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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.

Snorkeling in Iceland
Snorkeling in Iceland

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:

  1. SELF-DRIVE: Drive to the national park and meet the guides there ($110)
  2. 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 Iceland
Snorkeling in Iceland

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.

Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure
Snorkeling in Silfra Fissure; The Entrance Point

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!

snorkeling in Iceland
Snorkeling in Iceland; Drysuit on and ready to go!
Snorkelling in Iceland
Snorkelling in Iceland

 

 

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Snorkeling in iceland between two continents

  1. Pingback: The Ultimate 2020 Guide to Ice Caving in Iceland | One Step 4Ward
  2. These photos are amazing!! And I think that price is pretty damn good for Iceland. I bought 3 medium pizzas and a 2-liter of Sprite at a Dominos Pizza in Iceland and paid $70. 🙂

  3. I’m jealous because stunning underwater but I fear underwater, haha pretty hectic right? But I liked the blog, very good I would be able to face my fear. for one day I also do that.

  4. Once again, this post amazes me, Mr. Ward. I contacted you one say asking for advice and you obliges. And so starts my own travel blog with intents of reaching the far edges of this world. Starting in my own backyard with a backpacking trip across the Western USA. Nomadic Matt was your inspiration, you’re mine. Best luck in your travels this week, friend.

  5. Great article and very inspring! Hopefully we will go there soon. We just started a travelblog newsfromnomads.com, because we’re also travel addicts! We really like you site!

  6. Those pictures remind me of when I got my PADI Open-Water License in January in a northern part of the United States. 26 degrees!
    As much as I hated the cold from those open-water days in cold weather, I may just have to try out diving when I head to Iceland.

  7. Amazing!! We are headed to Iceland at the end of February, so I’ll be sure to put this on our list. Thanks for posting!!

  8. Wow – stunning! Iceland has been on the list for some time now, so I will have to add this to the list of ‘epic things to do in Iceland’. Thinking of going in summer though, when it’s lighter for longer, greener, and marginally warmer… Though ideally I’d love to do summer and winter!

    Totally blown away by this. Expensive, but looks worth the price. Love it! 🙂

    1. Hi Katie, I second Johnny’s applause for this experience. I done it myself last month and hold it as one of my favorite of all time. If you’re interested in reading my account of the experience (during the warmer months in Iceland) head on over to my blog thisisyugen.blogspot.com 🙂

      Keep on traveling – Elle

  9. total price if u dont do pick-up, we rented a car and drove ourselves 🙂 Completely different to Galapagos, but for me this one is more epic 🙂

      1. I was just about to ask how you managed to get those great photos. Never heard of this. But it seems like a really great activity to do. I’m sure that dry suit is will worth all the trouble of putting it on and taking it off. How long did you guys stay under? And you don’t have to worry about swimming. Thats a plus.

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