There are once in a lifetime opportunities that you can’t pass up – snorkeling between tectonic plates in Iceland is one of them. Swimming in between the North American and European continents and actually looking down between the tectonic plates as far as the eye can see was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. I chose to do a day tour with Dive.Is and was extremely happy with the itinerary, friendly guides and overall running of the program.
Because I had rented a car for my roadtrip around Iceland I was able to drive myself to the meeting point and save the additional ISK 4000 that accommodation pick up costs. An interactive Google Map of the meeting point can be found here but a detailed image can also be found below. I dropped a pin on my google maps before I started driving as a backup.
During winter the tour meets at the destination at 11am. This was perfect as I had a late night the previous day on the hunt for the Northern Lights! Additionally, in winter the sun does not properly rise until around 11am (it is ‘sunrise lighting’ from about 8am). This meant that to arrive on time I departed from Reykjavik at around 9:30am to give myself plenty of time to get there with photo stops along the way.
What to expect
Getting there: The transportation service costs an additional 4.000 ISK. If you stay outside Reykjavik, you need to arrange your own transport into Reykjavik where the company can fetch you from. You can also meet the tour at the National Park Thingvellir if you have your own transport (which is what I did).
Tour Duration: You will be in the water for around 30-40 minutes. The time beforehand will be spent getting information about the site, safety and then the long process of getting in the dry suits!
So what does it feel like? The water temperature is 2-4°Celsius all year around. This converts to 35-39°Fahrenheit. The dry suit means that even though it’s cold, because none of the water is actually touching you it is very bearable. Because of the dry suit it also feels like you are flying/floating?! There is this ‘bubble of air’ around your body so you don’t have the ‘sensation’ of swimming. Instead, when you are above the water and then look down below the surface, it feels like you are peering down from the sky at a whole new world. It is eerily silent and the colours are extremely vibrant. I am going to share a GoPro video on my Instagram to exhibit the transition from above to below water which gives you an idea of how surreal it is.
After the tour: As soon as you hop out you will require assistance to get out of the suit. Even though you will be completely dry you will be cold! Cookies and hot chocolate to warm up after getting out of the water were provided which was much needed 🙂 The photos of your Snorkeling Tour plus a “Best of Silfra folder” can be made available to you in high resolution via Dropbox after the Snorkeling Tour for an additional ISK 2,990.
Scuba Diving vs Snorkelling
Before choosing whether to scuba dive or snorkel there were a few things I took into consideration. Firstly, price. Scuba diving was significantly more expensive than snorkelling and I had never scuba dived before. When researching this tour I came across a forum comment that I can now personally attest to. Because the water is so exceptionally clear in Silfra, you have the exact same clarity snorkelling as you do when you scuba dive. This comes to my second point, I do not believe you are getting anything particularly special for the extra price when you scuba dive other than literally scuba diving in this instance. I would love to scuba dive one day in a place where it is essential to get the most out of the experience and after much research, I decided this was not that instance. Therefore in this situation (unless of course you love scuba diving regardless), snorkelling is my preference.
Visit the Dive.Is homepage to view the full range of tours available.
The specific tour that I participated in was the Silfra Snorkelling Day Tour which costs ISK 17,990 (approx $190 AUD).
Overall, snorkeling between tectonic plates in Iceland is an unmissable experience and it added to the amazing time I had in this stunning country. Iceland became one of favourite travel experiences to date and you can find a full itinerary of my 5 day roadtrip here.
Feel free to comment any questions or queries 🙂
Suitcase And I extensively researched Silfra tours before making the decision to choose Dive.Is and was not commissioned to write this article. As always, the opinions in my review are my own.