There is no place that symbolizes the Icelandic nation more than Thingvellir National Park. A visit here will give you a special insight into Iceland’s history and spectacular sights in a peaceful atmosphere.
Situated on the northern shore of Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest lake of Iceland, Thingvellir attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is considered a vital part of the Golden Circle, which is a popular tourist route, together with the Geysir Hot Springs and Gullfoss Waterfall. There are two reasons for its popularity: its outstanding nature and important history.
Explore the start of time in Iceland
Thingvellir’s history began in the year 930 when the Althing, the assembly representing the whole of Iceland, was established. This area became their meeting place, where they continued to meet every summer until 1798. The assembly used to last for two weeks and people used to travel for days to attend. It is now the key location in Icelandic history.
Many laws were enacted here, including the introduction of Christianity around year 1000, making it the official religion of Iceland. It was also the place where the independence of the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed on June 17, 1944. Many other major events happened here, and thousands of people would attend each one. On the 1100th anniversary of the first settlement in 1974 over 60,000 people showed up to mark the event.
Discover spectacular nature on the tectonic plates
In addition to its historical significance, Thingvellir also offers outstanding nature. Due to its unique geology and natural features, it was protected as a national park in 1928. Its location along the border between the North American and European tectonic plates has formed a dramatic landscape.
Thingvellir is one out of two sites on earth that gives you a visual presentation of the continental drift. This is clearly shown in the cracks that traverse the regions. The biggest crack is called Almannagjá, which you can walk through to see the phenomenon up close, an experience out of the ordinary.
The water in and around Thingvellir is a very popular destination for fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. The constant regular influx of groundwater, together with a very varied habitat creates good conditions for fish and other life forms in the lake. Through the park flows the River Öxara, which forms a small, but beautiful waterfall at Almannagjá, called the Öxaráfoss.
In 2004 the national park was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with such symbolic value it is not an experience to be missed. When staying at the Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel, Reykjavik, you will find yourself just under 50 km from Thingvellir. Make sure you don’t miss out on this magical day trip.