The Visitors Guide to the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

The Visitors Guide to the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

James Taylor James Taylor
22. Aug 2022 ∼ 7 min. read

Iceland has a long history of enjoying geothermal baths, natural hot springs, and heated swimming pools. Situated over a hot spot in the Earth’s mantle, as well as the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, Iceland experiences a lot of volcanic activity. And a big part of that is the abundance of natural hot springs that shoot forth at locations around the country, harnessed by Icelanders to use in their pools and luxurious spas. 

The latter has become one of the biggest draws to the country, with luxurious geothermal hot springs now dotted around Iceland. But one of the latest openings isn’t in the countryside, but in Reykjavik: The Sky Lagoon. 

The Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon is one of the newest luxury geothermal baths in Iceland. It opened in April 2021, immediately becoming a big hit with locals and tourists alike. Iceland’s heritage and culture inspired the design of the Sky Lagoon, embedded in lava rocks and with the spa portion of the lagoon located inside a traditional turf-roofed house.

Visiting the Sky Lagoon is now a great activity to do if you have some extra time in Reykjavik before or after your campervan rental in Iceland. Basalt-grey lava rocks surround the large infinity-edge pool, with the edge overlooking the stunning Skerjafjörður toward the ancient manor of Bessastaðir, where the President of Iceland resides. On a cloudless day you can even see the cone-shaped Snæfellsjökull, the glacier at the tip of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. 

But no matter the weather, the enticing combination of sea, sky, and the ever-changing Icelandic light makes for a wonderful soak. 

Person in the Sky Lagoon in Iceland Reykjavik

The 7-Step Ritual at the Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon isn’t just about enjoying time in the warm water; it’s also about taking part in the ritual of Icelandic bathing culture. Guests can partake in a 7-step wellness and cleansing ritual, designed to improve your health, and leave you feeling refreshed and connected to the Icelandic culture. The steps are as follows.

  1. Relax and spend some time soaking in the main lagoon.
  2. Jump into the cold plunge pool
  3. Enter the sauna and enjoy the stunning views over the sea
  4. Refresh yourself in a cold fog-mist space
  5. Apply the signature body scrub onto your skin
  6. Spend some time in the steam room
  7. Shower and once again relax in the lagoon 

The entire process is tied in with the history of bathing in Iceland, a huge part of the country’s culture. 

A woman in the sauna in Sky Lagoon in Iceland

History of Geothermal Baths in Iceland

Icelanders have a strong connection with the geothermal water spilling forth across the country. Ever since the Vikings first landed in Iceland, the hot springs have been a big part of the culture, and bathing is a centuries-long tradition that remains stronger than ever. 

The earliest literature from the Settlement Era in Iceland mentions geothermal hot springs, so it’s known that the first settlers from Norway quickly discovered the joys of the Icelandic landscape. Mentions of hot springs continue to pop up in the Icelandic Sagas, stories from the so-called Saga Age. From the historian Snorri Sturluson to outlaw Grettir Ásmundarson, a lot of the most famous characters are associated with historic hot springs dotted around the country. 

Hot springs became a way of life in Iceland, and many farms around the countryside found hot springs that they could use to create their own pools. These were then used for rest and relaxation, to stay warm in the dark winters, and to improve health.

Today, Iceland enjoys a vast number of hot springs, from natural rock pools to luxurious geothermal baths like The Sky Lagoon. It remains a big part of Icelandic culture, and hot pots and swimming pools still function as the unofficial meeting point for friends to meet and discuss current events happening in Iceland. 

Geothermal Baths in Iceland

The Best Time to Visit the Sky Lagoon in Iceland

You might be wondering if there’s a best time to visit the Sky Lagoon in Iceland. We can safely assure you that it’s a wonderful experience no matter the time of day, but there are a few moments that can elevate the experience and better immerse you in the tranquillity of the spot. 

The Midnight Sun at the Sky Lagoon

The bright Arctic nights played a big part in the inspiration of the Sky Lagoon, with the views over the Atlantic made all the better by the night-time sun sending hues of orange, gold, and pink unfolding across the sky. 

Iceland experiences the midnight sun around the summer solstice when the sun barely sets and the magical light filters across the landscapes. Even during the hours when the sun has fallen below the horizon, it’s still light out. 

And although the Sky Lagoon isn’t open until midnight during May, June, and July, it’s still very bright out during the later hours, offering the incredible light conditions the summer in Iceland is known for. 

The Northern Lights at the Sky Lagoon

From late August until early May, the dark skies over Iceland light up with one of the greatest natural spectacles on earth: the northern lights. Dancing and shimmering in hues of green, purple, and white, seeing the aurora in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. 

To give you the chance to see the northern lights rippling across the night sky, the Sky Lagoon is open late year-round. 

Friends at Sky Lagoon in Iceland

Practical Information

Where Is the Sky Lagoon?

The Sky Lagoon is located on the coast of Kársnes Harbour, Kópavogur. Although technically it’s a different city, Kópavogur could be considered a neighborhood of Reykjavik. The Sky Lagoon is only a 15-minute drive from the city center.

How Do I Get to the Sky Lagoon?

By Rental Car Camper

From the city center, it’s as easy as taking the main highway out of town (towards Hafnarfjörður, the Go Campers office, and the airport). Before you reach any of those destinations though, you’ll swing to the west into Kópavogur, making your way to the harbor. It takes 15 minutes to drive from Reykjavik to the Sky Lagoon. 

By Bus

If you’ve dropped off your camper or are yet to pick it up, it’s also possible to visit the Sky Lagoon by bus. From Hlemmur Square in Reykjavik, you’ll take bus number 4 to Hamraborg, where you’ll transfer buses onto number 35, getting off at the stop Hafnarbraut. From here, it’s a short walk to the Sky Lagoon. 

Ása happy in her Camper from Go Camper

What to Bring to the Sky Lagoon in Reykjavik?

All you need to bring to the Sky Lagoon is your bathing suit and a spare set of clothes to change into after you’ve finished swimming. 

Towels are provided by the Sky Lagoon in the changing rooms so it’s not necessary to bring one. There are also showers in the change rooms – it’s necessary to wash yourself both before and after you’ve gone swimming. For more information on hot spring etiquette in Iceland, you can refer to this article.

How Long Do I Need at the Sky Lagoon? 

It’s recommended that visitors spend around 1.5 – 2 hours soaking in the lagoon and undertaking the 7-step ritual if you've purchased it.

a man relaxing at sky lagoon iceland

What Are the Opening Hours?

The Sky Lagoon is open every day, year-round. 

From 17th June – 14th August: 8 AM – 11 PM daily.

15th August – 30th September: 11 AM – 11 PM daily.

1st October – 16th June: 

  • noon – 10 PM Monday – Thursday
  • noon – 11 PM Friday
  • 11 AM – 11 PM Saturday
  • 11 AM – 10 PM Sunday

Do I Need to Reserve a Ticket for the Sky Lagoon?

Yes, it’s recommended to reserve your ticket for the Sky Lagoon. You can do so by heading to their official website.

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