Prior to visiting, there was one image of Iceland that stood at the forefront of my mind—the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. Quite frankly, when we initially started discussing a trip to Iceland, it was all I knew of the country. It’s probably one of the most circulated images of Iceland and for good reason, it’s stunning. The Blue Lagoon is a short drive from Reykjavik (about 45 minutes) and even closer to the airport. A lot of visitors take a dip as a pit-stop to and from the Keflavik airport. While that’s a great option, we wanted a full day (I’m talking 8 hours) to soak in the mysterious alabaster waters.
Even though it was a short drive from our apartment in Reykjavik, we decided to get out of the city for a night and stayed at the Blue Lagoon Hotel and Clinic. The Clinic is one of two hotels in close proximity to the Blue Lagoon. We chose to stay there because unlike the other hotel in the area, it has a private lagoon. During the day it’s reserved for patients but at night it’s open to guests (which meant more time for soaking!). We are usually go-go-go on all of our trips, so the idea of sitting in a lovely warm bath all day was welcomed. On this particular trip, it was also needed. The night before our journey to the Blue Lagoon Bryan spent the night hooked-up to a breathing machine in the Landspítali emergency room. A run-in with some foreign fish resulted in a severe allergic reaction and a night of penicillin shots in the bum. As one might guess, he was ready to take it easy.
As we approached the Blue Lagoon, it looked as if we were entering some kind of Sci-Fi movie set. Lava fields surrounded us for miles and steam puffed into the sky as the hum of water heaters whispered in the breeze. There were two things I was slightly curious about upon entering the lagoon; the cleanliness of the water given the number of people that visit every day and showering next to strangers in my birthday suit. The water is in fact very clean. It’s renewed every two days through the Svartsengi geothermal power plant and everyone is required to shower before taking a dip. As for scrub-a-dub-dubbing next to strangers, for those who are more on the conservative side, there are private shower stalls.
The water in the Blue Lagoon is nice and warm, around 98 degrees Fahrenheit and even toastier is certain areas. The contrast of the warm water and the cool air is exhilarating. Scattered around the lagoon are wooden boxes full of silica mud that you can lather on your face and body. There’s also a nice little swim-up bar that serves beer, champagne, juices and smoothies. We literally spent the entire day rotating ourselves from the lagoon to the sauna to beaching ourselves under a warm waterfall. It was delightful. When our skin could wrinkle no more, we retired to our hotel rooms. The Blue Lagoon Hotel and Clinic is very modern and clean. It does have more of a clinic feel to it—there isn’t a restaurant or bar or anything like that. It is however, very relaxing.
Outside our hotel room window a sea of lava rock separated us from the rest of the world. It was like we were staying in a biodome on Mars and at any moment a little alien creature would pop-up from between the rocks. Secretly, I suppose I was hoping to see an elf rather than an alien. Surely some have taken advantage of all that lava rock real estate?
We had dinner at the LAVA Restaurant back at the Blue Lagoon—a very sheik yet relaxed place. Some people were dressed in after 5 attire, while others touted their lagoon bathrobes. The food was a bit pricey but overall very nice. The evening was spent in a relaxing state of comatose, gliding around the Clinic lagoon, once again covering ourselves in silica, while gazing up at thousands upon thousands of stars that filled the clear Iceland night sky.