Two Must-Try Geothermal Spas in Southwest Iceland

From over 10,000 waterfalls to fishing for Atlantic salmon and large brown trout, Iceland is truly befitting of an oft-overused term: epic. One of Iceland’s most popular attractions is the many geothermal hot springs scattered all over the island. Two hot springs in particular are conveniently located and qualify for a “Must Try List” when visiting Iceland: the new Sky Lagoon and the famous Blue Lagoon.

The journey to Iceland is relatively easy from the United States and especially from the East Coast.  Many East Coast airports fly direct to Reykjavik, with some allowing for a same-day arrival. Most flight itineraries involve departing in the evening on an overnight flight and arriving in Reykjavik early the following morning. After the transatlantic flight, often all you want to do is fall into a hotel room bed and take a nap upon arrival. However, check in at most hotels in Reykjavik is 3pm. Unless you book your hotel room for the day before your arrival, there is no guarantee you can get an early check in…. What do you do now?

Sky Lagoon

How about an option that is both rejuvenating and adventurous? Drop your bags at the hotel front desk, grab your swimsuit, and take a quick 10-minute taxi to the Sky Lagoon. The Sky Lagoon opens at 10am every day and requires an advanced reservation to enter. There are a variety of packages to choose from ranging in price from 7990 ISK (Approx. $58USD) to 28580 ISK (Approx. $205USD), depending on your desired level of services and experience . Additionally, you can supplement your package with a shuttle to and from the city center for a nominal amount. 


The Sky Lagoon is known for its Seven Step Ritual, which after your red eye flight, is quite relaxing and just what the doctor ordered. To get the Ritual just right, begin with a dip in the lusciously warm geothermal lagoon. While submerging your body in the soothing waters of the infinity pool, enjoy the spectacular views that surround you. To the left are snow-capped mountains in the distance. To the right are endless views of the ocean. Next, make your way from the comfort of the lagoon to the “Cold Tub” and plunge into an ice bath. You will emerge from the glacial waters reinvigorated. Then, head to the sauna overlooking the ocean to warm your body for a few minutes. After the sauna, move through a chamber of cold fog and mist. At the next stop, apply the Signature Sky Body Scrub, gently exfoliating your body, before heading into the steam room. Relax in the dense steam as the scrub moisturizes and cleanses your skin. Finally, rinse off the scrub and make your way back to the lagoon feeling refreshed and renewed.

In addition to the luxury of the Ritual, the Sky Lagoon has two options for food and drinks. Enjoy choosing from the many alcoholic options at the Sky Lagoon’s swim-up bar. If hungry, check out the cafe, Smakk Bar, offering a myriad of snacks including fresh pastries, soups, charcuterie boards, coffee drinks, etc. There really is no better way to start your Icelandic vacation than with a trip to the Sky Lagoon.


Blue Lagoon

If your itinerary allows for a thermal bath visit later in your stay, consider spending a day or two at the Retreat Hotel. Located on the same premises as the Blue Lagoon, the Retreat Hotel is about a 25-minute drive from Keflavík Airport near the village of ​Grindavik, making it an excellent last stop before heading home. While the Retreat Hotel and the Blue Lagoon share a location, they are separate entities. The Blue Lagoon is a public geothermal bath.  All guests of the adjacent Retreat Hotel have unlimited access to the lagoon, while anyone not staying at the hotel can buy a day pass to enter.

The Retreat Hotel exudes class and offeres a timeless Icelandic escape on the front or back end of your vacation. The hotel consists of suite-category rooms, all of which are named for what view you have from your bed: Moss, Lava, Lagoon, etc. The hotel has two restaurants on-site, Lava and Moss. Both are Michelin-recommended and serve innovative, ever-changing menus. Both also require reservations to dine. You would be well-served to make reservations at least a month in advance, particularly for Moss given its 60-patron capacity.

A stay at the Retreat Hotel includes unlimited access to the Blue Lagoon for the duration of your stay. Should you want to take your lagoon access up a notch, you can make a reservation at The Retreat Spa! There are a few options to access the spa including a day pass to the Retreat Spa or booking a Spa Treatment. Both include a welcome drink, unlimited access to the private lagoon within the spa and the public Blue Lagoon, and access to the Blue Lagoon’s very own ritual, which takes up to 45 minutes to complete all steps. Much like the Sky Lagoon, you have the option to upgrade your reservation to include a private changing room. If you are arriving or departing the country, the private room is particularly helpful as locked area to store your luggage while you experience all that the spa has to offer. Otherwise, you will have access to the public locker room. Additionally within the spa, there is a restaurant offering lunch during your visit. Unlike the hotel restaurants, you do not need a reservation at the spa restaurant.


A vacation to Iceland is not complete without a visit to one or both of these gorgeous thermal spas. Whether you enjoy a day at the Sky Lagoon or experience the Blue Lagoon with an overnight at the Retreat Hotel, the experience is truly unforgettable! Contact Frontiers for help with planning your Iceland vacation.

Some photos Courtesy of Sky Lagoon, The Blue Lagoon, and the Retreat Hotel. Visit Frontiers Elegant Journeys website to learn more.