Go snorkeling between the continents of Europe and America and lava caving in Gjabakkahellir lava tube, both belonging to Thingvellir National Park.Thingvellir is situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The national parliament of Iceland, Althingi, was founded there more than a thousand years ago. With its crystal-clear waters, amazing underwater scenery and the fact that you'll be swimming between continents; it can be truly be said of Silfra in Thingvellir that it offers one of the world's greatest snorkeling sites.You will also see incredible lava formations and amazing sights in the 9000 year old Gjabakkahellir lava cave in the summer and Leiðarend cave in the winter.
Join this tour for a for a caving and snorkeling adventure to some of Iceland's most fascinating attractions. Check availability by choosing a date.
South Iceland is the most popular part of the country and contains some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Iceland, among them the Golden Circle, some of Iceland's most famous active volcanoes as well as the beautiful Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon.
South Iceland is usually divided into the fertile South Icelandic lowlands between Hellisheidi and Eyjafjallajokull volcano on the one hand - and on the other hand the eastern part with the big volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull (home of Katla) and flattened sands stretching towards the sea.
The South Icelandic Lowlands stretch nearly 100 km from Hellisheidi in the west towards Eyjafjallajokull in the east as a very flat and fertile farming land. From the shore the lowland stretches about km towards the inland. This is the best agriculture area in Iceland. The whole area is geologically very young, mainly of tuff type, formed during the Ice Age by the lava flows of the numerous volcanoes of the area. The area is indeed surrounded by volcanically active mountains on all sides. The glacier rivers of the area have helped filling the lavas with sand and clay, leaving it more and less smooth and fertile. Very strong earthquakes are found in this area as well.
The most active volcanoes of the area are Hekla and Eyjafjallajokull. No less active and not far off, but on the east side, is Katla, which we’ll adress in the eastern part-section. South of the mainland are the volcanic Westman Islands, famous for the 1973 eruption as well as the eruption in 1963, when Surtsey island was formed. Closely linked to the volcanic activity in the south is the geothermal heat found in many places, the best known being the Geysir area, which forms a part of the famed Golden Circle, which also consists of Gullfoss waterfall , Iceland's most famous waterfall as well as one of its most beautiful, located in the popular rafting river Hvita and Thingvellir National Park, comprising three of Iceland's most beloved natural attractions.
The earthquakes of the area bear witness to the fact that Iceland is still in shape. This is further evidenced by the endless number of fissures in the lavas, fractures in the mountains and certain pieces of lands sinking. The area of Thingvellir is the best known example of this, showcasing the continental drift. Thingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of the old parliament, Althingi, (now situated in Reykjavik) and one of Iceland's most important sites.
Another of Iceland's most popular attractions is the beautiful Thorsmork valley, situated between Myrdalsjokull and Eyjafjallajokull.
Natural harbour-sites are hardly any on the South shore, due to sand produced by the glacier rivers. A few towns are found in the area, Selfoss being the biggest one, Hveragerdi is another, then there are Hella and Hvolsvollur, all conveniently located by the ring road. By the shore are three fishing villages; Thorlakshofn, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri. Thorlakshofn the only one of those that can accommodate modern ships and ferrys. The ferry to the Westman Islands sails from there. A new harbour has been built on the sandy coast opposite the Westman Islands. The whole south shoreline offers some of the most gigantic braker waves that you are likely to see.
Culturewise, in addition to Thingvellir, we reccomend the ancient bishop seat of Skalholt (weekends at Skalholt further offer rich music life). Also, Iceland's most famous saga, Njal's saga takes place in the South lowlands. We further recommend the large reconstructed turfhouse near Stong and the ancient excavated ruins.
For sports, horse riding is popular in the area as well as catching salmon or trout, hiking, and river rafting in Hvita.
This is the area south and east of Myrdalsjokull. The volcanic glaciers Eyjafjallajokull (near the border of the eastern and western part) and Myrdalsjokull, dominate the view. The landscape has been shaped by volcanic eruptions and vast sands stretch to the sea. Some agriculture is found here, however, with the farms in a row alongside the mountains. A few large glacial rivers fall down in this area which also has striking waterfalls, such as Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss.
Eyjafjallajokull is already well known for its 2010 eruption, disturbing air communication all over Europe for many days. Much more serious,however, would be an eruption from Katla, a volcano in the eastern part og Myrdalsjokull.
Katla’s last eruption was in the year 1918, when an enormous flood of water exploded from the glacier in a matter of minutes, threatening the local farmers of the area. Large amounts of ash and muddy material were brought to sea to form a new land of sand, Kotlutangi, later washed away by the sea. No people were killed in this eruption. Eruptions in Katla throughout the ages have further created the vast sand area Myrdalssandur. Sixteen eruptions have been recorded for Katla since 930 at intervals of 13-95 years and the volcano is being closely monitored, as time may draw near to its next eruption.
In the same volcanic system as Katla (geologically speaking), are the Lakagigar craters, northeast of Myrdalsjokull. Those erupted in the years 1783-84; producing the largest amount of lava known in historic times. The ashes hindered the sunlight from reaching down to the surface of Earth, resulting in cold climate over northern Europe.
In this area – what we call the eastern part of South Iceland -, there are many places worth visiting: Solheimajokull is a beautiful glacier in a walking distance (an outlet of Myrdalsjokull); Skogar has a very interesting museum of older time traditions and Skogafoss is only a few km away from there. One of Iceland’s most famous hiking routes, Fimmvorduhals, starts from Skogar. Southwest of the village Vik is one of Iceland’s most spectacular beaches, Reynisfjara. Together with the promontory Dyrholaey, which is the southernmost tip of the mainland of Iceland, it offers a breathtaking view with amazing rock formations, a black pebble beach, an abundance of birds and the powerful waves of the North Atlantic Ocean crashing on the beach.
Further east stretches the world's most vast sand plain, Skeidararsandur. North of the sand is the fascinating Skaftafell preservation area. At its east end, south of Hvannadalshnukur, Iceland's highest peak, is Ingolfshofdi cape, with its rich birdlife, old fishermen's shacks and its lighthouse. Following the shore further east is the incredibly beautiful and ice-filled Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon. Not far off is the region of Sudursveit, featuring the culture center and heritage museum Thorbergssetur, erected in the memory of Icelandic author Thorbergur Thordarson.
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.
Silfra Fissure, situated in Þingvellir National Park in southwest Iceland, is one of the country's most visited and cherished natural wonders.
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.
Þingvellir makes up part of the Mid-Atlantic rift valley, an area of fairly young magma fields (geologically speaking) that, continentally, does not exist. Water trickles down from 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.
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.
Gjabakkahellir (a.k.a. Helguhellir or Stelpuhellir ('Girl cave')) is a lava tube, located in the area of Thingvellir National Park.
Gjabakkahellir formed around 9000 years ago. With its many beautiful lava formations and ice sculptures, it is considered a prime example of an Icelandic lava tube, offering breathtaking sights.
Starting time : 09:00
Pick-up from and to Reykjavík
Certified Padi® Diveguide / Divemaster and expert cave guide
All necessary specialized snorkeling gear including a specially made down suit to keep you warm in the glacier water
All necessary specialized caving gear including helmet and headlight
See what to bring
Warm and waterproof outdoor clothing
Warm undergarment clothing (fleece/wool sweater and pants)
Change of clothing (just in case)
Lunch or snack
*Please note that all participants must be able to swim to be able to participate in the tour.
*Good hiking shoes are recommended and can be rented beforehand online. We also rent waterproof jackets and pants online.
Warning: Jeans and other cotton fabricated clothing are not accepted. When cotton gets wet it looses its insulation capabilities, gets cold and dries slowly.
Amazing experience! Snorkeling in Silfra was the high light of the day. Visiting the lava tube was also interesting. The tour company made sure everyone was comfortable on both excursions. Great value for the price!
Great adventure tour. We were a bit scared that it would be too hectic to do this in one day but it was perfect. Highly recommended and great value!
This was a great tour. Our guides were really friendly and knowledgeable. Caving was a lot of fun (and a little physically taxing so avoid if you have leg/foot injuries) and the experience of snorkeling in Silfra was amazing and something that is not to be missed if you have the opportunity.
What a fantastic day, amazing view and visibility in Silfra. As a first time snorkeller it took a little bit of time to get used to the dry suit and equipment but the time spent in the water made up for it. The caving part was informative, got to see all those things that you learn about in school, only this is more interesting with amazing colours and formations. Our guide was friendly and patient with our silly group, and knew the answers to all the questions we asked, regardless of topic.
Caving and snorkeling was an amazing experience. Our tour guide Teitur was the best guide ever ! He made the experience even more enjoyable. We went snorkeling first to experience the morning colours of Silfra. The dry suit was extremely uncomfortable for me but Jack, the guide for snorkeling, put me at ease with my many concerns ! He was so helpful & friendly. The colours of Silfra was beautiful. After, we went caving with Teitur which was just epic - an amazing experience & I was buzzing after we emerged from the cave. I would recommend taking durable, extra clothes & an underwater camera
Putting on the suit in the cold, was the worst, but the underwater view was well worth it, even when a bit of water got into my suit, the proffesionals were there to guide me and asure me i would be fine. The hot chocolate helped too! Wal was our tour guide, and he was awesome! Thanks to the "Guide To Iceland" Crew for one of the best experiences in my life!
The water was very cold but the scenery was incredible. I very much enjoyed seeing the two continents meet. The lava tube was very interesting too. I can recommend this tour.
Awesome excursion! About 30-40 minutes "actual" time in the water. Visibility is amazing! The guides (Wal, Juan, and Hermes) are great! The scenery around the lake is pretty cool. The worst part was putting on the suit outdoors as it was very windy and cold. The best part was jumping in the water and getting to experience snorkeling between the two continents. No need to clear your snorkel as the water is so clean you can just drink any water that gets in. The only body part that really gets cold would be your lips. The less you move your hands, the warmer they stay. Takes about an hour to get there from Reykjavik. The caving tour is cool. However, you go to Leidarendi cave and not Gjábakkahellir...At least in the winter time. The good thing is that Leidarendi is only 20 minutes from Reykjavik.