The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most iconic and popular tourist spots. Located only 40 minutes from Reykjavik,each year it draws around 360,000 visitors – nearly 20% more people than Iceland’s entire population. Although the lagoon is situated in a lava field, it is actually not naturally occurring. The lagoon was created after a neighboring geothermal power plant drilled holes thousands of feet underground to extract the incredibly hot, mineral rich waters below. Today the power plant uses the hot water initially in steam turbines, and it is then pumped into the artificially created lagoon.
A combination of algae, silica, and other minerals give the water its milky hue – and when the algae is in bloom the waters will even take on a turquoise color. Don’t be surprised to see locals covering their bodies and faces with the lagoon’s white clay – it’s supposed to cure everything from psoriasis to acne.