The West

Calm in Iceland s Blue Lagoon
Calm in Iceland's Blue Lagoon

My head is stuck in cotton wool clouds and my body in robin egg blue water.

Outside the air temperature is below zero, but the warm mist rising from the geothermal waters is keeping me cosy.

This has to be one of the most pleasant experiences you can have within 20 minutes of stepping off an international flight.

The Blue Lagoon is located only 40 minutes from Iceland's capital Reykjavik and under half an hour from the island's international airport.

I left London three hours ago as an uptight city dweller and within minutes of emerging from the small airport and spotting this landscape of black lava fields and moss-covered rocks I instantly felt calm.

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's main tourist attractions and around 400,000 visitors flock here every year.

The majority of the spa's patrons are made up of locals, Europeans and North Americans (Iceland is just under five hours' flying time from New York).

For Australians it's an extremely long haul - but if you can visit, you must - you can't possibly regret it. Plus, Iceland is cheaper than ever.

Once an outrageously expensive destination, after the devaluation of the krona following the country's 2008 financial crisis, travelling around this stunning and unique island is now a lot more affordable.

And this Nordic European country would appeal to just about every style of traveller.

For the adventurous there are glaciers, geysers, the Northern Lights, waterfalls and volcanoes.

Culture fiends will discover a country with a capital city that is energetic and home to artists, musicians, writers and designers (Reykjavik plays host to around 30 festivals annually that focus on everything from the Icelandic horse to cutting-edge theatre).

Meanwhile, foodies will discover restaurants in the laid-back capital that are slowly grabbing the attention of the culinary world.

And besides - what traveller couldn't enjoy floating around in a giant therapeutic lagoon in 39 degrees Celsius water moments after stepping off a plane?

The entire Blue Lagoon complex is an impressive structure. The main building is a tribute to Scandinavian sleekness - there are floor-to-ceiling doors that open onto large wooden decks and the use of raw materials, such as lava and concrete, create a perfect modern structure.

Besides the lagoon, there's a sauna, two steam rooms (one is a cave-like structure built from lava rocks), a waterfall that provides an energising back massage, a relaxation area with reclining chairs, a restaurant, indoor and outdoor bar and a boutique that sells everything from beauty products to souvenirs.

When you enter the spa you are given a bracelet, which acts as your locker key and device that can be used to charge food and drinks.

There are separate men and women's change rooms, which contain everything from an arsenal of hair dryers to bottles of moisturiser. If you've forgotten your swimmers or suddenly decide you don't like yours you can rent a pair.

In the lagoon the floor is as soft as velvet, thanks to the pure white silica mud, which you can pick up and use to cleanse and exfoliate your skin.

For over 20 years, psoriasis and eczema sufferers have been coming to the Blue Lagoon, due to its proven health benefits. Today, psoriasis sufferers can visit the spa's skin care clinic for treatment.

In the steamy fog I make my way to the outdoor bar, passing about three bathers along the way that do not emerge from the haze until they are right next to me.

At the bar I find an unusual menu and try a Blue Lagoon cocktail followed by an energy shot - a refreshing vitamin injection for soul and body.

That night as I hop into bed at the divine Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel, a five-minute walk from the main building, I'm surprised by how good my skin looks. It's glowing and feels soft and hydrated.

Tomorrow, I'm due to travel around the countryside for a week but lying back on the bed I start to re-plan my schedule - I need to find some time for another visit to the Blue Lagoon.

My face will thank me for it.

IF YOU GO: GETTING THERE: Two Icelandic airlines operate direct flights to and from London (3hrs). Try Icelandair ( <a rel="nofollow" href=""> </a>) and Iceland Express ( <a rel="nofollow" href=""> </a>).

The Blue Lagoon is located only a 20 minute drive from Keflavik International Airport and 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik city centre.

VISITING THERE: The Blue Lagoon is open from 10am-8pm from September to May and for longer hours over the summer months from June to August. Entrance fee is 35 euros ($A45) for adults, 15 euros for teenagers, and 13 year-olds or younger are free.

STAYING THERE: The Blue Lagoon Clinic Hotel offers accommodation for non-treatment guests. It's located within a five minute walking distance from the Blue Lagoon and features 15 modernly designed twin rooms. Single rooms from 140 euros per night, double rooms from 180 euros, including breakfast and entrance to Blue Lagoon.

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30-05-12 1417

The West Australian

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