Floating in The Secret Lagoon
Floating leisurely in Icelandic swimming pools is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the new and trendy floating cap.
Every town in Iceland has its own communal swimming pool and come rain, hail or blizzard, this is where many of us go on a daily basis to exercise, gossip, talk politics or flirt ruthlessly. Visiting the local swimming pool is something you must try during your vacation in Iceland.
There's now a new trend emerging in the Icelandic swimming pools as floating leisurely belly up, is becoming increasingly popular. And it could be just the right remedy for the overworked and the overstressed.
This latest trend can be attributed to one person, product designer Unnur Valdís Kristjánsdóttir. Unnur Valdís's graduation project from Iceland Academy of the Arts in 2011 was a foam-filled cap, a water therapy product, designed specifically to be used for floating about, in total relaxation and oblivion
Floating has amazing therapeutic effects on the body. While floating, your mind and body reaches a state of deep relaxation and your whole body chemistry changes. The practice (which hopefully will become more than just a passing trend) started about a year ago when early one Sunday morning a group of people got together to float in the Seltjarnarnes swimming pool. Calming music played from loudspeakers placed below the surface of the water while people floated about. The experience was an instant hit and by now, most of the swimming pools in and around Reykjavik, offer special floating sessions.
The Secret Lagoon
Recently we were introduced to a hidden gem in the countryside, The Secret Lagoon at Fludir. Fludir is a small village just over an hour's drive from Reykjavik, not too far from Gullfoss and Geysir on the popular Golden Circle route. Fludir is well known in Iceland for its robust geothermal activity, countless greenhouses and as one of the country's most popular locations for summerhouses. It is also the place where most of Iceland's mushrooms are grown and it's where you can find the country's oldest swimming pool. And that's where we went.
The Hvammslaug swimming pool was built in 1891 and up until 1947 it was where the local children were taught to swim. The swimming pool fell into oblivion when a new fancy swimming pool was opened at Fludir and until recently, we didn't even know it existed at all. Over the past couple of years the old pool has been lovingly renovated and reopened by a local farmer and now The Secret Lagoon aka Hvammslaug is becoming a popular location for floating sessions.
We took off from Reykjavík with Aurora Floating Tours one dark January night to visit The Secret Lagoon to experience floating with the Float Cap for the very first time. After driving for over an hour in a thick fog, we turned off Road no. 1 onto a bumpy road leading us down to The Secret Lagoon.
The lagoon is in a beautiful environment, surrounded with large slabs of stone and a wooden path that circles around most of the lagoon. At the far end of the pool are the ruins of the old steam bath and behind them a lone tree, set against the sky. In the dark, with the steam rising from the hot water all around, it was both eerie and extremely picturesque.
After tentatively easing ourselves into the water and putting on the Float Cap and leg straps, we fell back into the comfortable 38-40°C heat of the lagoon, our bodies totally weightless in the clear warm water and instantly every single one of our muscles relaxed. Underwater loudspeakers played the hypnotic music of Sigur Rós which added an extra piece of magic to the whole experience.
The feeling you get while floating is breathtaking but you can get a bit disorientated. As the wind blew wisps of clouds along the sky we felt like the stars or ourselves were moving at super speed and the clouds perfectly still. While floating each of us felt totally alone in the world, surrounded by total darkness and silence except for the hypnotic tunes of Sigur Rós rising up from the bottom of the pool.
After a luxurious hour in the warm water we felt energized and rejuvenated. Floating gives you a wonderful sense of freedom. It's absolutely the perfect way to reach deep relaxation and inner equilibrium. Floating outdoors during the winter, watching the stars and even the northern lights dancing across the sky, or during the summer in the midnight sun, is an unforgettable experience we highly recommend.
Try this unique tour to The Secret Lagoon when you visit Iceland. WOW air offers cheap flights to Iceland from USA, Canada, UK and Ireland all year round.
Did you know that floating for an hour at a time is said to equal 4 hours of sleep!
Find out more about floating in Iceland:
Text: Gerdur Hardardottir
Photos: Gunnar Svanberg and WOW air