unlimited visits to the cold plunge pool)
  • Includes towel

Pure: The slightly upgraded package, includes the seven-step ritual

  • Prices start around $87
  • Sky Lagoon admission (and unlimited visits to the cold plunge pool)
  • One trip through the seven-step ritual
  • Includes towel

Sky: The most expensive package

  • Prices start around $110
  • Sky Lagoon admission
  • One trip through the seven-step ritual
  • Private changing room
  • Includes towel

Thrifty Tip: Prices tend to be cheaper in the first and last few hours of the Sky Lagoon's open hours. If you're looking to save, choose the cheapest time to visit! There isn't a maximum time limit, so picking a morning time can get you more bang for your buck.

While you can purchase tickets at the front desk, you can save 10% by booking ahead online, which is what we did. We booked a 7 p.m. time slot during the peak summer travel season, paying about $99 for the Pure package because it included the seven-step ritual.

It was definitely the priciest thermal pool we visited, but keep in mind that Iceland is a notoriously expensive country.


What to Expect at the Sky Lagoon

After checking in, you're given a wristband that locks and unlocks your locker and acts as a credit card for any food or drinks you purchase during your stay.

The locker rooms were the nicest I encountered at any of the thermal pools I visited during my time in Iceland. They were spacious and upscale, with soft wood and stone accents.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


You first enter the pool through a cave tunnel, then follow the twists and turns of the high lava rock walls through the pool until you're met with an incredible vista of the ocean and nearby mountains. The pool's infinity edge makes it easy to forget you're just minutes from the center of Iceland's largest city.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


On one end of the spacious pool, there's a waterfall you can swim under. On the other, there's a cold plunge pool and a building where you'll go through the seven-step ritual, built in the style of an Icelandic turf house. There's a swim-up bar and plenty of underwater benches to relax on throughout.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


Personally, the cold plunge pool was one of my favorite features of the Sky Lagoon. Leaving the warmth of the thermal pool and submerging yourself in the icy water for a short period of time is supposed to stimulate your immune system and reduce inflammation in addition to giving a natural endorphin rush, according to the Sky Lagoon website. We probably did the cold plunge three or four times during our stay, and it made the warm pool feel even better.

When we arrived, the pool was fairly crowded and there was no shortage of people filming videos or taking photos with their cell phones. Still, there were plenty of quiet alcoves to tuck into if you want a little privacy.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


We arrived at 7 p.m. and stayed until close, which was great as the pool emptied out towards the end of the night and we had it practically to ourselves. That made the experience even better. Plus, we visited during the midnight sun, when Iceland sees nearly 24 hours of daylight. This was our view at 10:30 p.m.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


We had spent most of the day driving the Golden Circle, so a few hours at the Sky Lagoon was the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the car.


Sky Lagoon Food & Drinks

The swim-up bar had wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic drinks. Guests are limited to three drinks, regardless of how long they spend in the pool.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


I opted for a glass of sparkling white wine and some of my friends ordered one of the Icelandic beers on tap. Prices were on par with what you'd find at most bars and restaurants in Iceland, ranging from about $12 for beer and wine to $18 for a cocktail.

There are several food options at the Sky Lagoon – the Smakk Bar and the Sky Café, both located outside the pool area. We didn't eat at either, but they offered some traditional Icelandic dishes and treats as well as coffee and drinks.


Sky Lagoon Seven-Step Ritual

If you booked the ticket that includes the seven-step ritual, you'll get a second wristband that will get you into the turf house. A staff member will take your wristband before you enter, as you'll only get to go through the ritual once (although all guests are welcome to use the cold plunge pool as many times as they wish).

The seven-step ritual includes:

  • Relax in the thermal pool
  • Cold plunge
  • Sauna
  • Cold mist
  • Cleansing sea salt scrub
  • Steam
  • Shower

You can go through the ritual at any time. We spent about an hour in the thermal pool before starting the next step: the cold plunge.


Sky Lagoon Iceland


The staff doesn't give you many instructions on what to do at each step, but we asked a staff member and they recommended spending at least 30 seconds in the frigid water. In the sauna, a massive floor-to-ceiling window allows you to look out over the fjord as you relax in the heat.

After cooling down with the cold mist, we applied the cleansing sea salt scrub and entered the steam room. The steam is supposed to open your pores and allow the scrub to seep in. You finish the ritual with a quick shower to rinse off the scrub before leaving the turf house and reentering the main pool area.

At times, both the sauna and steam room felt a bit crowded. I don't know whether Sky Lagoon limits how many people can go through the seven-step ritual at a time, but it's worth keeping an eye on how many guests you've seen go inside the turf house and timing your own ritual accordingly.

You can take as long (or as little) time to go through the steps as you would like, but you can't redo any of them. I'd recommend going through slowly to really get the full effect.

Overall, I felt the seven-step ritual was worth it. I returned to the main pool feeling both relaxed and invigorated.


Sky Lagoon vs. Blue Lagoon: Which is Better?

Iceland is known for its hot springs and geothermally-heated pools, none more recognizable than the Blue Lagoon. It's one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, largely due to its proximity to the airport and unique milky blue waters rich in silica, algae, and other minerals.


blue lagoon


The two have some clear similarities. For starters, neither the Blue Lagoon nor the Sky Lagoon is a natural hot spring: They're both man-made lagoons with geothermally heated water.

The Blue Lagoon is bigger and has far more onsite amenities than the Sky Lagoon, including a hotel, spa packages, and several onsite restaurants. And even a general admission ticket for the Blue Lagoon includes a free first drink of your choice and a complimentary silica mud mask as well as unlimited access to the sauna and steam room.

But the Blue Lagoon has its drawbacks. First and foremost: It's crowded.

When we arrived at 9 p.m. in late June, the parking lot was still completely full and the locker rooms felt a bit chaotic. And while the warm, blue waters of the Blue Lagoon itself are a sight to behold, the atmosphere behind you resembles more of a theme park than a relaxing spa.

Read more: Is the Blue Lagoon in Iceland Worth it?


A serene blue lagoon nestled in Iceland


The Sky Lagoon pool, by comparison, is much smaller. Yet it doesn't yet see the same crowds as the Blue Lagoon. The Sky Lagoon is also newer and felt more upscale. And while the seven-step ritual comes with an added cost, it was one of several things at the Sky Lagoon that felt more like an authentic Icelandic experience.

But the Sky Lagoon's best selling point might be the views. The Sky Lagoon is located on a peninsula overlooking the sea, allowing you to take views of the sea as you relax in the warm, thermal waters.

But there's no reason you can't visit both! We spent time at both the Sky Lagoon and the Blue Lagoon, as well as another thermal bath, Geosea, in north Iceland. Each offers a different experience and I found all three to be enjoyable and relaxing – crowds or not.

I'm glad I experienced the Blue Lagoon … but I don't feel a strong need to go back. But if (read as: when) I go back to Iceland, I would definitely pay the Sky Lagoon another visit.


Bottom Line

From the upscale locker rooms to the unique Icelandic design of the pool to the seven-step ritual that was well worth the money, the Sky Lagoon stood out as my favorite of the three thermal pools I visited during my recent trip to Iceland.

If you're spending any time in Reykjavik – or anywhere in Iceland, really – the Sky Lagoon should be on your list.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1 Responses

  • Remember another upside of Sky Lagoon is you can take the bus from downtown to get there with only one transfer! You don’t need a car and save by not paying the additional cost for the Blue Lagoon shuttle.

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