Europe · Review · Travel

Where the Pool Meets the Sky – A Sky Lagoon Review

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Iceland is the land of hot springs, some so hot they erupt every seven minutes or so (but that’s another story). Bathing in the warm water is super relaxing and distinctly therapeutic, an excellent way to ease tired driving shoulders or sore luggage-hauling backs. Plus, in a chilly country, it is nice to be surrounded by heat. We travelled to Reykjavík for the third time in 2024 and had to see what the new Sky Lagoon was all about. Read on for our full Sky Lagoon review.

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Why Choose the Sky Lagoon

If you are staying in Reykjavík, there are a few warm, outdoor pools options to choose from.

  • The famous Blue Lagoon has had all of the headlines for the last 30-odd years but is very pricy and a long way from the city. The water is a very cool, chalky blue colour and the silica-infused water is good for muscles but bad for hair.
  • The Laugardalslaug complex is cheap but feels distinctly municipal. Things where the locals go to chill out (or warm up) and there are a few small therapeutic hot pools to relax in but it is a local pool and definitely feels like where you had your swimming lessons.
  • Sky Lagoon is the new kid on the block, opening in 2021. It is built on a rather nondescriptive industrial estate, but don’t let that fool you, it is a whole other world. Sky Lagoon has a lovely mix of modern slick amenities and natural beauty.

Buying Your Sky Lagoon Tickets

It is definitely best to book your tickets in advance. The Sky Lagoon does has a cap on number throughout the day and it is very, so it can sell out. There are three main options.

We opted for the Sky package on our visit which includes:

  • Entrance to the Sky Lagoon
  • Separate, private changing rooms
  • The seven step ritual (more about that later)

The middle option is Pure:

  • Entrance to the Sky Lagoon
  • The seven step ritual

If you are short on time or funds then, the cheapest option is Pure Lite:

  • Entrance to the Sky Lagoon

You can also opt to upgrade your Sky or Pure package to “Sky Lagoon for Two”. This adds on a drink each at the swim-up bar and a platter of foodie goodies at the Smakk Bar.

How to get to Sky Lagoon

  • Car – If you are hiring a car, getting to Sky Lagoon is as easy as pie. You’ll find it just south of Reykjavík, about 12 minutes drive from the centre of town.
  • Taxi – You can pick up a taxi from any rank in town for around 30. You can pay with cash or card. There is no Uber, Lyft or Bolt in Iceland, and all the taxis use government-mandated meters so this steep price is non-negotiable
  • Local Bus – From central Reykjavík, take bus number 4 to Hamraborg. Then you can transfer to bus number 35 to Hafnarbraut. This is around 5 minutes walk from Sky Lagoon. Bear in mind that they don’t start too early in the morning and this is much later on Sundays. 
  • Transfer – Reykjavík Excursions runs buses from town but again, these start a little later in the day so if you have the first few slots, it won’t work for you. You are also bound to a specific return time so this is not such a flexible option. It is nice to have it all booked as a package though!

Our Sky Lagoon Review

Arrival and Queue

As soon as you turn the corner into the estate in which Sky Lagoon sits, you might think you are in the wrong place but persist until you see the low, angular building as soon as you step inside, you are in a world of calm with dark neutrals, decorating the walls and friendly counter staff. Show them your prepaid tickets will make your payment on the desk and they will give you a wristband, explaining how it works. This wristband gives you access to the lockers, and serves as your bar tab.

If you associate it with a credit card ahead of time, it will just be charged at the end of your visit, so it is a good idea to do this now, if you think you might buy a drink. Otherwise, you have to make a payment on one of the machines as you leave, which is still pretty easy but is nice to know it’s already sorted.

The Changing Rooms

As you enter the changing rooms, you will be asked to take off your shoes. This keeps the whole area nice and clean, especially when the outside world is full of snow and slush. If you are driving, it might be worth wearing shoes that are easy to slip on and off rather than fully laced up boots just to make this all a little easier.

Sky customers are lucky enough to have huge private changing rooms. Each room has a giant mirror, shelves, a huge shower and a hair dryer. Outside the rooms were supplies of fresh, fluffy towels and a place to put wet ones.

Don’t get me wrong, the Pure changing rooms still looked pretty swish, they just weren’t as private so there would just be a little more towel clinging involved.

On the shelves inside the changing rooms are small baskets and you can fill it with bits and bobs for the lockers. The lockers are all outside the changing rooms and you just use your wristband to lock and unlock them. Don’t worry if you forget your number as there is a nifty little machine on the wall that can read your band and let you know. The lockers are pretty sizeable, with enough room for our backpacks and more besides.

Just before you enter the pool, on the right hand side, there is a series of cubbyholes when you can store a towel or little bits as you swim. This is not secure though so don’t go leaving your phone here or anything.

The Pool

I took two tentative steps into the water and melted with joy. It was the perfect temperature. Bot as hot as a bath that I would run, but much warmed than one Mr Fluskey would opt for! Year-round, the Sky Lagoon is kept at around 38 – 40°C so pleasingly balmy. In the cold winter air, the steam rose up in curling tendrils, making it look magical! Coming for a winter sunrise was pretty special. I bet arriving in the evening and staying later to try and spot the Northern Lights is even better.

They have done a stellar job making the whole thing look natural, with real rocks, a sweet waterfall and the only straight line being the edge. The most magical place has to be at the edge of the infinity pool, overlooking the bay. When the sea reflects the sky, it looks like you are floating in space. We had a wonderful time just exploring and relaxing on the rocky benches in the pool.

Seven Step Ritual

As part of the Sky and Pure packages, visitors take part in Sky Lagoon’s signature seven step ritual. I was excited to see what this was all about. Most of it was hidden away in the Turf House so it remained a mysterious secret. With the package, you are given a black wristband as you are only allowed to take the ritual once. You are, however, to stay in the turf house for as long as you like.

Step One

The Sky Lagoon itself is the first step, which might be a bit of a cop out…as lovely as it is. Once you have bobbed about, taken your photos and are nice and toasty, it is time for step two.

Step Two

The cold plunge pool awaits. The water in this small pool is kept at a chilly 10°C, which was practically bath-like when compared to our dip in Silfra earlier in the week This time though, we were only in swimmers so it felt worse. To try and maintain a nice, calm lagoon experience for other guests, a member of staff is stood by the pool to encourage you not to scream. I was a bit worried that I might let out an involuntary squeal but kept my composure for about five seconds.

This facility is outside and open to everyone so if you don’t have one of the packages, you can still get a dose of invigoration.

Step Three

For step three, everyone heads into the turf house. It was very cold dashing from the cold pool, inside. February in Iceland was around -5°C. We were greeted by a member of staff who shushed us, took our black wristbands and explained to us the next steps. I could see people sweating in the sauna behind her and hopped from foot to foot as my body parts began to freeze. Maybe it would be best if they explained it before you began the getting cold process? As soon as she finished talking, we dived through the door into the warm wooden world behind.

A lovely, large sauna awaited us. We grabbed a couple of mini towels to sit on and grabbed a perch, marvelling at the unbelievable view. The sauna sticks out over the edge of the land, giving stunning views across the water. In fact, they have used Iceland’s biggest window to make it feel like you are sitting outside. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an infinity sauna before but now, I am hooked.

We cooked up for a while, loving the automated water dispenser which send fountains of H2O onto the sizzling stones. Once a full round of people had made their way through, we decided to move on to….

Step Four

More cold water. There was a small room full of cold water mist showers. I thought I’d be brave and grit my teeth in the chill but it just didn’t happen. The water is -5°C and I just don’t have that kind of fortitude so I strode in with the confidence of a champion and immediately side stepped out like a skittering crab. Not for me!

Step Five

We emerged into a room with a table covered in little dishes. In these was Sky Lagoon’s signature body scrub, a mix of sea salt, almond oil and sesame seed oil. We rubbed in all over, enjoying the rough salt and smooth oils. From here, we were directed into the steam room and tottered over, smelling like a deliciously sweet stir fry.

Step Six

This was the steamiest steam room we have ever experienced. On entering I couldn’t see a thing and lunged for the nearest bench, praying nobody was already sat there. When you go in, there is a huge thing in the middle (maybe the steam vent) so make your way to one side or the other, lest you bruise your knee). Despite the thick cloud of steam, it wasn’t the hottest steam room so we actually managed to relax in their for a good ten minutes 9normally Mr Fluskey is out in five). We noticed that all of our salt dissolved, just leaving slippery, soft oily skin.

Step Seven

(Again, not sure this counts as a step…maybe it should be a five step ritual? We hopped in the provided showers to rinse off before dashing (carefully) back to the main Sky Lagoon.

A Quick Drink

Well it would be rude not. Considering Iceland is wildly pricy when it comes to alcohol, I was prepared for the shock when we got the menu. However, it was actually quite reasonable. (Bear in mind that we live in London so our reasonable price may be higher than yours)! We opted for a glass of sparkling wine for me and a passionfruit cocktail for Mr Fluskey. They were both generous pours and quite sweet. We took them over to the edge to take in the view again. A big school group had arrived and it was funny to watch them trying to convince their teachers to buy them a drink.

I was tempted to get another but we were running out of time, due to fly in 3.5 hours at this point. Normally by this point, we would be well on the way to airport, or even there already (I love contingency time. It was awfully difficult to leave the glorious surroundings though. It is both the most relaxed, and most wound up I’ve been about catching a flight.

Getting Out

My least favourite thing about swimming is the faff afterwards. Tiny changing rooms with wet floors and wet towels means I never feel dry and comfortable. However having this such large, private dressing rooms all to ourselves with the shower, hair dryer, supply of fresh towels and plenty of floor space was a real treat. I took advantage of the provided hair products in the shower. It felt like a fancy hotel rather than a pool. Getting rinsed, dried and changed was a breeze and I adored having a personal hair dryer. We met back at the exit and struggled back into our shoes and copious outside layers.

Our KiwiTaxi pick was already waiting so unfortunately, we didn’t really have time to dither in the cafe or shop, instead dashing out to meet it. As we had associated our cards to our wristbands, we didn’t have to make any payments and could just deposit the bands in the exit barriers. The drinks were charged automatically and off we popped.

Final Thoughts on Our Sky Lagoon Review

A luxury hot spring pool on the outskirts of Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon has stunning views, unique look and has won our hearts. We have previously visited the Blue Lagoon twice but I think we are converted to the joys of Sky Lagoon. Having done the ritual once, we might just opt for the Pure Lite tickets and relax in the main pool but that remains to be seen. Midnight sun and Northern Lights await so we will be back twice at least!

Rosie xx

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