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Soak in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

The geothermal water at this man-made pool stays warm no matter what the season. 

the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, picture
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Photo: Robert Hoetink /
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People soak in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.

Ice gets top billing in the country's name, but locals and visitors can attest that Iceland really runs on steam. Naturally heated water bubbles up at many hot spots in the country, most notably the Blue Lagoon, a recently expanded human-made pool and spa carved out of a lava field not far from Keflavík International Airport.

The self-cleansing water here, milky from silica and other minerals, glows a near-tropical shade of turquoise in the sunlight. Don't bother with goggles or underwater cameras: The pool is so cloudy that everything beneath the surface disappears.

Thanks to heat from underground magma, the water always hovers around a relaxing 100 degrees no matter how chilly the air. In winter, the blue water shimmers against a stark backdrop of rocks and snow. Bathers can swim up to a poolside bar for a cocktail or splurge on an in-water massage or a silica mud mask.

Reservations are required, and a luxury hotel is due to open in 2017, so you may not find much solitude at this world-famous destination. But you'll leave with warm memories and a new appreciation for steam power.

This article was first published in November 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information

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