ICELAND

Why Silfra Needs To Be On Your Bucket List!

Years ago I saw an article on Facebook about a place in Iceland called Silfra where you could snorkel between two continents at the same time and it instantly went on my bucket list. As soon as we started planning our trip to Iceland I immediately started researching this activity. My boyfriend Andy told me that at over $200 each we just couldn’t afford to do it on our backpacker budget… a lie he told as he had already booked us in as a surprise for my birthday. Best birthday present ever!!!

 

A QUICK GUIDE TO SILFRA, ICELAND.

Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling

As I have visited all seven continents of the world I was so excited to have the unique opportunity to swim the fissure between both the North American and Eurasian continents at the same time. It is literally the only place in the world where this is possible.

The continental plates meet and drift apart by 2cm each year. The glacial water in Silfra is a cold 2 degrees celsius all year round and comes from Iceland’s second largest glacier Langjökull. The water is filtered through porous, underground lava tunnels for 30-100 years before making its way into the fissure. The water is so pure you can drink it at any time throughout the activity. As the water is so clean and cold it is also the clearest water in the world with visibility off up to 100 metres deep, which is practically unheard of.

Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling
Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir), which is 60km from Reykjavik and a stop on the famous Golden Circle route, is where you will find the natural wonder of Silfra, which is a UNESCO world heritage site for both geological and historical significance in Iceland.

We did our tour with Arctic Adventures, as they were rated highly on trip advisor. We opted to do the ‘Into the Blue’ snorkelling tour (I can’t dive until I get surgery on my sinuses unfortunately). Our driver Jonas, who was honestly the friendliest person we met in all of Iceland, picked us up from our hotel in Reykjavik and drove us the hour into the countries only national park where we met with our guides and got ready for the activity.

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We were asked to bring a warm layer of clothing (not made out of cotton) to wear. I wore my merino wool thermals and socks underneath the ‘teddy bear suit’ they provided as a layer to keep us warm under the dry suit. After we managed to pull the dry suit on (the struggle was real and definitely not the most attractive I’ve ever looked) which keeps your body dry and warm we put on headwear and gloves, which wouldn’t stay dry but would keep us warm enough for the activity. Then they use neoprene rubber to seal our necks and wrists to insure the water stays out.

Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling

 

I am not one to normally get claustrophobic but I was having a mild panic attack under all these layers as I felt very restricted. The bands made my hands swell slightly and I felt like I couldn’t breathe with the tightness of the band around my neck (a phobia I already have). I slightly worried that I wouldn’t be able to do the activity ahead but my concern was for nothing because as soon as I was in the water the tightness disappeared.

Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling

 

As soon as we entered the water our head and hands got wet and cold, but after a few minutes they numbed enough that it didn’t bother us anymore. All of the focus was now on the incredible beauty below. The water was honestly the clearest water I have ever seen in my life. I could see the bottom of the very deep fissure as if it was merely metres away. There is not a lot of life in the water but for a bit of ‘troll hair’ and algae. We spent the next forty minutes snorkelling around the Silfra fissure revelling in the fact that at that moment we were swimming between two continents at the same time, my fingers brushing against the rocks of two places at once. Simply amazing.
Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling

The only way Arctic Adventures could have improved this fantastic tour would be to offer complimentary hot chocolate at the end. A quick and easy way to warm us up after a cold activity.

Guide to Snorkelling Silfra, Iceland. www.sevencontinentssasha.com/silfra-iceland-snorkelling

 

We had the most incredible time snorkelling the Silfra, truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Big thanks to my thoughtful boyfriend for finding the perfect way to celebrate my birthday.

 

Is snorkelling the Silfra high on your bucket list?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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16 Comments

  • Reply Alex 21/05/2017 at 11:53 am

    Hey Sasha!!

    I’ve loved reading your posts about Iceland!! I’m heading there in January and your blog has been the sole reason that I’m going!!
    Random question though, I’ve been reading on the snorkelling websites that you MUST be at least 150cm tall! I’m 148!!!
    Do they actually measure your height??
    I honestly hope not because this is something i’ve been sooooooo looking forward to!!

    • Reply Seven Continents Sasha 22/05/2017 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I’m so glad that my posts inspired your Iceland trip – that’s awesome!!!
      I was never measured before my snorkeling trip, it may just mean your wet suit is slightly longer on you.
      Please do let me know how your trip goes, I would love to hear all about it!!
      Sasha x

  • Reply Shivam 04/12/2016 at 6:55 pm

    best birthday present you got!!!! Be lated happy birthday though :)…..

  • Reply Janine Good 01/11/2016 at 5:08 pm

    Snorkeling is indeed a favourite of mine and I love seeing various areas of the world. I have heard of Silfra and the fact that you would be snorkeling between 2 continents and it looks incredible. I do agree that hot chocolate would have made it a better experience since the water is cold! 7 continents! I am indeed impressed. I have been to 4 so far and counting!

  • Reply Lydia@LifeUntraveled 01/11/2016 at 3:46 pm

    Snorkeling on two continents!? That’s so cool and the water does look incredibly clear. What a great birthday present! 🙂

  • Reply Jan Michael De Guzman 01/11/2016 at 1:04 am

    You must be kidding. Snorkelling in Iceland? Well but when I read it. It is really fun and the underwater scenes are priceless. It is really worth to be down there and just in between 2 continents….WOW.

  • Reply Cori 31/10/2016 at 11:55 pm

    What an amazing birthday! I knew you could go see where the continents meet, but I didn’t realize you could go snorkeling! I don’t think I could get myself into the water, so I’m glad you shared your breathtaking photos.

  • Reply clare 31/10/2016 at 9:19 pm

    I have never heard of this, but it looks so great. Just not sure so sure about the cold water despite the dry suit. It’s going on my list for when I next visit Iceland 🙂

  • Reply Kassie 31/10/2016 at 7:33 pm

    Ahh this item has been on my bucket list for ages now! Every time I see a post about it or a picture of it, I just want to go more and more! The visibility of that water is insane! I think I would feel a little claustrophobic in the dry suit too but at least the views are distracting. Can’t wait to do this someday 🙂

  • Reply Brooke 31/10/2016 at 2:55 pm

    Such a cool thing to do in Iceland! First time I’ve read about this particular experience. I don’t like diving myself so I’d also stick with the snorkel.

    • Reply Seven Continents Sasha 31/10/2016 at 4:43 pm

      It’s such a unique experience, it is the only place in the world it is possible! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply JillianMichelle 31/10/2016 at 2:38 pm

    Swimming between the continental plates has always been on my bucket list as well! I love that your boyfriend surprised you with it as a gift! And I’ll have to check out Arctic Adventures once I finally do make it to Iceland. <3 🙂

    • Reply Seven Continents Sasha 31/10/2016 at 4:45 pm

      He is pretty awesome at gifts, he picked a winner! I really recommend them, it was great!

  • Reply Natalie 31/10/2016 at 2:29 pm

    Wow! The words Iceland and snorkel sound like they wouldn’t go together but that sounds crazy cold!!! I hate cold water. LOL! But….the way you describe the water….so incredibly clear. What an amazing experience. I’m adding it to my bucket list!

    • Reply Seven Continents Sasha 31/10/2016 at 4:46 pm

      They put you in enough layers that only your hands and face feel any of the cold, it is a combo you wouldn’t normally think work but it’s such a unique experience and so incredible!

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