S Magazine - Winter 2016

Page 24


APRÈS ALL DAY: ICELAND’S GEOTHERMAL POOLS If your favourite part of a ski trip is hitting Blue Lagoon near Keflavik Airport, named one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World.

KEFLAVIK POPULATION : 13,971 TIME TO GET FROM KEFLAVIK AIRPORT TO BLUE LAGOON: 19 minutes by car EXTRA INFO: Bathing suits and towels can be rented on the spot. You can safely store your luggage at the Blue Lagoon while bathing.

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the hot tub, put Iceland on your must-visit list. The ski hills are not the world’s greatest – most top out at 1,500 metres – but heli- skiing is catching on, providing new opportunities to ski untouched terrain into early June, under the midnight sun. The best part of a ski trip to Iceland, though, may be the chance to partake in the local hot tub culture. With plentiful geothermal energy and natural hot springs throughout the country, outdoor “hot pots” and spas are a fixture of Icelandic life: Icelanders visit the warm pools as part of their daily routine, and they’re the best places to catch up on the local gossip. Iceland’s best-known geothermal pool is the stunning Blue Lagoon near Keflavik Airport, named one of National Geographic’s 25 Wonders of the World. Its geothermal

seawater, which contains healing silica, minerals and algae, rises from 2,000 metres beneath the earth’s surface to fill the six-million-litre man-made lagoon. The nearby capital city, Reykjavik, located just a half-hour drive from the Bláfjöll and Skálafell ski hills, also offers plenty of hot bathing options – including the unique Nauthhólsvík geothermal beach, with hot tubs and a heated lagoon right on shore, and the huge Laugardalslaug swimming complex, a great spot to meet the locals. You may want to leave your skis at the hotel for a day to acquire an in-depth knowledge of this most Icelandic of pastimes. It’s an exploration of the local culture, after all. Think of it as an academic pursuit. – C. Newberry

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