No wonder Reykjavík is named ‘The Smoky Bay’ – hot water is abundant.
The Blue Lagoon famously began as a place visited by man seeking alternative treatment for his psoriasis, in the run-off water of a geothermal power plant, rich with silica. In Iceland’s former life as an obscure tourist destination, growth took forever in today’s terms. Just as it took developers a long time to discover that people were hungry for more luxury baths around Reykjavík.
Here are three top choices for a luxury bath relaxation in an inspiring environment nearby Reykjavík.
The Sky Lagoon
Before the opening of Sky Lagoon in 2021, the tip of Kársnes Peninsula was a suburban industrial site. Hard to believe today. The carefully designed property inspires feelings of joy and relaxation right from the start.
The 75-meter infinity pool offers a view across the Kópa Bay toward the President's residence at Bessastaðir.
The experience is designed for relaxation and socializing. The lagoon has a swim-up bar and a lively vibe, at least around busy evening hours. The relaxing spa therapy, sold extra as The Ritual, takes place inside the warmth of a turf house. The seven-step treatment plays with the senses, from hot sauna to cold mist, carefully guided.
Hvammsvík Hot Springs
The Hvammsvík Hot Springs is the boutique option among baths. The style is country rustic, down to the detail of the shower knob, creating an intimate connection to natural surroundings.
Eight multi-temperature baths merge with the shoreline of the quiet ‘Whale Fjord’. Swimming in the sea is part of the fun, if not the therapy, and water levels at the pool closest to shore fluctuate with the tide.
Attached to the black-barrack property is the bistro, praised for its superb seafood soup.
Note the art work: the bar-hanging knots are by Shoplifter and 'Cars in River' by Ólafur Elíasson on the wall opposite the reception. Both belong to the collection of Icelandic entrepreneur Skúli Mogensen who opened the 'nature resort' in 2022 on his family property.
The Blue Lagoon
The architects of Iceland’s spa experience. The Blue Lagoon has for decades been Iceland’s most visited destination, situated in a lava field midway between Reykjavík and Keflavík Airport.
Silica gives the water its milky blue-green color, which eventually precipitates as white mud on the lagoon's floor. Studies have shown that the lagoon's white silica-rich mud helps skin conditions, including psoriasis.
The lagoon is vast in size, with quiet pockets despite the crowds. For a more exclusive access, the Retreat Spa offers an immersive experience, lasting hours or days.
The Blue Lagoon company is a leading investor in other luxury baths around Iceland and a pioneer of wellness tourism, beyond its watery borders.