Knowing we were booked into the Blue Lagoon Iceland to give us a warm welcome, it’s fair to say the excitement of our trip started way before we’d even checked in at the airport.
And as our plane soared over the rugged, grey landscape before landing in Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik, I couldn’t believe how stunning the island looked from above. The icy blue Atlantic ocean lapped against towering black cliffs of harsh jagged stone, crashing into the shore. The black ground was peppered with yellowing shrubs clinging onto whatever rays of sunshine fell on them.
Dramatic it was, and after a last-minute booking saw us pack our bags in record time, I hadn’t really had the time to think much about our plans in the breathtaking country we were calling home for the weekend.
Iceland? In December?
We knew it would be cold, dark for most of the day, and more than likely drizzly. But rather than a sky shrouded in cloud and snow, we were lucky enough to see the sun beaming down across the frozen wilderness, covering the land with its weak golden glow before retreating below the horizon, leaving a pink sky to fade to black.
We landed in Reykjavik at around 4pm on Friday, just enough time to see daylight. Or dusk, really.
Most visitors heading on their jollies will pick up the Flybus at the airport. These coaches, complete with comfy seats, loos and most importantly WiFi, shuttle passengers from terminal to hotel in around 45 minutes. But, for those who want to start their holiday in style (like us) we took up the Blue Lagoon‘s tempting invitation to visit the thermal hot spring spa to relax and unwind.
Adventures at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland
For those unaware, Iceland is a volcanic island, the land of ice and fire. It’s the reason why the ground is as black as ash, and also why steaming hot water bubbles up from the ground creating dramatic landscapes. And while there are too many local bathing pools dug from the cold earth to count, the Blue Lagoon has turned a quick dash from snow to steam into something a lot more relaxing.
Entering the car park is where the excitement builds. Crunching snow underfoot, we saw immense pillars of clouds billowing from the rocks just beyond. While most lagoons have natural beginnings, though, this one is man-made and designed for all.
With excitement building, we gathered our suitcases and luggage from the bus and followed the path to our luggage drop off. Costing £1.50(ish) per bag, we unpacked our swimwear and walked into the Lagoon’s centre.
It was bustling with tour groups, local travellers, and couples like us looking for something romantic to pass the time. After being called forward, we handed over details of our booking.
How to get an upgrade at the Blue Lagoon
We had opted for the standard package, which is purely just access to the lagoon. But, in the spirit of treating ourselves (and considering we’d totally neglected to bring towels), opted to pay the €30 difference and upgrade to premium.
As well as access to Lava, the rather pricey but stunning on-site restaurant, the Premium package at the Blue Lagoon includes a robe, slippers and towel, beauty kit and a drink – soft or boozy – each.
With robes ready and our high tech wristbands firmly attached, we scanned them through the barriers and dashed to the changing rooms. The women’s changing room featured lots of full-frontal nudity so getting into the Arctic spirit, I bared all and stripped off, packed away my clothes, had a shower before loading my hair with conditioner, got swimsuit ready and wrapped up warm, and headed through the doors to the lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon at night, under the black sky
By this time, it was pitch black outside and extremely cold. I was ever-so grateful for my robe and slippers, as getting into the pool requires a brave dash on ice-cold wooden decking before stepping down into the milky water.
But oh how incredible a feeling! The water isn’t deep by any means – perhaps 2-3ft max – and ranges from bath warm to scalding. As we crept over the boulders hidden beneath the eerie cloudy water, we followed ribbons of hot water as they moved across the lagoon. The lagoon also has clay buckets full of clay which provides a great DIY facial treatment – though sensitive and dry skins should be wary about leaving it on too long.
Stars shined above and with the steam rising to meet them it was an awe-inspiring sight. The power of nature is incredible, and while sitting on a boulder to cool down in the freezing air, I couldn’t help feel so appreciative of life at that moment.
Strange, isn’t it?
After simmering for a good few hours, it was time to leave. Dashing across the freezing cold wooden decking for the last time, we gathered our frosted robes and rushed to the sanctuary of the hot showers.
Our booking included a reservation at Lava, but with a massive event going on – it seemed a few local companies had festive parties planned – we stayed for a bit to enjoy the scenery and left soon after. The buffet food looked incredible, though, and it was a shame we couldn’t stay for longer.
All in all, the Blue Lagoon is a great introduction to Iceland, and something we’d definitely recommend every traveller try. Yes, it’s extremely built up, and no it’s not as natural as some might like. But for expert service, luxurious surroundings, and a literal warm welcome, it can’t be beat.
As we arrived at the Lagoon late in the day, I decided to not risk the camera being dropped into the silica-infused water, and so all images are courtesy of Shutterstock. The Blue Lagoon provided comped entry to the lagoon in return for, as always, an impartial review. We paid for all other expenses, including drinks, upgrades and gifts.