Journey to Iceland Reveals a Different Kind of ‘Blue Lagoon’

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A lonely life guard stands watch over the steaming seascape of Iceland’s ‘Blue Lagoon.’

There are two “must-do’s” in Iceland.

The first is the Nordic Lights. The weather hasn't cooperated on this one, but fortunately it hasn’t interfered with the other main attraction: the Blue Lagoon.

Just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik, and only 20 minutes from the airport, Icelanders have sorted a fantastically efficient way to hit the Lagoon for a relaxing soak before your flight out.

The Flybus airport shuttle departs regularly from downtown Reykjavik, stopping at the Blue Lagoon, and operates continuing service to the airport. There’s a wood shed to store luggage, locker rooms, and great shower facilities and there's no better way to unwind before the stress of traveling sinks in.

photo 4Nothing anyone says can prepare you for the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Lagoon. My taxi driver must have heard the deep intake of breath, and exclamation, “Wow” a million times before. On the approach, one is treated to the gorgeous bright blue water sparkling against a white, iced lining, before the contrasting black volcanic rock.

I head up a narrow walkway into the vast complex where I’m presented with a choice of options ranging from a day pass, to one with a bathrobe, spa treatments, and so on.

Plastic bracelets are dispensed with an electronic chip which, with a simple swipe, acts as a credit card for food and drink. But the thing to consume here is the great big lagoon. It’s sort of like bathing with hundreds of strangers, but somehow more fun that it sounds.

People wade in slowly, white-faced from the silica mud mask available in wooden boxes around the edges of the lagoon. I only have about an hour to spend here, and yet it feels like the better part of an afternoon. This is one of those experiences, much like taking a camel ride through the Sahara Desert, where I sit back, look around, and realize how lucky I am.

And yet, despite being surrounded by tourists, it doesn’t feel over-touristy.

I hit the showers, return my bracelet, and board the Flybus to the airport. All as simple as it sounds, though beware of busy Sunday afternoons. If you’re cutting your time tight, a long queue to pay for bracelet purchases could trip you up. And the mask must have worked, because as I greet a colleague at the airport, all she can do is tell me how radiant and relaxed I look. Must be the Blue Lagoon.

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