Iceland is open for travel: check volcano updates here

Imagine a place where you can stroll from Europe to North America in just a few steps. The Bridge between Continents at Sandvik offers precisely this experience.

Tours Visiting Bridge Between Continents

Imagine a place where you can stroll from Europe to North America in just a few steps. The Bridge between Continents at Sandvik offers precisely this experience. Located in the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland, the Continental Bridge is also known as the Leif the Lucky Bridge. Arching gracefully over a rift, this 15-meter (50 ft) footbridge marks the divide between the two tectonic plates, vividly demonstrating Iceland's geological activity.

This unique structure allows visitors to stand, or in this case, walk, between two continents, making it an unmissable spot for geology enthusiasts and any traveler.

How to get to the Bridge Between Continents?

Easily accessible by car, the bridge is approximately 40 minutes away from Reykjavik. A picturesque drive along Route 41, followed by Route 43, will lead you directly to this geological marvel. For those relying on public transportation, regular buses go from Reykjavik to the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Map of Bridge Between Continents, Iceland

General Information about Bridge Between Continents

The Reykjanes peninsula, with its lava-scarred landscape, sits on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Here, the Eurasian and North American plates drift apart, creating visible rifts and fissures. The bridge spans one such fissure, offering a clear view of this diverging plate margin. As you walk across, you'll notice plaques marking the border between the two plates welcoming you to "Europe" or "North America."

For those who want a keepsake of this experience, after your journey across Leif the Lucky's Bridge, you can collect a personalized certificate at the Reykjanes information center or the Reykjanes Geopark visitor center.

Woman standing on Famous Bridge Between Continents in Iceland

The bridge is one of the few places on Earth where you can experience the separation of tectonic plates.

What is the Bridge Between Continents known for?

The Bridge Between Continents is renowned for its unique geographical significance. It's one of the few places on Earth where visitors can visually observe and physically experience the separation of Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. This bridge spans a fissure, offering a clear view of the diverging plate margin. Walking across this bridge basically means stepping from one continent to the other!

History of Bridge Between Continents

The Reykjanes Peninsula has always been a region of significant geological activity. The bridge was constructed in 2002 to highlight the tectonic plates' ongoing movement and offer visitors a tangible experience of this natural phenomenon.

The Bridge Between Continents at Sandvik owes its existence to the mid-Atlantic rift that slices through Iceland. This rift connects the borders of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. While the bridge symbolizes the connection between the continents, it's essential to note that it doesn't span the entire distance between the plates but serves as a symbolic representation.

The bridge is named in honor of Leif Erikson, the Norse explorer from Iceland who is believed to be the first European to set foot on continental North America, specifically in areas he termed "Vinland," around A.D. 1000, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. This exploration is thought to have taken place in what is now Newfoundland, Canada. Beyond its symbolic significance of bridging cultures and histories, the bridge also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the distant sea and Eldey Island, a seabird haven.

Tourist stepping over fissure in rocky terrain of Icelandic geological site.

Woman is standing on a fissure at Thingvellir National Park in Iceland.

Note: For a more immersive experience, visit Þingvellir National Park for a chance to witness these tectonic plates in their full glory. The park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, showcases the vast valley and a fissure between the plates, providing a unique perspective on the geological forces sculpting Iceland. While the Continental Bridge offers a walk between the major tectonic plate boundary, Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir takes this experience underwater. The Silfra Fissure, filled with crystal-clear glacial meltwater, allows adventurers to dive or snorkel directly between continents. Both attractions highlight Iceland's distinctive position on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, showcasing the dynamic geological forces shaping the island.

Interesting facts about the Bridge Between Continents

  • Due to the tectonic drift, the fissure widens by about 2.5 cm every year.

  • The bridge is named after Leif Erikson, also known as Leif the Lucky, a famous Icelandic explorer.

  • The area around the bridge is geothermally active, with hot springs and mud pools nearby.

  • The bridge is a recent addition, but the fissure it spans has been forming for millennia.
Visitors on bridge over volcanic rift at atmospheric Icelandic tourist site on misty day.

Tourists exploring the bridge between continents in Iceland.

What to do at the Bridge Between Continents

  • Take a guided tour to understand the science behind the site.
  • Walk across the bridge and experience standing between two continents.
  • Visit the information center to learn more about the geology of the region.
  • Visit the nearby Sandvik Cove (Stóra-Sandvík), with its pristine black sand beach.

Best time to visit the Bridge Between Continents

The best time to visit is during the summer (June to August) when the weather is mild and the days are long. Summer offers extended daylight hours, but visiting in winter might give you a chance to witness the Northern Lights.

Where to stay near Bridge Between Continents

The nearby town of Grindavík offers a range of accommodations, from boutique hotels to guesthouses.

Attractions nearby

  1. Blue Lagoon: a geothermal spa known for its healing waters
  2. Gunnuhver Hot Springs: a geothermal area with bubbling mud pools
  3. Reykjanes Lighthouse: a historic lighthouse offering panoramic views of the coastline
  4. Kleifarvatn Lake: the largest lake on the peninsula, known for its eerie beauty
  5. Seltún Geothermal Area: a colorful geothermal field with boiling mud pots

Conclusion

When in Iceland, take the time to visit the Continental Bridge near Sandvik. It's a simple bridge, but the experience is genuinely profound. As you stroll across, you'll be treading on a piece of Earth's history, feeling the very essence of Iceland's rugged landscape beneath your feet. It's a quiet moment of reflection, a chance to connect with our planet in a way few places allow.

Smiling woman in yellow raincoat standing by volcanic rift in Iceland, with bridge in the background.

When in Iceland, take the time to visit the Continental Bridge near Sandvik!

Bridge Between Continents - FAQ

What is the bridge between the two continents in Iceland?

It's a symbolic footbridge over a geological rift, marking where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet.

Is Bridge Between Continents worth visiting?

Absolutely! It's a unique spot where you can literally walk between continents, making it a must-see in Iceland.

Where do the two continents meet in Iceland?

They meet at the Reykjanes Peninsula, where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia are drifting apart.

Why is Iceland called a Bridge Between Continents?

Iceland spans two tectonic plates, making it a natural "bridge" between North America and Europe, both geologically and symbolically.

Where can you stand between continents in Iceland?

You can stand between the continents at the Bridge Between Continents in the Reykjanes Peninsula and dive between them at the Silfra Fissure in Þingvellir National Park.