Six Hours in Iceland (Dec. 20)

This winter break I decided to spend 3 weeks in Europe visiting my AFS friends for Christmas and New Years and just doing some traveling. I flew with Icelandair, and my flight had a scheduled layover in Iceland for 7 hours. After doing some research, I decided I’d spend my layover doing something fun and hopefully seeing a little bit of Iceland, so I decided to visit the Blue Lagoon, a famous geothermal hot spring conveniently only 20 min from Keflavik International Airport. Before going, I pre-reserved my entrance ticket and airport transfers online; however, I hadn’t considered three things.

First, I was really worried because I checked the weather before leaving, and it was supposed to be snowing all day. Luckily though, by the time I left the airport, the snow miraculously stopped, and the weather, although cold, was perfect.

Second, I completely forgot that Iceland, being so far north, only receives 4 hours of sunlight a day during the winter. Today’s sunrise was predicted for 11:22 am, and I’d be arriving at the Lagoon well before. It was, in fact, pitch black as we drove along to the lagoon, but to my surprise, it didn’t hinder my experience at all. I got to watch the sunrise and it was much less crowded.

Lastly, my flight was delayed leaving New York by almost 2 hours. Since, I pre-reserved my entrance time and airport transfers, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to enter the lagoon at all. But both Reykjavik Excursions (who arranged the airport transfers) and the Blue Lagoon were very accommodating and had no problem at all letting me jump on the next transfer and enter the lagoon, which I really appreciated.

My experience at the Lagoon was amazing. The facilities by themselves are very nice, and it feels basically like a spa. I opted for the cheapest option (standard), so I brought my own towel, but others got robes and towels provided for an additional cost. The lagoon has indoor and outdoor entrances, which is nice, saunas, a swim-up bar (I tried the Icelandic Gull beer), a waterfall, and a face mask bar (the silica mud mask is included in the entrance fee). The water was absolutely beautiful and the whole scene was honestly break taking. The steam rises from the top of the water, which gives it a really cool effect, and the milky light blue water contrasts with the black volcanic rocks surrounding it. And the temperature is perfect. After swimming around for an hour-ish, I took a shower and redid my makeup and hair in the locker rooms (which felt great after a long flight) and hopped back on the bus to go to the airport and catch my flight to Copenhagen. By this point, the sun had finally risen and I could actually see what we were driving by, giving me a glimpse of Iceland’s awesome scenery. I was blown away, just from my short visit and I definitely want to go back! I was a little worried about missing my flight, but it took literally 5 min (not exaggerating) to get through airport security and get to my gate. So all in all, it was a layover well spent! Iceland is crazy cool!

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