If you enjoy snorkeling and diving, then Silfra Fissure in Iceland is a must-visit place where you can also find yourself between two tectonic plates. But this is not the only thing that makes this attraction so appealing. Continue reading to find out where this gem is hidden, what else awaits you in this area, as well as how you can prepare for the upcoming adventure in Silfra.
Under the name Silfra hides a fascinating natural wonder—a rift situated on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It's recognized as the only place in the world where you can find yourself between two tectonic plates—the North American and Eurasian. For this to happen, put on a diving suit and get ready for a fun and unforgettable dive.
Silfra Fissure is located in the Thingvellir National Park, one of the most prominent attractions in the famous Golden Circle route,. Thingvellir is where the oldest parliamentary institution, known as Alþingi, was founded. Now, it's also seen as a place of stunning Icelandic nature.
Full address: National park, Thingvellir National Park, 801 Thingvellir, Iceland
If you plan to visit Silfra from Reykjavik, the fissure is only 54 kilometers away from the capital, meaning it’ll take less than an hour to reach the destination by car. If you’re planning to go to Silfra from village Vik, which is surrounded by several interesting attractions, your ride (177 kilometers) will take less than two and a half hours.
Don’t forget that once you’re in Silfra, you’re also near many stunning places of the famous Golden Circle: Gullfoss waterfall, the Great Geysir, and Kerid Crater.
What lures people to Silfra Fissure is the chance to snorkel or scuba dive in clear waters and actually be in between two tectonic plates (North American and Eurasian). How deep is the Silfra Fissure? The rift is nearly 60 meters deep, but if you decide to dive into its waters, the maximum allowed depth is 18 meters, with people usually reaching from about 7 to 12 meters to ensure one’s safety.
Silfra is “divided” into four diving sections:
The rift was formed in 1789 when earthquakes in Thingvellir National Park took place. This particular fissure was filled with water from the Langjökull glacier, which is why the water in Silfra is so clear. What’s interesting about this place is that every year the plates move 2 centimeters.
It might seem that scuba diving and snorkeling are pretty similar sports. And while for both, you need some preparation, the main difference between snorkeling and diving is the depth and equipment used to sustain yourself while in the water.
Snorkeling is defined as swimming at the surface but still being able to see what's underwater. Silfra Fissure snorkeling requires a snorkel (also known as a breathing tube) to grasp air while watching the "panorama" in the water without diving any deeper. What you'll also love about snorkeling, especially if it's your first time, is that it doesn't require much preparation. What you do have to know before going into the water is how to swim.
Silfra Fissure diving is a bit more complicated matter compared with snorkeling. Once you have gear that contains breathing equipment that'll allow you to breathe in the depths of Silfra, you'll be able to swim down a maximum of 18 meters. This is an unforgettable experience as you'll have a chance to swim in between various natural formations. What you should keep in mind is that only trained and certified divers are allowed to go diving.
Besides the fact that Iceland's Silfra Fissure is located in such a special place, it's also recognized for its extremely clear waters. And who wouldn't want to find themselves in such conditions, witnessing a mesmerizing underwater world? But what are the actual conditions you'd be in once you get into the water? The Silfra Fissure water temperature ranges from 2°C to 4°C.
The good news is that this temperature remains all year long, so you can also go snorkeling and diving during any chosen time of the year. While the daytime is longer in summer, assuring better visibility, it's also more crowded. During the colder months, the area is calmer, but with shorter days, you'll have less time to enjoy exploring the underwater Silfra.
Many breathtaking attractions surround Silfra Fissure in Iceland. Here are a few main ones you shouldn’t miss on your journey:
Because of its convenient location, there are quite a few options when it comes to accommodation near Silfra Fissure. Check what some of these are:
Guesthouses and camping sites