This Icelandic Lagoon Has an Infinity Pool, Shuttle Service, and If You’re Lucky, Northern Lights Views

Less than 15 minutes from central Reykjavik, Sky Lagoon is a newer addition to the nation's lagoon scene.

<p>Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon</p>

Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon

I flung my arms over the edge of the infinity pool and stared out into the sea ahead of me. This wasn’t supposed to be how the day went. Right this moment, I should have had my head craned up at the sky, awestruck by a colorful celestial sensation filling the sky for the first time. Instead, I had woken up on this late February day last year in Reykjavik, Iceland, to a message that my Northern Lights bus tour was canceled because of poor viewing conditions. I spent the morning getting turned away by every ferry operator, who said they weren’t running their normal tours because the aurora forecasts pointed to that night’s visibility being zilch.

So here I was instead, having woven through a maze of lava-stone canyon walls that opened up into this 230-foot geothermal pool at Sky Lagoon, in Kópavogur, less than a 15-minute cab ride from The Reykjavik Edition where I was staying in the capital’s central.

By no means should this stunning setting be anyone’s second choice. I shook myself out of my funk of what could have been. The Northern Lights simply weren’t in the cards anywhere in the island nation that night, and it was time to bring myself back into the moment.

<p>Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon</p>

Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon

Letting go of the stressful day so far, I let the warm waters embrace me, feeling smooth and gentle on my fingertips as my hands tread below the surface. It had almost been too easy to switch plans and veer here to the lagoon just outside town. I had splurged on the most luxurious of the three options: Sky. This included lagoon access, private changing facilities, and the Seven-Step Ritual.

Also offered were Pure (lagoon access and the Ritual) and Pure Lite (just a lagoon dip). Each package is also available with a transfer from the city center, making access to the site just that simple.

I spun around, taking in the scene around me. I had been to Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon seven years prior — long before Sky Lagoon opened in 2021. Its silky blue waters and white steam were soothing on the eyes and soul, but I was overwhelmed by the crowds of people at the popular destination. (Though, the Blue Lagoon has The Retreat Spa for a more private experience.)

The mood was distinctly different during my visit to Sky Lagoon. Sure it was still packed with a healthy group of visitors, but there was a calmness about it. Somehow the dark lava stones surrounding us all created more restful energy, while the wide 180-degree view of the Kàrsnes Harbour waters and Mount Keilir in the distance, double-downed on that peacefulness.

<p>Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon</p>

Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon

I wound my way through the corners of the lagoon, enjoying drinks from the in-water bar, splashing under the waterfall, and then popping out of the far side to engage in the Ritual. Focused on alternating temperatures, the process guided me from the warm lagoon into a cold dip and then to a sauna, followed by a cold mist, sky scrub, steam room, and finally a shower. I milked my time with each step, sinking into every scent and sensation that came along with it, consciously exhaling.

After that last step, I emerged feeling like I had been wrapped in a cozy cocoon and freshly released into the world again. I dipped myself back into the main lagoon, lounging around, somehow feeling lighter on my toes.

As dinnertime came, I popped into the main facility, grabbing a fireside seat at the Smakk Bar. There, I enjoyed the most hygge-inducing cheese plate with a side of smoked salmon, plus a warm bowl of the minestrone-like daily soup, which filled me both literally and figuratively.

I set down my spoon with intention. This may not have been how I pictured my solo travel day in Iceland going on this mid-winter day, but it turned out to be quite spectacular.

<p>Norbert von Niman/Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon</p>

Norbert von Niman/Courtesy of Pursuit, Sky Lagoon

Not quite ready to call it a night, I headed back into the lagoon for a nightcap, and to take in the after-dark experience. Bobbing lanterns now lit up the waters, creating an even more soothing hot spring setting. Slowly, I took in the visuals of every layer before me, from the sea to the sky. The watercolor chased the lava cliffs upwards to the sky so seamlessly, it was hard to see where one began and the other ended.

There was no way my camera phone could capture the beauty, but it was worth a try. I traced the same skyward path and looked at the image on my phone — and audibly gasped. There was a tint of green in the sky in my photo.

Just as I noticed this, two other girls behind me started pointing upward too. Could it be? On this day when there was zero chance of aurora visibility, could we have defied the odds?

Sure enough, we had struck gold. Subtle splashes of colors poked out of the sky from both sides, just enough for those of us who happened to be looking upward to notice. We squealed and pointed. We exchanged cameras and posed for photos. We immortalized the moment.

Not only were we experiencing the colorful skies we weren’t forecasted to see on this day, but we were seeing it all from the warmth of a hot spring lagoon — two iconic Icelandic experiences, merged into one.

I asked the Sky Lagoon to hail me a cab and was back to the hotel in a snap. Upon entering the lobby with a grin on my face, I caught the receptionist’s eye. The next thing I knew, I was giddily recounting to this total stranger how my day of aurora planning gone awry had led to the Sky Lagoon fulfilling my wish instead.

Taken by my enthusiasm, he handed me a full-sized Icelandic chocolate bar for no reason. Overwhelmed by that kind gesture, I finally revealed the secret I had held onto all day — it was my birthday.

Indulging in a day of solo travel had been a gift to me, and the poor weather forecast had felt like an ominous omen for the coming year. But instead what I learned is that by letting your plans go off the rails, you just might find an even more spectacular way to take in the magic of travel. 

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