Almost no trip to Iceland is complete without a stop at the Blue Lagoon, and that’s unfortunate because the picturesque destination is the epitome of a tourist trap. We certainly understand its popularity. There are few places in world to experience submerging your body in milky, warm turquoise water in an extraterrestrial environment. Consequently, hundreds flock here daily for the costly experience, dropping $60 on the property’s cheapest day pass.
Unbeknownst to some visitors, there are several other geothermal spas throughout Iceland. And unlike the Blue Lagoon, these are far less crowded, expensive or cliché. The Secret Lagoon, located in the Golden Circle area, is one of these destinations. With a $24 entrance fee, visitors will find this location a bit more rustic, but far less crowded or trendy as it’s more popular rival. The water feels just as good, the sulfuric air smells just as bad, and the surrounding landscape, while not as breathtaking, retains its own charm thanks to rising steam and a little geyser that erupts every five minutes.
It’s also worth noting that The Secret Lagoon, known in Iceland as Gamla Laugin, is the country’s oldest public swimming pool. People have been coming here since 1891 to get their lounge on, and many visiting later in the year have had the chance to see the Northern Lights.
Having spent time in both locations, it’s clear which of these destinations is designed to milk tourists for money, and which is designed for everyday use by locals and tourists alike. If you’re the type that enjoys a more authentic vibe, The Secret Lagoon is a solid choice. If money is no issue for you, or you’re interested in maintaining a “cool” social media thread, The Blue Lagoon is absolutely worth a visit. Either way, you’re likely to have an experience not replicated in many other parts of the world.
The Secret Lagoon is located here: