Thingvellir national park, south Iceland

GPS POINTS N64° 14′ 49.058″ W21° 7′ 28.372″

Thingvellir national park, south Iceland

Location: South-West Iceland
Directions from Reykjavík to Thingvellir on Google maps.
Duration: Cirka 40 minutes drive from Reykjavík to Thingvellir national park

When you get to Thingvellir on your golden circle route you might ask yourself what it is you want to see. It feels like a mandatory stop while in Iceland and in all honesty, it should be, as Thingvellir plays such a big role in the history of Iceland. Thingvellir is in many ways the birthplace of our nation, founded in 930, shortly after the first settlers founded Iceland in 874. Throughout the centuries, Thingvellir has been of great importance, a gathering place where laws were made, disputes settled and cultural heritage passed on to future generations. Þingvellir was full of life during these assemblies. Peddlers, sword sharpeners, tanners and brewers offered wares for sale, clowns performed tricks. Banquets where held. Casual laborers looked for work and beggars asked for alms. At the assembly one could hear news of faraway places, and various contests were held. Þingvellir was where people came to gather from all over the country, laying the foundation for the shared language and literature that has been at the very heart of Icelandic Culture ever since.

In recent decades, the Icelanders have celebrated their most important national events at Þingvellir: the first was the National Festival of 1874, the millennium of the settlement and in 1930 people assembled at Þingvellir to celebrate the millennium of the foundation of Alþingi. Later on, festivals were held to celebrate Iceland’s independence, music festivals were held there etc.

How to get to Thingvellir national Park from Reykjavik:

  • Driving to Thingvellir takes 45 Minutes. Head North East from Reykjavik via Road 1 (15km) and the Road 36 (Þingvallavegur for 33km)
  • The national park sits north of lake Thingvellir
  • You can either access the park at Almannagjá or at the lower area, near the camp site.
  • If you want only to see Öxarárfoss waterfall, turn right on Road 361 1km. The parking area will be on the right.

Visiting Thingvellir

  • Entrance to the park is complimentary but you need to pay for parking.
  • If you want to try to skip the overflow of tourists while there, try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • There are two information centers where you will find toilets, food and souveniers: At the North of the canyon and at the lower area, located near the camping area.
  • There are viewing platforms which give beautiful views and many easy trails among the evidences of rift. The best viewing platform is at Almannagjá.
  • Parents need to be aware not to allow their children to wander off, as there are many deep fissures.