Þingvellir National Park – A walk to remember
Iceland’s most popular route is the Golden Circle, in which Þingvellir National Park is one of the interesting sights to visit. The other sites being the Geysir and Gulfoss waterfall en route the Golden Circle. What makes it so unique is that Þingvellir National Park is multi-faceted. It provides something for everyone irrespective of their interests. It varies from season to season.
Þingvellir is a site of Alpiing, which is Iceland’s yearly parliament dating back from 930 AD. The last session was held here in 1798 AD. After this, the parliament was relocated in 1881 to Reykjavik.
Þingvellir National Park is in the news for being the first national park within Iceland. It has different faces in different weathers and seasons. It is also the most ancient Viking parliament, making it an essential site of Iceland’s ancient history. It plays a significant centric role in independence of Iceland and is often known as the nation’s birthplace.
When did Þingvellir become a national park?
Þingvellir is a cultural, geological, and historic site. It is located around 40 kms from Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It is now a national park that comes under Bláskógabyggð municipality. It was established in 1930 when Althing marked its 1000th anniversary. It was extended to shield the natural and diverse phenomenon of the adjoining area. It was designated in 2004 as a World Heritage Site.
Tourism at Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is very popular for its tourism and one of the Golden Circle’s primary attractions. A visitor center gives you the natural and historical aspects of Þingvellir. You have a camping ground here with an information center for visitors. You can hike on the Leggjabrjótur closeby and on the execution trail. Scuba diving is also very popular, which can be enjoyed at Silfra Lake. This is impressive as the tectonic plates that have split due to continental drift make it wide for scuba divers to take pleasure in unparalleled visibility.
Activities at Þingvellir National Park
- Scuba diving
- See the 19th-century church
- Check out the Öxarárfoss waterfall.
- Camp between June-September to enjoy the scenic views of the park.
- Horseback riding
- Snorkel in Silfra lake
Price to visit Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park entry is free of charge. However, if you are driving and looking for parking, you will have to pay a parking fee. For restroom use, 2 US dollars have to be paid.
Þingvellir National Park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Þingvellir National Park was declared in 2004 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since Althing has symbolic and historical connections to Iceland people. This park also has a geological significance and so is different from many other Iceland’s national parks. This is where the continental plates shift, and Europe and North America collide. A church is also laid upon this spot, which dates back to the 19th century.
How to reach?
You can reach Þingvellir National Park heading from Reykjavik. Follow the signs to 38 kms passing Vesturlandsvegur- Þingvallavegur- Suðurland, if you are driving. If not, take a tour bus visiting this site. There are scheduled buses from Reykjavik from morning 10 until night up to 3 o clock.
The park is open all year round. However, the timings vary with season.
The park opening times are as below:
- June through August: 9 am-2 pm
- Other months: 9 am-6 pm
Þingvellir National Park is a national park and an UNESCO World Heritage site. It falls en route to the Golden Circle. The other places to visit around are Geysir thermal springs and Gulfoss waterfall. Towards the south side of the park, you will find Iceland’s largest natural lake, Þingvallavatn. The national park has a cultural, historical, geological, and natural significance to it.