Welcome to a world where nature's grandeur meets an adventurer's dream! In this post, we're diving deep into the wonders of scuba diving in Silfra Fissure, a unique and mesmerizing dive site located within the breathtaking Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.

Join us as we explore the crystal-clear waters, the history, and the unparalleled experience of snorkeling and diving in one of the world's most extraordinary locations.

About Silfra Fissure

Silfra Fissure is a remarkable underwater ravine in the heart of Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iceland. It's a popular dive site and a geological wonder that fascinates scientists and tourists alike.

Silfra Fissure is unique in its location between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. These plates are drifting apart, creating a rift filled with crystal-clear glacial water.

The water in Silfra originates from the Langjökull glacier, about 50 kilometers away. It journeys through an underground network of porous lava rock, serving as a natural filter. This process yields crystal-clear water with visibility often surpassing 100 meters.

This extraordinary clarity makes Silfra one of the world's premier diving and snorkeling sites. Another distinctive feature of Silfra is its constant water temperature, hovering around 2-4°C (35-39°F) year-round.

Despite the cold, divers and snorkelers flock to Silfra for a unique swimming experience in such pristine and transparent water. The fissure includes several sections, including Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and the Silfra Lagoon.

Each section offers a different underwater landscape, from deep caverns to wide spaces with gentle currents. Silfra is not only a natural wonder but also a symbol of geological processes at work.

Diving or snorkeling in Silfra Fissure is not just about the underwater adventure; it's a journey into a fissure that marks the literal boundary between two continents. It's an immersive experience that combines the thrill of exploration with the awe of witnessing Earth's dynamic nature.

Unveiling the Hidden Treasures: Scuba Diving in Silfra Fissure

Scuba Diving in Silfra Fissure

It encapsulates the breathtaking and unique diving experience in one of the world's most extraordinary underwater locations. In the heart of Thingvellir National Park in Iceland, Silfra Fissure is a geological wonder, offering a once-in-a-lifetime diving opportunity.

Here's a breakdown of what makes scuba diving in Silfra Fissure so unique:

Geological Significance

Silfra Fissure is a geological split between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This rare geographical feature provides an opportunity to dive or snorkel right in the crack between two continental plates, an experience that can't be found anywhere else on Earth.

Exceptional Water Clarity

The water in Silfra Fissure is renowned for its crystal-clear visibility. This clarity is due to the natural filtration process of the glacial water through porous underground lava rock over decades.

Divers often enjoy over 100 meters of visibility, making it one of the clearest bodies of water in the world.

Unique Marine Environment

While Silfra doesn't boast diverse marine life, its underwater landscapes are stunning. The fissure features deep blue waters, intriguing rock formations, and a mesmerizing play of light and shadows.

The presence of colorful marine algae adds to the underwater tapestry.

Cold Water Adventure

The water temperature in Silfra remains nearly constant year-round, ranging from about 2°C to 4°C (35°F to 39°F). It requires divers to use dry suits and other specialized dive gear, adding an element of adventure to the experience.

Accessible Diving Experience

Located within a National Park, Silfra is easily accessible from Reykjavik and is often included in day tours that cover the Golden Circle route. It makes it convenient for tourists and divers to combine a visit to Silfra with other iconic Icelandic attractions.

Seasonal Variations

Diving in Silfra offers different experiences throughout the year. In summer, the longer daylight hours provide ample time for diving; in winter, the ice-covered surface creates a serene and otherworldly diving environment.

In essence, scuba diving in Silfra Fissure is not just about exploring a unique underwater landscape; it's about experiencing the awe of nature, the thrill of adventure, and the joy of witnessing a hidden world beneath the surface. It's a journey into an almost ethereal realm where geological history and natural beauty converge in an unforgettable diving experience.

How to Get to Silfra?

Getting to Silfra Fissure in Iceland's stunning Thingvellir National Park is relatively straightforward, whether you're coming from Reykjavik or another part of Iceland. Here's a brief overview:

  • From Reykjavik: Silfra is approximately a 50-minute drive from Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city. Most visitors rent a car or join a guided tour to reach the site. The scenic journey takes you through some of Iceland's picturesque landscapes.
  • By Car: If you're driving, head northeast on Route 1 from Reykjavik and then switch to Route 36, leading directly to Thingvellir National Park. The park is well-signposted, and Silfra Fissure is a known destination within the park.
  • Guided Tours: Numerous tour operators in Reykjavik offer day trips to Silfra Fissure, often including transportation to and from the dive site. These tours sometimes combine snorkeling or diving experiences with other activities in the Golden Circle area, making for a comprehensive day trip.
  • Public Transportation: While less convenient than driving or taking a guided tour, public buses are also available. However, these may not take you directly to the park; additional walking or arrangements might be needed.

Remember, Thingvellir National Park is a popular tourist destination, so planning your trip is advisable, especially during peak tourist seasons. Whether you drive yourself or join a guided tour, the journey to Silfra is part of the adventure, offering beautiful views and a glimpse into Iceland's natural beauty.

Snorkeling and Diving at Silfra in Different Seasons

Snorkeling and Diving at Silfra in Different Seasons

Snorkeling and diving at Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park present different experiences across the seasons, each with unique charm and considerations. Here's a look at what to expect in each season:

Spring (March to May)

  • Conditions: The water remains cold (around 2°C to 4°C), but the daylight hours increase.
  • Visibility: The visibility in Silfra is consistently excellent, often exceeding 100 meters.
  • Experience: Spring marks the transition from winter, bringing slightly warmer weather, making it a more comfortable time for those not used to cold conditions.

Summer (June to August)

  • Conditions: This is the peak tourist season. Although the water temperature in Silfra remains cold, the air temperature is warmer.
  • Daylight: Due to Iceland's midnight sun, extended daylight hours offer longer days for snorkeling and diving activities.
  • Wildlife and Scenery: Algae bloom in summer can reduce underwater visibility slightly, but it also brings a vibrant, green hue to the aquatic environment.

Autumn (September to November)

  • Conditions: Autumn sees fewer tourists, offering a more tranquil diving experience. The water temperature starts to drop as Iceland heads into winter.
  • Visibility: Excellent visibility continues, and the changing colors of the landscape above water add to the beauty of the experience.
  • Consideration: Divers and snorkelers should be prepared for shorter daylight hours and colder surface conditions.

Winter (December to February)

  • Conditions: Winter offers a unique and serene experience. The fissure can be partially covered with ice, and the surrounding landscape is often snow-covered.
  • Challenges: Cold air temperatures and the possibility of ice mean divers and snorkelers must be well-prepared for extreme conditions. Dry suits are essential.
  • Daylight: Limited daylight hours due to Iceland's short winter days. It's essential to plan your trip accordingly to maximize the available daylight.

General Considerations

  • Equipment: Regardless of the season, the water temperature in Silfra is consistently cold, necessitating dry suits and appropriate thermal protection.
  • Safety: Safety protocols should be strictly followed, and diving with experienced guides is recommended, especially for those unfamiliar with cold water diving.
  • Certification: Ensure you have the necessary diving/snorkeling certifications and experience, especially for diving in dry suits.

Snorkeling and diving at Silfra Fissure offer a year-round adventure, but the experience varies significantly with the seasons. Whether it's the extended daylight and vibrant underwater life of summer or the serene, icy beauty of winter, each season in Silfra has its unique appeal.

Safety Protocols When Diving Silfra Fissure

Safety is paramount in diving, especially in unique and challenging environments like Silfra Fissure. The location's distinctive characteristics – such as cold water temperatures, deep underwater ravines, and the need for specialized equipment – necessitate strict adherence to safety protocols.

Here are the key safety measures and protocols for scuba diving in Silfra Fissure:

Certification and Experience Requirements

Divers must have a valid diving certification, and it's highly recommended (often required) to have experience in dry-suit diving due to the cold water conditions. This is because controlling buoyancy and managing oneself in a dry suit can differ from diving in a wet suit.

Pre-Dive Briefing

All divers should receive a comprehensive briefing before the dive. This briefing typically includes details about the dive site, expected conditions, navigation routes, safety procedures, and emergency protocols.

Age and Health Restrictions

There are generally age limits (often 16 years or older) and health requirements. Divers must be physically healthy and may need to complete a medical questionnaire or provide a medical certificate.

Equipment Check

Properly functioning, high-quality dive gear suited for cold water conditions is essential. It includes a dry suit, regulators that can operate in cold water, a buoyancy control device (BCD), weights, fins, a mask, and often a hood and gloves.

A thorough equipment check before entering the water is a must.

No Solo Diving

Solo diving is generally prohibited in Silfra for safety reasons.

Buddy System

Diving in pairs or groups, where divers keep an eye on each other, is crucial. The buddy system ensures that assistance is readily available if any diver encounters difficulties.


Clear pre-dive communication about hand signals and underwater communication methods is essential. It ensures that divers can effectively communicate with their buddy and guide, especially when visibility is reduced.

Environmental Awareness

Divers should be briefed about the environmental aspects of Silfra, including the importance of not disturbing the delicate underwater flora and avoiding contact with the sides and bottom of the fissure.

Physical Fitness

Divers should be in good physical health. The cold water and the demands of diving in a dry suit require a reasonable fitness level.

Respect Dive Limits

Divers should adhere to the depth and time limits specified for the dive, considering their certification level and diving conditions.

Exposure Protection

Given the near-freezing water temperatures, appropriate exposure protection is necessary. It includes wearing suitable thermal layers beneath the dry suit.

Emergency Procedures

Knowledge of emergency procedures, including managing hypothermia, equipment malfunctions, and ascending safely in an emergency, is critical.

No Alcohol or Drugs

Divers must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while diving.

Local Regulations and Conservation Rules

Abiding by local regulations and understanding the conservation rules of Thingvellir National Park is essential to ensure the protection of this unique site. Interacting with or feeding wildlife is prohibited, as is touching or removing natural features.

Guided Tours

Guided tours with experienced dive Silfra guides familiar with Silfra's unique environment are especially recommended for those less familiar with diving in such conditions.

By following these safety protocols, divers can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the underwater marvels of Silfra Fissure.

How to Experience Diving Silfra with Golden Circle Day Tours

How to Experience Diving Silfra with Golden Circle Day Tours

Experiencing diving in Silfra Fissure with Golden Circle Tours combines an extraordinary underwater adventure with Iceland's stunning terrestrial sights. Starting from Reykjavik, these tours typically include a guided dive in the crystal-clear waters of Silfra, nestled in Thingvellir National Park, where you can explore the unique rift between tectonic plates.

Post-dive, the tour continues to the Geysir Geothermal Area, showcasing erupting geysers, and concludes at the majestic Gullfoss Waterfall. These comprehensive tours offer transportation expert guidance and are suitable for various experience levels, making them an ideal way to explore Iceland's aquatic and terrestrial wonders in one trip.


Embarking on a snorkeling and diving tour in Silfra Fissure transcends typical underwater experiences; it explores a dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Ideally suited for those with logged dry suit dives or for anyone enthusiastic about snorkeling and diving tours activities, Silfra offers an unparalleled adventure.

Whether you're a seasoned diver or a snorkeler eager to delve into new depths, Silfra is a must-visit destination, enriching the bucket list of every underwater explorer with its unique and mesmerizing scenery.


Can beginners dive in Silfra?

Beginners can enjoy snorkeling tours, but diving in Silfra typically requires some experience and certification due to its unique conditions.

Is there access to the restroom and changing amenities at Silfra?

Yes, there are 2 toilet facilities at Silfra. However, we don't recommend using them for changing, as it can result in long queues.

Can you drink the water in Silfra?

The journey of water to Silfra can span an entire century, and this extensive filtration period leads to the water being exceptionally pure and safe to drink.

How deep are the Silfra dives?

In Silfra, the permissible maximum depth for diving is set at 18 meters (60 feet), but most dives there typically reach around 10 meters (32 feet). The depth of a dive in Silfra can vary, often being shallower, based on the divers' qualifications and experience to ensure safety and ease.

What is the best time of year to dive into Silfra?

Diving between the tectonic plates of Silfra Gap is an activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Nonetheless, the warmer top-side temperatures in July and August make these summer months ideal for this experience.

During this period, dive operators typically provide shore diving options, taking advantage of the more favorable weather conditions.