I never appreciated the contrast between hot and cold until I jumped in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon during a blizzard. The temperature contrast awakened my senses and took my breath away like nothing else. Here’s why you should go experience it for yourself…
Why You Should Visit The Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik
The best way to do the Blue Lagoon is at the beginning or end of your trip to Iceland as it is located close to Keflavik airport. We were on a whirlwind 24 hour trip so having arrived in Reykavik the night before and gone on a Northern Lights boat trip, we planned to squeeze in a visit before flying on to New York.
We were there the Friday of the winter solstice week and with just four hours of daylight, the locals seemed keen to party away their nocturnal blues. Revellers made merry throughout the night outside our Loft hostel window but we didn’t really mind, it just added to the excitement.
After a quick breakfast, we were picked up by a Reykjavik Excursions minibus again at 8:30am. It was still dark and all the locals seemed to be asleep, it was like a wintry ghost town! It was great that we would get to be at the Blue Lagoon during daylight hours but bizarrely it meant we never actually saw Reykjavik during the daytime!
It took 45 minutes including a change at the bus terminal, and by the time we arrived the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Arctic winds battered us as we alighted from the coach, making my eyes water whenever I faced the icy gusts. The rain was piercing and I was breathless from the sheer coldness of the white cloud that enveloped us.
We ran inside to the bag drop off station before heading back out to the path that led to the Lagoon. The path crossed the brow of a hill and took less than five minutes to walk over, but in that time we were well and truly soaked and buffeted. Thankfully, the entrance was in a lovely modern facility that also houses the changing rooms and a restaurant. It reminded me a bit of the geothermal pools at Franz Josef in New Zealand.
You are given an electronic wristband on entry which allows purchases of drinks in the Lagoon. The changing rooms are lush and you get a decent sized locker. It’s important to shower before entering the lagoon and not wear deodorant etc. Girls may want to pre-condition their hair too due to the effect the minerals in the lagoon will have on hair.
Boardies in a Blizzard
I chilled in the indoor bit of the pool – to get outside you have to wade over through the warm waters to a heavy door and heave it open against the weight of the water and wind on the other side. Jodes didn’t realise this as she exited the changing rooms and instead went straight for another door that you walk out of without getting in beforehand. I followed and as such we both emerged in boardies and a bikini into a blizzard, without any of the benefit of being half submerged in warm water. I can’t remember ever feeling more ridiculous than standing there in flimsy boardshorts as snow, sleet and icy gales battered every part of me. We ran in and were immediately grateful of the warmth around our bodies, sinking in up to our necks. Of course, 20% of heat is lost through one’s head and our heads were well and truly still exposed to the elements so the contrast I mentioned earlier was enough to wake me up to say the least! I tried to dip my frozen ears in by tilting my head back and eventually just dunked my head under – to hell with it being bad for my hair.
To begin with, it was still dark across the Blue Lagoon, which gave the place a gloomy, moody tone. The exhilaration of being so hot and cold simultaneously had us initially squealing and laughing, but the lagoon was still quite empty. The steam billowing across the rugged, silent rocks made it feel like we were the last people left alive, the only other noise being from the winds sweeping across the lagoon.
Gradually the sun rose and the lagoon filled up with more tourists. We shuffled between the various warmer patches and shivered through the cooler ones, playing with the GoPro, exploring waterfalls and caves and wiping our faces with the Blue Lagoon silica face masks that supposedly are super-good for one’s skin. When we took a break for the sauna and steam room, I lasted longer than I’ve ever lasted in one of them I think – that’s how cold I was to begin with!
Using my wristband, I bought us an expensive but gotta-be-done fruit smoothie each, which tasted great. I must say, I felt pretty healthy and alive from the whole experience.
After a while the cold became a bit too much so we went inside and got changed, giving us time to enjoy a gorgeous meal at the Lava restaurant. The three course meal from the Gourmet menu was faultless – sublime lamb and local fish, I’d highly recommend it.
Need to Know
If going in winter, it will be cold and you will only have four hours of daylight to play with
If going in summer, I’ve heard it gets super-packed
Don’t worry with a dressing gown or upgrade package, the basic one is more than adequate
Look after the wristband! You need it to pay for things and you’ll be fined for losing it
Luggage storage costs €3 but if you just have a rucksack it will fit in the locker for free
It takes 40 minutes to get there from Reykjavik; 20 mins from Keflavik airport
Booking through Reykjavik Excursions was 8,900ISK (about £45) including pickup 30 mins before departure time