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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.

What is Silfra Fissure?

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.

Where is Silfra Fissure located?

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

How to get to Silfra Fissure?

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 makes Silfra unique?

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:

  • Silfra Big Crack – the section where people enter Silfra and start their snorkeling/diving experience 

  • Silfra Hall – the second section that snorkelers/divers reach is Silfra Hall, which is wider and already leaves an unforgettable impression with its high rock formations and sunlight from above  

  • Silfra Cathedral – a real treat for divers as this is where you can fully grasp the depth of Silfra, enjoy the clarity of the water, and see beautiful shades of blue.

  • Silfra Lagoon – the last section of Silfra, which is even wider than the previous ones and a perfect spot to enjoy the end of your snorkeling/diving adventure. 

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.

Snorkeling vs. Diving in Silfra

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.

How cold is the Silfra Fissure?

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.

Attractions near Silfra Fissure

Many breathtaking attractions surround Silfra Fissure in Iceland. Here are a few main ones you shouldn’t miss on your journey: 

  • Lake Thingvallavatn – the largest natural lake in the country with a size of 84 km2, situated in the famous Thingvellir National Park. Its maximum depth reaches up to 114 meters. 

  • Gullfoss Waterfall – Also known as “Golden Falls,” is among one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. Found on the Hvita River, this two-tier waterfall falls 32 meters down, creating a spectacular view. 

  • Geysir Hot Spring Area – an area where the Great Geysir and Strokkur are located. While the famous Geysir is no longer prone to erupting, its “neighbor” Strokkur bursts out every 4-10 minutes. 

  • Þingvallakirkja (Þingvellir church) – one of the first churches in Iceland with beautiful architecture and a few old relics that remain up to this day. These include bells, a pulpit, and an altarpiece.   

  • Öxarárfoss – water from river Öxará falls 13 meters down, creating an impressive view. What you’re looking at is Öxarárfoss waterfall.

Accommodations near Silfra Fissure

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: 


  • Hotel Grimsborgir by Keahotels
  • ION Adventure Hotel
  • Borealis Hotel


  • Hásteinn
  • Cabin Agnes

Guesthouses and camping sites

  • Lake Thingvellir Cottages
  • Iceland Lakeview Retreat
  • Brú Country Estate
  • Ljosafoss Guest House
  • Héraðsskólinn Historic Guesthouse
  • Úlfljótsvatn Scout and Adventure Center

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