Today was the day I flaunted my American tourist in me. Excitement was at its peak as we drove past moss covered volcano rocks and steam. We traveled 45 minutes into the country, away from the city, to have the rare opportunity to soak in the infamous Blue Lagoon, one of the 25 wonders of the world. The Blue Lagoon (Icelandic: Bláa Lónið) is a geothermal spa and one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The spa is located in a lava field in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland.
The system at the Blue Lagoon was the about the same at Sundhöllin Public Baths. You head into the locker rooms, strip down, shower, and head to the water. Iceland has a very strict code of hygiene so its mandatory for swimmers and guests to shower before bathing. Luckily at the Blue Lagoon though, there was a prep pool with an outside tunnel entrance inside the locker room building to warm you up before facing the freezing outside temperatures. Mini caves, free mud silica facials and waterfalls were being swarmed by tourists from every corner of the globe.
The murky, blueish warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur. The bottom of the lagoon though, is rough and filled with volcano rock gravel. Bathing in the Blue Lagoon is world renowned to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 99–102 °F (37–39 °C). Another interesting thing about the Blue Lagoon is that it also operates as a research and development facility to help find cures for other skin ailments using the mineral-rich water.
One thing that was extremely disappointing in learning the history of the site is that it is a completely man-made site. The lagoon, caves, waterfalls, and nearby sites are not natural, taking away the awe and wonder of the site. It is fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days. Superheated water is vented from the ground near a lava flow and used to run turbines that generate electricity. After going through the turbines, the steam and hot water passes through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system. Then the water is fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal users to bathe in.
Although it is an extremely touristy thing to do, it is a must-do. Drinks are available in semi-submerged bars located throughout the lagoon as you float by. Stepping out from a refreshing soak after a long week of non-stop activity, my body is renewed.
Sadly we could not bring in our phones or camera while in the water. But the memories will forever be remembered! Check out the pictures from today!