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Did we find an alternative to the Blue Lagoon? Is Laugarvatn Fontana better?





Did we find an alternative to the Blue Lagoon? Is Laugarvatn Fontana better?

We almost didn't bother going to the Blue Lagoon as we were worried it would be overrated and touristy. We wondered if Laugarvatn Fontana spa - a hidden gem on the Golden Circle route - would be a good alternative. 


blue lagoon iceland
The Blue Lagoon

At the last minute we decided that we couldn't dismiss the Blue Lagoon as overrated without actually trying it for ourselves, so we booked in at both. 


fontana
Fontana - a good alternative?

It turned out that we loved both the Blue Lagoon and Laugarvatn Fontana for completely different reasons because, other than them both being spas, they are very different places. 

We believe that, depending on who you are, one of the two will appeal to you more than the other. Thus we have written this post to give you an idea of which one you should choose to go to: 

Blue Lagoon Review
blue lagoon worth it


Having read a lot of other travel blogs before visiting the Blue Lagoon we'd received the impression that it was going to be bad for our hair, full of tourists, and totally wouldn't deserve to be the most iconic sight in Iceland - namely because the site isn't even naturally Icelandic, but rather an accidental by-product of a factory which tourists started bathing in and so the factory decided to charge for that privilege.. 

Luckily, we decided we didn't care that much about our hair (clearly) and we wanted to decide for ourselves if it deserved the Iceland crown. 

So what was it like?

The Good:
travel blog blue lagoon
Yes there were lots of people there, but it's so LARGE that it wasn't crowded, it was very easy to find empty-ish spots for insta-good photos.




The temperature of the water was about 36 degrees which was the perfect match for the 10 degrees air temperature. Unlike in the Budapest spas, where we got too hot, this was the ideal temperature and we could have happily spent all day there. 

blue lagoon must iceland

There are also bars in the water - one for drinks and one for face masks. This was really great because we didn't have to get out of the water and freeze to get our drinks/masks. 

Drinks do costs extra, but when it comes to face masks, everyone gets a free Silica face mask with their entry fee. 

blue lagoon price

Standard entry costs 40 Euros = £35 = $45 (and be careful because it's actually even more if you book late or for a peak time of day). This gets you entry into the spa, a silica face mask and as much conditioner from the showers as you like (but no towel). 




At first we were shocked by the price, but after a couple of days in Iceland we realised that 40 Euros is an absolute bargain in Iceland. Everything in Iceland is ridiculously expensive (e.g. a small sandwich from the supermarket will cost you 12 Euros)! 

So yes entry is pricy, but in Icelandic terms it's very reasonable. 

We had lots of fun taking photos here, it's the perfect place for taking iconic Icelandic photos:



As for our hair, we slathered it with conditioner beforehand, and made sure not to get it in the water, and thus our hair was fine however, I generally have horrible brittle hair anyway, so I probably wouldn't have noticed if the lagoon had made it worse.. 



hair care blue lagoon
Bad hair, don't care!























The location was ideal for us, we drove our Lagoon Car Rental hire car from Keflavik airport, had a nice stop at the Blue Lagoon, before driving off to Reykjavik. Like most of the sights in Iceland, it would be really annoying to get to if you didn't have a car,  but as long as you do have a car it's not a problem, simply plan it into your arrival/departure from Iceland. 

[Read more: Renting a Car in Iceland - Lagoon Car Rental Review ]

Should you upgrade? 
blue lagoon upgrade
Thanks to our travel blogger and vlogger status we were given a complimentary upgrade to the Comfort package - this costs 55 Euros = £47 = $62 and gives you an algae mask, a free drink and the use of a towel. 

As we only travel with hand luggage we never have space for a towel, so having that alone was a great perk for us (trust us, you need a towel). The algae mask felt nicer than the silica mask and the drink we chose (a blueberry smoothie) was ultra refreshing.

If you don't have a towel or a bottle of water with you, the upgrade is 100% worth it, but if you have those things with you anyway, it's probably not worth the 15 extra Euros.



The bad
We had such a perfect afternoon here it's hard to find anything we didn't like. As I said, the other people, our hair and the price didn't bother us. 

I guess the only thing that makes it less cool is the fact that the water isn't natural, especially as there are so many natural pools in Iceland. 

Also because of the heat of the water and the coldness outside, the steam coming off the water made it hard to make nice videos and photos.. I'm being really picky now. Okay let's move on:


More information
We actually made a video all about our time at the Blue Lagoon which you can view here:


Laugarvatn Fontana Review

fontana review

Before we'd visited either spa, Laugarvatn Fontana appealed to us a lot more - located on the Golden Circle, it is still a bit undiscovered and it also incorporates natural parts of Iceland. 

But what was it like?

Laugarvatn Fontana is composed of a series of interconnected outdoor mineral baths and steam rooms. These are built over a natural hot spring and complement each other to create a healthy, natural and fairly unique experience. 

The good:
review fontana

Compared with the Blue Lagoon, Fontana was basically empty, there can't have been more than 20 other people there, so we had plenty of space to ourselves. 

fontana

There were lots of different saunas to try out and because there weren't many people there, we had a sauna or two to ourselves.



At 30 Euros = £26 = $34 Fontana is a lot cheaper than the Blue Lagoon, though like the Blue Lagoon this price does not include towel hire. 

fontana

By far my favourite part of Laugarvatn Fontana was the fact that you can actually take a dip in the freezing Laugarvatn lake. This feels so primal, so typically Icelandic and has to be done (before quickly running back into the 40 degree pool). 


fontana to do

I really liked this part of Fontana, it felt like we were getting back to nature and connecting with the 'Icelandic spirit'. It was also great knowing that because of health and safety (slipping, freezing etc), a similar type of thing would probably not have been allowed in the UK. 


iceland natural
Also the beach was black and because it's heated by the natural steam which comes out of the earth, it was super hot!

Plus it was lovely to have a view of the lake and surrounding mountains whilst relaxing in the pools.


The bad:
We absolutely loved the views of the lakes, but the little pools themselves weren't all that pretty (unlike at the Blue Lagoon). Apart from the 36 degree one with the nice black stones. 

What I found the worst though were the showers! Before you go into spas in Iceland you are required to have a shower without your bathing suit/bikini on. In the Blue Lagoon this is fine as they have (recently) brought in private cubicles aka showers with doors for privacy.



In Fontana there is a big communal shower for the women (no private cubicles), which is awkward, but made worse by the fact that there was also a (female) member of staff waiting next to the showers to check you strip off. I'm British, prudish and immature so I wasn't comfortable with that! 

Of course this won't be a deal-breaker for most ladies, and Tanbay said in the men's room there was no 'guard'. Okay let's move on..  


More information

Overall we loved our time at Fontana and have made a vlog all about it!

Is Laugarvatn Fontana better than the Blue Lagoon?
Before visiting either I assumed I would prefer Laugarvatn Fontana to the Blue Lagoon in every single way. As it turns out I loved them both for completely different reasons: 

We can totally understand why the Blue Lagoon has become the unofficial symbol of Iceland - the beautiful scenery both inside and outside the pool, the bars in the pool, the iconic Icelandic photos you can take there, pretty much everything was excellent. Overall, we were very impressed.

But Laugarvatn Fontana still wins lots of points for utilising a natural site and allowing you to go into the freezing lake. We also preferred its location to the Blue Lagoon's. 

All in all, I would actually recommend that you go to both the Blue Lagoon AND Fontana. They are so different and therefore the advantages vary so you won't regret it. 

But what do you think? Which would you rather go to? Or perhaps you've been to both and think that there's a clear winner - let us know in the comments! 

For more information on the Blue Lagoon find them on their website, on Facebook and on TripAdvisor. For Laugarvatn Fontana find them on their website, on Facebook and on TripAdvisor. And for more about the Travelling Weasels find us on Facebook and Instagram!




Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels were offered a complimentary upgrade to the Blue Lagoon and complimentary entry into Fontana in return for honest reviews. As always all opinions are our own. 

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We're Laura and Tanbay, a British/German couple who have successfully weaselled our way out of the rat-race and want you to do the same!

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