The Blue Lagoon + Downtown Reykjavík
(My initial thought was, "Am I in heaven?" My next thought was, "If I were, I would happily stay here forever.")
THE BLUE LAGOON
My friend Megan and I booked the Blue Lagoon for 8AM -- the earliest they start letting people in -- so we could catch the sunrise at 11AM. When booking, they give you 1-hour time slots, but you can stay however long you want after arrival.
Even though it was initially still dark when we arrived, the Blue Lagoon has lights so it is still possible to see and enjoy the geothermal spa. The earlier you go the better, since there are less people. (Apologies in advance for the grainy photos as I had to lighten them up a lot before sunrise).
As the day went on, more people showed up.
(Taken around 9:45AM)
Despite the steam and hot geothermal waters (~100°F), it is still freezing outside in February (~37°F) so I would strongly suggest wiping yourself off with a towel and drying off inside before taking photos in your bathing suit outside. As someone born and raised in California, I lasted about 5 minutes outside before I frantically ran in the water so I wouldn't get hypothermia!
The Blue Lagoon offers two face masks: The Algae Mask (slightly green), and the thicker Silica Mud Mask (the one that makes you look like you don't know how to put on sunscreen). After leaving them on for 5-10 minutes, you can wash them off in the water and it leaves your skin super soft.
Some areas are naturally warmer than others, so Megan and I would find a really warm spot and relax there, enjoying the healing properties of the water, as well as enjoying our cold drinks from the bar.
A Few Tips when visiting the Blue Lagoon:
You can take photos, but they are not responsible for any water damage. Many people had waterproof phone cases or GoPros for this occasion. Since we did not, we put our phones in a plastic ziplock bag and took photos that way.
Bring sunglasses and wear sunscreen. When the sun comes out, it will reflect on the water, so save yourself sunburn and eye-damage by taking these pre-cautions!
You MUST shower before entering the pool and once you come out. They provide complimentary body wash and conditioner, so condition your hair and leave it in during your time in the spa, and try not to get your hair wet. The minerals in the water will make your hair stiff, so the conditioner is to help prevent that from happening (your hair will also be extra silky too)!
Iceland's weather is very finicky (it started raining a little while we were here!), so try not to set your expectations too high for a sunrise or sunset during your visit. To say the least, we got VERY LUCKY with the weather. Even if the clouds covered the sunrise, I would still say this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will never forget.
The Blue Lagoon was such a surreal experience that we ended up staying there for 7 hours before heading back! Did we come out prune-y? Yes. Was it all worth it? Yes. We ended up going back to downtown Reykjavík at 4PM.
(A surreal sunrise at the Blue Lagoon)
After getting back, I decided to explore downtown Reykjavík and the docks.
I stumbled upon Tjörnin lake during sunset, and the birds here aren't shy to come up to you for food. In the distance, you could see them standing on the frozen parts of the lake as well, and I took a few moments to enjoy the scenery.
ICELAND (FOOD) FINDS
I stumbled upon this hot dog vendor on accident not even realizing how famous it was (thanks Bill Clinton), but it was BEYOND delicious. The sweet mustard, ketchup, and crunchy onions really hit the spot, and it was very cheap for a meal compared to the rest of the food in Iceland!
I got the apple flavored yogurt before my flight back, and despite this unique ingredient, it was the best yogurt I've ever had. If you love a rich, smooth and creamy yogurt that's not too sweet, this one is for you. I only wish they had this (and apple flavor) in the states!
ICELANDIC DARK RYE BREAD (Rugbrauð)
Unlike rye bread back at home, rugbrauð is sweet and very dense. It can be eaten with any meal, and is traditionally prepared by cooking the dough in wooden casks near geothermal springs.
Although I didn't see the northern lights like we planned due to the weather, I'll be coming back in the future for sure. Click here if you would like to see the first half of my trip in Iceland.
Until next time!