I giggled nervously as we drove up to the complex. “This is going to be the best most bizarre thing we have ever done,” I said to my boyfriend/the designated driver.
We were half way between Reykjavik and the airport, in a land that I could have sworn was Mars. We’d left the highway and were heading straight for a large geothermal plant in the shadow of a volcano (or mountain? I’m not quite sure!). To the side of the factory, in a mist of white smoke, was a glittery turquoise lagoon, and we were about to bathe in it.
The temperature reading on the car dashboard said 7 degrees, outside in the wind it felt like minus 7. And I was supposed to be taking my clothes off and having a swim?!
My boyfriend/driver, who had clearly done his research, was attempting to explain to me how the Blue Lagoon was a natural by-product of the neighbouring factory, which was utilizing the area’s geothermal energy. He assured me we were not about to bathe in some kind of nuclear pond and come out with 3 eyes like an episode of the Simpsons I had once seen. Still, it felt odd.
I felt more assured when we entered the Blue Lagoon building, which looked much like a high-end spa. We rented bathrobes and towels and these were handed to us along with our wristbands, which were to become our locker keys and bar tab. The changing facilities were large, clean and most importantly warm. I wrapped up in my bathrobe and gingerly made my way towards the door to the lagoon, dodging a lot of naked (and fairly hairy) bodies on my way. After the changing rooms comes a relaxation area with indoor pool, sun loungers and café facilities for people like me who are afraid of the cold. The main attraction waited outside the doors however, so after regrouping with the boy, we braced ourselves and stepped outside.
And guess what, it was fine. I’m not sure how but the area waterside was not nearly as cold as the car park had been. Before I had time to think otherwise I hung up my robe and plunged in.
Sigh. The Blue Lagoon water temperature is on average 37 to 39 degrees; in other words – perfect. Looking around at all the colours – black rock, white steam, blue sky and the magnificent turquoise water, left me utterly speechless. I’ve never experienced a bath like it.
It’s easy to spend hours taking in this place. There’s a bar in the water serving everything from beer to ice cream, a masseuse who works her way around the pool offering outdoor treatments, tubs of silica mud (which makes a refreshing and hilarious face mask), a massaging waterfall, steam and sauna rooms, a café, a restaurant, a viewing platform. Everything has been very well thought out.
My top tips would be to head to the steamy bits on the far side of the lagoon for the hottest water (a little sulphury smelling but nothing too off-putting.) Look out for free Wi-Fi in the main café and better food than you will find at the airport. And also make a trip up to the viewing platform for an aerial view of the place.
I had read that the Lagoon water was bad for your hair so I kept mine piled high whilst in the water. However when I got a bit over zealous with the face masking I ended up using the water to wash out my hairline. Panicking I later scrubbed my hair with the provided algae products in the changing room showers and this seemed to work. I haven’t noticed any difference anyway.
The wristbands are genius. You touch them to the locker you have selected and they magically lock or unlock it. A number flashes up on the lock screen to remind you which one you are in. If you order anything at the poolside bars you swipe your wristband and it gets added to your tab. Then finally when you go to leave, you swipe your wristbands on the exit turnstile, and providing you have nothing left to pay, a small window opens for you to pop it in. The screen comes back down, the turnstile opens and you are free to go. Very clever.
The exit back to the car park is cleverly via the gift shop. If you do want to take back some of the refreshing natural products from the area the Blue Lagoon shop has everything you could imagine – just don’t forget to put it in your hold luggage before getting to the airport.
Bathing in the Blue Lagoon was a strange experience, but a highly enjoyable one I will never forget.
Standard entry to the Blue Lagoon including use of a towel costs €35. Bath robe rental is €9. For more information visit their website.