Iceland might have the world’s best spa

  • blue lagoon iceland
    NICE-LAND: Wouldn’t you rather be here right now?


I love to travel, but lately, all I want to do is go to Iceland, again and again. Honestly, the Icelandic travel bureau should have me on retainer, because I wiggle that island into every conversation possible. Oh, you’re eating licorice — did you know that Icelanders like theirs salty? Say, you’re into music — have you ever gone to Iceland Airwaves? Did you know that the Icelandic horse (not a pony!) has its own unique walk, the tölt? Or that around a third of Icelanders believe that elves exist? Já, it’s all true! (Did you know that já is pronounced “yow” and it’s now how I tend to answer in the affirmative?)

A beefy Icelandic dude named Einar or Bjarni or Magnús will give you a massage.

And were you aware that the country’s biggest visitor attraction is the opposite of a tourist trap? The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located between the airport and Reykjavík. It’s essentially a giant man-made lagoon in the middle of a lava field, and its milky blue waters are piped in from a nearby geothermal energy plant. The water is rich with with silica, algae, and sulfur — all of which are excellent for skin. (When I’ve been in Iceland, my complexion starts looking better after a few days; I credit their water’s high sulfur levels, which are good for treating acne.)

If you go to the Blue Lagoon, you can lollygag in the waters (they’re blissfully warm and silky) and you can pay a little extra for an in-water massage. Basically, a beefy Icelandic dude named Einar or Bjarni or Magnús will shimmy you onto a foam raft and give you a massage while you float. And then, after smearing your face with the silica mud on offer, you can eat at Lava, the surprisingly vegetarian-friendly restaurant on site. And then, if you like, you can stay at the adjacent clinic-hotel, which has its own private lagoon if you want to avoid bigger groups.

None of this is cheap, but it’s been years since I’ve been, and look at me: I am still proselytizing about the place. Worth it.

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