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Last updated on September 26, 2020
Silfra is a crack between the American and the Eurasian continents, where the two massive tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart. It provides a unique and rugged underwater landscape, made of vibrant rocks cliffs and incredible blue appearances. It is the place where you will find some of the clearest water in the world, the fissure, filled with pure glacier water, offering an underwater visibility over 100 meters. Forget about the cold: snorkeling in Silfra is one of the most attractive and amazing underwater experience on Earth.
The Silfra fissure is located in Thingvellir National Park, near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area. It is about a 1-hour drive from Reykjavik (40mi/60km) by car. Due to National Park regulations, snorkeling in Silfra is only possible with a local guide. Snorkeling tour prices are around ISK 20 to 24 000 per person ($170 to 200), including Thingvellir National Park Silfra entrance fee (ISK 1000pp.) and pick-up service in Reykjavik (optional). Snorkeling in Silfra is possible all year round, but most companies offer tours only from May through September.
The water in Silfra is ice-cold, at a constant 2-4°C (35-39°F) year round. At this temperature, the human body risks hypothermia, so snorkeling or diving in Iceland requires a specialized gear, including thermal undersuits and full-body drysuits. This equipment is included in all snorkeling tours to Silfra. Once outfitted, you will easily enter the water from a metallic ladder set on the fissure shore.
Exploration of Silfra consists in snorkeling along its narrow blue canyons. The standard circuit is approximately 300 meters long, starting next to the road (see map above), and lasts 30 to 40 minutes.
Silfra is made of 4 main parts: the Big Crack (the narrowest section, where you can touch at the same time North American and Eurasian continents), Silfra Hall, the deep Silfra Cathedral, lined with “columns”, and the shallower and crystal-clear Silfra Lagoon.
Silfra is a spectacular underwater wonderland. There are no fish, but the underwater landscape is unique, filled with caves, fissures and crevices. The rocks, the pure water and the emerald algae carpets offers a colorful and amazing landscape, with remarkable shades of blue, green and yellow.
Filled with pure glacier water, visibility extends over 100 (and even 120) meters in most parts of the canyon, making Silfra the diving and snorkeling site with the clearest water in the world. Underwater photographers will particularly enjoy the attractive light and shadow effects.
The National Park Café, a 2 miles-drive from Silfra, serves sandwiches and soups. Tour organizers will offer you hot drinks after your snorkeling session.
These spots are only recommended to good swimmers, in good physical conditions, and with excellent snorkeling skills. These spots can experience currents, moderate waves, important depths, tight or narrow passages, or tricky water entrance, and can be located near hazardous areas (channels, boat traffic, strong currents…). The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas can be important - up to 500 meters. The “advanced” category includes drift snorkeling (transported by currents) and snorkeling off the coast.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell.You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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