Probably the main idea that comes to your mind when thinking in Iceland is, as its name suggests, ice. Ice, coldness, snow and glaciers are a frequent image when thinking about a trip in Iceland and for most people swimming in icy water is not really appetizing. However I will try to convince you on this post that snorkelling in Silfra is one of the most unique experiences you can live in Iceland. You can’t miss it!
Silfra is a magic place on the Southeast of Iceland. It’s a rift formed by the divergent tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates. Silfra is right in the Þingvellir National Park in Iceland, into the Þingvallavatn Lake.
Most of the snorkelling companies which organise tour in Silfra, pick up the customer at Reykjavik, but you can also chose to meet them at the Þingvellir National Park directly. We strongly recommend to count with one of these companies, as it’s really import to put safety first and rely on trained professionals. Once there, they provide dry suits so you can stand the water temperatures, but I would also recommend wearing thermal clothes underneath. Just to let you know, let me tell you that neither plants or animals can survive on these cold waters, so the only fauna that you will see swimming are your snorkelling mates.
All this “discomfort” –water is around 35°F / 1.5°C – will be worthy once you submerge and see through the clearest waters in the world. The ice at Lángjökull Glacier melts and then it filters underground through 30 miles of porous volcanic rock over 50 years before it emerges again at Þingvellir Lake. That’s why the water is so clear that you can see around 300 or even 350 meters away. Don’t forget to bring a camera suitable for water, as you will make one of the most incredible pictures of your trip!
Anyhow, don’t worry if you don’t have this type of gadgets, as for sure your guide will take plenty of pictures for you. Bear in mind aside the incredible landscape, these pictures will be unique as the tectonic plates are moving apart, so you will never take the exact same picture again! They only drift way around 2cm per year, but imagine the difference if you come in 50 years!
Snorkeling in Silfra – Between Two Worlds
The tours usually take around half an hour or 40 minutes and most companies also offer after swimming refreshments. If you are an experienced scuba diver, you can also try with any of the scuba diving companies that offer tours in Silfra, Remember that you will need to bring your open water and dry suit certification. As budget is always on mind, the snorkelling tours are about 15.000 – 16.000 ISK and scuba diving tours cost around 40.000 ISK
There are many activities in this beautiful country to enjoy with children, but unfortunately this is not one of them. The minimum required age for the tours is 18 years old and they usually require as well being at least 155cm and 50kg as the dry suit equipment is heavy. Also remember, if you decided to make the scuba diving, we recommend to wait 24hrs after diving before you fly.