Thingvellir National Park

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Þingvallavegur, Thingvellir, Iceland

Thingvellir National Park Reviews

davejo davejo
274 reviews
The first Icelandic parliament Feb 04, 2017
Arriving at Þingvellir (which is Thingvellir in English ) there were so many people there that it was difficult for our bus driver to find a parking space but once we left the car park we noticed large fissures in the ground, as if someone had scarred the earth with a giant knife. By the entrance there was another information board that explained about the two tectonic plates that were diverging and causing the fissures and gullies. Apparently this is the only place in the world that is so clearly visible.

Lake Thingviller

Lake Þingvellir is the largest lake in the country with a rich ecosystem and catchment area of 1,300 sq. kms. The lake is in no man's land between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. The water is very clear and our guide said when you are snorkeling you can see 450 metres but i am not convinced of this.


The fissure called Nikulásargjá but more popularly known as Peningagjá (meaning coin fissure) is the fissure where visitors throw coins in (for a wish, presumably) and the water is so clear you can see the coins glimmering at the bottom. In 1907 a bridge was built over the fissure for the visit of King Frederick VIII of Denmark and ever since then the people started to throw coins in. You can see the coins clearly and probably think it is only a few feet deep but it is actually more than 10 m. and ice cold. Apparently the water is so clear because the water comes from a glacier and takes 30 years to filter through. (informed by our tour guide ). The fissure is only 50 m from the car park and there are always crowds of people gaping over the edge.

The Law Rock

Lögberg or the Law Rock was the place where the Law Speaker sat to deliver his speeches when the meeting of the parliament was held each year at Þingvellir. Anyone could start a discussion or settle an argument at the Law Rock which was used from 930 AD until 1262 AD when Iceland formed an allegiance to Norway. There are two possibilities of where the Law Rock used to be, one marked by the Icelandic flag. The Alþingi (or Althing in English) convened and dissolved from the Law Rock.

The Drowning Pool

If you magnify the images you can learn about the law and punishments that were dished out around 1,000 years ago, but the information boards did not mention the death sentence carried out as punishment in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just by the Icelandic flag that marks the spot where the Law Rock was supposed to be you can see the DROWNING POOL where 18 women were drowned between 1618 and 1749. A memorial plaque with their names can be seen near the pool and according to our guide most of the women were accused of having loose morals or witchcraft. Apparently 15 men were hanged and 30 were beheaded in the same period.

The original church stood here 1000 years ago

Þingvallakirkja is the small beautiful church at the National park at Þingvellir, but this particular one dates from 1859 but the original one would have been on the same site in the 11th century shortly after the acceptance of Christianity. Apparently King Olaf of Norway sent some wood and a church bell in 1015 according to Snorri Sturluson's account of the Norwegian Kings. It is interesting to note that the oldest manuscript in the church dates from the 14th century when it was dedicated to King Olaf of Norway. A new tower was added to the [resent church in 1907 and as well as the old bell there is one 1607 and another from 17th June 19444 when the Iceland Republic was proclaimed on the Parliamentary Plains

I did not see the markings but the unit of length, the ELL which is supposed to be the distance from finger tip to elbow , but every man's arm was a different length so it was decided that a yardstick would be used which was two ells. This was ordered to be marked on every church so merchants would be able to make measurements for selling their cloth.
where the plates meet
where the plates meet
the largest lake
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arnarolafsson arnarola…
3 reviews
Þingvellir National Park in Southwestern Iceland Feb 12, 2013
Thingvellir (Þingvellir) – The first destination in the golden circle and also the location of the first parliament of Iceland. It is only 40 minutes drive from Reykjavík and it´s known for the continental drift between Europe and America. It can be clearly seen in the cracks. Icelands first parliament was at Þingvellir - translates Parliament Plains. It was established around 930 and continued to until 1798. Many of major historical events have taken place at Þingvellir, therefore the place is protected as a natural treasure. This destination is one of the most visited tourist sites of the country.

Not only for it´s historical element but for it´s beautiful and one of a kind landscape. In the last few decades, research has shown that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on a international scale. Lake Þingvallavatn is unique as it is full of minerals, therefore the lake is filled with diversity of life. There are 150 types of plants that have been found in the water and 50 kinds of invertebrates, from the shore to the center. Travellers can explore the live in the water by scuba diving , it is one of the most amazing lakes to scuba dive as the landscape in the water is breathtaking . Þingvellir is a destination that no traveler should miss.
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sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Thingvellir - absolutely stunning! Jan 03, 2010
Thingvellir is one of the most stunningly pretty places I have ever been.

It is a national park at the centre of the National Consciousness of Icelanders, and is listed on the Unesco World Heritage site list. It includes the site of the Allthing and the RIft Valley where America and Europe split apart from each other.

The ALlthing is the Icelandic parliament, where the laws were discussed and cases decided, and where a great fair grew up in early mediaval times. ALl adult Icelandic men were expected to turn up or pay a fine, and our guide told us that the parliament only ended when they ran out of alcohol. It has a huge place in the national self image, because all this happened hundreds of years before anyone else in Europe even considered representative democracy and only collapsed relatively recently, despite the fact that the early republic came under first Norwegian then Danish control. The law rock is across the chasm from one car park and down the cliffs from teh other, and is easy to find becase of the information signs and little amphitheatre.

Accross from there are the holiday homes of the prime minister and president, and a small modern church.

Thingvallavatn lake is so clear that divers sometimes get vertigo staring down into the water. There are diving tours - I can't dive, so I don't know much about them. The lake is 100m above sea level and something like 110 metres deep, and has built up from glacial water in the rift valley where Europe and America part. There is a little crevace you can throw coins into. It looks shallow, but the coin took several seconds of gentle spinning to get to the bottom.

From the top car park you can stand on America and look at Europe, across the no mans land that belongs to neither continent.

There doesn't appear to be any entrance fee. There is a visitor centre and clean, warm toilets, but no shop. There don't seem to be visitng hours, either - we came on a tour looking for the Northern Lights and the moonlight was so bright we could have read by it.

You should go.
The crevace with the coins
sarahelaine says:
it's amazing.
Posted on: Feb 21, 2010
TravellingAuntie says:
always wanted to go there, thanks for the info!
Posted on: Feb 21, 2010
arcticz arcticz
3 reviews
Great natural and historic site Jun 25, 2010
The Thingvellir National Park includes the original site of the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, which was established in 930 AD. It is also the geological boundary between North America and Europe, which is well-reflected in the landscape. A cliff lies on the North American side overlooking the European side, while evidence of the two tectonic plates pulling apart is clear in the form of strange rock formations hard to find elsewhere. The park also includes the lake Thingvallavatn and a picturesque volcanic landscape. This site, a part of the popular Golden Circle tour, is not to be missed.
Dr_Seuss Dr_Seuss
216 reviews
Geography And History Combined Jun 28, 2008
Part of the Golden Circle,with Geysir and Gulfoss, and if you are jsut on a short trip and staying on the Reykjanes Peninsula all very easy to do in a day.

Easy drive from Reykjavic, about 30 miles, and we found it no problem using the map of the island the car hire company had given us. Nice road to drive, with some spectacular scenery, and we stopped a couple of times to take some photos.Road goes out past the biggest lake in Iceland, Thingvallavatn Decent sized car park at the visitor centre.

Visitor centre isn't that big, but gives you a bit of detail on the history and geography of Thingvellir. Just down from the visitor centre is a wooden viewing platform, where you can look out over the plain where the parliament (Althing) first convened in 930AD. A word to the wise, even in June, and being used to the Scottish climate, found the wind blowing here was still a bit cutting after you were exposed to it for a bit .

There is then a path that takes you down through the gap in the continental tectonic plates, one of the few places where you can jump from Europe to America. Probably what I really wanted to see, as i must have a thing about it since that was what I really wanted to do in Istanbul as well,but from Europe to Asia. I must like easy continental travel ;).

My son found a pile of rocks to clamber under, which he found fun, but given that earth tremors are an almost daily occurence in Iceland my wife and I weren't quite so sure it was a great idea.

There is a wooden bridge part of the way down that takes you out to another viewpoint, and when we came back we carried on down the path tot he river and over the bridge to the church.

Great place to start when exploring Iceland as it is really a focus of geography, culture and history, and no surprise to find it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hills On The Road Out To Þingvell…
View Along The Way
Lake Þingvallavatn
Þingvallavatn Viewpoint
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photo by: vances