True Travels: Blue Lagoon

I was 23 when I visited Iceland over the summer, and had never been treated to a proper spa day in my life. I used all of my spending money for clothes growing up, so spas and massages seemed a little far out of my high-school and college budget. I'm also a pretty private person, so the idea of a total stranger giving me a full-body rubdown has always been on my list of things to try and avoid.

Turns out, when you hit the right spa, none of that matters.

I want to give a huge thank you to Blue Lagoon Iceland for welcoming me as their guest on my first spa day ever. I'm a few months removed, and can still say I'll never forget it. Read on for the in-depth experience!

Between the above photos of me and my masseur Jóri, it's clear there's something in the water that makes your skin glow...and that something is the reason millions of people pack the steamy waters year after year. The 6-million liter pools are chock full of natural minerals, silica, and algae, a dynamite combo that softens and revitalizes skin. If you don't know what to expect when you arrive, let me tell you: it'll be dozens of ghost-white people slathered in white silica mud. Slightly shocking if you don't know what's going on.

The exclusive lounge for spa guests adds another layer to the relaxing atmosphere of the Lagoon. I never saw another soul, and it was like I had the whole place to myself...strawberries, chocolates, and espresso included. It was the perfect precursor to the beyond-total relaxation that I was moments away from. I was signed up for the silica salt glow massage and was a little nervous due to my inexperience, but once I was settled in the steamy, geothermal waters of the private spa area, my nerves quite literally melted away.

This massage is the coolest thing I have ever experienced. I was flat on a massage bed a few inches underwater with a thick, hot, wet towel draped over me to keep out the drafts. One limb at a time, Jóri slathered on the silica salt, rinsed it off, and put me back under the towel. After floating on my massage table in the pool for awhile, the actual massaging happened, and at this point I was so relaxed I was barely conscious of what was going on. No kidding—relaxing to me usually means watching an entire season of a series on Netflix with a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and even that sounded too active for me at the time. You know those moments when you're trying to sleep or relax and you long for your mind to just be empty? That happened. It was just as magical as you want to believe.

In addition to the spa, don't miss the Lava Restaurant! Blue Lagoon graciously offered me a three-course (vegetarian) meal, and I was about as happy as I've ever been sitting there by myself enjoying the best of Icelandic cuisine. It was a little odd to see some other restaurant guests dining in their bathrobes and flip-flops, but if you get a view of the lagoon like I did, they're easily ignored.

Thanks to Blue Lagoon Iceland for having me. Let me know if you have any questions, and start planning your visit here!