Small Group Silfra Snorkelling Tour From Reykjavík
Embark on a snorkelling adventure in Silfra fissure, located in Thingvellir National Park, for a chance of experiencing the otherworldly sensation of drifting between two tectonic plates. This incredible tour is for anyone looking for a personal and unforgettable underwater experience in the lava fields of Iceland.
Your snorkelling tour starts in Reykjavík city, where you will be picked up and driven through the geological wonders of Thingvellir National Park. Reaching your destination, you will be met by a certified diving instructor and provided with the necessary snorkelling gear and information for a safe snorkelling experience in Silfra.
The whole valley of Thingvellir is situated on the boundary between two tectonic plates, the North American and the Eurasian. These plates continually work to pull Iceland apart, creating tension that is relieved through recurrent earthquakes which create fissures and cracks that traverse the valley.
Silfra is the largest and deepest of these fissures. From above it looks like a regular lake, but submerge yourself in the water, and you’ll find yourself in a sub-aquatic paradise, hovering in the gap between two continents.
The pristine water of Silfra fissure comes from Langjokull, Iceland's second largest glacier. The glacial water is astonishingly clear and can generate an underwater visibility of up to 100 metres. A specially designed dry suit will keep you warm and comfortable as you venture into the ice-cold water.
Once in the water, you'll be able to see magnificent rock formations and shadowy caves that were formed by centuries of earthquakes. You'll witness the incredible colours of the waters; the otherworldly shades of blue, green and yellow that will instantly mesmerise you.
Don’t miss this unique opportunity to drift in the current between two continents!
- Available: All year
- Duration: 5,5 hours
- Activities: Snorkelling, Sightseeing
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum age: 12 years old
- Languages: English
Thingvellir is one of the most important sites to visit in Iceland for its landscape, history and cultural value.
The Icelandic parliament was founded in Thingvellir in 930 and remained there for centuries.Thingvellir is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and is the site of a rift valley, marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic range. Today it is a natural park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and considered a vital part of the ‘Golden triangle’ (with Geysir and Gullfoss). Of particular note is the magnificent gorge Almannagja, which marks the eastern boundary of the north American plate and into which the beautiful waterfall Oxararfoss falls.
Other notable attractions within the park include the beautiful lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland, the Silfra fissure, one of the world's top dives, and Gjabakkahellir, one of Iceland's most interesting lava tubes.
Þingvallavatn (anglicised as Thingvallavatn, “Lake of the Parliament”) is a rift valley lake located roughly forty minutes drive from Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik.
Features of Þingvallavatn.
Þingvallavatn is partially within the boundaries of Þingvellir National Park, Iceland’s largest national park and only one with UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Covering an area of 84 km², Þingvallavatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland with its greatest depth measuring at 114 m. Þingvallavatn is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Rift, on a part of the ridge known as the Reykjanes Ridge. The lake has only one outflow, the river Sog.
Of particular note to biologists and fishermen are the four morphs of Arctic Char that inhabit the lake. The lake’s char are an excellent example of species evolving to fit and adapt to a secluded environment; over ten thousand years, one species of Char has transformed into four different-sub branches. Other fish in the lake include the the Brown Trout and the Three-Spine Stickleback.
History and Geology
Þingvallavatn takes its name from the historical founding of the Althingi, which occurred in 930 AD at what is now known as Þingvellir National Park. Þingvellir literally translates to “Fields of Parliament.” The Althingi was the first democratically elected parliament in world history; Icelanders used to travel by foot or horseback simply to congregate at Þingvellir where they would hear the latest laws and judgements of the island.
Þingvellir National Park is also notable for its geology. Given its position on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the park is one of the only places on the planet where visitors can see both the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates standing exposed from the earth. Footpaths allow you to get up close and personal to the plates, standing right where the ancient settlers once did. In between the tectonic plates lies fields of dried volcanic rock, blanketed with a thick, yet fragile layer of Icelandic moss.
Scuba Diving at Silfra / David's Crack
Scuba diving around Þingvallavatn revolves around two sites, Silfra Fissure and David’s Crack, the former being one of the most popular spots on the planet for snorkelling and underwater exploration. Silfra Fissure is situated between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and is filled with crystal-clear glacial water originating from the Langjokull ice cap. The water measures at between 2-3 degrees Celsius all year round, a slight current preventing the fissure from ever freezing over.
David’s Crack is found within Þingvallavatn and is often considered the darker and more dramatic cousin of Silfra Fissure, resembling the gorge formation so prevalent across the Mid Atlantic Rift. Only certain tour operators provide David’s Crack, so make sure to do some research beforehand if you are looking to access this dive site during your time in Iceland.
Header Photo: Wikimedia. Creative Commons. Credit: Axel Kristinsson.
Silfra Fissure, situated in Thingvellir National Park in West Iceland, is one of the country's’ most visited and cherished natural wonders, proving that Iceland’s incredible beauty doesn’t just have to be found above the water’s surface.
Roughly an hour’s drive from Reykjavik city centre, Silfra is a highly popular destination for snorkelers and scuba divers, with the fissure itself often ranking amongst the top ten dive sites internationally. The water is 2-4 degrees celsius all year round and offers visitors the opportunity to touch both the American and Eurasian tectonic plates simultaneously, an extremely rare feeling in itself.
Silfra is just one of thousands of fissures made up as part of a largely unmapped cave network underneath Thingvellir. The reasons for Silfra’s adulation particularly are, upon seeing it, self explanatory. Firstly, there is the incredible water clarity. Visibility will often stretch beyond 100m, meaning the entire fissure, canyon walls and all, is in full and perfect view. The incredible colour spectrums that this creates defies imagination. The water is so clear, for instance, that it refracts light in the same manner as a diamond, meaning, on bright days, that Silfra’s bottom is illuminated with rainbow patterns.
Thingvellir makes up part of the Mid-Atlantic dorsal rift, an area of fairly young magma fields (geologically speaking) that, continentally, does not exist. Water trickles down from the the mighty Langjökull glacier, around 60km from Silfra, entering the cave network and taking up to a century to reach the fissure. This fascinating process began over 12,000 years ago. Throughout the century long journey, the glacier water is purifying, finally arriving at Silfra drinkable, refreshing and delicious. Make sure to try the water, but not to drink too much. Dry suits prevent any liquid from getting in, but they also prevent any liquid from getting out. Best to wait until you’re dressed out of it to avoid an embarrassing situation.
Silfra also has a gentle current. This flow means that any sediment or floating particles kicked up by will quickly be pulled away, ensuring excellent visibility within minutes. Though you need to be able to swim to take tours in Silfra, dry suits do keep snorkelers, in particular, floating on the surface, meaning for a nice and gentle float.
Starting time : 09:00
Small group guarantee
Reykjavk pick up & return service
Experienced snorkeling guide (Dive Master)
Specialised snorkelling gear
Insulating dry suit
Food & drinks
What to bring:
Warm undergarment clothing (fleece/wool sweater and pants)
Warm wool socks
Change of clothes
Good to know:
Prior to diving or snorkelling, you will be provided with the document; "Diving and Snorkelling in Silfra Fissure: A Handbook to Prepare You for your Adventure".
This handbook will guide you through the entire process of snorkelling and diving at Silfra, from how to put on a drysuit to information about the fissure itself. The handbook will also contain a questionnaire asking whether you have suffered, or currently suffer, from issues relating to the tour, such as lung disease or allergies to the cold.
If you answer yes to any of these preconditions, you may need medical clearance from a doctor before joining, or you may be refused outright. If you have any queries regarding your eligibility for these tours, please don't hesitate to contact the tour operator directly. You will also sign a liability waiver within the handbook itself. The regulations are as follows:
be at least 150cm tall
be at least 45kg
be at least 16 years of age
be comfortable in water and be able to swim
be physically fit
be ready to wear a sometimes tight & constricting dry suit
not be pregnant