WATCH: The Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s (Affordable) Geothermal Spa Paradise

·Editor at Large

Layovers are usually pretty rank. Most are only a few hours - too short to go see the city you’re laid over in, yet too long to not go a little bit crazy with boredom as you stare at countless airport monitors, hoping your flight won’t be delayed and you will be stuck even longer at the airport. By the time you get to your actual destination all you want to do is pass out.

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The magical Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Iceland is more than worth a little travel detour. (Photo: Chris Ford/Flickr)

Related: Floating Alive on the Dead Sea

But, if you took advantage of Icelandair’s free layover on your way to Europe, and are in Reykjavik, Iceland, you are in luck! Just twenty minutes from the airport is the Blue Lagoon - the world’s largest geo thermal spa… and a hell of a better option for wasting a few hours until your next flight than gobbling down McDonald’s and trying to fall asleep in a straight backed chair.

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Why spend your layover in the airport when you can spend it here? (Photo: Horst Ossinger/dpa/Corbis)

The Blue Lagoon was created in 1976 in the middle of a lava field. Man made, the lagoon fed by the water output of the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and is renewed every two days. This promise of fresh water - along with Iceland’s strict hygiene code and the chance to relax before hopping on my flight to Greenland - got me out of the airport and into a bathing suit during a snowstorm. It even got me to enter a body of water with a swim up bar [Note: I have a deep-rooted fear of swim-up bars. Everyone starts drinking, and no one ever gets out to go to the bathroom. Especially during a snowstorm. You do the math].

Related: Iceland—The Most Magical Layover Ever

Regardless, I just wanted to get out of the airport and relax. So, off I went - and thank god I did. Despite a snowstorm, I jammed my winter fat into a swimsuit, took the obligatory shower and headed to the ice blue Lagoon.

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Getting my drink on in the Blue Lagoon.

Upon entering the waters - which are heavenly, FYI - the first step is to mud up by covering your face and neck in silica mud. While waiting for it to dry, wander over to the bar and order a beer - try to ignore the fact that many, many people have beers and none are going to the bathroom. Or that the waters are opaque and you can’t see anything below the surface. Nevermind, when done with said beer, wash the mud off and apply an algae mask. Sit back, relax and possibly book an in water massage. When completely prune like, take your new fresh, clean and moisturized face back to the changing rooms, shower, collect your stuff and (if time) eat at the Lava restaurant before returning to the airport to catch your next flight, completely energized and renewed. Total time elapsed: 2-4 hours.

Prices start at around $35, but most people go for the Premium package ($65) which includes entry, bathrobes, a restaurant reservation and skin treatments

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