The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of Iceland’s most visited attractions. The spa is located 24 miles out of Iceland’s capital Reykjavik, in a lava field in Grindavik.
The Blue Lagoon is a man made lagoon, established in 1976. The water in the bathing and swimming areas of the lagoon is very warm – 37ºC to 39ºC -and originates 2,000m below the surface, where freshwater and seawater combine at extreme temperatures. It is then harnessed at the geothermal power plant to create electricity and hot water for nearby communities, before being put through a heat exchanger and fed into the lagoon for recreational and medicinal use.
The water in the lagoon has three active ingredients – silica, algae and minerals such as sulphur. The lagoon’s blue colour comes from the silica reflecting sunlight, but can appear to be a hint of green in the summer, because of algae, which multiplies quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. Despite its appearance, the water is actually white and has a milky white appearance when poured into a transparent cup.
The lagoon is said to have medical properties, and can help those suffering with skin conditions, like psoriasis. The mineral content comes from underground geological layers, pushed up to the surface by hot water from the geothermal plant. The Blue Lagoon also conducts research to help find cures for a variety of skin ailments using the mineral rich water.
The Blue Lagoon spa offers a series of treatments that are second to none. The Silica mud mask is one of the spa’s most popular products and can be applied to both the face and body. The sauna and steam rooms are carved into the lava rock, and form a large part of the Blue Lagoon experience. The man made waterfall works wonders on sore shoulders and stiff muscles, and their relaxation area offers comfortable seating if you just want to take a moment and take in the incredible view.
If you are looking to make your trip to the Blue Lagoon more than just a day trip, then the Silica Hotel has to be the place to stay. The hotel is just a 10 minute walk from the lagoon and has its own private bathing lagoon available to guests everyday between 9am and 10pm. The hotel was built to perfectly match its surrounding landscape.
Iceland has very strict safety and hygiene codes, and as such, guests are required to shower before entering the baths. Children under the age of 9 are not allowed into the pool without armbands, which are freely provided, and children under the age of 2 are not allowed in at all.
The Blue Lagoon is currently going through a period of expansion, with construction ongoing until 2017 when a new luxury hotel will open.