Thingvellir National Park: As Old As Iceland

  • ~ mins read

What makes the Thingvellir National Park different than other national parks in Iceland? With a history dating back to the end of the first millennia, Thingvellir has a story that is as rich as its geography. Amid the shifting continental plates where North America and Europe collide, sits the home of the first parliament of the Icelandic people.  A church sits upon the site, dating back to the 19th century, but the faith that preceded it reaches forward across centuries. 

It is no wonder, that the Icelandic chieftains chose this remarkable place for the site of their annual conclave, for they would gather here with their people, coming by the thousands and staying for weeks or more, to settle grievances, and maintain the balance of power between their various clans. 

Here, amidst the rugged terrain, and beside the beautiful waters, they made their laws, and kept their peace. Eventually, the seat of power for the Icelandic people would move from Thingvellir to Reykjavik, some 40 km away.

Excellent compact tour of Iceland
  • Carolyn Williams
  • From USA
5 - Excellent
“What an excellent tour! I was with my 81 year old grandmother and we both loved it....” Read More
View Incredible Tours in Iceland

How To Get There

To get to Thingvellir National Park from Reykjavik, follow Vesturlandsvegur and Þingvallavegur to Suðurland for some 38 km and follow the signs. If you do not want to drive on your own, you can schedule a ride on one of the many tour buses visiting the sites on the Golden Circle. If you prefer to spend more time at Thingvellir, a summer bus schedule is available with busses leaving Reykjavik as early as 10:00 hours and as late as 15:00 hours. 

With so much to see and do in Thingvellir, an entire day could easily be filled at this one location, and some visitors feel that the guided tours do not allow for enough time to truly enjoy the uniqueness of this wonderful site. 

What To Do

  • See a church built in the 19th century, dating back to the second millennia, and a continental rift that dates back across the eons!
  • Check out the beauty of the Öxarárfoss waterfall that is near to one of the parking spaces. 
  • Camp out between the months of June and September to see the magnificent scenery that the national park offers. 
  • Go hiking on one of the many trails that traverse the park through ancient meeting places, and abandoned farms from ages past.
  • Go horseback riding on purebred Icelandic horses. 
  • Put on a drysuit and go snorkeling in Silfra, diving between tectonic plates in an underwater world of wonder and beauty. 
Thingvellir national park is home to a 19th century church
A church at Thingvellir national park
Thingvellir national park is home to the Oxararfoss waterfall
The Oxararfoss waterfall is one of the main attractions

Good to Know

  • Entrance to the Thingvellir National Park is free.
  • If you drive yourself, you will have to pay parking fees for a private vehicle.
  • If you need to use the restroom, you need to pay USD 2 (200 ISK). 
Althing was the first parliament at Thingvellir national park
Althing, the first parliament of Iceland and was founded in Thingvellir national park
Silfra is a popular tourist spot in Thingvellir national park
Silfra is a popular scuba diving and snorkeling spot

Opening Hours

The park is open any time of year that you want to go but the hours do vary depending on the season. So, plan accordingly for the season of your visit.

June - August 09:00 - 20:00
Rest of the months 09:00 - 18:00

Thingvellir truly is one of the most unique locations on the face of the planet. A lot of history has been made among these rocky hills and valleys, perhaps it’s time to make a little of your own. Arm yourself with a camera, a good pair of hiking boots, grab your favorite traveling companion by the hand, and make your way to Thingvellir as soon as you can; chances are you’ll be making some memories that will last a lifetime. Before rounding off, when in Iceland, do make sure that you know the top things to do and the locations with the best treks and hikes

Published by Jane Andersen, updated on July 17, 2023

Related Articles

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland: Everything Your Need to Know

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland: Everything Your Need to Know

Close your eyes, and imagine a lagoon filled ... read more

Whale Watching in Iceland: Best Places to Go

Whale Watching in Iceland: Best Places to Go

The larger-than-life landscape of Iceland fit... read more

Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Iceland in Miniature

Snæfellsnes Peninsula: Iceland in Miniature

Often referred to as “Iceland in miniature”, ... read more

Plan a trip to Iceland We offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to Iceland.
  • Harpa Groiss
    Harpa Groiss Travel Expert in Iceland
Our travel experts are recommended by:
  • BBC
  • Independent
  • Lonely Planet
0 COMMENTS We welcome your questions or comments to this article. Our travel experts will respond within 48 hours.