Diving in Silfra: 5 Reasons It’s Worth It!

If you are planning a trip to Iceland and love the water, diving in Silfra is a great activity to add to your trip!

This is one of the top dive sites in the world and is located within Thingvellir National Park, a short drive from Reykjavik!

Diving & Snorkeling in Silfra

Before landing in Iceland, I had been told how incredible Silfra was by my friends who had previously visited. The excitement kept growing as I looked up all of the photos online and read more about the history.

Keep reading to see the 5 unbeatable reasons why you should take the plunge into Iceland’s crystal-clear water.

Diving in silfra

From my personal experience, diving in Silfra gives you a feeling of how impeccable this planet is and how much it has shifted over centuries, and still shifting today.

When you step into the water that is 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit (you are in a drysuit don’t worry), you are instantly immersed in the clearest water you have more than likely ever seen.

5 Reasons Why Diving in Silfra is a Must

Silfra is not only one of the most unique experiences you may take part in, but it’s a place where you can personally witness the geological wonders of continental shift.

Note: These 5 reasons might make you want to reserve a spot to dive or snorkel for your trip ASAP.

1. Clearest Fresh Water in the World

The water in the Silfra Fissure travels 31 miles through a lava field over 30-100 years. This lava field acts as a natural purifier for the water as it reaches the spring that fills the fissure.

Underwater photo of a woman snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure

Since the water has gone through an intense natural filtration system, the result is some of the clearest water in the world with visibility over 100 meters.

The water is so clean that you can drink it. On our tour, they encouraged our group to take a little sip, and it was the most refreshing water I have ever had.

2. You Can Dive OR Snorkel

If you are dive-certified or just want to float on the surface and snorkel, the experiences at Silfra are worth it, whichever path you choose.

One of my favorite things about an activity like this is the low impact on your body, it is relaxing, calming, and quiet.

Diver in the Silfra Fissure

🤿 Snorkeling:
– Lower commitment
– Don’t need certifications
– Drysuit will have you floating on a surface and gives you the “bird eye view” of the fissure
– Lower cost

🤿 Scuba Diving:
– Open Water + Dry Suit certifications required
– Explore underwater caves & lava rocks
– Experience the thrill of being deep in the middle of two tectonic plates
– More pricy

3. Located Within Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is one of the most, if not the most, historic areas in Iceland. Dating back to 930 when the Althing General Assembly was established, they convened in this area up until 1798. In 1928 a law was passed to protect the historic parliament site and the geography surrounding it.

Photo of Thingvellir National Park

Silfra holds astounding significance within this National Park, however, this area has even more to offer!

Here is a list of other places to explore and activities within the National Park:

  • Walk the path between the two tectonic plates at Almannagja
  • Go on a horseback riding tour
  • Explore the Oxarafoss waterfall
  • Camp
  • Visit one of the first parliaments in the world at the Althing site
  • Fish at Lake Thingvallavatn

4. Unique Geography

I know that I have mentioned the geography of Silfra more than once already, but it is worth geeking out over!

Photo of the divide of the tectonic plates in the Silfra Fissure

The divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates is one of the neatest geological things I have ever laid my eyes on. With the plates shifting about 2 cm every year, imagine how long it has taken for this shift, and what it will continue to look like. It sure is wild to think about!

5. Wildlife

As you swim around the fissure, you will notice the divide, rock, and neon green seaweed. Are you curious about sharks, turtles, fish, or other marine animals?

Photo of Thingvellir National Park

There are a few different fish that live in the lake in the National Park, however there is only one that visits the fissure. The Dwarf Char, a subspecies of the Artic Char is the only fish in this fissure.

You more than likely won’t see them due to the fish living down in the dark recesses in the rock and are often not spotted.

What Company to Use for a Silfra Tour

After a lot of research on tour companies, I chose Dive.is to reserve my spot for my Silfra experience.

Note: Book early to get a spot, these experiences fill quickly!

The booking process was exceptionally easy and simple. I do recommend booking in advance for a reservation because slots fill up quickly with Silfra as one of Iceland’s top attractions. While you are doing the booking process you can choose from different types of diving or snorkeling experiences and transportation methods.

Photo above the Silfra Fissure

Dive.is has an effective system for ensuring everyone is in the proper gear that fits, followed by a brief to all parties in the group on how and when to dawn each piece of equipment. The instructors were all kind, knowledgeable, and professional, and I couldn’t recommend this company enough.

Can you Dive in Silfra Year Round?

Short answer, yes! The fissure is beautiful year-round, but there are a few things to keep in mind depending on the time of year you visit.

  • May-October: (Spring/Summer/Early Fall)
    • Pros: Warmer weather and it won’t be cold when taking off the gear.
    • Cons: More crowded. During the summer it may be fairly warm when you are wearing a drysuit before getting in the water.
  • October-May: (Winter)
    • Pros: Less crowded and won’t be hot while waiting to walk into the water.
    • Cons: Colder when you get out of the chilly water and road conditions may not be ideal.
Woman giving a thumbs up in snorkeling gear before going into the Silfra Fissure

Diving/Snorkeling in Silfra: FAQs

🤿 Are there any types of certifications required?

The snorkeling experience does not require certifications, besides knowing how to swim. The diving experience requires a drysuit certification OR at least 10 drysuit dives logged within the last two years.

🤿 Is there an age limit for snorkeling?

All snorkelers must be at least 12 years old and weigh over 99 pounds.

🤿 Do you stay warm in the drysuit while in the water?

For the most part, you will. By the end of the tour, you will be a little chilly, but it’s all worth it!

Lupine field in Iceland
Photo by: Caitlin

Do You Need a Car to Travel to Silfra?

Nope! If you didn’t rent a car on your trip, many of the tour companies have options that will depart from Reykjavik and include transportation to and from Silfra. It’s about a 50-minute drive to Thingvellir National Park, where Silfra is located.

Happy Campers camper van parked in front of a sunset
Photo by: Caitlin

If you are looking to rent a car, I highly suggest using RentalCars to find the car size you are looking for, at an affordable price.

Note: If you are interested in camper vans, Happy Campers is a rad company to use and I only have great things to say about them.

Conclusion: Diving in Silfra

Diving in Silfra (or snorkeling) is 100% worth the experience. You get to experience wearing a dry suit if you haven’t worn one before and either dive into the crack or float along the surface.

The extremely crystal-clear water allows you to see the shift of tectonic plates that you won’t be able to experience anywhere else.

Happy Trails,
Mindful PNW Travels