The dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas

Your Guide to using Iceland Spa

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, vibrant culture, and, of course, its luxurious geothermal spas. A visit to an Icelandic spa is a must-do experience, offering relaxation, rejuvenation, and a unique connection to nature. Whether you’re planning to soak in the iconic Blue Lagoon or explore lesser-known gems, here are the essential dos and don’ts to ensure you have a blissful and memorable spa experience in Iceland.

The Dos

1. Do Shower Before Entering the Spa

One of the cardinal rules of Icelandic spas is to shower thoroughly before entering the pool or lagoon. This is not just a recommendation but a strict requirement to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of the geothermal waters.

Why It’s Importan


  • Hygiene: Icelanders take great pride in their pristine environments. Showering helps to keep the water clean for everyone.
  • Health: Proper hygiene prevents the spread of bacteria and ensures a safe bathing experience.

2. Do Respect the Quiet Atmosphere

Icelandic spas are places of tranquility and relaxation. While it’s natural to be excited and chatty, it’s important to respect the peaceful atmosphere.

Tips for Keeping Quiet

  • Lower Your Voice: Keep conversations at a low volume.
  • Phones on Silent: If you bring your phone, make sure it’s on silent mode.
  • Enjoy the Silence: Take this opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in the serene environment.

3. Do Hydrate Before and After

Spending time in geothermal waters can be dehydrating. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your spa visit to stay hydrated.

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Hydration Tips

  • Drink Water Regularly: Carry a water bottle and sip frequently.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol can increase dehydration, so it’s best to limit or avoid it during your spa visit.
  • Electrolytes: Consider drinking an electrolyte beverage to maintain your body’s balance.

4. Do Follow the Spa Rules and Guidelines

Each spa will have its own set of rules and guidelines. Take a moment to read and follow them to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Common Rules

  • No Diving: The pools are typically shallow, so diving is not allowed.
  • Shower Properly: Use soap and wash thoroughly before entering the water.
  • Respect Other Guests: Be mindful of other guests’ privacy and space.

5. Do Try the Local Spa Treatments

Icelandic spas often offer unique treatments that incorporate local ingredients like volcanic ash, algae, and mineral-rich mud. These treatments can enhance your spa experience and provide additional health benefits.

Must-Try Treatments

  • Silica Mud Mask: Found at the Blue Lagoon, this mask cleanses and revitalizes your skin.
  • Algae Wrap: Nourishes and hydrates your skin using the natural properties of Icelandic algae.
  • Volcanic Ash Scrub: Exfoliates and rejuvenates your skin with the minerals from volcanic ash.

The Don’ts

1. Don’t Skip the Shower

As emphasized earlier, skipping the pre-spa shower is a major faux pas. Ensure you clean thoroughly, including washing your hair, to maintain the water’s purity.

Consequences of Skipping

  • Unhygienic Conditions: It affects the cleanliness of the water.
  • Peer Disapproval: Icelanders take this rule seriously, and not following it can result in disapproving looks or even being asked to leave.
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2. Don’t Wear Regular Swimwear

The geothermal waters in Icelandic spas can be harsh on fabrics. Avoid wearing your best swimwear, as it might get damaged or discolored.

Swimwear Tips

  • Old or Dark-Colored Swimwear: Choose swimwear that you don’t mind getting ruined.
  • Rinse After Use: Rinse your swimwear thoroughly after soaking to minimize damage.

3. Don’t Stay in Too Long

While it’s tempting to stay in the warm waters indefinitely, it’s important to limit your time to avoid dehydration and overheating.

Recommended Duration

  • Intervals: Spend 15-20 minutes in the water, then take a break to cool down.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you start feeling lightheaded or overheated, take a break and hydrate.

4. Don’t Forget to Rinse Hair and Skin

The high mineral content in geothermal waters can leave residues on your skin and hair. Rinse thoroughly after your spa session to avoid any discomfort or irritation.

Post-Spa Care

  • Rinse Well: Use fresh water to rinse off all the minerals.
  • Condition Your Hair: Apply conditioner to prevent dryness and tangling.
  • Moisturize: Apply moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.

5. Don’t Ignore the Signs and Staff Instructions

Spa staff are there to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. Pay attention to any signs and instructions they provide.

Why It’s Important

  • Safety: Staff instructions are often related to safety and hygiene.
  • Respect: Following guidelines shows respect for the establishment and other guests.

Visiting an Icelandic spa is a serene and rejuvenating experience that should be on every traveler’s itinerary. By following these dos and don’ts, you can fully immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Iceland’s geothermal waters while respecting the local customs and ensuring a pleasant experience for all.