I have hyped up the Bjorbodin Beer Spa in Iceland with previous blogs and on social media, and I’m finally going to tell you all about it! I know it’s an exciting day for me too.
First off, let me just say right away, that Beer Spa day was one of the best days that has ever happened. Dana and I woke up that morning so excited about where we were going, we were almost in a state of glee. And we hadn’t even left the Akureyri Backpackers yet!
The Bjorbodin Beer Spa in Iceland:
Not Your Average Blue Lagoon Alternative
Dana had learned about the Bjorbodin Beer Spa from a friend of a friend. The spa itself only opened in July 2017 and we were coming in September, which really shows how fast great news travels: “There is a beer spa in Iceland? FINALLY!”
The friend who Dana spoke with had wanted to go to the beer spa, but it was actually completely booked and they couldn’t get in. But Dana and I were travelling Iceland in September, so we checked them out online and boom, we were in!
Bjorbodin Beer Spa is located in the small village of Dalvik, about 25 minutes north of Akureyri heading towards the Trollskagi Peninsula. Not surprisingly Dalvik is also home to the Kaldi brewery that is owned by the same person who started the beer spa, and from where the beer served at Bjorbodin comes. This person is clearly a true visionary.
But what is a beer spa?
Great question, one many people, my father included, have asked. Bjorbodin appears to be a spa like any other. Clean minimalist decor, soothing music, plush robes, and beautiful views. There is a lovely restaurant right on site, and the women who work there speak with alarmingly melodic voices. If the robes had not been supplied you could just snuggle up in those ladies voices, I tell you!
So the spa is beautiful no doubt about it. But what makes Bjorbodin so unique is that you’re not getting facials and scrubs, you’re jumping into a tub of young beer. There are 7 private rooms, each with it’s own two person wooden oval tub. The tubs are all made out of lovely Kambala wood from Ghana, and are big enough so that each adult leans against one end of the tub with their legs passing in the middle.
Then the tubs get filled with young beer, a fresh warm tub for each new couple. No they do not recycle the beer. Now, I know what you’re thinking, because my Dad said it multiple times: “What a waste of beer!”
Wrong! An excellent use of beer, because the beer in the tub is a mixture of young beer (which is undrinkable), water, hops and yeast, and it’s so warm you can melt right into it. The faint aroma of beer is in the air, and the fresh tub has a light layer of beer foam atop the water.
But why bathe in beer?
Another solid question, why bathe in beer at all? Well health and beauty of course!
The young beer, which is very low pH, is said to tighten and soften your hair follicles and cleanse your skin, while the brewers yeast is nearly the entire Vitamin B scale, so it has a rejuvenating effect on skin and hair, as well as providing an infusion of potassium, magnesium, protein, iron, and zinc. Lastly the hops are a big time source of anti-oxidants, which is kind of ironic, because after a crap ton of beer in the past I have only ever felt extremely FULL of oxidants. Also the hops are supposed to decrease inflammation and the visible blood vessels on the skin’s surface. So great news, my spider veins have all disappeared!
No, that’s not true. For something named after a fragile insect, spider veins never die.
The Beer Bath Experience
So the entire beer bath experience was just that, an experience. Dana and I arrived for our 11am appointment, because drinking beer during the morning is totally acceptable if it’s therapeutic, and were immediately thrilled at how beautiful the location and the facility was. We wandered around the outside patio, home to 2 large wood hot tubs and a dry sauna, plus a great view of the fjord.
The women who welcomed us were kind, and spoke in the aforementioned zen like voices. They explained to us about the process and what we were in for.
To be clear, Dana and I were signed up for ‘a couples bath’. Because the world is obsessed with the idea of two people in love so that is the packaging we all must adhere to. Whatever, Dana and I do love each other, so we qualified.
Trying to get down to the meat of the bath, Dana asked if we should go in the tub wearing bathing suits or naked. Kindly Lady said “Either way, it’s up to you”.
Not wanting to do the beer bath wrong, Dana persisted.
“But what do most people do?”
Kindly Lady: “Most people go naked.”
Ok, then we will do that!
Kindly Lady: “… Are you two… together?”
Us in perfect unison of untruth but non-caring: “YUP!”
After it was settled that we were two adult women going naked into a bathtub together, we headed into the change room to shower and get into our robes. Because you’ve only truly arrived at a spa once you are in a plush white robe.
Our beer bath cruise director then showed us to our bathing room, where we found not just the wooden tub full of beer, but also a full sized wooden barrel, home to a keg of cold Kaldi beer and a tap for us to serve ourselves.
So to recap, we were going to bathe in beer, while drinking bottomless beer from the tap right beside the tub. We didn’t even have to get out of the bath to fill up our beer steins! This is clearly heaven and we have obviously died.
After a few giggling photos of the tub, the robes were shed and we poured our beers and jumped into the bath, of beer!!! And giggled more. There really is no other reaction to drinking beer at 11am while bathing naked in beer with one of your favourite lady friends.
“Is this real life?”
“Is this really MY life?”
“My life is awesome!”
“I love Iceland.”
“I love beer”
“I love baths.”
“I LOVE BEER BATHS!!!!”
We took more photos of us actually in the tub, trying very hard to make sure none of our bathing suit parts showed on camera. Dana’s parents are missionaries and I put enough embarrassing stuff about myself on the internet, so we did our best.
The beer bath section of the experience is only supposed to be 25 minutes. But we were the only people there and I think the Kindly Lady thought it would be nice to give that lovely young couple more time. After maybe more like 35-40 minutes, Kindly lady called to us from the other side of the door that it was time for the relaxation room.
We donned our robes once more and followed our hostess upstairs to the relaxation room. This room is the upper level of the spa and is filled with reclined loungers equipped with soft pillows and fleecy Icelandic wool blankets. The soft music was playing as Kindly Lady tucked us in.
Yes, literally, she physically tucked us in and I felt so much love I almost cried of happiness. While laughing of course. My heart was actually racing at this point because I was so happy. Which is obviously counter active to what the relaxation room is supposed to stimulate, but I got there eventually.
I was also hooked on the idea of buying one of those Icelandic blankets, which I totally did a few days later!
After our half hour of relaxation, we moved back downstairs and sat in the infrared sauna for a few minutes, but we weren’t allowed to bring our beers in there (yes we had filled up our glasses before we left the bath), so that was rather short lived.
We put our clothes back on (horrible restrictive clothing!) and sat out on the patio for a time finishing our beers, enjoying the beautiful day and reliving the previous hour of perfection. And being pretty thrilled with life in general.
Where to Stay in Akureyri Iceland
9.3/10 rating, central, lively hostel with a great bar!
Akureyri H.I. Hostel
8.6/10 rating on HostelWorld, long time fave with all the trusted HI amenities!
Skjaldarvik Guest House
4.6/5 rating on Hotels.com, Well appointed ski lodge with ski storage
4.1/5 rating on Hotels.com, well located with a lovely garden
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