Iceland's Sky Lagoon - Complete guide and what to expect
Iceland is a gorgeous country with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. If you're looking to add a little relaxation to your itinerary, look no further than Sky Lagoon. Just outside of Reykjavik, Sky Lagoon is open all year round and offers a seven step ritual which includes health benefits and promotes relaxation. You can also enjoy their swim up bar and infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Trust us, a visit to this lagoon is the perfect way to unwind during your trip to Iceland.
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As one of the newer lagoons in Iceland, Sky Lagoon offers visitors a unique experience. The seven step ritual is based on ancient Icelandic traditions and is said to have health benefits as well as promoting relaxation. After spending some time in the lagoon, we felt our muscles loosen and all of our stress melted away. This is the perfect way to relax after a road trip around the Ring Road or after a long flight to Iceland.
Unlike many lagoons found in Iceland, this one is not a natural lagoon. Natural lagoons are a completely different experience because many of them are in the wild or in more remote locations than Reykjavik, but man-made lagoons offer something different. They’re easy, predictable, and an aesthetic dream (not to mention they don't smell like sulphur). While this lagoon might not have been formed organically in nature, the energy and water used to heat the lagoon are from local natural sources.
How much does Sky Lagoon cost?
First off, we recommend booking your ticket to Sky Lagoon in advance because it does sell out. When you’re booking your ticket online, you’re given a few different options including timed entry, whether or not you want to participate in the seven step ritual (see below for more info on this), and if you’d like to have a private shower or change and shower in the group locker rooms.
Packages range in cost starting at ~$55 USD per person and going all the way up to ~$200 USD per person. Prices vary depending on day of the week and time selected.Each tier gets a few more added bonuses, so depending on how much time you have to spend at the lagoon and what type of experience you’re looking for, you can choose which package best fits your needs.
Pure Lite Pass ($): The least expensive of all options and includes only a soak in the lagoon and access to the group changing rooms.
Pure Pass ($$): Includes a soak in the lagoon, group changing rooms, plus access to the special seven step ritual.
Sky Pass ($$$): The Sky Pass is where you get access to private changing rooms and showers as well as the lagoon and the seven step ritual.
Sky Lagoon for Two ($$$$): If you’re going to the lagoon with a significant other or friend, consider booking the Sky Lagoon for Two Sky Package. It comes with a lagoon soak, seven step ritual, private changing rooms and showers, a drink from the bar for each guest, plus a snack platter from the snack bar on property.
Bonus tip: if you'd like to save a bit of money, book one of the last time slots of the day. A girl we were traveling with noticed that if you book a late evening slot you can get a discount of half off. Granted, we were booking on about 48 hours notice so it might be that they were discounting because reservations were down that day. Either way, it's worth checking out! If visiting Sky Lagoon is high on your list of things to do in Iceland, I would strongly encourage you to book ahead vs. waiting until the last minute to save a bit of money because Sky Lagoon does regularly book up.
Here’s my experience: I’ve visited Sky Lagoon twice now and I’ve experienced both the private changing room/shower and the group locker room. As an American, I’m a very modest person. Back home we don’t usually have to change in front of other people but the rest of the world has a much more relaxed view on nudity, so to my fellow Americans, this section is for you.
We visited a few different lagoons while in Iceland, and Sky Lagoon’s group locker room was by far the nicest. Yes, you are changing in front of other women, but it’s dimly lit with lots of lockers dividing up the room so it doesn’t feel like you’re just changing in a giant room with strange women. The showers are different from the other lagoons because they’re individual stalls. You can wear your swimsuit in the shower stall (but make sure you remove it to wash thoroughly!) and put it back on all the privacy of the stall. It’s really not too bad. It’s much more private than other lagoons such as Secret Lagoon where you change and shower in a line with a bunch of other women.
The private changing rooms are obviously much more private. The lockers are in one shared hallway, but the showers and changing rooms are private little rooms with locking doors. Inside the room you’ll find a wonderful rain shower with soaps, a mirror, hairdryer, and plenty of towels.
Even as a very modest person, I’d book the shared locker room again because it really wasn’t bad at all. It’s very similar to going to any gym here in the USA. If you want to splurge on the private lockers, by all means do so! Especially if the communal changing area makes you nervous. If you’re visiting Sky Lagoon to relax, do what makes you feel most comfortable. Just know the private showers/changing rooms come at almost double the cost.
The seven step ritual at Sky Lagoon
While Sky Lagoon’s signature seven step ritual is an additional cost on top of soaking in the lagoon, if you have the time, it’s well worth the extra money. You’ll come out of your time there feeling refreshed and renewed, ready to take on more cold adventures in magical Iceland!
The seven step ritual takes you through a process of hot and cold to promote circulation, relaxation and other health benefits. Curious what the steps are like? Checkout my experience breakdown of the process below.
Soaking in the hot lagoon is the first step in the process. In fact, to even get to the bathhouse where the rest of the ritual steps are, you have to wade through the lagoon. The lagoon water is hot year around, but not unbearably hot, very pleasant and similar to a hot tub's temperature. If you walk around the lagoon you'll feel little spots of warmer and cooler water as the lagoon heats naturally. Explore the lagoon and find what temperature feels best.
Cold plunge into a glacier-fresh pool
Located right next to the lagoon and just before you head into the bathhouse is a small jacuzzi size pool. However, this one isn't warm and relaxing, but instead frigid cold. There aren't ice cubes floating around in it, but it felt like there should be. I witnessed several people skip this step because the idea of a cold plunge didn't appeal to them, but don't skip this step! Cold water plunges are good for circulation, not to mention it'll pull your body temperature before the next step which takes you back to hot temperatures again. For maximum results you should try and get yourself to stay in the cold water for 2-3 minutes before moving onto the next step.
Take a sauna and relax with ocean views
After a cold plunge you'll head into the most beautiful sauna I've ever seen. With a classic rock stove to heat the room, the sauna is traditionally Nordic with a modern feel and incredible views overlooking the water. I loved the lagoon itself, but the sauna might be my favorite step. If you've never experienced a traditional sauna before, it's essentially just a really hot room with wooden benches and walls. The rock stove has a measured amount of water that pours on the rocks on time to keep the room the perfect level of humid. Grab a towel on the way into the sauna because you'll work up a good sweat if you stay in long enough. It's recommended you stay in the sauna at least 10 minutes but no more than 20 at a time.
Refresh in the cool rain mist
After the hot sauna the seven step ritual will take you through another step of cold temperatures. This time you'll enjoy a cool mist rain in an open ceiling room. The room itself is beautiful and the rain was so refreshing after the hot sauna. You can either stay in the rain the whole time, or take a seat on the covered bend along the edge of the room. Try to spend at least 2-3 minutes cooling off before moving onto the next step.
Exfoliate with a body scrub
As you exit the rain mist room you'll be handed a small dish with a body scrub in it. There's a corner in the main room with stools to use to sit or prop your leg up to scrub your entire body with the body scrub. Don't do as I did the first time and shave before you visit! The body scrub won't be comfortable if you shave day of your visit to Sky Lagoon.
NOTE: The body scrub does contain almond and sesame seed oil. If you have a sever nut allergy you'll either need to skip this step or ask if they have an alternative option.
Warm up and relax in the steam room
You've been taken to hot and cold a couple of times and your body is now glowing from the scrub that's tingling your skin just a bit. The steam room will open your skin to absorb the benefits of the body scrub and relax the last bit of stress away from you body. Unlike the sauna, the steam room is very steamy which makes it slightly more difficult to breathe and you'll sweat a lot. Try and stay in the steam room for 10 minutes to get maximum benefits.
Rinse and cleanse in the shower
Your final step in Sky Lagoon's signature ritual is the cleansing shower. The water is a moderate temperature that encourages cooling down and will leave your skin glowing and firm as you rinse away the scrub and sweat.
After the seven step ritual...
Head back into the lagoon for a long soak and maybe grab a drink at the swim-up bar. You'll feel relaxed and the lagoon will feel perfect for floating and leaving you understanding why the Nordic people are some of the healthiest and happiest people in the world. Oh, and why they Nordic people have such perfect, beautiful skin.
The infinity pool & swim up bar
In addition to the lagoon and ritual process, there is also an infinity pool and swim up bar. The pool overlooks the ocean and is the perfect place to take in the stunning Icelandic scenery. The swim up bar was definitely a fun addition and made us feel like we were on vacation in paradise. Whether you're enjoying a cocktail or simply soaking up the incredible views, the infinity pool is not to be missed during your visit to Sky Lagoon.
Planning a visit to Reykjavik’s Sky Lagoon
Sky Lagoon was one of our favorite experiences in Reykjavik. Actually, make that one of our favorite experiences in all of Iceland. Sure, it's more tourists than locals at this lagoon (all the locals know the best hidden natural lagoons for free), but it's well worth a visit. Especially considering its close proximity to Reykjavik. The lagoon is gaining in popularity the longer it's open making planning essential if visiting is high on your Iceland wish list.
Do I need a reservation to visit the lagoon?
While reservations aren't required, they are highly recommended if you have your heart set on visiting Sky Lagoon. We mentioned in the cost section above that last minute discounts are occasionally available for the late day time slots, but we don't recommend risking it if you absolutely want to visit. The lagoon regularly books up, especially in the summer months so plan accordingly.
How to get to the lagoon
Sky Lagoon is the closest lagoon to Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, just a quick 10-15 minute drive from downtown. The lagoon is easily accessible by taxi when staying in the city, or if you rented a car, there's plenty of free onsite parking. If you plan to drink while at the lagoon, please take a taxi.
Reykjavik to Sky Lagoon: 7.5 km / ~13 minutes | Google Maps
Sky Lagoon is open all year. That being said, weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, especially in the winter! If you’re looking for longer daylight hours to enjoy the lagoon, be sure to visit in the summer when the sun seems never sets. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland in the winter, the lagoon is the perfect place to warm up and enjoy being out and about during the dark days of winter. The lagoon is heated so you’re sure to stay warm, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the northern lights while you’re soaking.
NOTE: While the lagoon is open all 12 months of the year, they do close periodically due to bad weather, so be sure to check their website in advance.
What to pack for a soak in the lagoon
Sky Lagoon makes visiting super easy. The wristbands lock and unlock the lockers so you don’t need to bring your own lock, towels are provided along with shampoo, body soap, and hairdryers.
The only things you have to pack is a swimsuit and credit card and you're good to go! Sky Lagoon will connect your credit card to your wristband so you don't have to worry about carrying a wallet into the lagoon to purchase drinks at the swim up bar.
If you're planning on heading somewhere besides back to your hotel after visiting the lagoon, you might want to bring a change of clothes and whatever cosmetics you need to get ready. Like we've mentioned before, the locker rooms at Sky Lagoon are really nice, not gross like most American gyms, so getting ready there to go to dinner is actually pretty enjoyable.
Do note that unlike many American gyms and locker rooms, shoes should not be worn so don't bother bringing flip flops or other shower shoes. You'll have a place to remove your shoes as you're entering the locker room. Nordic culture is a very hygienic and their facilities at the lagoon are constantly cleaned and maintained to keep the floors safe and clean for guests. While in America I would be grossed out by not wearing shower shoes around the locker room, in Iceland, you don't have to and I was never bothered by not.
What I packed for visiting Sky Lagoon:
Swimsuit - I love Left on Friday's brightly colored suits. They're perfect for Instagram pictures (let's be honest, we all think about that) and they're super comfortable!
Waterproof phone pouch - I loved being able to take my phone in this waterproof phone pouch into the lagoon to take photos. At first I wasn't sure if people would find that rude, but almost everyone had their phone in their taking pictures.
Make-up bag - I usually wear very little makeup but we were going to dinner afterwards so I was sure to bring the essentials to freshen up after the lagoon.
Hair styling accessories - While a hairdryer is provided, I also brought my straightener to tame my extra tick hair post blowout.
A visit to Reykjavik's Sky Lagoon is the perfect way to relax during your trip to Iceland. With its seven step ritual, infinity pool, and swim up bar, you'll be sure to have an unforgettable experience at this one-of-a-kind lagoon. If you’re like us and want to visit as many lagoons as possible on this trip, be sure to check out this complete list. As we visit more, we’ll report back on those findings.
Like this post? Checkout our other Iceland blog posts!
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!