I recently had the incredible opportunity to travel to Reykjavik, Iceland for a ten hour layover before continuing on to the United Kingdom. This was an experience for the ages.
Icelandair has, apparently, been organizing this system for a while where you are able to purchase a plane ticket to your destination, with a layover in Iceland long enough for you to be able to tour their cities. This is a great tourism tactic as it means that people can travel to an exotic location without breaking the bank.
Nearly the entire community has taken advantage of this increase in tourism by making it as convenient as possible to travel between the airport and your destination. To add, everyone at the airport and any local you may encounter, knows what you are talking about and (in my experience) was more than happy to assist – don’t be an asshole, just be polite.
I don’t fly well; I get nauseous and often pass out. This has been an occurrence since I was a child and I have ways of dealing with it, but its a difficult feat. This flight with Icelandair, was one of the easiest and best flights I have ever been on. The space was clean, the staff was lovely, and unlike a lot of Western flights, the seats were not as close together nor as stiff which meant increased comfort. I wish I had known about these arrangements earlier. The only unfortunate thing is that there is no complimentary food; while this might change depending on the length of your flight, it would have been nice to have a little nibble over a five hour flight.
In an organized fashion, the tiny airport has delegated specific pick-up locations for specific destinations within the city, and this means your time is as efficient as possible.
I had never been to any Scandinavian countries before, and only having ten hours I knew I needed to research what I was going to do, and how much time everything was going to take. This is when I stumbled upon The Blue Lagoon; a hot spring and spa location surrounded by the serene view of snow and mountains.
They have a shuttle that goes to and from both main airports, as well as hotels and central city locations. This is the most efficient way to travel to and from the Lagoon as it is operated specifically for those who have a scheduled layover. I also preferred this to travelling into the city as it meant you could see the rural parts of the country en route.
Breathtaking. This is the only word that comes to mind. I have yet to experience anything like stepping off that bus and being so taken-aback by a scenery in my entire life. It knocked the wind out of me. There truly is beauty in simplicity and even the architecture of the buildings compliments the surrounding environment perfectly. Keep in mind that you have to purchase your ticket for the shuttle (both there and back) prior to your visit, as well as your ticket into The Blue Lagoon.
There are various packages which you can purchase prior to your visit, and while I just went for the basic entry + drink + facial, you are able to get others on the website. After having seen the place and experience all the benefits the water from the spring has to offer, I would absolutely recommend getting a higher-grade ticket. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wish I had taken full advantage of the entire destination.
With regard to the actual hotel and experience, it was worth every penny. Clean, unique, modern spaces that can only be classified as architecturally extraordinary. At first, the water feels scalding hot, and the air ice cold; but as time goes on and you submerge into the water, your body relaxes and you begin floating to serenity.
It feels like regular water, but after exiting, you realize your skin is severely dehydrated and the water leaves a very particular film of salt and minerals. Not pleasant in the moment, but several weeks later I am still reaping the benefits. They have truly excelled in all that is required of an institution when they are a tourist spot in high demand; the staff are knowledgeable and helpful and there are maps everywhere guiding you towards other attractions in the spa. The facial provided was the perfect touch to the day. It permanently repaired my skin; I don’t know how, I don’t know why… but it did.
All flowery language aside, from start to finish this trip was an incredible experience; people are nice, places are safe and clean, and you are paying less (overall) to be in a part of the world that people only dream of.
Honestly, I could write another 5000 words on how wonderful The Blue Lagoon is, but I feel the only thing that will truly speak to its wonder is travelling there yourself. Swimming around with a drink in my hand (that was also free with entry), and really taking in a wonder of the world, is an experience I couldn’t ever imagine I would have, and no matter the cost, was priceless.