First Glance: Iceland’s Newest Thermal Spa

A 20-minute drive from the heart of Reykjavík, Sky Lagoon puts a modern twist on local bathing traditions.

Photo courtesy of Sky Lagoon

Dreaming about Iceland? Here’s another reason to start planning a trip to the Nordic island: Sky Lagoon, a nature-inspired thermal spa in Kársnes Harbour, near Reykjavík. Opened at the end of April, the brand-new attraction features a man-made geothermal lagoon with unobstructed views of the Atlantic, alongside sauna and steam rooms, a swim-up bar, and turf house–style architecture. There’s also a swim-up bar at the lagoon where bathers can sip on wines and Icelandic beers.

Visitors here go through a multistep ritual based on Icelandic bathing traditions, in a process that balances hot and cold elements to achieve total relaxation. The ritual begins and ends at the lagoon, and incorporates a plunge in a ice-cold pool to stimulate the immune system, reduce blood flow, and tighten skin; five to 10 minutes spent warming up in the sauna; a stroll through a space filled with cold mist; and self-application of the signature Sky Body Scrub. For those feeling peckish after their soak, the rustic Sky Café serves up light bites and local fare, while Smakk Bar harnesses the fresh produce and seasonal ingredients of Iceland in its tasting platters.

This article originally appeared in the March/May 2021 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Warm Welcome”).

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