While Iceland is best known for its volcanic landscape and it’s lively little capital of Reykjavik, the crown jewel of the Iceland experience is the “pot” – a place to bathe in warming geothermal waters, outdoors and 52 weeks a year.
No, not that kind of “pot” – I speak of the kind that produces steam, not smoke.
Now, Iceland’s most famous geothermal sites, the Blue Lagoon near the capital and the Mývatn Nature Baths in the country’s North, are far larger than the average pot, the pot brings that warming sensation to hundreds of hotels, summer houses, and community pools around the country.
A pot transforms a country hotel from a mere place to stay to a place to relax, and potentially, to meet other guests and trade travel experience stories.
Iceland’s dozens of community swimming pools usually have several pots, offering a variety of temperatures and occasionally, some form of water massage.
Invariably, the water is geothermally heated, so the experience is as “green” as it is warm. In areas where geothermal water is available, the water comes in straight from the earth. Otherwise, it is heated by Iceland’s extensive supply of geothermally-fueled electricity.
Hotels with access to pots also vary widely in price. Depending on the part of the country one is visiting, a summer house with a pot can start in price from $200 or €170, per night. Hotels with access to pots also vary widely in price. Community pools offer admission for less than $12 or €10, and a ticket to the Blue Lagoon will run you about $70 or €58.
Mike Klein is Principal of Changing The Terms, a Reykjavik-based business communication consultancy. A US native, Mike has lived in Iceland since 2020 and has also resided in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. He is the former Europe – Middle East – Africa chair of IABC, a leading global communication association. He is particularly fond of Icelandic cod and the Gull brand of Icelandic lager, and is married to Helga Stina, founder of Iceland Unwrapped.
Everything we have taken for granted has been put on hold: such as hugging each other or shaking hands, traveling or meeting up with all of our family and friends at once. Some places have been hit very hard and are still in the middle of this Covid hurricane.
Last month the first vaccines arrived in Iceland. The minister of health, a fine lady, was following the flight on radar to make sure everything would be as it should be and nothing would stop this important cargo to arrive safely to the shores of this rock in the north Atlantic.
There is a relief in Icelandic society now as we can see an end of this situation in sight and possibilities of getting life back to normal, whatever that normal will be.
At the moment health staff are vaccinating our most vulnerable, along people in nursing homes and health personnel, the heroes of 2020 without a doubt.
But what will 2021 look like?
The travel industry in Iceland and around the world has shrunk, collapsed or been put on hold.
Will we be able to recover from this? I am sure we will. But it will take time,
I also know that people have kept on dreaming about travel and destinations because dreaming is important when you are in the middle of a pandemic. Dreams that might come true in the New Year or in the year after that.
Iceland has been a popular destination and will likely see something of a travel revival. Here are 4 main reasons:
1. Space. People need to get used to the idea of being around other people again and will want uncrowded destinations with space for social distancing. Iceland becomes a strong choice because of its low population density and abundance of open space. All 360.000 of us live in a space the size of the US state of Ohio, twice the size of Denmark and nearly two and half times the size of the Netherlands
2. Hospitality. The Icelanders are aware of the importance of receiving guests with respect and the uniqueness of a small society. That is why all around Iceland you can find entrepreneurs who have built up wonderful businesses with their heart, soul, and bare hands to be able to show the best of Iceland’s nature, culture and gastronomy. You can even visit people in their homes for dinner or a home concert. The diversity in accommodation is also important – you can find any type of accommodation on the island, from a farmer’s guesthouse with animals in sight to a fancy hotel in one of the towns.
3. Diversity. There are few places on earth that offer the diversity in landscape as Iceland does. The land of fire and ice offers geothermal pools that are open all year round, waterfalls, glaciers and lava formations that will make the imagination go crazy. Ocean all around, rivers and creeks with pure water to drink on your hikes. The midnight sun in June and the Aurora Borealis in winter are experiences everyone should have at least once in their lives.
4. Distance management. I always recommend my clients to take it easy even as they take their extraordinary excursions in Iceland. Feeling the culture, nature, fresh air and the purest water imaginable is a part of the experience. And to be able to do that you need to know how to do it. Distance is a big part of planning your trip in Iceland. That is why working with locals is essential to make the most of visitors’ time and money.
Keep dreaming. Iceland will be waiting when you are ready. It will be wonderful to receive you in the coming months – or the coming years.
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy new year 2021.
Last week, I returned again to Iceland to visit some of my hospitality partners – and made yet another interesting discovery in the town of Hafnarfjordur, just outside Reykjavik.
The town council has decided to use one of the most beautiful buildings in Iceland, a former hospital, as a home for new businesses focusing on wellness. Together, they offer a holistic approach where mind, body, and soul can be nurtured in the same place.
Guðbjörg and Ingibjörg, two of the founders, are looking to serve companies, institutions and individuals by offering them the opportunity to snap out of their stressful realities and focus on being present and exploring themselves, taking advantage of the nearby lava fields and the unique and inspiring scenery of the area.
A particular focus are those in service professions – people who work with people – who often give so much of themselves that they can benefit from some restorative care in a peaceful yet beautiful setting.
This includes, doctors, nurses, teachers and everyone else that is specialised in helping others. Come to think of it, everyone working anywhere can fit the criteria, bankers, lawyers, engineers, shopkeepers, human resource managers, PR directors and the list is endless.
As they say when you are flying on an airplane: put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. That makes sense don´t you think? How can we become better professionals without forgetting to nurture ourselves in the process.
Groups from workplaces, institutions or private or family groups can focus on themselves, get inspired, have a mindful experience with great walks, conversations, healthy food and guidance of qualified specialists with great experience in working with people, getting the best out of each and everyone. A focus on you as a human to make you even better as a specialist working with other humans.
But why Iceland?
It is quite incredible to witness what happens to people when they visit Iceland. In a few days people de-stress and gain a new perspective towards themselves and the nature surrounding them. In that atmosphere, there emerges a possibility for growth and expression that might be difficult in a big, busy city or in a person‘s normal routine.
Being able to rejuvenate in nature, yet be only five minutes from a town with all the required amenities is an extraordinary possibility, a rare one indeed.
I have just returned from my ever changing island after a fabulous work trip. I was exploring new places and meeting fantastic entrepreneurs in the areas that I recommend for my clients. It seems that there is never enough time while in Iceland. Many of my clients get the taste of Iceland on their first trip and then choose to go again and again. Read More
In my talks with many clients traveling to Iceland with Iceland Unwrapped there has been a red thread.
Connection, peace and the possibility of experiencing quietness is at the essence of a journey to Iceland.
My suggestions often include traveling around, stopping, breathing, having a picnic, reading a book, hiking a bit, meeting the locals and laying down in the moss for a little nap, is a perfect way to explore Iceland for some people. And if you decide to read a book by one of Iceland‘s authors that takes place in the areas you travel in, even better.
Iceland is all kinds. There is a chance to do extreme adventures like glacier climbing, kayaking between glaciers, hiking for days, rafting and fishing.
But for some people living in big cities or with intense jobs or personal pressures, the need for peace and inspiration in crucial for their wellbeing, so they choose vacation destinations that offer that.
That is very interesting for a travel planner who is interested in the well being of her clients and wants to offer a trip that is unforgettable for all senses, adding the spice of connecting to inspirational people and hidden gems all around the country.
On my recent trip to Iceland during the holidays, I met partners that I work with in Iceland that focus on wellbeing, on the experience of using your senses to experience Iceland, it´s beauty, power and diversity.
As a busy mum, wife and entrepreneur, I can relate to this need and the imporartance of finding yourself and nurture the senses in a place like Iceland. Iceland is for all. With a travel planner the option of a tailor made experience can give a visitor exactly what they need, away from the crowds.
Would you like to explore, get to know the people and culture of Iceland? Would you be interested in visiting hidden gems and go off the beaten track?
Are you interested in being actively involved in the adventure of creating your own tailor made travel plan in cooperation with an experienced Iceland specialist?
Enjoy the healing powers of Iceland’s best spa retreats! Iceland has some of the world’s most breathtaking natural spas and springs. I take my visitors away from the crush of tourists to a really hidden gem.
Relax the unforgettable way
Iceland Unwrapped offers information on all kinds of geothermal pools and spas around Iceland. Do you want something authentic and natural? Something a bit more fancy, or a mix of all kinds of experiences? Let us know and we make a plan for you, including all kinds of options.
Combining your trip with a Yoga retreat, hiking tours or mindfulness activities is a great way to travel in Iceland. The nature provides the peace of mind and healthy alternatives, amazing quality of pure food and professional people who want to be of assistance.
Contact us for more information on how to integrate all kinds of options on your trip in Iceland.
Body, mind and spirit
Iceland Unwrapped by Helgastina offers an extraordinary experience for the body and soul. An alternative way to recharge your mind. We work exclusively in cooperation with the NLFI Health Clinic in Hveragerði. We offer packages at the spa from 2 to 21 days. This includes a personalized activity plan, accommodation, access to facilities at the clinic and full board with organic food. The package also features our unique and unmissable ‘Dining with the Icelanders’ experience.
Hveragerði, the Hot Spring capital
The NLFI Rehabilitation and Health clinic in Hveragerði is 45 km from Reykjavik in the scenic south of the country. The town prides itself for being the Hot Spring Capital of the World. The clinic is one of a number of ‘hidden gems’ that we at Iceland Unwrapped offer to our visitors. This retreat is beneficial for those recovering from cancer or other serious illnesses. It’s also ideal if you have psoriasis, neck and back problems. Visit this spa to reduce your weight, give up smoking or reduce stress. The centre can totally turn your life around.
Please note that the activities and SPA at the NLFI can only be used when staying minimum two nights on location.
Contact us for further information regarding combining your trip with spa and wellness.
A life changing experience
With access to natural geothermal baths and health treatments, you will come back rejuvenated. The centre offers renowned fresh cuisine and inspiring scenery, a must-see for everyone. Staff are medically trained and its community of people are all committed to natural wellness.
Bookings through Iceland Unwrapped with Helgastina also receive a 10% discount off all treatments at the clinic.