During my travels, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Icelanders, it’s that they truly know how to unwind. If partying in one of Reykjavik’s fashionable bars or clubs isn’t your scene, then perhaps soaking away the tension in a hot tub is.
Nearly every town in Iceland – no matter how small, or rural – has a heated public pool or jacuzzi. Reykjavik, the country’s capital, boasts an impressive seven. It is here amongst the warm water and rising steam that friends and family gather after work, in the evenings and at the weekend to socialize.
Whilst touring the south coast with Iceland Travel, I visited four different public baths of varying locations and sizes. An unlimited entry fee of 500 ISK (or just under $5 CAD) is fairly standard. For hygiene purposes, it is a requirement to shower naked prior to entering the pool; but don’t fear, I found this particular aspect more of an experience in confidence and empowerment rather than embarrassment. Besides, it’s worth it.
In Klaustur, a group of fellow travellers and I had the fortune of conversing with a young family whilst comfortably submerged in a 40°c hot tub. Curious, we asked how often they visited the local pools.
‘Oh, not too often…maybe three or four times a week‘.
As I watched the gentle snowstorm swirling above us in the nights sky, I thought to myself: I could get used to this.
The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions (alongside The Golden Circle) and it’s not hard to see why. This milky blue, geothermal paradise hidden amongst the lava fields is situated conveniently between Keflavik airport and Reykjavik, making it the ideal location for stopover tourists and short-term visitors.
Underfoot, the ground was a soft white silt. Rumored to have skin cleansing benefits, tubs of this same silt are found scattered around the lagoon for facial application. If that wasn’t enough, you can even enjoy a ice cold beer from the swim-up bar. Add a little light rain to the equation and I found myself in the perfect state of bliss.
The Blue Lagoon is not one to be missed, but then again, for the more adventurous, neither are the local pools. Whatever your preference, confidence level or style, it’s a warming cultural experience for all.
Relaxation – Iceland style.