We recently attended the bustling DesignMarch festival in Reykjavik, after which we visited the nearby Blue Lagoon. Entirely powered by clean geothermal energy, these hot milky waters located an hour's drive from the Icelandic capital. are currently undergoing an expansion phase. The site currently features an outdoor geothermal pool, a stone and glass restaurant and a spa-hotel buried in the volcanic rocks, but soon it will offer even more recreational opportunities.
Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is an oasis for relaxation surrounded by an otherworldly landscape of black volcanic rocks, fluffy green moss and bluish-white natural pools. The main lagoon was formed in 1976 during operations at the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and soon after people began to notice the great effects bathing in the water had on their skin.
The water originates 6,500 feet below the surface, where freshwater and seawater are combined at extreme temperatures. The waters are then harnessed via deep holes at the nearby geothermal plant providing electricity and hot water to the site and nearby communities.
The lagoon contains 9 million liters of self-cleansing water — renewing itself every 40 hours. Its unique color is created by silica (quartz), sodium and other minerals and maintains temperatures of anywhere from 98° to 104°F.
The complex, endowed with a The Blue Flag certification, also includes a Lava Restaurant built into a lava cliff and panoramic views of the lagoon. The restaurant serves contemporary dishes made from natural local ingredients and provides an unforgettable setting.
Just 10 minutes walk away is the Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel set in a remarkable lava landscape. The spa-hotel has first class facilities and offers 35 bright spacious rooms, including its own private bathing lagoon. A wonderful environment for healing and relaxation, the clinic also offers highly effective treatments for people suffering from psoriasis.
Ms. Sigridur Sigthorsdottir of Basalt Architects is the architect of all Blue Lagoon facilities. The low-impact development, which will continue at least until 2017, will expand the lagoon and include a Silica Mud Bar, new spaces for relaxation and a new luxury hotel powered by geothermal energy and designed for ecological balance, economic prosperity and social progress.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat