Iceland’s Cinderella story
For a taste of Iceland beyond the city, Reykjavík Excursions offers several guided tours (including one to Eyjafjallajökull). And unless you rent a car, the company offers the easiest way to get to the famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal hot spring turned spa located half-way between the airport and downtown Reykjavík.
The ice-blue, seawater lagoon, which has a sauna, steam room and massage area, is believed to have restorative powers. The water originates near a lava flow 6,000 feet below ground, passes through a nearby geothermal power plant and cools to just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit by the time it reaches the lagoon. Before you soak, make sure to coat your hair with conditioner. The silica that lines the bottom of the lagoon can turn your mane into straw unless you take precaution. That said, it does wonderful things for the skin, and bathers are encouraged to coat their faces in a silica mud mask.
Relaxing in the lagoon, surrounded by steam, snow (in the winter) and black mountains of lava rock, is a breathtaking and uniquely Icelandic experience. Volcanoes have erupted in the past, and will continue to erupt in the future. But for now, it is a moment of calm.
Five hours from New York and three hours from London, the world's northern most capital is closer than you might think, and unlike larger European cities, it is possible to see much of Reykjavík in a day or two. Currently, IcelandAir is offering free stopover service between eight North American and 15 European cities. The airline has no plans to end the promotion anytime soon.