One of Iceland’s well-visited attractions is the Blue Lagoon. A by-product of a nearby geothermal power plant called Svartsengi, the lagoon is a pool and spa complex that is worth taking a trip to and a dip in.
About a 40-minute drive from Reykjavik, this outdoor lagoon is in the middle of a lava field and recognized for its bluish and milky-white water. It is quite warm and contains minerals such as silica that are believed to help in treating certain skin ailments like psoriasis. Silica, which is white in color, is found in different sections of the lagoon, and you can dig it up with your hands and lather it on your face or body. Think of it as a mud mask.
Way before going in the water and even before heading to the changing room area, your visit to the Blue Lagoon starts by purchasing a towel and a special blue wristband that closes your locker. Robes can also be rented separately.
Once you’re set there, head to men or women’s changing room areas to get into your swimsuit and put your stuff in an available locker. On the ladies’ side, this area is quite big (there are lower and upper levels) and you might have to walk around a bit to find an empty locker. After three tries, I found one, slipped into my swimsuit and closed my locker by raising my wristband against a wall panel.
Going in or coming out, you will be passing by shower stalls and sharing open changing areas with countless other visitors, so don’t get nervous or uncomfortable if you see a lot of skin. It’s like being at the local gym. Once you’re ready, grab your towel and head down to the lagoon.
It’s a blissful scene here. Being in the warm water (maybe around 86 F/32 C in temperature) and looking out at the surrounding mountains and up at the clear blue sky is quite surreal. The lagoon’s waters are pretty clean as they get renewed every 40 hours. It’s not that deep either.
Areas close to the edge of the lagoon are quite shallow, so be a bit careful. I was in a hurry to get next to one of these spots so that a nice lady could take my picture and I smacked the side of my leg hard against a mound. Oh well. Just more time to spend in the water to help my sore muscles.
Around the lagoon, there are also bridges and an outdoor bar where you can swim up to and order drinks. I didn’t get any but I heard for payment you just flash your wristband and your drink is put on your tab. Instead, I floated along and chatted with other visitors.
Back indoors, there are two dining options. A cafe has sandwiches, salads, chips and drinks and a restaurant offers more upscale choices. At the gift shop, you can buy skin care products made with minerals from the sea waters but they can be a bit pricey.
If you don’t have a car, you can get to the Blue Lagoon by bus from Keflavik International Airport, which is a 20-minute ride, and through tour operators. It’s nice option for those who have a layover that gives them enough time to head out the lagoon and back.
Interestingly, the lagoon is located where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet, so it’s actually set between two continents. Other than the lagoon though, there isn’t much else in this region to visit. However, the scenery is interesting. You will notice how the 2010 volcanic eruption has changed the look of this landscape and probably spot some Icelandic horses, too.