The Sky Lagoon in Reykjavík

A couple at the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

What differentiates the Sky Lagoon from other luxury spas in the country? When is the best time to visit, and how long should you spend there? So, before you indulge in a spot of bathing, let’s learn more about what you can expect from this lovely spa! 

If one image showcases why people travel to Iceland, it would be people relaxing in the country’s hot spring spas

Can’t you picture such luxury for yourself? 

With gentle eddies of steam rising up around their naked torsos, Iceland’s geothermal waters provide visitors serenity, community, and well-being.

Table of Contents

A couple at the spa
 Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

The Sky Lagoon is just one of Iceland’s many spas, but given that it is a new addition to the scene, it lacks the recognition enjoyed by the Blue Lagoon or Myvatn Nature Baths

Though it hasn’t been around for too long, the spa has rapidly become a favourite among locals and travellers alike. So, without further ado, why exactly has this spa made such a splash since first opening in 2021? 

Why should you visit this exciting new spa?

A woman at Sky Lagoon's sauna
 Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

For one, the Sky Lagoon shares its major draws with all other spas in Iceland. Heated from geothermal energy below the ground, the lagoon’s warm waters invite its guests to soak for a few hours at a time. As has been tradition in Iceland for centuries, bathing is a premium opportunity to either socialise with others around you, or close your eyes, lean back, and let the soothing sensations douse you with bliss. 

The Ritual is one of the spa’s major selling points. Guests are offered a seven-step process to relaxation and rejuvenation.

 

First, you will spend some time in the lagoon itself, enjoying the peaceful ambience and beautiful surroundings. After a quick dip in the nearby glacial pool, you enter the sauna, followed by a steam shower. Shortly afterwards, you will lather your skin in nutrient-rich sea salt scrub, bringing it to life. To close off the experience, you will take a refreshing shower before returning to the lagoon.

Of course, it is not necessary to take part in the ritual if you would rather bob around in the lagoon. However, it certainly adds a great depth to your experience, maximising your limited time at this exciting new spa. 

Where is the Sky Lagoon?

Looking down on the Sky Lagoon
Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer

The Sky Lagoon is located within Reykjavík. This makes it something of an anomaly among spas in Iceland, and a must-stop for those restricting themselves to the Capital Region. It is only a short way from downtown – approximately ten minutes drive – so can be easily slotted in around any other points of interest you’re looking to explore.

What amenities are on offer? 

 

The Sky Lagoon offers a swim-up bar where you can purchase a variety of alcoholic and soft beverages, including cocktails. Nothing beats enjoying a cool refreshment while your body is hugged by the snugness of the lagoon’s water. Don’t worry about paying there and then – upon buying your admission, you will be provided with an electronic wristband that tracks your purchases. 

There is also an infinity pool, allowing you to feel like you are bathing right next to the coast line. Watching the waves, passing ships, and distant islands is the perfect fuel to remain hanging over the lip of the infinity pool throughout your stay. In fact, from this position, guests are provided a brilliant view of Bessastaðir, the official residence of the President of Iceland, offering a small dose of culture during your time at the lagoon. 

Those hoping to take a piece of the Sky Lagoon home will find plenty of fantastic souvenirs at their shop. Products include: the Ritual body scrub, shampoos and conditioners, relaxing pillow sprays, and even gift cards – perfect for friends and family visiting Iceland in the near future.

What attractions are near the Sky Lagoon?

A guest relaxes at the lagoon
Photo: Volcanic Wonders & the Sky Lagoon

Given that the Sky Lagoon is so close to the many cultural attractions, museums, shopping districts, restaurants, and bars that make up Reykjavík, the possibilities are endless.

There are a variety of tours that include admission to the Sky Lagoon as part of a package. For example, the Golden Circle & Sky Lagoon Bathing Experience offers you the opportunity to dip in geothermal water and discover the wonders of Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route. That’s correct – in the space of a single day, you can visit the UNESCO heritage site, Þingvellir National Park, the explosive Geysir geothermal valley, Gullfoss waterfall, and the Sky Lagoon!

Other tours, such as Golden Circle, Sky Lagoon Premium & Kerid Volcanic Crater | Small Group Day Tour, provide even further depth to your travels, as well as keeping the group size intimate and personal.

If you’re looking for something a little more extreme, but still nearby on the Golden Circle, you could try your hand at some underwater exploration with Cold & Hot: Silfra Snorkeling & Sky Lagoon. This excursion will see you don a protective dry suit, fins, a mask and a snorkel, all in preparation for entering the crystal-clear glacier fissure, Silfra.

These are only a handful of the activity options available to you. Before locking down your itinerary, be sure to check out the many Sky Lagoon combo tours HERE!

When can you visit the Sky Lagoon?

The lagoon has impressive ocean views
Photo: Sky Lagoon Pure Pass with Transfer


The Sky Lagoon is open every day from 9AM to 10PM. This is true both in the summer and winter, making it accessible the entire year around.  

Many people like to enjoy the lagoon in the afternoon so as to watch the sunset over the ocean, leaving them with enough time to dine-out downtown come the evening. Of course, if you are visiting in the summer, the Midnight Sun will remain high in the sky right up until closing. 

The winter offers an entirely different experience, but it is no less wonderful. For one thing, the biting outside climate makes the warmth of the lagoon even more comforting, especially on particularly snowy or windy days. You will likely find the surrounding scenery layered with snow, perfectly demonstrating the contrast in temperatures. 

The Secret Lagoon in South Iceland

A happy couple at the Secret Lagoon in Iceland

What can you expect from a visit to the Secret Lagoon in Iceland? How does it differ from other spas and hot springs around the country? Read on to learn more about the many joys that come with bathing at the Secret Lagoon in Iceland. 

In Icelandic, the Secret Lagoon is known as Gamla Laugin, meaning Old Pool

It is aptly named, being the first artificially-made outdoor swimming area in Iceland. The first incarnation of the pool was built in 1891, smack in the centre of a geothermal area known as Hverahólmi. It was quite the change given this space had historically been used for washing clothes. 

Since opening, it has become a tradition amongst local people to enjoy bathing in these gently simmering waters. Swimming lessons were held there from 1909 to 1947, at which point the original pool fell into disrepair. 

It was not until 2005 that the pool was given a second chance. On the 7th of June 2014, the Secret Lagoon officially opened its doors. Holiday-makers have been flocking to it ever since. 

When can you visit the Secret Lagoon?

Entering the Secret Lagoon
Photo: Secret Lagoon – Gamla Laugin

There really is no best time to visit the Secret Lagoon. Summer visitors can enjoy the lush beauty of the surrounding nature, as well as the omnipresent sunlight. Winter travellers can expect a welcome source of heat from its waters, helping to break up their day exploring the local area. Opening hours for the Secret Lagoon are as follows:

Winter season

*from 1st of October to 31st of May

Open daily from 10:00 to 19:00

Summer season

*from 1st of June to 30th of September

Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00

 

Where is the Secret Lagoon?

Gamla Laugin
Photo: Golden Circle — Platinum Tour | Small group

The Secret Lagoon is located in Flúðir village, in South Iceland. Home to little more than 800 people, the village is known for its abundance of greenhouses and gorgeous surrounding scenery. Travelling by car is a 1 hr 25 min drive (104.7 km) from the capital city, Reykjavík.  

Thanks to its proximity to many other notable attractions, Flúðir is often included as an extra stop on the Golden Circle sightseeing route. 

 

Why should you visit the Secret Lagoon?

Bathers at the Secret Lagoon
Photo: Private Northern Lights Tour – With Secret Lagoon and Dinner

Visiting the Secret Lagoon allows you to experience the soothing warmth of Iceland’s geothermally-heated water. Slipping under its twinkling surface, you’re sure to feel your troubles melt away. 

Thankfully, there are no seasonal restrictions, meaning you are free to visit during the winter or summer. Each has its benefits; the Northern Lights may very well decorate the night sky for those stopping by between September and March. The Midnight Sun offers eternal light for summer travellers, allowing you to stay out later and fit more into your day.  

A visit to the Secret Lagoon also provides a brilliant opportunity to observe the steaming fumaroles and hot pots that surround the pool itself. Some even have names, such as Vaðmálahver, Básahver, and Litli Geysir, the latter of which is known to erupt every few minutes, offering guests a small spectacle in its own right. 

A steamy fumarole
Photo: Secret Lagoon – Gamla Laugin

In between bathing sessions, step out and take an enjoyable stroll around these fascinating natural features – but don’t step too close! These miniature springs are incredibly hot. This brings us to our next point – not only do these hot springs offer interesting surroundings, but they have a practical purpose too, feeding into the Secret Lagoon, naturally filtering its water and keeping it at a pleasant 38-40 Celsius throughout the year.  

As mentioned, the Secret Lagoon also happens to be the oldest outdoor pool in the country. With that in mind, it is pleasing to know you are taking part in an activity – relaxing in nature – that many Icelandic have done throughout the years prior, adding a real sense of authenticity to your visit. 

 

What amenities does the Secret Lagoon offer? 

A guest at the Secret Lagoon
Photo: The Ultimate Golden Circle Tour with Lunch at the Tomato Farm & Bathing at Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon is more simplistic in its aesthetic and its amenities than many other spas in Iceland. Towels and swimwear are not included in the basic admission, so must be rented separately at 1000 ISK each. Make sure to spend time packing the essentials before visiting to avoid any unnecessary expenses. 

We highly recommend booking your spot in advance, especially during the busiest times of the year. However, it is also possible to buy tickets at the front desk should you decide to stop by on impulse. The ticket prices are as follows:

Adults: 3600 ISK

Children (14 and under): Free 

Seniors (and disabled): 2500 ISK

 

 

There are showers and changing facilities on-site, kept much the same as they always have been. Note that showering before entering the lagoon is mandatory, as it is with all pools in the country. Chastisement can be expected if one tries to skip this step, as a pre-entry shower is considered a foundational aspect of bathing culture in Iceland.

There is also a bistro that serves up refreshing drinks and a variety of delicious snacks. However, the bistro does not serve hot meals, so it is best to stop by the lagoon before or after you’ve had lunch. (We recommend Restaurant Minilik, an Ethiopian eatery nearby.) Exceptions are made when bigger groups make arrangements in advance. 

 

What attractions are near the Secret Lagoon? 

A couple at geysir geothermal area
Photo: Golli. A couple watches Strokkur explode!

On average, visitors tend to spend around 1.5 – 2 hours at the Secret Lagoon, leaving plenty of time to check out points of interest in the area. Fortunately, there are many worthwhile sites nearby that are worth slotting into your schedule. 

The Golden Circle is Iceland’s most popular sightseeing route, covering approximately 300 km (190 mi). It boasts three star attractions; Þingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal valley, and the powerful waterfall, Gullfoss, as well as other extra sites like Kerið volcanic crater and Friðheimar tomato farm. Almost all visitors to Iceland will want to make time to discover the beauty of this exciting drive. There is no better way to close it off than with a little bathing. 

If you were to head in the other direction, you would find yourself on the picturesque South Coast. This lovely journey showcases an eclectic mix of landscapes, from ancient sea cliffs to black sand deserts, craggy shorelines, and sweeping green meadows. Attractions on the western side include the waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss, while exploring further will take you to the dark beach, Reynisfjara.

Before You Go: How to Pack for Winter in Iceland

A person with two children walking in heavy snow.

Iceland in the wintertime is a marvellous experience. With its northern lights, stormy weather, snow-covered mountains and cosy darkness, it’s the perfect place to get the winter vibes. That being said, it can also be cold and wet, making appropriate clothing a critical part of your trip.  As the Icelanders say, there is no such thing as bad weather, only wrong attire. So, before you go, here is our guide on what to pack for your winter trip to Iceland.

The basics of dressing for the Icelandic winter 

The first thing you should do before you start packing is check the weather forecast. While the average temperature during winter in Iceland is 0 °C [32 °F], the actual temperature may be anywhere from -10°C [14 °F] or lower to 5°C [41 °F]. Adding to that, the varying levels of wind change your perception of the cold. This means that a still day at -5 °C [23 °F] might feel perfectly lovely, but a windy one at 0 °C [32 °F] will feel bitterly cold. Due to this unpredictability, layering is the way to go here. Bring:

  • Long trousers
  • Long sleeved tops
  • A woollen sweater
  • A thick winter jacket
  • Thermal underwear, particularly if you‘re not used to the cold
  • A warm hat
  • Gloves
  • A scarf 
  • Water-resistant winter boots
  • Woollen socks
  • Overtrousers to fend off rain and snow – these can be either a thin shell or, if the forecast looks extremely frosty, ski pants.

For the adventurous spirit

Knowing what you‘ll be doing is crucial when dressing for outdoor activities in Iceland. Are you hiking a glacier or doing some other high-energy activity? Pack:

  • A thermal baselayer
  • Woollen socks
  • A woollen sweater
  • Comfortable pants 
  • A breathable, water-resistant jacket
  • Overtrousers of the same sort
  • Good hiking shoes
  • A warm hat
  • Mittens
  • A scarf or warm buff

Avoid heavy-duty and non-breathable jackets and overpants. Those will make you sweat more and trap moisture inside your clothes, lessening your chance of staying warm. If you‘re worried about getting cold, bring an extra sweater or fleece jacket in your backpack.

If you‘re primarily going to be standing/sitting still or moving very slowly, e.g. when looking for the northern lights, bundle up a bit more with a down jacket, parka or extra sweater, as well as ski pants. 

In both cases, prioritise wool and leave cotton at home. Wool will keep you warm even when wet, whereas cotton will not. 

Other items to consider

  • You‘ll want to bring your reusable water bottle along, as Icelandic tap water is drinkable and high quality wherever you are. There‘s no need to spend unnecessary money on bottled water from the store. 
  • Bringing sunglasses is extremely important for drivers! It might seem odd, considering the winter sun is only up for a few hours in Iceland, but with the sun’s lower position in the sky, it‘s more likely to be in line with your eyes. This can leave you half-blind to your surroundings, which is extremely hazardous when driving.
  • For those planning to ski, spend time on a glacier, or go on a boat trip, you should pack a bottle of sunscreen. The sun reflects in the snow and water, increasing exposure to UV radiation. 
  • Moisturisers and lip balms are lifesavers when cold and windy, as those conditions tend to dry out the skin.
  • Bring extra gloves, socks, and a hat if your luggage has room. It‘s nice to have something dry to put on if you get caught in a snowstorm or heavy rain.
  • Lastly, bring your bathing suit to enjoy Iceland’s geothermal baths and natural hot springs!

Reykjadalur May Become Protected Area

Municipal authorities are considering whether to designate Reykjadalur, a geothermal area in South Iceland, protected status, RÚV reports. Famed for its “hot river” in which you can bathe, the area has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, but has had to be closed by the Environment Agency on occasion when the high level of foot traffic has caused significant damage to the area. This is a particular risk in the wet season.

Reykjadalur is located just above the town of Hveragerði, but the land is actually part of the Ölfus municipality. The mayors of both locations met in late September to discuss the possibility of protection status for the area. Following this meeting he Environmental Agency of Iceland sent the mayors a letter asking for them to make their position on this matter known. The Environment Agency also asked that the local governments appoint a representative to join a land conservation consultation team, which they have since done.

Per the minutes of the town council meeting, it appears that the local governments are in favor of the idea of designating Reykjadalur a protected area. It’s clear that foot traffic has increased dramatically in the area in recent years and has had a profound effect on the environment. Just this spring, for instance, the area had to be closed for six weeks.

Close Cave Due to Tourist Behaviour

Landowners in Mývatnssveit, North Iceland have closed off access to the popular Grjótagjá cave, containing a natural hot spring, Morgunblaðið reports. Ólöf Hallgrímsdóttir, one of the landowners, says the decision is due to tourist treatment of the spring.

“The lack of respect is total. The signs are not at all followed. People are relieving themselves there, washing their shoes, washing dishes, brushing their teeth, and some have even slept there,” Ólöf states.

Ólöf says information signs have not been sufficient in dissuading the spring’s visitors from harmful and at times dangerous behaviour. The closure is a temporary solution while landowners wait for permission to improve infrastructure in the area.