Advanced Diving in Iceland

Lying just to the south of the Arctic Circle, the Nordic nation of Iceland offers a landscape of extremes. Known as the ‘Land of Fire and Ice,’ Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, and its landscape is scattered with lava fields, mountains, and glaciers. Its waters may not be the warmest on the planet, but they are home to some epic experiences, with the chance to dive between two continental plates being one such highlight. With inland and ocean dive sites, including the wreck of a WWII oil tanker, you can enjoy different underwater experiences, but the temperature and depth of some have led to them being considered among the more advanced diving in Iceland.

SS El Grillo Wreck

The SS El Grillo was a British oil tanker sunk without loss of life by a German air attack on the 10th of February 1944. The dive is considered to be one of the more advanced dives in Iceland, in part due to its depth (between 22 and 45 metres) but also due to the frigid water temperatures of the North Atlantic Ocean. Iceland is definitely a dry suit country and you should have your dry suit certification before venturing into its icy waters. If you need warming up after your dive, there are plenty of natural geothermal pools nearby to take a dip in, or you could try a bottle of the locally-brewed El Grillo beer.


At the opposite end of the island from the wreck is the country's capital city, Reykjavík, the world's northernmost capital city. Its name is derived from the Old Norse words for 'smoke' and 'bay,' in recognition of the hot springs in the region, and it's a great jumping-off point to enjoy more of the advanced diving in Iceland.

Being under an hour from the capital, [IK1] Þingvallavatn Lake in the Þingvellir National Park is a bucket list-topping dive site. As you stand on the rift valley lake's western shore, your feet are on top of the North American tectonic plate, while the lake's eastern shore is on the edge of the Eurasian tectonic plate. Welcome to Silfra Fissure, Iceland's most iconic dive site. The fissure marks the divide between two continents, and you can spend half your dive in Europe and half in the Americas. It may be cold, but with visibility often touted as being the clearest on the planet (adding to the geographical quirk of the site), Silfra is simply a must-dive when in Iceland.


Situated about an hour's drive south of Reykjavík, at the end of the Reykjanes Peninsula, is the town of Garður. The waters around the peninsula are rich fishing grounds and great places to spot wolf fish poking their heads out of rocky crevices. You may also catch a glimpse of spider crabs, lumpsuckers and nudibranchs [IK2] among the swaying kelp forests, but the cold temperatures and thickness of the kelp mean this site is among the more advanced diving in Iceland.

Ocean diving this far north is in the hands of the weather gods, and the peninsula offers alternative sites that are awesome dives in their own right too. Bjarnagjá is a lava ravine on the peninsula's southern coast and is an inland site only a few hundred feet from the coast; it is also not far from the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool which would make for a great place to warm up after a chilly dive.

Our team of dive travel specialists have loved exploring the Icelandic landscape, both below and above the waves, and are on hand to help you put together your dream trip to the Land of Fire and Ice. With superb trekking, geothermal pools and the Northern Lights to enjoy alongside the advanced diving in Iceland, we're confident you'll love it as much as we do...

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Advanced Diving in Iceland ' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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