01 Jul Visiting Iceland’s Wondrous Blue Lagoon
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I feel like bathing in a lava pool filled with runoff from a geothermal power plant”? No? Well you probably should. The Blue Lagoon is just this–it definitely sounds strange, but it is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland and for good reason. The geothermal runoff I mentioned above is actually not as scary as it sounds; it comes from the nearby geothermal power plant which uses the countries geothermal energy to produce heat power. The water from this process is clean and is filtered into the lagoon, thus creating the heated water which is perfect to relax in. Since the lagoon is located between the airport and Reykjavik, it is an ideal stop to make when arriving or departing from Iceland, and it happens to be a sure cure for jet lag after a long overnight flight.
The Blue Lagoon is a place I have dreamt about visiting for what seems like forever, so I was beyond excited when Inga from Tiny Iceland invited us to join her on her visit to the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon was kind enough to provide us with complementary entrance to the lagoon and a delicious lunch, while Micah and I splurged and booked appointments for in-water massages. We had a great time at the lagoon despite the horribly windy day that was upon us.
Arriving at the Blue Lagoon had us feeling like we just landed on the moon. The massive amounts of lava surrounding the entire area leads to such a unique atmosphere. The actual lagoon is a short walk from the parking lot to the entrance, and when you arrive you are greeted with a beautiful, modern glass building. After paying for admission, you get your wristband, which is also your locker key and “credit card” for any food or drink you would like to purchase throughout your visit. The wristbands are super convenient because you don’t have to carry a key or money around with you, and everything is charged to your account at a swipe of your wrist. If you decide to rent a towel or robe, you will get this before entering the locker rooms as well. Tip: if you book a massage or one of the entrance packages, the robe and towel are provided to you at no extra charge.
The design of the Blue Lagoon is really slick; the Scandinavian style is super modern and clean and the locker rooms were no exception. There are a few closed-door changing areas and shower stalls for us modesty loving folks, but if you get to the lagoon early, there aren’t many people around anyways. Also, if you even think about submerging your head into the water, make sure you load your hair up with conditioner and tie it back. Seriously, try not to touch your hair to the water if you can help it, because while good for your skin, the silica destroys your hair. I loaded on the conditioner in the shower both before and after, and my hair was an awful wiry texture the rest of the day because it got wet during the massage. Thankfully, it was mostly back to normal the next day, so if you take proper precautions, you should be fine. After changing and showering it was time to finally get in the water.
We were at the lagoon on a cold and windy day, so we had to give ourselves a little pep talk before running outside and hanging up our robes on the hooks near the water. Thankfully, the chilling wind gave our bodies a jump-start and the warm water felt that much better. Once in the pool, we made a quick lap around the lagoon to explore and then stopped to give ourselves masks with the silica mud found in buckets throughout the pool. The mask is a special white geothermal silica mud, and it is great for your skin. The sulphur and silica minerals in the water are said to have healing powers for skin ailments such as psoriasis, and it also makes your skin feel super soft and look years younger.
There is also a steaming hot waterfall that you can stand under for a free massage, and let me tell you, the water pounding on your back and neck feels amazing after being stuck sleeping crooked on an overnight flight. If you like saunas you are in luck–there is a steam room and a sauna and both are intense. Upon entering the steam room, you are immediately hit with what feels like a brick of heavy heat, but it felt great. We only lasted inside for about 5-10 minutes and decided to skip the dry sauna for more soaking in the lagoon.
At one point, there was a trumpet player serenading the swimmers on the side of the lagoon, and since he was playing a few well known songs, everyone watching decided to chime in and sing along. I’m not sure what lead to this impromptu concert and singalong, but it made for a surreal dreamlike experience while standing in the steaming lava pool.
After exploring the nooks and crannies of the lagoon, it was finally time for our massages. Inga made a beeline over to the in-water bar for some beer while she waited for Micah and I to finish our massages. The 30 minute massages we purchased were a splurge for us at 55 euros each, but it was well worth it. There are many other spa treatments offered as well, so if you are a spa junkie, this is a great place to get your fix. Being massaged from every angle while floating on a mat in warm mineral water was beyond amazing. On cold days they cover you with a warm blanket and dip you under every so often just to keep you nice and toasty. After the massage, I remember thinking that the experience was so relaxing I felt like I was floating–and then immediately started laughing because I remembered we literally were floating.
Next, it was time for lunch, so we showered, freshened up, and made our way to Lava, the lagoon’s restaurant. There is also a cafe if you are looking for a more casual quick lunch, but do note that it is perfectly acceptable to dine in the restaurant while wearing your robe. Lava offers both a buffet and a menu, but we decided to go with the buffet so we could sample a variety of the foods that were offered. There were many foods to choose from–sushi, fish, salads, lamb, turkey, vegetables and so much more.
We went back for seconds and dessert because we couldn’t fit everything on one plate! It was a delicious meal, and I would have to say my favorites were the sushi and fish, and of course the desserts. There were two types of dessert, and I had to try one of each, you know, for research reasons, and I’m glad I did, because they were both scrumptious. There was a carrot cake with cream cheese and Icelandic Skyr. Skyr is a perfect dessert in my opinion as it is not too sweet, not to tangy, but the perfect balance between the two.
Before heading out, we made a stop at the observation deck which gives you a nice overlook of the entire lagoon and facilities. Oh, and I have to mention, we even had an elf following us around and playing tricks on us the whole day–more on that later! The lagoon was a perfect introduction to Iceland and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit!