Must-See Monday: Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Tripper Philip Thurner, a UK-born, New England raised blogger and photographer currently traveling around Europe takes us on a relaxing escape to Iceland's Blue Lagoon.

There are a lot must-sees strewn across the world, from ancient ruins to magnificent modern skyscrapers, but about 40 min outside of Reykjavik, Iceland the Blue Lagoon stimulates more than just your sense of sight. Yes, it captures your eyes with its steaming blue geothermal waters, but unlike the ancient ruins of Rome, when you take the plunge into the invigorating warm waters of the Blue Lagoon you realize you've entered the St. Peter's Basilica of body care.

Getting to the Blue Lagoon from the capitol city is easy enough on a bus from Reykjavik. However, if you're planning on an extended tour of the island country I'd recommend renting a car because the roads are plentiful and the people on them are not. Iceland only has around 320,000 people and about two-thirds of them live in Reykjavik.

Upon your arrival at the Blue Lagoon you'll recognize it's geothermal background by the dark volcanic rock lining the area. The steamy water in the lagoon is “geothermal brine" piped in from the area. If you're worried about potentially dirty water with all the people waddling around in it each day, let your fears subside. All of the 1.5 million gallons of water is renewed every 40 hours.

Once you get into the complex you pick out a locker, take a pre-shower and head into the massive lagoon. The air might be cold but the water is refreshingly warm. The water is only about a meter and a half deep so to keep yourself warm and under the waters protection you may have to bend your knees a bit and do the lagoon walk. It's kind of like a legs only crab walk. It may feel silly but everyone's doing it so no need to fret.

The Lagoon is well known for its supposed health benefits and the active ingredients in the geothermal seawater are minerals, silica and algae. A silica mud lines the base of the Lagoon, squishing between your toes in many areas. The mud in the crates on the edge of the lagoon is used as a cleansing face wash while you whisk yourself around the Lagoon. If you want to take a seat for a little you can find a nice ledge on the pool walls (try and find the mini grotto!) or try out the dry or wet saunas readily available. If your more into a massage of some sort and would prefer not to pay for a real (and probably incredibly relaxing) massage, my personal favorite feature in the lagoon was the massaging waterfall.

After a hard day of relaxing, there are many refreshments available either at the Lagoon-side bar, restaurant, or couple of laid-back cafés. They also have places to just sit and relax inside the complex. You can't go wrong anywhere you go around the lagoon, inside or out, because you'll have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains in almost all locations.

Finally, I'd recommend being careful with what you plan after visiting the Blue Lagoon. Try not to plan anything too upbeat for the rest of day because the extent of relaxation for your body and mind is actually a bit exhausting. Just make it a full day of relaxing or, if you'd like, you can take a bus straight from the Blue Lagoon to the airport and feel more relaxed than you ever have on an international flight. Most of all, it's wonderful taking in the natural beauty and relaxation at the must-see and must-feel Blue Lagoon of Iceland.

Thank you to Philip for the photos and tips! View more of Philip's photos on his blog, WalkaboutPhil. Connect with him via his Tripping profile, and if you are a travel writer, join him in the Tripping Travel Writers Network.