Iceland, known internationally as the land of fire and ice, is home to some of the most incredible snorkeling locations on the planet. With freshwater fissures filled with pristine glacial water, rivers heated by geothermal activity, and exquisite marine coastal habitats, Iceland is undoubtedly the perfect snorkeling destination.
Snorkeling in Iceland is a highly popular outdoor water activity. Being home to some of the world’s top-rated snorkeling spots with exquisite scenery and unique sightings, Iceland is undoubtedly a superb snorkeling location. Some popular snorkeling spots include Silfra Fissure and Strytan Dive Site.
Some of Iceland’s snorkeling spots are considered to be in the top ten best snorkeling spots in the world, which means that as a snorkeler, this nation needs to be on your bucket list for a snorkeling adventure. Continue reading to discover why Iceland is a snorkeling destination that is not to be missed!
Snorkeling In Iceland
Iceland is known for its rich history, natural beauty, scenic views, and, of course, its world-renowned snorkeling and diving spots.
The weather in Iceland can be somewhat unpredictable, changing drastically from good to poor in roughly five minutes). This, of course, means that every water sport, including snorkeling and scuba diving, can occasionally be somewhat of a challenge in Iceland. However, the joy of your experience will far outweigh the chance of any difficulties involved.
It is strongly advised that anyone interested in snorkeling in Iceland decides to do so with a licensed trip operator. Snorkeling tour guides in Iceland have an outstanding reputation for being pleasant, willing to assist, and ultimately, they know the locations far better than the average snorkeler.
It is vital to note that dry suits are a must-have item for snorkeling in Iceland. Licensed tour guides are readily available to explain the fundamentals of how a dry suit works to snorkelers. It’s an adventure in and of itself to put on a dry suit for the first time, but you will undoubtedly be highly grateful for it once you are in Iceland’s waters.
Suppose you plan on doing any snorkeling or diving and have never used a dry suit before. In that case, it’s a good idea to take a short course first, even if it’s just to assure that you’ll be able to explore the scenic waters of Iceland without difficulty.
The Best Snorkeling Spots In Iceland
Without further a due, let’s go ahead and dive (pun intended) straight in and explore some of the best snorkeling spots found in Iceland:
Strytan Dive Site
First up, we have the Strytan Dive Site, which is a perfect example of how unique a snorkeling and diving experience in Iceland can be.
Discovered only a few years ago in 1997, the Strytan Dive Site is home to 55-meter-high geothermal chimneys, the tops of which may be accessed from 15 meters below the waters. It is mind-boggling to think that over 100 liters of 72-degree Celsius (roughly 161 degrees Fahrenheit) water pour from the top of the chimney per second.
Due to the naturally warmer temperature of their surroundings, marine life, fish, and algae are abundant here. This, of course, provides some exciting opportunities for marine life sightings.
It is necessary to note that this spot will be best experienced while scuba diving. In fact, at the very least, you will need an Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver to dive here, as the water currents can be strong, and reasonable buoyancy control is essential to avoid colliding with the geothermal chimneys.
However, since the Strytan Dive Site is the only spot in the entire world where divers may see geothermal chimneys up close, the certification is definitely worth getting before visiting Iceland. As previously mentioned, these spots are bucket list-worthy!
Litlaá Snorkel Site
Visiting the Litlaá Snorkel Site provides snorkelers with the opportunity of experiencing the beautiful, unique topography that the nation of Iceland offers. Litlaá is an Icelandic word that translates to “Little River.” Interestingly, it is the only snorkeling spot in Iceland where the water is warm, so it is certainly not to be missed!
The waters at the Litlaá Snorkel Site have a depth of only 7 meters (nearly 23 feet), making it more the perfect spot for a snorkeling adventure. The water is heated to a delightful 17°C by geothermal activity beneath the riverbed.
The river’s bed is covered with mesmerizing dancing volcanic sands and multicolored sediments that leap from the depths. While you snorkel along the surface, hot water erupts from underneath the riverbed, creating magnificent shapes and ripples in the riverbed.
Silfra Fissure Snorkel Site
We cannot talk about snorkeling in Iceland without mentioning the exquisite, historically rich Silfra Fissure. Nearby this natural beauty is where Viking tribes met together in roughly 930AD and formed what many consider to be history’s first democratic institution.
The North American tectonic plate reaches the horizon, while the Eurasian tectonic plate, around 4 kilometers away over the mossy volcanic field, serves as a continual reminder of how unique this place is.
Interestingly enough, the water at Silfra Fissure is drinkable and even described by many as delectable. It is not uncommon for tour guides to encourage snorkelers to have a quick drink while exploring this magnificent site.
The Silfra Fissure Snorkel Site has a very mild current, so snorkelers do not need to be worried about having the swimming skills of a professional. The drysuit will keep you buoyant on the water’s surface as the current gently guides you down the entire length of the fissure.
The waters at Silfra Fissure have a near-constant temperature determined by its glacial origins. The water temperature here ranges from 2 degrees to 4 degrees Celsius (roughly 36 degrees to 39 degrees Fahrenheit).
Regardless of the time of year, the water temperature remains constant, which during the winter months actually provides somewhat of a relief from the cold weather outside the water.
Many of the snorkeling locations in Iceland have a “see it to believe it” quality about them. With so many beautiful and historically rich spots to see and experience, it comes as no surprise that Iceland is rated as one of the top snorkeling locations in the world. Grab your snorkeling gear and brace yourself for a mesmerizing snorkeling experience in Iceland!