Iceland's wild landscape holds a fascinating natural beauty. It is a combination of the cold cliffs and cozy flat meadows. It is a truly unique country, that everyone should visit at least once in their life.
Divers come to Iceland for excellent water visibility and an opportunity to see cold-water creatures. The Silfra fissure, located in the lake of Thingvallavatn (Icelandic: Þingvallavatn) is perfectly suited for this. The lake's water is replenished by glacial meltwater. It is so clear here that even experienced divers lose their grip on reality during dives. Trout, stickleback and tuna are representatives of Thingvallavatn's fauna.
Apart from Silfra, one of the most popular diving sites is Strytan (Strýtan), an underwater hot spring. The cone-shaped top is 15 meters below sea level, and the bottom with its hot spring rests at a depth of 70 meters. Swimming alternately in cold ocean water and hot mineral water evokes an unforgettable sensation of euphoria.
The Thingvellir National Park is a valley with unique mountainous landscapes that look the most beautiful under the Northern Lights. The park also houses a lake with the famous Silfra fissure, which you can dive in. Apart from the underwater beauty, Thingvellir offers waterfalls and canyons.
Reykjavik (Icelandic: Reykjavík) is the capital of Iceland. There are many unique dive sites near the city. Sunken ships, freshwater lakes with geysers, waterfalls and diverse marine fauna- you can find all of these in Reykjavik.
Iceland has many dive shops that offer Open Water training. You can buy or rent any kind of equipment from them. The shops arrange dives at unique dive sites and multi-day diving safaris (lasting from 7 to 10 days). The best season to dive here is from May to September.
In March, you will have an opportunity to see the unique Northern Lights (also called Aurora Borealis). Humpback whales swim up here in the middle of April. The water slowly warms up to +7 °C. At the start of spring, the air temperature is around +3°C, and reaches +10 °C by the end of the season.
The average air temperature in Icelandic summer is around +10 °C. Nights are quite short due to the close proximity to the Arctic Circle. The water temperature varies between +6... +8 °C. It often rains and there are quite a few storms.
The tourist season in Iceland ends in the middle of September, and many attractions close then. The water temperature falls from 7 °C to 5 °C, and the air cools down from 10 °C to 4 °C. Sometimes it snows in the mountains.
Winter in Iceland is mild because of a warm current flowing nearby. The average air temperature is around 0 °C. The temperature is much lower in the mountains. The water temperature in the Greenland Sea cools down to-1°C in winter. The Norwegian Sea is warmer.
The Silfra fissure in the lake of Thingvellir (Icelandic: Þingvellir) is the meeting point of two continents, America and Eurasia. The whole dive site is covered with green seaweed that looks like troll hair. You can dive here all year round, and the landscape will be different any time you come here. There are practically no fish at the bottom of the lake, but its bed is full of boulders, underwater caves and fissures.
A fissure near Grindavik (Grindavík) is famous because this is where the salty sea water meets the meltwater flowing from glaciers. Divers will see many caverns and arches, as well as two caves where diving is restricted.
In spite of its attractiveness as a tourist destination high level of economic development, the level of healthcare in Iceland is very low. In fact, Icelandic citizens prefer receiving medical treatment in other European countries. Be ready to fork out for medical help if you get sick. But before you see the doctor, you will have to wait in a long line in an emergency waiting room, because home visits are a paid service. As for personal safety, Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. It is recommended to vaccinate yourself against measles, rubella and parotitis before visiting the country. And if you go to Iceland during the flu season, you should consider getting the flu jab.
Iceland's coastal waters are home to various sharks: basking sharks, Greenland sharks and spiny dogfish, but they are only interested eating in plankton or fish. The sharks do not attack humans. Polar bears might be potentially dangerous, but there have been no registered cases of attacks on people.
Iceland is an island, and so the most of the local cuisine consists of seafood, lamb and mutton. A tourist should not overlook slátur, a dish made of sheep innards cooked in the gallbladder of the same sheep. It is also recommended to try gravlax, pickled salmon with dill and onion. Hardfiskur (harðfiskur) is fried or dried sea fish. Coffee is the Icelanders' favourite beverage. An interesting feature of local restaurant business is that guests only pay for the first cup of coffee in local coffee shops.
Cold tap water is drinkable here, but hot water may smell of rotten eggs because it is supplied straight from hot springs. Of course, drinking it is not recommended.