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Islandske rejseeksperter

Silfra rejseguide

4.8
2602 Godkendte anmeldelser
Type
Dale, Kontinentaldrift, Søer
Destination
Reykjavík, Iceland
Placering
Thingvellir National Park, Iceland
Åbningstider
Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Thursday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Saturday: Closed; Sunday: Closed
Afstand fra centrum
0.9 km
Højsæson
Winter
Familievenlig
No
Gennemsnitlig bedømmelse
4.8
Antal anmeldelser
2602

The crystal-clear waters of Silfra is drinkable.

Silfra is a fissure filled with clear spring water and a diver's paradise. It is famous for being the only place in the world where you can go snorkeling or diving between two tectonic plates.

The rift of Silfra is one of Iceland's most cherished wonders. Located within Thingvellir National Park, one of the stops in the ever-popular Golden Circle, it takes around an hour to reach the fissure from Reykjavik, and there are plenty of snorkeling tours that both start from Silfra or include pick-up from the city.

Snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters between the walls of the rift of Silfra is an experience that is simultaneously thrilling and relaxing and is now considered to be one of the top five dive sites in the world.

Geology of Silfra

Silfra from within in summer.Photo from Silfra Diving Experience & Golden Circle Day Tour

Silfra is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the massive underwater mountain range which marks the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The fissure of Silfra opened in 1789 due to the movements of the tectonic plates that frame Thingvellir National Park. The tectonic plates, which run all the way through Iceland, separate at about 0.78 inches (2 centimeters) per year, and as they do, they tear open fissures in the land between them. 

Some of the ravines fill with groundwater traveling underground through the porous lava fields in the area, originating from Langjokull glacier about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north. It can take the water up to a century to reach Silfra, and this long filtration process results in the water being both extremely clear and drinkable.

Silfra is Iceland's most popular snorkelling site.Because the water travels underground, it maintains a constant temperature of 35°F to 37°F (2°C to 3°C) and does not freeze over immediately at the source of the spring. Snorkeling and diving tours are thus open throughout the year.

The clarity of the water in Silfra is what draws most visitors and is one of the main reasons why the fissure is considered one of the greatest diving spots in the world. The visibility can extend to over 330 feet (100 meters), allowing you to see the canyon walls and bottom like you are floating over a great cathedral.

The last color that water absorbs is blue, which means that when you look forward in Silfra, it is as if you are looking into an ethereal, vivid, azure world. The clarity also means that sunrays refract through the surface of the water, creating rainbows on Silfra’s bed when the weather allows. 

The Four Sections of Silfra

Silfra covers an area of roughly 2000 by 650 feet (600 by 200 meters). The adventure begins at the platform, which is located a short distance from a nearby parking lot. 

Silfra Big Crack

Located underneath the platform is the first part of Silfra called the Silfra Big Crack, where visitors engaging in diving and snorkeling enter the water. Even though this is only the first part of Silfra, it is still a majestic spot to get great pictures.

Silfra Hall

As divers venture further into the Silfra Fissure, they reach the Silfra Hall, a wider section characterized by towering rock formations on either side. The Hall offers a stunning display of natural beauty, with sunlight filtering through the water and illuminating the underwater world. This section is often referred to as a cathedral due to its awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Silfra Cathedral

Deeper into the Silfra Fissure lies the Silfra Cathedral, an awe-inspiring section known for its incredible clarity and mesmerizing blue hues. Here, divers can witness the full extent of the fissure's depth, as well as explore intricate rock formations and crevices. The Cathedral is a favorite among experienced divers, as it offers a truly immersive and otherworldly experience.

Silfra Lagoon

At the end of the Silfra Fissure, divers reach the Silfra Lagoon, a shallower and wider area compared to the previous sections. The Lagoon provides a perfect spot for divers to relax and take in the surrounding beauty. It is here that the water from the fissure finally mixes with the nearby lake, resulting in a unique blend of freshwater and glacial meltwater.

Snorkeling in Silfra

Snorkelling is popular in Silfra.Photo from Top-Rated Snorkelling Silfra & Horseback Riding Tour

Snorkeling in Silfra fissure is a highly enjoyable activity, but you must meet some prerequisites to be able to join. The following are the requirements for all participants:

  • Be able to swim
  • Be at least 12 years of age
  • Be in good physical health
  • Be at least 4'9" feet (145 centimeters) tall and weigh at least 99 lbs (45 kilograms)
  • Not taller than 6'5" feet (200 cm) or weigh over 265 (120 kilograms)
  • Not pregnant
  • Participants over sixty will need a medical waiver
  • Participants over forty-five with a history of heavy alcohol use and pipe smoking will also need a waiver

The most common option for snorkeling is to conduct it in a drysuit. Drysuits work with a fluffy undersuit to keep your body free from water and insulated against the cold, making the task of swimming through the near-freezing temperature more than achievable. 

While drysuit snorkeling is the most comfortable and popular option, a few tours allow you to go through Silfra wearing a wetsuit. Wetsuits, made of neoprene, allow water to surround your body in a thin layer that your body then heats up and uses to protect you. Though they grant you more flexibility, they are not so warm, so this should only be done by the daring; you will also need to be at least 50 kilograms to snorkel in a wetsuit.

In all tours, you wear neoprene on your head and hands to allow for better mobility, a mask and snorkel, and a pair of fins, all of which are provided on-site. The course of Silfra takes approximately forty minutes, and there is a gentle current throughout, meaning it requires minimal energy to traverse.

Diving in Silfra

Diving in the Silfra fissure.Photo from Guided 1 Hour Drysuit Diving Tour in Silfra with Hot Drinks with Transfer from Reykjavik

Diving through Silfra gives an extra dimension to its beauty, as you will be able to look up and see the sun glistening upon the surface as you cruise through the crystal-clear waters. However, considering the risks associated with diving in cold water and cumbersome equipment, all who partake must meet all the requirements above, as well as one of the following:

  • You must be at least 17 years of age, with a signature from a guardian required for participants under 18)
  • You must be a qualified diver with a certification in a drysuit specialty, OR
  • You must be a qualified diver with at least 10 logged dives in a drysuit conducted over the past two years, signed by an instructor or divemaster.

Things to Do Near Silfra

SilfraAs Silfra is part of the Thingvellir, there is no shortage of interesting attractions located within the national park nearby. Oxararfoss Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall that cascades down a series of rocky ledges, surrounded by lush greenery. The gorge of Almannagja is a place where you can see the boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge above ground and is a place of great cultural and historical importance to the Icelandic people.

Outside Thingvellir, the other attractions of the Golden Circle are located nearby. Geysir Geothermal Area is home to the erupting Strokkur geyser, which erupts every few minutes, shooting boiling water high into the air. Gullfoss Waterfall is one of Iceland's most iconic natural wonders, with powerful cascades plunging into a narrow canyon.

Places to Stay Near Silfra

Silfra

Photo by Hotel Gullfoss.

If you are looking for a place to stay near Silfra, there are plenty of fantastic hotels and accommodations in the Golden Circle.

Hotel Gullfoss is a modern option located in the heart of the Golden Circle. It is a great place to stay if you wish to explore the nearby area or drive along Iceland's southern coast.

Hotel Geysir is another great accommodation, literally located across the road from the Geysir Geothermal Area. Travelers who want modern, chic accommodation right by one of the country’s most iconic attractions should look no further.

Torfhus Retreat is a Viking-inspired eco-luxury hotel built from reclaimed wood, local stone, and turf. Built in the style of a traditional Icelandic turf house, it offers a memorable experience within a short distance of amazing attractions.

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