Snorkeling in Iceland between two continents
UPDATE MAY 2020: Grab a pen quick, you’re going to want to add this to your bucket list I promise! Iceland is in my top 5 countries in Europe travel through, out of all 49! But everyone has to visit Iceland twice, once in the summer for those dramatic waterfalls and epic sights you’ve seen on Instagram, and once in Winter for the Northern Lights, ice caving in Iceland and snowmobiles! One activity you can do both in winter and summer is snorkeling in Iceland between 2 tectonic plates – The Eurasian tectonic plate and American plates. Now that’s epic! But how do you go about snorkeling in Iceland? Let me explain.
Wait! What? Snorkeling between 2 tectonic plates!?
Yup. Right below Iceland is where the European and American tectonic plates meet. They drift further and further apart each year. The gap created is the Silfra Fissure, and you can snorkel there, between the tectonic plates! The Þingvellir National Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s truly a once in a life-time opportunity.
Where Can you Go Snorkelling in Iceland?
Just 45 mins from Reykjavik, in the heart of Þingvellir national park, lies the Silfra fissure – where this lunacy occurs
When Can you go Snorkeling in Iceland?
All-year-round. It’s much more pleasant in the summer of course, but if you do it in the winter (like me!) you’ll be issued dry-suits to keep the freezing cold water at bay, so it’s only your face that’s exposed to the cold.
How Do I organise Snorkeling between the plates?
You can’t do it independently, you have to book a tour (I USED THIS ONE). And with the Slifra Fissure being just a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, it’s normally done as a half-day tour.
How Much Does it Cost to go Snorkeling between the tectonic plates in Iceland?
The tours range from $110 to $150 depending on if you want transfers from Reykjavik and the photo packages.
Your Options to go Snorkeling in Iceland:
You have 3 ways to book snorkelling in Iceland:
- SELF-DRIVE: Drive to the national park and meet the guides there ($110)
- DAY-TRIP FROM REYKJAVIK: Transfers to and from your hotel, to the Silfra fissure and back again, plus the tour ($140) – this is what i did.
Snorkeling in the Slifra Fissure’ My Experience
Perhaps the most impressive thing I did on my trip to Iceland was snorkelling between two tectonic plates, yup that’s right. The Eurasian tectonic plate and American tectonic plates meet under iceland, literally underneath it. Now, believe it or not, there’s a growing gap between them and you can snorkel or scuba within it. Madness.
I had never heard of the activity before I arrived in Rekyavik, and snorkeling in winter didn’t sound so appealing, but it was our only chance so we booked a day-trip tour and got going. They picked us up at our hotel and drove us less than an hour to the office, where we got the dry-suits and got ready to hop in. For anyone who has never worn a dry suit, let me tell you they’re horrible – you’re massively restricted and you can’t take them off alone so you’re kind in a sort of rubber prison, not ideal but better than swimming in the ice cold water in a pair of speedos I guess.
Before long you descend the icy steps and plung into the ZERO degree water. The drysuit works wonders but your ankles, hands and face remain exposed so brace yourself for that. I was expecting murky waters when I dove in, but actually the visibility is amazing, almost one hundred metres, and it’s so colourful down there.
The drysuit keeps you afloat so you don’t have to work so hard to move around – pretty good considering you’re bloody freezing and breathing regularly is a big enough task in itself! From then on it’s about a one hour tour, the guide showing the way, explaining bits and bobs throughout the journey. As soon as you’re done you sprint back to the bus, get changed and are welcomed with hot chocolate and cookies. Well played Iceland.
Iceland is the only place on the planet where you can snorkel between two continents, so despite the cold, the price and the pain you really need to try this. An amazing experience in an awesome country. Happy travels!
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