The Silfra rift is located in Thingvellir, a broad valley just outside of Reykjavik that’s also a part of the Golden Circle route. Formed as a result of the European and North American continental plates slowly pulling apart, the Silfra rift is filled with water that seeps through lava from the Langjokull glacier in a decades-long process.
Journalist Jim Heintz attributes the open views and abundant vegetation as reasons why the waters in the Silfra rift are favored by snorkelers and travelers alike.
“The startling clarity, and presumably the bragging rights of braving subarctic waters, have made Silfra an incongruously popular spot for a sport usually associated with tropical lushness,” Heintz said. “Its global appeal was quietly underlined when Louis Kotze, the guide on a recent trip, mentioned that he was a native of Namibia.”
In addition to the magnificent views, the rift offers visitors the unique opportunity to glimpse into the geological drama of Iceland’s formation.
Heintz also describes the beauty of diving into the more mysterious depths of the rift.
“There are shallow sections where swimmers skim above rippled tan sand within arm’s reach. Elsewhere sheer lava walls plunge down 20 meters (65 feet) or more; the snorkeler can only envy divers who have the gear and skills to sink through the gradations of turquoise and sapphire light.”
In addition to the beautiful scenery that snorkelers dive after, Thingvellir also holds historical significance for the Icelandic people. Commencing in the year 930, Viking clans selected the valley as the location for an annual assembly, which formed the world’s first parliament.
Click here to read the entire article about snorkeling in the Silfra rift in the Huffington Post.