Are you ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will take your breath away? Look no further than Silfra Snorkeling in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland!
Silfra is a unique and stunning geological formation located between two tectonic plates, which offers the most unique experience in the world.
Snorkeling here is an experience like no other and one of the most popular activities on the Golden Circle route.
If you’re planning on visiting anytime soon, this guide to Silfra Fissure is all you need, with tips on where to book a Silfra snorkeling tour, what to expect, and more.
So get ready to dive into the crystal-clear waters of Silfra Iceland and explore one of nature’s most unique wonders.
QUICK PICKS: 3 BEST SILFRA SNORKELING TOURS
With so many tours available, choosing the right can be daunting, and that’s why I’m happy to recommend these three below.
Best Overall Silfra Snorkeling Tour
SILFRA SNORKELING ICELAND – OVERVIEW
Let’s start this guide with the basics about the Silfra fissure – what is it, how to get there, the duration of the tour, and other practical tips to know before you go.
WHAT IS THE SILFRA FISSURE?
The Silfra Fissure is a unique geological formation located in Þingvellir National Park.
It is a fissure filled with crystal-clear glacial water that has been filtered through porous underground lava for decades.
It’s the only place in the world where you can go snorkeling between tectonic plates. What makes it even more unique is that they drift apart at around 2 cm per year.
The glacial waters are nearly freezing and provide unparalleled visibility, making it one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
IS IT WORTH SNORKELING IN SILFRA?
Snorkeling in Silfra is an experience like no other, and it’s definitely worth it. The best part is that you don’t need any prior experience or special equipment.
With visibility over 100 meters, you’ll be able to swim between two tectonic plates and explore crystal-clear glacial water.
Needless to say, this is one of the most unique experiences in the world!
HOW TO GET TO SILFRA SNORKELING POINT?
If you are driving on your own, it’s approximately a 1-hour drive from Reykjavik to reach Thingvellir National Park and Silfra Iceland.
Once inside the park, follow the signs directing you to the Silfra parking lot and park your vehicle in the designated parking area.
If you are booking a tour from Reykjavik, this will include hassle-free return transfers from your hotel to Silfra.
CAN YOU SNORKEL IN SILFRA ON YOUR OWN?
No, the only way you can do the Silfra fissure snorkeling is with an experienced instructor on a guided tour.
The “Meet-on-location” tour allows you to choose which one to take according to how much time you have before the beginning of the tour.
On the other hand, tours from Reykjavik are an excellent option to see both the Golden Circle and the Silfra Iceland at the same time.
HOW LONG DOES THE SILFRA SNORKELING TOUR TAKE?
The Silfra Snorkeling Tour usually lasts between 2-4 hours, depending on the specific tour you choose, and provides free underwater photos so you can remember your adventure forever.
The actual snorkeling portion of the tour usually lasts around 20 to 30 minutes, which is more than enough in freezing temperatures.
SNORKELING IN SILFRA – MY EXPERIENCE
I’ve always loved snorkeling, and when I heard about Iceland’s Silfra Fissure, I was immediately intrigued.
The journey began early in the morning when I set off from Reykjavik to Þingvellir National Park on our Golden Circle itinerary.
Upon arrival, I met the guides for a safety briefing and was outfitted with a dry suit and snorkeling gear that would help keep me warm in the frigid waters.
After meeting the instructors for a safety briefing, and getting changed into our dry suits, we made our way down to the fissure.
After changing into my suit, we made our way down to the fissure and descended down the steps into the crystal-clear glacial water which had an icy chill to it.
As soon as I put on my mask and fins, however, all those thoughts dissipated and were replaced by awe for what lay beneath me.
As you can imagine, the snorkeling session was the coldest I’ve ever done, but it was all worth it!
This journey to the Silfra Iceland was one of the most unique and memorable experiences I’ve ever had and I highly recommend it to all!
WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE SILFRA SNORKELING TOUR
Silfra is a unique and incredible dive site, and as mentioned earlier, it’s the only one in the world where you can dive or snorkel between two tectonic plates, the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
When snorkeling in Silfra, you can expect to explore the fissure filled with fresh spring water, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. The visibility is unparalleled – up to 100 meters!
You will be able to observe the vibrant colors of the underwater plants and rocks as well as the fish that inhabit this area.
The temperature of the water is also quite cold – usually around 2-4 degrees Celsius – so it’s important to wear a drysuit for protection from the cold.
SILFRA SNORKELING TIPS
Now that you know my personal experience, let me tell you more about what to prepare before you go.
BOOK THE TRIP AHEAD OF TIME
That’s right, Iceland is a very popular travel destination all year round, and Silfra snorkeling tours get booked up very quickly which is why you should definitely book ahead of time.
You definitely don’t want to show up unprepared, only to find out that you can’t explore the impeccably clear blue waters of Silfra.
So, if you’re the adventurous type, do yourself a favor and reserve a spot in advance.
GET READY TO FEEL VERY COLD
If you’re planning to go snorkeling in Silfra, here’s a tip for you: prepare to feel the chill to your bones!
This once-in-a-lifetime experience is not for the faint of heart, as the water temperature can reach as low as 2°C (35°F).
But don’t worry, there are ways to make your dip in the icy blue waters more enjoyable.
My advice is to wear thermals, a warm jacket and pants, and thick socks which you can keep on under the dry suit provided.
It’s important to stay close to your guide as they’ll take care of you throughout the entire journey.
It may be freezing, but the beauty of Silfra’s crystal-clear water and stunning rock formations will make you forget about the cold in no time!
Plus, isn’t feeling a little bit of discomfort worth it for an adventure of a lifetime?
ONCE YOU’RE IN THE WATER, YOU CAN’T TURN BACK
When you start snorkeling in Silfra fissure and the current starts carrying you, you cannot exit the fissure during the tour because the surrounding area is protected.
You can choose to turn around right after entering the water, which is convenient if you really don’t feel at ease. But after that, you must continue snorkeling as there is no other option.
TELL THE INSTRUCTOR IF YOU’RE NOT COMFORTABLE
When it comes to Silfra snorkeling, one of the most important tips to keep in mind is to speak up if you’re feeling uncomfortable in any way.
Whether it’s due to a tight-fitting wetsuit or one that’s too loose, it’s crucial to let your instructor know so that they can adjust it before you hit the water.
Trust me, you don’t want to be struggling with a suit that’s too tight as you’re floating through the water.
So, if anything feels off or uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to speak out. Your instructor is there to ensure your safety and enjoyment and will be more than happy to help make any necessary adjustments.
GO TO THE RESTROOM BEFORE SNORKELING SILFRA
I suggest making a stop at the restroom before jumping into the Silfra snorkeling pond.
Not only will it ensure that you’re comfortable throughout your snorkeling session, but it will also give you peace of mind.
Plus, with so much natural beauty to explore and capture, you don’t want to be scrambling for a bathroom break when you could be admiring the tectonic plates.
SNORKELING IN SILFRA – FAQ
Now that we’ve covered all the essentials and things to do when snorkeling Silfra, let’s dive deeper into the topic and answer common questions from first-timers.
IS IT SAFE TO SNORKEL THE SILFRA FISSURE?
Absolutely – Snorkeling the Silfra Fissure is a safe and enjoyable experience. The water in the fissure is crystal clear, with up to 100 meters of visibility, making it ideal for snorkelers.
The water temperature is a chilly 2-4°C (35-39°F), so you will need to wear a drysuit or wetsuit to keep warm.
Additionally, all tours are led by certified guides who will provide you with safety instructions and equipment.
ARE THERE MEDICAL CONDITION REQUIREMENTS?
There are medical requirements to snorkel in the Silfra fissure, and some of these are a no-go and will not allow you to participate.
You cannot go snorkeling in Silfra if you have any of the following conditions:
- You are pregnant
- Are subject to a heart attack
- Have any form of lung disease
- Heart or blood vessel disease (any kind)
- Angina, heart surgery, or blood vessel surgery
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung), any other chest disease, or had chest surgery
- You have epilepsy, are subject to seizures, or convulsions, or are on medications to prevent them
On the other hand, if you are or have any of the following, you’ll need to get medical clearance before snorkeling in Silfra:
- High cholesterol
- You are 60 years old or older
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) due to trauma
- History of heart disease in the immediate family
- You had cancer or cancer treatment in the past 2 years
- You had a severe head injury with loss of consciousness in the past 2 years
- You suffer from high blood pressure or take medications to control blood pressure
- You often suffer from severe dizziness, fainting, or unconscious spells
- Taking prescription medication that might affect your ability to participate
- Any other condition that can affect your physical or mental ability to stay safe on tour
Lastly, you should inform the instructors before coming if you have any of the following:
- You have reduced mobility, and you need assistance
- You suffer from Asthma – You need to give your inhaler to the guide if you need it with you
- You have Diabetes or are insulin-dependent – you should make sure that your BG is stable and must give the guide liquid glucose while in the water
WHAT TO BRING FOR THE SILFRA SNORKELING TRIP?
Apart from the warm clothing to wear underneath the dry suit, you’ll also want to carry extra layers to wear before and after snorkeling, a towel to dry off, and some snacks for when you’re done.
It’s important to note that you cannot bring shoes, bags, or valuables like your phone on the tour.
You’ll have to leave them in a locker provided by the tour company before heading to the entry point.
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SUMMARY – SILFRA ICELAND
This was everything you had to know about snorkeling Silfra, how to get prepared, what to pack, and everything in between.
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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THANKS FOR READING
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