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Snorkeling in Iceland During Winter

What to Know and How to Prepare for Your Winter Snorkeling Tour in Iceland

|January 15, 2024
Anhelina is a travel writer with over five years of experience specializing in Iceland. With a background in foreign languages and translation, she conducts in-depth research to provide readers with detailed insights into Iceland's landscapes, culture, and hidden gems.

If you visit Iceland during winter, you'll be treated to a stunning view of snow-covered mountains, frozen waterfalls, and the enchanting Northern Lights. Did you know that winter also offers the best opportunity to go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of Silfra?


Winter in Iceland paints a picturesque landscape of snow-covered mountains, icy waterfalls, and the mesmerizing Northern Lights. But did you know that winter is also one of the best times to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Silfra? Yes, you read that right! Snorkeling in Silfra during winter is not only possible but also an experience of a lifetime. And with the right gear, you won't even feel the cold.

What is Silfra Fissure?

Silfra, a fissure located in the Thingvellir National Park, is one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. It's the only place you can snorkel between two continental plates, the North American and Eurasian. The glacial water, filtered through underground lava for decades, offers unparalleled visibility of up to 100 meters.

Fissure in Iceland view from above of snowy landscape.

Snorkeling between two continental plates is a truly unique experience.

Why Snorkel in Silfra During Winter?

During the holiday season, Iceland becomes a winter wonderland, and Silfra offers a unique snorkeling experience that's hard to match. The country's holiday celebrations are vibrant and full of tradition. For a full experience, browse our Christmas and New Year's tours.  

After exploring the underwater beauty of Silfra fissure, you can indulge in Icelandic festivities, enjoy traditional foods, and perhaps even witness the Northern Lights. The snowy landscapes and Silfra's clear blue waters also create a dreamlike setting, especially when the winter sunlight casts a magical glow underwater.

Snorkelers visible from below against a vibrant blue water surface in a rock fissure.

After Silfra, enjoy Icelandic festivities, food, and maybe the Northern Lights!

One of the unique aspects of winter in Iceland is the limited daylight, with only 4-5 hours between November and February. Consequently, there are fewer tours available daily compared to the summer months. However, winter also means fewer tourists at Thingvellir National Park and at Silfra Fissure, giving you a more peaceful and personal snorkeling experience. And if you're lucky, the day might end with the mesmerizing dance of the auroras in the sky.

With the possibility to try this experience year-round, it’s definitely one of the best things to do in winter in Iceland. And while winter temperatures might be lower on land, Silfra's water temperatures remain consistent throughout the year, ensuring a stable snorkeling environment.

So, if you're in Iceland for the holidays, bravely book that snorkeling tour to add a touch of magic to your celebrations.

Staying Warm while Snorkeling in Iceland in Winter

The cold is among the most common concerns about snorkeling in Silfra Fissure during winter. After all, the water temperature remains a near-constant 2-4°C (35-39°F) year-round. But fear not! You'll stay warm and comfortable with the appropriate snorkeling gear, even in the chilly waters.

Snorkelers prepare to enter the water in a narrow, rocky channel.

The water temperature in Silfra stays around 2-4°C (35-39°F) all year long.

We understand these concerns, so on our tours, we provide top-quality dry suits specifically designed to keep you dry and warm. These suits come with seals at the neck and wrists, ensuring that the cold water barely touches your skin. The dry suits are also specially designed to float on the water's surface, making it challenging to submerge due to the trapped air. This design not only ensures buoyancy but also keeps you warm. 

While the suit keeps most of your body dry, your hands and head are protected by neoprene, a material designed to heat the water trapped within, providing additional warmth. We also provide essential snorkeling gear, including a diving mask, flippers, and a snorkel.

Underneath the dry suit, it's essential to wear a few layers to ensure you remain warm and insulated, even when damp:

  • Base Layer: Start with thermal underwear and socks. This will be your primary insulation against the cold water.

  • Secondary Layer: Cover your base layer with a layer of fleece for added warmth. Polypropylene is another good option.

  • Avoid Cotton! Cotton retains moisture and can make you feel colder, so avoiding any clothes with cotton when snorkeling in Silfra is best.

* For those who wear glasses, we recommend switching to contact lenses for the best underwater visibility.

Equipping oneself with the dry suit might seem challenging, but our experienced guides are always ready to assist. Their expertise ensures that you are snugly fitted into your suit, maximizing comfort.

 

Snorkeling In Silfra Iceland - Arctic Adventures

 

Not only do we ensure you're equipped with the best gear, and wearing the correct clothing, but we also capture the moments with photos, making your adventure unforgettable. With our team by your side, winter snorkeling becomes less about battling the cold and more about embracing the beauty beneath the icy waters!

What happens during the Snorkeling Iceland winter tour?

When you first jump into the water, you might feel a bit startled. The cold water touching your face and hands can be a surprise, but it won't last long. After a few minutes, the cold becomes a distant thought as your limbs adjust and might become slightly numb.

Our tour, lasting approximately 30 to 40 minutes, is a guided exploration of Silfra's four main sections: Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon. The Big Crack, the narrowest section of Silfra, offers an intimate encounter with the continental plates, so close that you could almost touch both simultaneously.

Sunset in aerial view of Silfra Fissure in Iceland

Our tour of Silfra is a 30-40 minute guided exploration of four sections: Big Crack, Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral, and Silfra Lagoon.

Conclusion

Adding a snorkeling Silfra tour to the itinerary can be a unique experience for those fortunate enough to be in Iceland during Christmas or New Year. To snorkel in Silfra during the winter holidays is to immerse oneself in a world where the serene beauty of winter converges with the vibrant hues of underwater life.

Eager to feel the thrill of floating between two continents in icy waters? Embark on this unique journey and try snorkeling in Iceland for yourself.

FAQs about Snorkeling in Silfra During Winter

Person with fins snorkeling in Silfra

Can you snorkel at Silfra in winter?

Absolutely! Snorkeling in Silfra fissure is possible year-round, including during winter. In fact, winter offers a unique and serene snorkeling experience with fewer crowds.

How much does it cost to snorkel in Silfra?

Snorkeling in Silfra starts at 157€ per person for our standard tour. Learn more about all the available options.

Is snorkeling in Iceland cold?

The water in Silfra fissure remains between 2-4°C (35-39°F) throughout the year. However, you should stay warm and cozy with the right snorkeling gear, like a dry suit and fleece base layer.

Can you snorkel in Silfra year-round?

Yes, Silfra is open for snorkeling all year round. Whether you visit in summer or winter, you're in for a treat with its clear waters and stunning underwater vistas.

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