The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is without doubt one of Iceland's most famous attractions. And deservedly so.
It is convenient that there is hardly a better way to freshen up after a flight, or to de-stress before one. And it just happens to be a lava rock's throw from Keflavík International Airport.
The silky turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland spring up improbably in the wideness of a moon-like lavascape that could justifiably be called the middle of nowhere. Only clouds of steam and the silver columns of the neighbouring geothermal power station announce the fact that you have stumbled upon the place.
There is nothing more natural than the waters of the Blue Lagoon, even though it was all trapped underground before the geothermal plant unwittingly released it. So the lagoon is essentially a manmade accident; but the bathing water is pure nature.
Many, many years ago it used to be seawater, before getting trapped two kilometres underground, under massive heat and pressure, being infused with minerals seemingly tailor made to make human bathers happy in body and soul (and soft, beautiful skin, of course).
Now it bursts above the surface, deathly hot, to drive electricity turbines at the Svartsengi power station; then it has much of its heat stolen in a heat exchanger, warming up fresh water which is then pumped to local homes and businesses; and finally it is ready for bathing safely in.
The minerals in the Blue Lagoon are actually the reason the place exists at all; because if the water didn't deposit sediment of fine white mud then the power station run off would never have clogged up the porous lava rocks enough to start accumulating on the surface. And now the mud is one of the Blue Lagoon's biggest draws: just slather it on your face, give it five minutes and feel your skin getting younger and smoother while you wait!
It's easy to stop at the Blue Lagoon en route to or from the airport and a lot of coach companies even build it into their schedules. Failing that, it is also just a short hop from Reykjavík and makes the perfect bad weather day trip – especially in the winter.
In addition to the water, the Blue Lagoon is also one of the most high-tech, high-luxury public buildings in Iceland and visitors feel pampered almost from the moment they turn up in the car park.
If you are wondering what the connection is between the Blue Lagoon spa and the alcoholic cocktail of the same name; well there isn't one really. Except of course that the blue lagoon is the Blue Lagoon's signature beverage and you can order and drink one from the lagoon bar without even getting out of the water. Mmmm.
One last thing while we've got you here: Blue Lagoon in Icelandic is Bláa Lónið. If you're driving there yourself this is surprisingly important to know, because the spa only really advertises itself to tourists in English; but the road sign telling you where to turn off is stubbornly only in Icelandic. So be warned!