Dive into the bowels of two continents: The Silfra fault in Iceland

Do you like diving? Head to Iceland’s Silfra fault for a unique adventure.

Known for the richness of its landscapes,Iceland is home to one of the world’s most beautiful diving spots: the Silfra Fault. Tucked away in Thingvellir National Park, this geological fissure bursting with crystal-clear water is an absolutely divine spot for diving enthusiasts. Quite simply, it’s the only place on earth where you can swim between two continents. Literally. That’s right, the fault separates the tectonic plates of America and Eurasia!

What’s more, it contains some of the purest water in the world. All divers who try this adventure come back blown away by the clarity of the water, straight from an imposing Icelandic glacier, and by the shades of blue and green it offers. Fancy a real adventure? We’ll tell you everything you need to know for an unforgettable dive in the Silfra Fault.

  • Ideal period: March to September
  • 💡 Equipment required: wet suit (supplied by service provider)
  • 🚆 How to get there: by rental car, cab or pickup from Reykjavík (option offered by diving organizations).
  • 💙 GV tip: take warm clothes to slip on under your suit

When glacier water meets the power of the earth

Head for Thingvellir National Park (also known as « Þingvellir ») to discover the Silfra Fault. Yes, this natural beauty is hidden in one of the three natural sites that make up the Golden Circle – aka Iceland’s most popular tourist area. You may not have known it, but Thingvellir, like many other parts of the island, has some fascinating geological features.

The Silfra Fault (« Silfrugjá » in Icelandic) is one of them. In simple terms, it’s a fissure that separates the tectonic plates of America and Eurasia, and which the proud Langjökull glacier has filled with its pure water. Just imagine: a pocket of crystal-clearwater between two continents! All in the midst of the wild landscapes of a 237 km² nature park. You have to admit, it’s a dream come true.

faille silfra paysage parc national Thingvellir

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Silfra is divided into 4 main sites: « the big crack » (a narrow passage between the 2 plates, perfect for thrills), « silfra hall », « silfra cathedral » (the longest part, over 100 meters) and finally « silfra lagoon » (the brightest, shallowest spot).

With temperatures fluctuating betweenandthroughout the year, the flora and fauna remain fairly poor. Don’t expect to see fish or seaweed dancing in the currents! But this doesn’t stop it from being considered one of the world’s best diving spots. In fact, it contains some of thepurest water in the world and offers exceptional visibility at depths of up to 100 meters.

All about diving in the Silfra fault

plongée faille silfra islande

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There are two ways to dive in this incredible Icelandic rift: snorkeling or diving with oxygen tanks. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, particularly in terms of price and sporting constraints. In both cases, you’ll be provided with waterproof diving equipment to protect you from the icy bite of the water.

Snorkeling: the right choice for enthusiasts

Snorkeling is the most popular way to explore the Silfra Fault. Firstly, it’s the most affordable. Secondly, it requires no experience or certification. Please note, however, that snorkeling must be done in the company of a certified local guide. Most organizations offer a pick-up service from Reykjavík, but you can also go directly to the diving center inside the park. Finally, most offer a comforting snack of hot chocolate and cookies at the end.

Scuba diving: for more experienced divers

Like snorkeling, scuba diving is done in the company of professional divers. It is, however, considerably more technical! First of all, you need PADI Open Water certification or equivalent. But that’s not all: you must also have completed at least one dive in the last 24 months. And you have to be able to prove it before diving. That said, it’s the only way to explore Silfra’s bluish depths and get to a magical place where you can touch both tectonic plates.

Plan your dive in Silfra

snorkeling faille silfra

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How do we get to the Silfra fault?

The first question to ask when you want to dive the Silfra Fault is: how do you get there? The Silfra Fault is about 50km northeast of Reykjavik, in the heart of Thingvellir National Park (also known as Þingvellir). You can easily get there on your own if you haven’t chosen the pick-up option from the capital.

🚗 By car : Want to get to Thingvellir with your rental car? From the capital, start by following Route 1 (i.e. the main road around the island) northwards for 15km. Then pick up Route 36 (the Þingvallegur road) at the village of Mosfellsbaer and continue for around 33km. This should take about 50 minutes. There are several parking lots available; choose parking lot n°5 (closest to the diving center). To compare the best car rental deals, go to our Traveller’s tool page!

Be sure to check the weather conditions before you leave, to avoid any nasty surprises!

🚕 By cab: Otherwise there’s still the cab option if you’re not keen on rental cars. Beware, it’s not the most affordable means of transport. More info on Icelandic cabs

Where to stay for this diving experience?

Prefer to stay closer to the park? Don’t worry, there’s plenty of accommodation nearby. In particular, there are plenty of cosy Airbnbs available on the shores of Lake Þingvallavatn, which lies at the foot of Thingvellir. Booking offers a number of comfortable hotels to the east of the area. Alternatively, Tuivillas suggests cute houses inside the park – even more convenient. The choice is yours.

When is the best time to visit the Silfra fault?

Good news: thanks to its special nature, Silfra’s water remains stable all year round (between 2° and 4°). So you can enjoy it whatever the season! At least in theory. After all, most diving organizations only offer dives from May to September. Good to know for this unusual aquatic experience.

Which organization should you choose for this diving experience?

Finally, some local companies offer diving trips (snorkeling or with oxygen tanks). But you can also use operators such as Viator or GetYourTickets to choose your excursion. Find out which offer is right for you!

Our practical advice for a successful dive

issure Silfra between two tectonic plates in the national park Thingvellir in Iceland.

Photo credit : Shutterstock

Although a wetsuit is provided, remember to bring warm clothing to wear underneath. Merino-type clothing and two pairs of thick socks are required (one for diving, one for changing). And don’t forget a towel. Do you wear glasses? Then consider taking contact lenses with you for the ultimate experience. None of these items are supplied by Icelandic diving organizations.

Would you like to immortalize your aquatic adventure in Silfra? We understand! Some organizations offer free photos, while others offer a Gopro camera as an optional extra. You’ll go home with some great memories. And if you prefer to take the shots with your own camera, make sure it’s waterproof before you dive in.

As far as physical fitness is concerned, you’ll understand that you need to be in good shape, given the particular nature of the area. Of course, you’ll need to be able to swim and be comfortable in a marine environment. Good to know: the expedition is not accessible to pregnant women or people with reduced mobility. Nor is it possible for people weighing more than 120 kg or measuring less than 1.45 m.


Mario: «  A great experience. It’s a bit cold on the face but nothing on the rest of the body, the waterproof suit they put on you works really well . »

Bappou:  » Very nice team, ideal equipment, it’s safe and serious. It does cost a certain amount, but it’s easier to understand when you see the equipment on loan. It’s a great and magnificent experience, you have to do it once in your life! « 

Amélia:  » An unforgettable experience! The waters of Silfra are splendid! Our guide, Léo, was great, taking the time to give us a wealth of information, in a great mood! He took care of us from start to finish, and took some great photos.

Thingvellir, Silfra Iceland

Photo credit : Shutterstock


Is it cold when you dive in the Silfra Fault?

Admittedly, the water temperature fluctuates between 2° and 4° all year round. But don’t worry: wearing a wetsuit (which must be supplied) and warm clothes underneath will protect you from the cold.

You may, however, feel cold in the face at the start of the dive (the only exposed area). Most travelers who try this adventure assure us that it passes quickly, and that the experience is well worth the inconvenience.

How long does the dive last?

Between 3 and 6 hours. This time includes the trip from the capital (if you take this option), the donning of the diving equipment, the briefing and finally the dive itself (30mn to 45mn). Whether in snorkeling mode or with oxygen tanks.

Do the guides speak French?

Not very often. They speak English most of the time.

How much does diving cost?

You should expect to pay around €100 per person for snorkeling (€160 per person with transfer from Reykjavik), and around €250 per person for scuba diving, with or without transfer.

Dear travelers, don’t hesitate any longer: the Silfra Fault is a unique place in the world that will leave you with glittering eyes and unforgettable memories. So grab your flippers!