A Wheelchair User’s Guide to Iceland’s Blue Lagoon

 

A few years ago, I saw some images of the Blue Lagoon online (probably while doing anything to avoid studying or writing research papers in college) and I was immediately entranced. It looked beautiful and otherworldly. I then visited the Blue Lagoon‘s website and started reading all about it. Just a few minutes later, Iceland quickly went to the top of my bucket list and I knew that I had to visit one day. But how wheelchair accessible would it be? Would reality be as great as my expectations? Recently, I flew to Iceland and finally got to visit the Blue Lagoon. I had the time of my life and found out first-hand how accessible it is, and have compiled this guide to help with the planning of your visit. blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

 blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

 

What exactly is the Blue Lagoon and what all is there to do?

Located about 15 minutes from Keflavik International Airport, the geothermal spa known as the Blue Lagoon makes for a great stop right after your arrival in Iceland or just before you leave the country. We decided to stay here at the very beginning of our Iceland trip and relaxing in the lagoon definitely helped me overcome the jet lag. There’s just nothing better, or more relaxing, than drifting away into the hot waters. And by hot, I mean HOT. Sometimes the water can reach up to 110° Fahrenheit, but it usually averages about 102°. I noticed that the temperature changes depending on what area of the lagoon you are in. If you’re getting too hot, just move to a different area and you should be able to find a slightly cooler spot.

The Blue Lagoon was formed in 1976 and since then, has been named one of the “25 Wonders of the World” according to National Geographic… and for good reason! The geothermal seawater is said to have healing properties and some of its active ingredients include silica, algae, and minerals. There is even white silica mud in buckets around the lagoon and if you put it all over your face for about 10-15 minutes, your skin will feel so smooth afterwards.

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

My mom, stepsister, and I loved the white silica mud!

 

I wanted to fully experience everything that the Blue Lagoon offers during my visit, so in addition to using the white silica mud to make my face smooth as a baby’s bottom, I also enjoyed a Men’s Facial Boost in the spa. There are a variety of different beauty treatments to choose from including both facials and massages. All of the massages take place in the water of the lagoon on a special float. My mom and step sister both had in-water massages and they absolutely loved them. I did not experience the massage, but I can say that the Men’s Facial Boost was exceptional. It included putting a variety of different creams on my face and a scalp and shoulder massage as well. Talk about bliss! Ahhhh… If you are looking for the ultimate Blue Lagoon experience, consider sparing no expense and treating yourself to a spa day.

After all of the pampering, you may be a bit hungry. There aren’t very many dining options at the Blue Lagoon, but the ones that they do have are great. If you are wanting something quick and on the cheaper side, there is the Blue Café. The café has sandwiches, potato chips, smoothies, and other drinks. It’s reasonably priced and there are a lot of tables to sit at around the café.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Yummm! The Skyr smoothies are to die for!

 

If you are looking for something a little more formal, check out the Lava Restaurant. It is more expensive than the café, but well worth it in my opinion as it was one of my favorite meals in Iceland. It can get booked up pretty quickly, especially in the peak season of Summer, so you will definitely want to make reservations as far in advance as possible. I had the langoustine soup with garlic marinated langoustine as my starter. It was unlike any other soup I’ve had (in a good way) and even had a hint of white chocolate in the soup. I wasn’t sure if lobster mixed with white chocolate would work, but it does! For the main course, my mom and I split the cod. This white fish was lightly fried and served with mashed potatoes. It’s a large serving and can easily be shared between two or maybe even three people. Lastly, for my favorite course, was dessert. I chose the “Ástarpungar” dessert. It consists of chocolate mousse, vanilla ice cream, and salted caramel. Can you say “YUM”?! Everything at Lava Restaurant was fantastic and I really can’t recommend it enough.

 

Langoustine soup, blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Langoustine soup

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Cod

Ástarpungar dessert, blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Ástarpungar dessert

 

 

Is the Blue Lagoon wheelchair friendly?

When I first started planning my visit to the Blue Lagoon, I emailed to try and find out as much information as possible in regards to accessibility. The staff was helpful over email, but when I actually got to the lagoon, it was even more accessible than I expected. That very rarely happens and it was such a nice surprise!

When we first arrived to the lagoon, we went to the ticketing desk as everyone does and told them that I would need any accessible accommodations that were available. Soon, we were shown to the private wheelchair accessible changing room.

Before anyone gets into the water, it’s necessary to shower off. There are changing rooms with showers for men and women, and there is one private room for wheelchair users. This special changing room comes with a roll-in shower, a shower chair, a toilet, and lockers. There is plenty of space to maneuver around in here as well.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Roll-in shower in the accessible changing room

 

Right beside this changing room with the shower is another room that has a rolling shower chair and when I was there, there was a spare massage table in it also. I used this as a changing table because it’s difficult for me to get dressed without lying flat. I’m not sure if the table is there all the time or if I just got lucky, but if you need it then request it in advance and hopefully they can accommodate you.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Massage table and one of the amphibious wheelchairs to the left

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Another chair that you can use!

 

So, the accessible changing rooms are great, but how about getting in the water? This was the part that I stressed out about the most before going. My mom can lift me short distances, but not down steps and into/out of the lagoon. However, it turns out that there was no need to worry. There are two ways that you can get into the water!

Remember the rolling shower chair that I mentioned earlier? Well, you can actually sit in it and use the ramp that goes into the Blue Lagoon. It’s a fairly long ramp and not too steep.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

That is where the ramp is.

 

The ramp is probably the easiest way to get in the water, but I wanted to try out the slightly more complex method. There is an access lift that can lift you directly out of your wheelchair and lower you into the water. I use a hoyer lift at home so I’m pretty used to this whole process. The staff brought out a sling and we worked it under me as I sat in my wheelchair. The sling criss crossed under my legs and a minute later, I was being lifted out of my chair and lowered into the water. The staff was extremely helpful and made the process of getting in and out of the water an easy one for the most part. At first, they were a bit confused as to how to use the access lift because they probably don’t use it that often, but we quickly figured it out together.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

Here’s the access lift (minus the sling).

 

The access lift is in the indoor lagoon area (which is nice because you won’t have to freeze while you get in the access lift), but there is a door that you can swim through from here to get to the main outdoor lagoon area from the inside. This way, you’ll be able to swim out to the main area where the swim-up bar is. The lagoon provides styrofoam pool noodles that can be used as a floatation device. I used one to help me stay upright in the water by just wrapping it around me.

If you’re wondering where to keep your cash, you don’t have to keep any money or cards on you. You can store your money in your locker because you’ll have a wristband that is scanned every time you purchase something. Then just pay for everything once you’re leaving the lagoon. The Blue Lagoon has literally thought of everything!

 

Where can I stay while at the Blue Lagoon?

The Blue Lagoon is located about 45 minutes from downtown Reykjavik, so it’s possible to just get a hotel in the city (I highly recommend the Kvosin Downtown Hotel for your time in Reykjavik) and then make a day trip to the lagoon. Some companies offer wheelchair accessible tours that make a stop at the Blue Lagoon. If this sounds like a good option to you, check out Iceland Unlimited. It’s an awesome accessible tour company and I did a Golden Circle tour and a Northern Lights hunt with them (articles about those experiences will be coming out soon!).

However, if you’re like me and a few hours doesn’t seem like enough time to get the full effect of this world wonder, then consider staying at the Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel. This is currently the only hotel operated by the lagoon and there are only 15 rooms in the hotel so it’s necessary to make reservations as early as possible. Another larger hotel is expected to open in 2017, but for now the Silica Hotel is the only option.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

The lobby area of the hotel

The hotel's private lagoon

The hotel’s private lagoon

 

The Silica Hotel is very nice, clean, and comes with its own private lagoon that is only available to guests of the hotel. Unfortunately, there is not an access lift or entry ramp at the hotel’s private lagoon so I wasn’t able to get in it. Luckily though, the main Blue Lagoon is within walking distance of the hotel. It’s about 1 kilometer away and there is a graveled path that leads straight to the Blue Lagoon. The graveled path is a bit rough for wheelchairs, but it’s doable for powered chairs. I chose to just roll from the hotel to the Blue Lagoon on the main paved road though. There isn’t much traffic and I felt pretty safe by doing this, but use caution if you decide to do this. It’s also worth noting that if you stay at the Silica Hotel, you get free access to the Blue Lagoon.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

My sister and I heading over to the Blue Lagoon from the hotel.

DSCN0889

 

The Blue Lagoon Silica Hotel does have an accessible room, complete with a roll-in shower, a shower chair, and grab bars. There is also a veranda, where you can take in spectacular views of the surrounding lava fields. Another perk that comes with the hotel is complimentary breakfast. Breakfast includes fruit, cheese, pastries, Skyr yogurt (yum!) and more. There was a good selection and it made for a great start to the day.

 

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

My room

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

The bathroom

Check out that view!!

Check out that view!!

blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland blue lagoon wheelchair accessible iceland

About 90% of visitors to Iceland go to the Blue Lagoon at some point during their stay, and it’s obvious why. This place is remarkable and completely unlike anything else that I’ve done. Accessibility is fantastic and these geothermal waters should be at the top of anyone’s bucket list. If you’re looking for a relaxing and exceptional experience, start planning your visit to Iceland’s magical Blue Lagoon.

 

*A Note from Curb Free with Cory Lee: This post includes affiliate links. When you click on a link, I may receive a small compensation, which will help this blog grow into a better resource for disabled travelers.