If you thought Akureyri was exciting, you’re in for a real treat with all the travels in and around Reykjavik.
Reykjavik is the gem of Iceland. It is stunning in all aspects. So absolutely stunning. It is what I pictured it to be – green lush landscapes, waterfalls and streams, mountain roads that stretch on forever, rocks and springs.
Our ship docked at the port at around 3 in the afternoon. The boat was going to be docked overnight, too, so we had another full day ahead of us in Reykjavik. So first, we did what we always did: walk around the city centre. We weren’t booked on any excursions for Day 1 so everything was pretty relaxed. We called the shots and we went where we wanted to go.
Right when we got off the ship, we boarded a shuttle bus that would drop us off right in front of the famous Reykjavik concert hall. Known as Harpa, it is a concert and conference hall right by the water. What’s so special about this building, asides from all the different events that are ongoing, is the architecture. On the outside, the building has a very distinctive coloured glass façade. The architecture was inspired by the dark, volcanic rock of Iceland and wanted the exterior architecture of Harpa to reflect the landscape of its home.
We took a few pictures, marveled at the stunning design, and went on our way.
We walked to the Reykjavik City Hall, where a very handy tourist station is set up. Here, you can grab some maps and tourist pamphlets and you can talk to a couple people who work there to get more information on the best places to check out.
You can’t go to Reykjavik without visiting the church that you see on every single Icelandic postcard, so it’s there we went!
Hallgrímskirkja is another Lutheran parish church, similar to the one we went to in Akureyri. It stands at a height of 74.5 metres, making it the largest church in Iceland and one of the tallest structures in all of Iceland. It’s one of the city’s best-known landscapes and it’s visible throughout the city. The architecture designed it to represent the trap rocks, mountains, and glaciers of Iceland’s landscape.
As you can see with Hallgrímskirkja and Harpa, Iceland is all about nature and all things natural. That’s what makes it so special. It remains pure.
After we snapped some pictures, we were ready for what we were excited about this whole time: our long awaited trip to the Blue Lagoon.
Because we hadn’t booked the Blue Lagoon tour with the Azamara company, we had to book it on the Blue Lagoon website ourselves. If you are looking to secure a place, make sure you book at least a month in advance! There’s a limited number of spots for the specific time slot you might want, so the earlier the better, as with anything when traveling.
We booked the Premium package, which comes with a few more amenities than the Standard or Comfort package. You also get a fast pass during check-in, so if you’re tight on time, this is the way to go. Premium includes:
- Regular entrance to the Blue Lagoon
- Silica Mud Mask
- Use of Bathrobe
- Use of Towel
- Slippers (which you can keep at the end for a souvenir)
- A free drink at the café or at the Lagoon Bar
- Algae Mask
Looking back, going with Premium was definitely the right choice if you’re looking for a more laid back and relaxing experience. It also saves you a lot of unnecessary hassle that you would have to go through if you booked the Standard or Comfort package. With Premium, you don’t need to bring your own slippers or towel. And if you’re traveling with just a backpack for the day, that’s a lot of space you save. Although it is a little more expensive, a visit to the Blue Lagoon is nearly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A little splurging for this is worth it, hands down.
Since we weren’t booked on the tour, we had to find our own way to the Lagoon, which is about an hour’s drive away from the city centre of Reykjavik. Luckily, there are buses that go straight from the city bus station to the Blue Lagoon, and back. A godsend, right?
We walked from Hallgrímskirkja to the DBI bus terminal, which is about a 15 to 20-minute walk.
We saw some cute, little, picturesque Icelandic streets and homes on the way there. Just another way to prove why we enjoy taking our time and choosing our feet over wheels sometimes.
At the DBI bus terminal, you can purchase return tickets for the trip to the Lagoon. A bus leaves for the Lagoon from DBI every hour and coming back from the lagoon, there’s also a bus at the main entrance every hour. Coming back, if there aren’t too many people on board, they can often drop you off where you want, whether it’s the downtown core, the boat terminal, your hotel, and more.
Tickets were a little pricey, but after all, it was tourist season in the beautiful country. All the tourists that were flocking to Iceland from all over the world were jacking up the prices and we couldn’t really complain. What was important was that the coach bus had minimal passengers, was very spacious and comfortable, and even had Wi-Fi on board!
Driving to the Blue Lagoon was one of the most memorable parts of my entire trip. It was one of the best glimpses you could get of the Icelandic landscape. For miles and miles, we drove on the one road that goes around all of Iceland. To our left was just mountainous rock. To our right was the same. Rocks, protruding from the ground at all angles, were all around us. Bare rocks, volcanic rocks, black or red rocks, rocks with moss on them. It’s that rocky terrain that Iceland is so well-known for. Plug in your earphones, put on a good playlist and just look out the window. It can’t get much better than an hour of that.
And then we were there!
When you first get there, your first job is to check in. At check in, you show them your tickets/reservation and in return, they give you your wrist bands. The wrist bands are the most important part of your stay at the Lagoon, and you get a different colour wrist band depending on what package you purchased. You use the wrist band to make any purchases once you’ve entered, you use it to open and close your lockers, and you use it to get in and out of the Lagoon. It’s one thing you absolutely can’t lose.
So once we were all checked in and ready, we headed to the change rooms, put on our swimsuits, took a quick shower (they recommend washing your hair with their conditioner because the silica in the Lagoon tends to leave your hair very dry) and waded into the water!
A couple fun facts about the Lagoon:
- The lava field surrounding the lagoon is 800 years old
- There are 6 million liters of geothermal seawater in the pool
- Silica is the prime ingredient in the seawater, which is what leaves your skin feeling so smooth!
- The average temperature of the water is 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius
Once you’re in the water, you only have to do one thing: Relax. Seriously. That’s why I don’t have too many pictures.
Grab a drink from the bar, apply your silica mud mask from the in-water silica bar, find a comfortable spot, and just lounge in the water.
You can also sit in the sauna for a bit, or get an in-water massage if you have the time. (It might be an additional fee)
That’s all you do at the Blue Lagoon. It is a “tourist attraction” because it’s one of Iceland’s most popular locations, but really, it’s a spa. Relax, rewind, and rejuvenate.
We spent about 2 to 3 hours in the water, which is honestly more than enough time in my opinion. There’s a lot of space to wade but they’re all relatively similar. There is one place that does have wooden benches you can sit on in the water, which makes for a great relaxing spot.
We came out with brighter and smoother skin and an even brighter smile. It felt like we were glowing for a bit.
We boarded the bus and headed right back to the ship. We got into bed, skin and minds still radiating, and we closed our eyes, excited for another exciting day in Reykjavik.
We were booked on a full-day tour for the renowned Golden Circle, so it was going to be a busy day tomorrow.
But we were ready. And we were excited.
Stay tuned for this next post if you haven’t gotten enough of Iceland yet! (And let’s be honest, who has ever gotten enough of Iceland?)