Our first trip to Iceland in May 2016, was only about 4 days long, but it left us astounded and wanting more. One of the tours we booked prior to arriving there was snorkeling…in freezing waters! Silfra is a paradise for divers, yet we aren’t quite to that level of adventure yet, so snorkeling was the next best! Check out our other Iceland posts here!

What is Silfra?

Silfra is a fissure in the continental divide in Thingvellir national park (Þingvellir in Icelandic). The fissure is filled by groundwater as an aquifer, in which water melts from the glacier called Langokull. The water seeps underground from the glacier and slowly makes its way through the porous lava rocks until it fills the fissure. This process can take up to a 100 years! The draw to this place are the rainbow of colors that can be seen on the rocks from the algae, and the place you can swim between two tectonic plates!

Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is about an hour drive from the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. To go snorkeling or diving you have to do it through a company. We chose DIVE.IS. There are tours everyday and we chose the earliest time slot.

What’s included in the tour?

All the snorkeling equipment, a guided tour, with a warm drink and cookies (biscuits if you are British) at the end is included in the tour. Wearing appropriate clothes for the weather is a must.

It started by getting fitted for the dry suitsthat’s right, forget a wetsuit in this environment. This allows your clothing underneath to remain completely dry, as long as there is a good seal. The only thing that should get wet are your hands, because the mittens are permeable, and part of your face that’s uncovered. Just getting into the outfit was quite a struggle.

After getting our proper gear on, we walked over to the divide and descended the ladder to get into the clear freezing waters. Who in their right mind would willingly get into about 36 degree F (2 Celsius) temperature water is what I was thinking.

Once the whole group got in, we could float around and admire the colors. It started off between The Big Crack, floating between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates! You continue along to Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral and lastly the Silfra Lagoon. The group remained together the whole time and the guide explained each section as we went along. We were encouraged to drink the fresh water as well. Some of our photos are from our guide that shared with the whole group at the end, so that’s why we got such awesome water shots!

How long is the tour?

From start to finish probably about 3-4 hours. Total time in the water is about 30-40 minutes which seemed liked hours to me because I was still cold despite the dry suit. Marvin actually had a leak in one of his arms and around his neck, so part of his shirt was wet, but he said he could have stayed in the water a few more minutes! Me on the other hand, I was certain that with just a little pressure, my thumb would literally break off. It was beyond cold.

*Important Tip*

Be sure to bring a change of clothes for the end, because one of the girls on our trip got pretty soaked and was planning to spend the rest of the day out without dry clothes…in Iceland! And to think I was feeling sad about my thumbs.

Just knowing we were in a place that you can go swimming between the continental plates and admiring the colors made it a once in a lifetime experience. The best part was the hot chocolate and cookies at the end!!

I’m good with the one time experience I had, but Marvin would do it again!

Would you bare the cold temperatures and go diving or snorkeling in Silfra? Leave a comment below!


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