Winter has been with us for a moment now and we don’t know about you, but we’re done with it. When the coldest season of the year is just about rain, dark days and semi-cold temperatures, it’s not the picture-perfect winter we’re used to seeing in the movies. Depressing is all it is. Yet there are some countries which do actually get to experience those snowy, sun-bathed, crisp winter days. Where life seems to make perfect sense even temperatures drop to below freezing. One of the best examples out there? Iceland.
It’s one of the countries we’re used to naming ‘Nordic’ – Sweden, Finland and Norway being the other three. Yet Iceland’s pretty particular. First of all, of course, it’s an Island, making it more remote than the others. Secondly, it’s Europe’s most sparsely populated country, with less than 400.000 inhabitants. Thirdly, it has a very distinct geology, which is defined by volcanoes and geysers – and which results, amongst other things, in a large number of thermal hot springs.
What do you do as a human, living in a cold country, full of hot springs? Exactly, you make thermal resorts out of them and that’s exactly what Icelanders did. And even though there are already a large number of those out there, another lagoon will soon join the rest.
We’re talking about the Forest Lagoon or Skógarböð Geothermal Spa, which started out as an accident. The geothermal area was actually discovered back in 2014 while digging for the 7.4 kilometer long Vaðlaheiðargöng tunnel between Akureyri and Húsavík. After delaying the works for a bit, it was finally decided to make use of this opportunity and to turn it into a spa. Now, after years of work and long delays due to Covid-19, the Forest Lagoon is set to open before Easter and my-oh-my, does it look good.
As the name suggests, the spa is located amidst the trees and this is actually quite rare, as only about 3% of Iceland is covered with forests. It also means the wind is less present and the place therefore feels a bit warmer than most. Perfect if you’re, let’s say, bathing in the 530 square meter pool or having a drink at one of the in-water bars. And if you’re getting a bit too cold, you can still warm up at the fireside dining area, which serves, amongst other things, local wine and beer. Don’t be worried about any possible crowds though, as only 200 people are allowed in the spa at once.