The water is a rare, beautiful powder blue- so spectacular that it deserves it's own crayon color. It glows with a magical hue, steam rising up as its warmth greets the chilly air that hits its surface.
The pools are vast and have a natural clay bottom that you can pick up with your toes and then smear on your face. Yes, you read that right: the clay that everyone walks on is the same magic clay you scoop up and spread on your skin. Whether or not it provides a good facial, you'll feel brilliant as you lounge with your head upon the rocks of nature's most beautiful spa.
Watch the steam billow up from the earth while wearing a white volcanic ash mask and sitting in 104F water. Admission is ~$20.
Three days in iceland. Doesn't sound like much time? I'm here to convince you otherwise. We experienced glacier hiking, ice climbing, waterfalls, volcanos, Icelandic horses, snow-capped mountains, lava fields, Vikings, Viking beer, relaxing in the Blue Lagoon, geysers, a park where continental rifts are pulling away from each other and home to the oldest continuously-operating parliament (since 930AD), runterting til 6am, Icelandic hot dogs and all of this accomplished under endless summer days.
Bláa lónið, or Blue Lagoon, is an otherworldly oasis formed by the runoff from a geothermic power plant, just 45 minutes from Reykjavik. The 100-degree water, rich in minerals like silica and sulphur, bubbles up through the lava rock, and the silica silt clouds the water, and forms a silky, brilliant white mud that coats the sharp lava surface with a thick, smooth covering that looks and feels like bathtub caulk. Looking around, I saw people scooping up handfuls of this snowy white gunk and smearing it all over their skin. (That mud, as it turns out, is renowned for its purifying and healing properties. There is even a skin clinic at Blue Lagoon, where sufferers of psoriasis, in particular, find relief.) When in Rome, or in this case Reykjavik.... So, I slathered the milky muck all over myself and just floated on my back in the hot, velvety brew, letting the heat unknot my muscles, until the mud dried to chalk on my face. I didn’t ever want to get out of that powder blue water, but when I eventually did, my skin really was glowing and soft as a baby chick.
While your actual experience in the pool won't be exactly like the photo above - it's pretty darn representative of how I felt about my experience there - FANTASTIC! This photo is taken outside the complex where you can walk around these gorgeous pools and view the pretty colors without any people in them. If you're at all into photographing pretty things, it's a must do either before or after your visit.
One of the best ways to arrive on the rocky shores is by traditional sailboats. You can catch a tour from the capital city of Valletta and enjoy some sun and sea before returning to the city's vibrant night life.
The entire experience at the Blue Lagoon was wonderful. We arrived at opening time, so there were no buses or long lines. The locker rooms were devoid of guests, so my shy 13 year old did not have to be shocked at what she envisioned adults look like disrobed. She was amazed that there were curtains on some of the shower stalls and even enclosed dressing rooms for those who like a bit of privacy. Imagine that!
Going early and avoiding the rush gave us at least 30 minutes of fun-filled bonding time. We painted each other’s faces with the silica mud, splashed around and laughed hysterically as we snapped photos of our mud-cracked faces. As the tourist trickled in we brought our behavior down a little, relaxed in the warm water, chatted about those online rumors and eventually adapted to our environment.
The Blue Lagoon is a fabulous stop for travelers of all ages.
My mission was to try three Icelandic meats: shark, horse, and whale. We went to a restaurant in Reykjavik and I asked for the shark meat. The waitress gave me a look, as if questioning my sanity. A few moments later, she brought out Hákarl.
"It's disgusting," she warned me.
I took the small block of fermented shark and quickly put it in my mouth. I bit down once. Suddenly, a feeling of nausea overcame me. I wanted to immediately regurgitate it. My mother-in-law saw the look in my face.
"Just take it out," she said.
I shook my head in defiance. I was here to try a new dish and, by golly, I would. I bit down again. The second bite was worse than the first. My body was rejecting this morsel, which made sense. There has to be a defense mechanism against taking in ammonia. Needless to say, my shark meat wasn't swallowed and the tasting was a flop.
The horse meat went much better. A local in Akureyri invited us to his home and he made horse stew. While the taste of the horse was a little gamy, the seasonings in the stew made the meal delicious.
We come now to my final tasting. After a rejuvenating day in the Blue Lagoon, we went to its restaurant, called Lava. Whale sashimi caught my attention on the menu and I ordered it. It was really fresh because the taste was neutral. With some ginger, wasabi, and wine, it went down well, unlike the shark.
The morning was cold, snow covering the ground, and only patches of gnarled black lava rock broke the blanket of white. Walking up a long brick walkway the spa isn't visible right away & it feels a little alien to be there in the hushed morning hours.
Cresting a low hill the contemporary glass façade comes into view & you enter into the bustling interior which feels anything but relaxing as you are ushered through the check in, given a towel & directed to the locker room to shower before entering the lagoon.
Donning our swim suits we made our way to the stairs that led into the warm mineral laden waters inside a glass atrium, & from there we paddled outside. The milky turquoise water is dense with minerals & the bottom is a silky, silt-like texture (which will temporarily tarnish your silver jewelry). Boxes of silica are placed around the perimeter for the purpose of smearing on your face as a mask. You can choose to get a shoulder massage under the pounding waterfall or relax in the wet or dry sauna in addition to the lagoon itself.
The water will make your hair feel a bit dry so when showering afterward a quick wash may be a good idea.
This was absolutely a well spent couple of hours before boarding an airplane!
You want to know why? Cause it's awesome. I don't know if it's a fountain of youth or not but it's warm, it's blue, they serve cocktails and all the algae mask you can slather on. For someone who prefers to travel off the beaten path, this is a path I'll be beating down again.
Tip: get the deluxe pkg which includes lunch (but not the private room). It's a good deal and good food. But buy your product on the plane, it's cheaper for some reason.
Its so surreal to be floating around in hot milky blue water with a banana smoothie and facemask. We had a great time and floated a round for hours.
I followed advice from other ladies and tried NOT to get my hair wet, as the silica in the water makes it feel a little like straw for a few days.
Despite being a bit of a money pit, you can avoid extra costs by bringing your own towel and robe, shelling out a mere €35 compared to €50+ for the inclusion of a beverage and a mask. Instead, swim over to a silica stations while in the lagoon and resist the urge to drink.
I was lucky to make it for sunrise, which made for an excellent post-flight refresher and a rather breathtaking arrival in Iceland.
During the three times we went for a dip, there were no more than 4 other people in the pool, which made the experience that much more enjoyable.
I found my skin to be extremely smooth after. I have to mention one thing I learned the hard way. Be sure to use the shampoo and conditioner provided in the changer rooms. My hair was full of knots and hard to brush for the next few days.
Overall it was an amazing experience, I highly recommend staying at the Blue Lagoon hotel if for nothing else but to enjoy the Blue Lagoon without the crowds.
Most airlines consider January the off-season and don't fly to Iceland then... appropriately, the staff prefer this month best: when there are less people, the sun sets at 5 over the water, and then the northern lights put on a show.