The Blue Lagoon
A steaming pool of milky blue water in an unforgiving landscape of lava, the Blue Lagoon is among Iceland’s most attractive sights, and perhaps its most popular. At $60 per head, entrance is scandalously overpriced, but that doesn’t deter the crowds from pouring in. And it didn’t deter us.
Found near the international airport in Keflavík, the Blue Lagoon makes an easy stop for tourists on their way into or out of Iceland. Buses to the lagoon run frequently from both the airport and the capital, and if you’ve just landed, there’s no better way to acclimate yourself to Iceland’s high prices than to splash out $60 for a bath. It will make the other expenses during your vacation seem reasonable.
Before visiting, we suspected that we were going to hate the Blue Lagoon. And in fact, we did. Kind of. If the price was the first strike, the crowd was strike two. This place is just as popular as we’d heard, and it was impossible to entirely relax. And as much as I’d love to believe that all the hundreds of people sharing my water were perfectly hygienic and had meticulously washed before entering, let’s not kid ourselves.
But still, we kind of enjoyed the Blue Lagoon. The water is gorgeous with its milky blue tint, and feels marvelous on the skin. Full of silicate, it reportedly works dermatological wonders. The lagoon actually isn’t natural; in the 1970s, a nearby geothermal plant began leaking their surplus water into the barren landscape. Ever eager to hop into any sort of heated water, industrial accident or no, Icelanders soon discovered the lagoon’s therapeutic powers. And it wasn’t long until the resort was born.
The Blue Lagoon is big, so even though you’ll never fully escape the crowds, you can manage to find some quiet corners. The temperature is a comfortable 104°F (40°C), and there are patches where it gets even hotter. There are a couple saunas, massaging waterfalls, and buckets full of silica mud to slop on your face. A poolside bar serves reasonably priced drinks, and the heroic staff manages to keep the changing rooms clean.
We wouldn’t be making a return trip to the Blue Lagoon, but were happy to have done it once. Now that we’ve been, we can understand why it appears near the top of almost every tourist’s itinerary.
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