Snorkeling Tours | Guide to Iceland

Snorkeling Tours
Snorkeling tours allow you to immerse yourself in one of the world's most astonishing underwater sites, Silfra ravine in Þingvellir National Park. In a drysuit or a wetsuit, you'll swim between two tectonic plates, through pristine water where the visibility exceeds 100 metres.

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Snorkeling in Iceland

Iceland’s majesty does not just exist at surface level. For explorers willing to brace the cold, this country boasts a number of hidden underwater treasures, some of which are heralded among the best snorkeling and dive sites in the world.

But snorkeling in Iceland is quite unlike what most world travellers are used to. Swap out the beach shorts for a drysuit, trade-in tropical fish for dark and mysterious canyons, and lower the temperature dramatically, and you’ve got yourself a closer impression.

Regardless of the differences, snorkeling in Iceland is one of the most exhilarating, unexpected and unique activities available to visitors. How often, after all, does one go snorkeling amidst the snow?

Silfra Fissure, while heralded as Iceland’s premier snorkeling site, is but one of many glacial rifts that exist within Þingvellir National Park. As the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates continue to separate little by little each year, the continental no man’s land between them bears the brunt of the tension, often forming deep cracks and ravines that are submerged by glacial water.

One day in the distant future, these plates will have split apart so much that the adjacent lake, Þingvallavatn, will come to flood the whole national park.

Silfra Fissure has a slight current, meaning there is little need to swim (though swimming ability is a prerequisite). As your drysuit keeps you buoyant in the water, you can merely float the gauntlet, breathing in slowly as your eyes fully take in this subaquatic paradise. With near 100 metres visibility, you’ll have a captivating bird’s eye view over the fissure, its rock laden bottom, domineering canyon walls and luminescent green algae.

As previously mentioned, Silfra Fissure is lacking in fish-life (though young and smaller fish are known to treat the ravine as a nursery), but more than trades off for its unbelievable aesthetic.

Frequently asked questions

Can I meet the guides on the location?

Yes, though the specific meeting point will differ with each operator. Some may wish to meet you at the nearby visitor's centre, others in Silfra car park. Contact your tour operator directly, or alternatively, email info@guidetoiceland.is for further information.

Do I need to know how to swim?

Yes, all participants must know how to swim. Though the drysuits are very buoyant, guests are required to exert themselves physically whilst on the tour.

Is it possible to negotiate about the age limit?

No, the tour operators need to adhere to Icelandic law, which states that you must be 14 years of age in order to take part in snorkeling in Iceland.

Is the water cold?

The water in Silfra is a consistent 2-3°C (35-37°F), year-round. Because Silfra has a light current running through it, the fissure never freezes, not even during the winter.

Do you need to wear a drysuit?

Most operators require you to wear a drysuit, although some will also let you snorkel in a wetsuit. There are no options to snorkel without protective equipment, however, as the water is far too cold.

What other equipment will I use in Silfra?

Alongside the drysuit, you will wear a pair of neoprene gloves, a neoprene hood, a pair of fins and a snorkeling mask. 

Is the tour cancelled if it is raining or snowing?

No, tours at Silfra will go ahead unless extremely strong winds warrant a cancellation. If you have any questions regarding this, please contact the tour operator directly or email our team at info@guidetoiceland.is.

Are there snorkeling tours in the ocean?

No, all snorkeling in Iceland takes place in Silfra fissure.

Is the water drinkable in Silfra?

Yes, and absolutely delicious. Remember "The Golden Rule", however, and don't drink too much (drysuits are known for self-containing any liquid).

How long does the tour last?

The tour lasts at least two hours, with snorkeling time ranging between 30 and 45 minutes.