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Snorkeling in Silfra

Silfra is a fissure that is full of naturally fresh spring water located in Thingvellir national park. Silfra is only a 60 km away from the capital Reykjavik and only takes around an hour to drive in good weather conditions.

Silfra in Iceland

Photo by Clark Van Der Beken 

In 1789 the Silfra fissure opened as tectonic plates in Thingvellir national park moved causing the fissure to form. Every year they separate furhter by approximately 2 centimetres.

Silfra is the only place in the world where you can snorkel between two condinental plates as Silfra was formed by a divergent tectonic drift of the Eurasian and North American plates.

Silfra is ranked as one of the clearest water in the world with an amazing visibility of more than 100 meters, making snorkeling in there feel like you are flying. Silfra is considered to be one of the top five dive sites in the world along with the Great Barrier Reef, Australia and Komodo National Park, Indonesia.

The Silfra fissure water is ice cold all year roand at around 2°C (35°F) or barely above freezing so wearing a wetsuit or drysuit is essential.

There is not much fish in Silfra although it is full of life, most of it plant life or microinvertibrates that are not visible to the human eye. The only fish that lives in Silfra are Arctic Char and Dwarf Char that is a subspecies of the Artic Char.

The Arctic Char only visits the fissure during mating season from August until september but the Dwarf Char stays down in the darker recess so they are not often seen by divers or snorkelers.

The only way to snorkel in the Silfra is by joining one of the tourse offered by operators.

Snorkeling in Silfra is amazing but all snorklers must meet these requirements:

  • Must be able to Swim
  • Must be over 16 years old
  • Must be in good physical health
  • Must be at least 145 centimeters and 45 kilos
  • If over sixty, you will need to provide a medical waiver
  • If over forty-five with a history of heavy alcohol use and smoking, you will also need a medical waiver

Snorkeling in Iceland

Photo by Gunnar Sigurðarson

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