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Surrounded by the moon-like volcanic landscape of the Reykjanes peninsula of Iceland lies pools of inviting, steaming, milky blue water. Read more...
Slather the mineral-rich silica mud on your skin and soak your cares away in the naturally hot water against a backdrop that it’s strangely… lunar.
The Blue Lagoon is without a doubt the single most popular tourist attraction in Iceland, attracting over 200,000 visitors a year. Complete with onsite spa, offering massages and treatments, a sauna and steam room, plus cafes and fantastic shops it's easy to see why.
There are plenty of guides out there offering how-tos for this unique attraction, but here are some things you may not know about the Blue Lagoon:
It’s actually artificial
The Blue Lagoon was formed in 1976 during the operation of the nearby geothermal power plant. While many people assume it's a natural phenomena, it's actually the result of run-off from the power plant. Sea water is heated and then filtered as it passes through the lava (lava!). The run-off water, which is mineral-rich and great for the skin, has a temperature of 70C but bathing is restricted to the pools where it’s closer to a bearable 40C. It may sound toxic, but it's quite the contrary! The unique water and silica mud it contains is great for the skin. Even those with psoriasis and eczema noticed a huge improvement in their condition, and now offer free admission for psoriasis patients. They’ve since released skin care products based on this natural perk too.
It’s not in Reykjavik
The majority of Iceland’s population live in the capital but the Blue Lagoon is actually a good 45 minute drive from the city. It is, however, closer to the airport so it’s the perfect place to cap off your trip. It will save you time and money to visit on route to Reykjavik straight after you arrive, or before your departing flight. Shuttle companies offer a timetable to fit in with flights, taking you from the city to the Lagoon with ample soaking time before departing for the airport. They even look after your luggage. Admission isn’t always included in the price so best to check before you book.
You have to get naked first.
It’s not uncommon for hotels and spas to require that you to shower BEFORE getting in pool, but the Blue Lagoon also ask that you shower naked first, to help protect the natural balance of whatever microscopic life is going on in there and retain the pristine experience for others. But don’t worry, there are plenty of stalls for the shy.
It wrecks havoc with your hair
Ladies, the Lagoon will destroy your hair. You’re advised against (/really not allowed to be) putting your head under the water anyway, but do your best to keep your hair out of the silica-rich water. After your (naked) pre-pool shower, coat your hair with conditioner and pin up. Then wash and condition and couple of times post-soak. It’s your best bet to protect your locks.
They’ve thought of everything
Forgot toiletries? Their changing rooms have a supply. Need extra conditioner? There’s plenty to go around. Forgot to bring a plastic bag for your wet bathing suit? They’ve got that covered too. Didn’t pack a towel? You can hire one. Where will you keep you locker key while you bathe? Their keys live bracelet-style on your wrist.
Now go and enjoy your stress-free Blue Lagoon experience!