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Why I'm Not Impressed with the Blue Lagoon

July 24, 2017

The Blue Lagoon is one of the most iconic spots in Iceland. Near Keflavik, it is a man made hot spring that runs off of a geothermal plant nearby. The plant uses geothermal heat generated through a volcano and the run off is what fills the lagoon. The lagoon was carved out of the local lava rock.

blue lagoon iceland

I'm sure you've heard of folks going to Iceland and I am confident in my assumption they went to the Blue Lagoon. It's a cool thing to do now! Your hipster friends are going to go there with their skinny jeans, flannels, fake glasses and neck beards and talk about how much music they wrote. It's like "I'm so cool I travel, but I don't go to common places. I'm neat and go to Iceland." 

They probably say things like: 

Iceland is a perfect paradise. It is such a perfect country! 

Icelanders don't drink out of faucets or water bottles. They drink straight from the river. That's how clean it is.

Iceland is so remote. I totally found myself in the Icelandic wilderness.

They don't do it like we do it over here.

Iceland is so quaint! Did you know that Icelanders believe in elves? How cute, right?

Frontier living!

They're probably the same people that come back from their trip abroad and say things like "Well while I was in Europe..." or "In Europe they say this" or "They do it differently in Europe...". They are the same people that make you go UHG when they talk about how much Europe changed them.

Go ahead and call me "stuck up" or "sour" because of what I'm going to say. I've heard it before and hell, I've been called worse.

I hate the "Disneyland Effect". When an area becomes popular, businesses and foreign investors move in to take advantage of the extra traffic and business. Smart on them-they have an opportunity to make some $$ in a growing area. Sure they get to employ some locals, sell some stuff to tourists and there you go.

What's the problem, Sig? Are you just a jerk? 

Well, maybe, but that isn't the root of my issue with the Disneyland Effect. Let me give you an example.

Say you travel to this beautiful coastal village in Spain. The locals are kind, children play and laugh in the streets and parks, there are local markets, and mom & pop restaurants and shops all through town. It is a picturesque place to be. You can eat authentic Spanish food (NOT RICE AND BEANS GUYS) and practice your Spanish with the locals while drinking some wine! What a dream! It's great, right? Totally!

More and more people discover this place and businesses start to take notice. Bigger food and store chains move in and usurp the mom & pop shops and restaurants. The park where the kids played is now a resort. Those apartments? It's getting too expensive for the locals to live here now so they made it a hotel. There are souvenir shops. There are lines.

This is unrecognizable from the small village you once loved, right? Most of the locals probably moved away. We have taken things we see in America and in other tourists destinations and plopped them right here in this village because we know that attracts people. So you can go around the world and see the same kind of resorts or hotels again and again.

Now, when you go back to this village, you won't be getting your authentic Spanish experience anymore, will you? It will be watered down and the culture of consumerism and capitalism will all but cover the unique feeling you got when you first went to this village.

Do you see what I mean? I don't travel to see things the way I'm used to seeing things. I don't travel to do the same things I could do anywhere else. I don't want to be pampered or serviced-I want to feel and breathe and see where I am.

This is the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland was an unknown and untouched beauty for a long time. I love going to Iceland. I love the people, the language, the culture, the landscape, the weather, and most importantly my family. It was a place where you could go without any assumptions or expectations. You would go and you would undoubtedly learn new things and see a whole different part of the world.

Pampering and service wasn't really what I thought when Iceland came to mind. So when I see things like the Blue Lagoon change so drastically, it hurts and makes me a bit sad.

blue lagoon iceland

Why I don't like the Blue Lagoon

You don't need to pay 10 euros for a mud mask.

They're just taking your money. Go to the edge of ANY of the pools and rub the white mud on your face. It's free. It's nature.

You don't need to spend 30-40 euros for a ticket to get into a hot spring.

There are so many in Iceland. Why choose the expensive one? Why choose recycled consumerism?

A floating bar? Really? 


You don't need to buy a robe. Or a towel.

It's like 20 euros....How much are you really going to use it? Bring your own towel!

There are hundreds of free, beautiful, remote, and NATURAL hot springs to enjoy with better views! 

blue lagoon iceland
blue lagoon iceland
blue lagoon iceland
blue lagoon iceland

People were not drawn to Iceland for this: 

iceland blue lagoon

People were drawn to this part of Iceland; the untouched beauty and surreal views

iceland blue lagoon

iceland blue lagoon

Hopefully I'm not being too big of an asshole. If you really want to experience Iceland, save yourself some money and skip the Blue Lagoon.

Want more on Iceland? Here are some goodies! 

Traditional Icelandic Food You're Probably Afraid of

What NOT to do in Iceland

Ask Siggi: When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland? 

Icelandair 7 Day Stop Over

How to get to the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

Essentials for Your Trip to Iceland

| Voyaging Viking | Why You Shouldn't Go to the Blue Lagoon
Siggi Einarson

My name is Siggi-dubbed by my American friends because of the Icelandic yogurt-I am a writer, polyglot, and aspiring expat, not a cup of yogurt (unfortunately).

My love for travelling began with a trip to Iceland and Sweden to visit my family when I was just 15 years old. I spent so long dreaming of the possibilities of life abroad but I always figured these dreams were too far reached. Flash forward almost 10 years, here I am again, both cursing and thanking this damn travel bug.

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