Best Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Iceland


Last Updated on 24/09/2022 by Alfred

A trip with scuba diving in Iceland? This probably seems like a strange idea for many of us! Yet, Iceland is known among divers for having excellent scuba diving conditions in cold water.

The country’s nickname “Iceland, land of ice and fire” applies very well to its underwater environment. Both elements influence the underwater conditions, offering a unique world to discover.

Besides, the unique characteristics of the country’s environment are reflected in regulations unique to the country.

For example, a medical examination is mandatory to dive in Iceland, as is the observance of the minimum age for diving.

In several places, it will be required that you have the specialization to dive in a drysuit. In short, we will later see, in detail, on this page, the rules that apply to diving in Iceland.

This page is a detailed guide to scuba diving and snorkeling in Iceland.

Best Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Iceland

The best scuba diving sites

Scuba diving in Iceland is done in only a few places, most of which are known worldwide. Here is a brief list of the best dive spots in Iceland!

The Silfra Fault

The Silfra Fault is considered one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world! The crack goes down to 65 meters deep in some places, but divers are not allowed to descend beyond 18 meters. That said, with a visibility of 100 meters, it’s still very impressive.

The Silfra fissure lies between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Most of the water comes from melting the Langjökull glacier and travels underground for 50 to 100 years before reaching the fault. When the water reaches the fault, it is the purest and most natural in the world.

Davidsgja

Davidsgjá, David’s crevice, by the Englishman David ́s Crack, is located in Lake Thingvallavatn, very close to Silfra. The aperture is not as well known as the Silfra fault but offers similar conditions for the diver!

The Devil’s Jacuzzi

The Devil’s Jacuzzi is the name given to an underwater hot spring located in Lake Kleifarvatn. The latter is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula and one of the most active geothermal points. In 2000, a new fault developed in the lake, causing it to shrink. Then, the lake filled up again on an 8-year cycle before its area reduced again in 2008. This is how a new hot spring was discovered in the lake.

Strytan

Strýtan is another diving destination in Iceland, located in the north, near Akureyri. There are several dive sites in the Eyjafjörður fjord. The hot springs release mineral-rich water at a depth of about 70 meters.

Thermal water and ocean water meet and give rise to a phenomenon of solidification of the minerals present in the water. This process has been going on for more than 11,000 years, forming chimneys almost reaching the surface.

Reviews about scuba diving in Iceland

The best thing about diving in Iceland is that everything is close! The most beautiful scuba diving sites are either inland or near the shore.

But, the majority of sea dives start from the shore. As a result, you will not find a diving cruise in Iceland or a diving resort.

In fact, in Europe, in general, there are few dive cruises. You will have to look to Italy or Croatia for adventure cruises with diving.

Because of this, diving is mainly done with local dive centers. Most operators will offer day packages, including transfers from your accommodation.

The majority of dive sites are within a reasonable driving distance of Reykjavik. The exception applies to dive sites in the north, in the Akureyri region.

Thus, if you want to do more than one day of diving, you just have to choose accommodation in one region. Then you can make different day trips.

Diving in Iceland: some rules!

More important than the destination, the rules apply to diving in Iceland and are specific to the country. First, the minimum age required to dive in Iceland is 17 years old.

17-year-old divers can dive but must be accompanied by a parent and authorized by that parent to dive. Most national parks need the diver to dive at least 18 years old.

Then, to dive into Iceland, you must fill out a self-assessed medical form. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you will need permission from a doctor to dive.

Although this medical form practice is widespread worldwide, the Icelandic document is even pickier. For example, you will be asked questions as specific as “are you over 60?” or “Are you over 45 and a smoker?” etc.

So, it’s a good idea to inquire and ensure you have your doctor’s agreement before going to the dive center!

The third point concerns dry suits required to dive in Iceland. So, the diver must have either a drysuit diving certification or proof of experience of more than 10 drysuit dives.

For the second option, you need the signed authorization of an instructor who attests to your experience recorded in your dive log.

Otherwise, you always have the option to spend your dry suit specialization in Iceland.

Prices of dives in Iceland

Rates for diving in Iceland vary by region but mostly by the type of dive. Here is an overview of the average dive price for Iceland:

A snorkeling excursion in Silfra: +/- 100€

Expedition 1 day/2 dives on Silfra with equipment: +/- 300€

Drysuit certification + 2 dives on Silfra (2 days): +/- 750€

We advise you not to look only for the lowest rate but choose your dive center according to where you feel best. Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more and be in better conditions!

Best time to dive in Iceland

Water temperature and visibility are generally stable all year round. But, it is necessary to inquire with the dive operators about the level of the conditions on the surface. Sometimes the sea is so rough that boats cannot reach the dive sites.

The best time to dive in Iceland is between April and October. In June, diving under the midnight sun will often be possible. This means that it is not completely dark but rather a dive into the light of a long twilight.

Diving courses

Scuba diving in Iceland requires wearing a dry suit. So, if you don’t already have your drysuit diving specialization, now is the perfect time to spend it.

Scuba diving conditions

The diving conditions are different depending on the diving environment. For example, ocean dive sites experience temperatures that can range from 4ºC up to 10ºC. But, at inland dive sites, the temperature range is limited to between 2ºC and 4ºC.

Dives on hot springs are also done in a dry suit, and this is for two reasons.

First, protect yourself from hot water, which can reach 80ºC!

Secondly, before reaching the very hot water, you will be in a very cold water area.

Finally, the water temperature in the Silfra crack is always around 2ºC to 4ºC. The visibility is superb. We are talking about 100 meters of visibility.

Snorkeling in Iceland

Several places inland are suitable for snorkeling in Iceland. We think of sites such as the Silfra fault. Yet, even in snorkeling, you need a dry suit.

Underwater fauna: Fish and Coral

Of course, there is marine life in Icelandic waters, but this is not the main attraction. The underwater landscapes, between fire and ice, are spectacular and attract divers worldwide!

Diving Safety

If you are planning to go on a trip to Iceland, I advise you to invest in good travel insurance that also covers scuba diving. You never know what can happen, and good insurance can get you out of difficult situations.

Iceland is an ideal diving destination for the dry suit diver who wants to discover a unique underwater world!

We hope the content “Best Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Iceland” was helpful to you.

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

Recent Posts