The Complete Guide To Thingvellir National Park

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Golden Circle - Thingvellir

Nestled within the rugged landscapes of Iceland’s Golden Circle lies Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park, a place of unparalleled beauty and historical significance.

The park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a testament to nature’s creative forces and the enduring spirit of a nation.

This article delves into the many facets of Thingvellir, from its awe-inspiring waterfall and winter charm to its intriguing facts, visitor amenities, and the remarkable activities that make it a must-visit destination.

Let’s get started.


Driving to Thingvellir National Park is a journey into the heart of Iceland’s pristine beauty. The road leading to this natural wonderland offers an awe-inspiring prelude to the adventure that awaits.

As you navigate the winding paths, the dramatic Icelandic landscapes unfold before your eyes, featuring rugged terrain, volcanic formations, and meandering rivers.

The road trip to Thingvellir is not just a means of transport but an integral part of the experience, offering travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the raw, unspoiled wilderness that defines this extraordinary country.


As one steps foot into Thingvellir National Park, they are immediately greeted by the melodious symphony of Oxararfoss, a captivating waterfall that weaves through the picturesque Almannagja canyon.

The turbulent waters cascade over ancient lava formations, creating a harmonious blend of elements that exemplify the park’s unique geology.

Visitors are drawn to the falls, captivated by the mesmerizing dance of water and rock, as it plunges gracefully into a pool below.

The unique geological formations in the canyon are a testament to the park’s location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet, and the land is slowly torn apart.

This geological wonder makes Thingvellir a living exhibition of Earth’s constant transformation.


Thingvellir National Park undergoes a breathtaking metamorphosis in winter. The snowy cloak that envelops the park transforms it into a pristine wonderland.

Under the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights, this winter wonderland becomes a true paradise for those who seek solitude and natural beauty.

The park offers a unique opportunity for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, allowing visitors to explore its rugged terrain while basking in the serene silence of a snow-covered world.

The serenity of winter in Thingvellir is a stark contrast to the bustling summer months, making it a magical season for those who venture there.

Entrance Fee

To access the incredible vistas and experiences that Thingvellir National Park offers, visitors are not required to pay an entrance fee. However, if you are visiting the park by car, you need to pay a parking fee should you wish to park your car in the park.


Thingvellir National Park, with its historical and geological significance, is an astonishing tapestry of facts and wonder.

It’s here that the world’s first parliament, the Althing, was founded in 930 AD, making it the oldest of its kind.

The park is not only a testament to Iceland’s political history but also to the geological history of our planet, as it sits atop the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

This geological uniqueness means that the park is ever-evolving, with the tectonic plates shifting apart at a rate of about 2.5 centimeters per year.

Visitors can witness this geological phenomenon as they stroll between the North American and Eurasian plates.


For the convenience of visitors, Thingvellir National Park provides ample parking facilities. It’s advisable to arrive early, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure a parking spot close to the visitor center.

Once parked, the park offers well-marked trails and paths that allow for easy exploration, ensuring that every visitor has the opportunity to experience the park’s natural wonders without hassle.

Things To Do

The diverse range of activities at Thingvellir National Park ensures that there’s something for every visitor, regardless of their interests.

From hiking the rugged trails to exploring the geological wonders, the park offers an abundance of outdoor experiences.

Birdwatching and photography enthusiasts can also revel in the park’s stunning landscapes.

The park’s many hiking trails are designed for various skill levels, allowing both novices and experienced trekkers to explore the diverse terrain.

Popular routes include the Almannagja Rift and the scenic hike around Lake Thingvallavatn, offering breathtaking vistas of the surroundings.


For the adventurous at heart, camping in Thingvellir National Park provides an immersive experience with nature.

Camping areas are available, equipped with facilities for tents and campers. They offer a unique opportunity to connect with the great outdoors, amidst the park’s rugged beauty.

Camping is a popular choice for those who wish to extend their stay in the park, making it possible to explore even more of its natural and historical wonders.

Camping is permitted from late spring to early autumn, and it’s recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during the high tourist season.


Thingvellir National Park offers a unique and extraordinary opportunity for snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure.

The Silfra Fissure is a submerged crack between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, providing crystal-clear water with unmatched visibility.

Snorkelers can marvel at the submerged wonders below, from mesmerizing rock formations to unique aquatic flora and fauna.

While the water is chilly, thanks to the park’s location in a glacial environment, the experience of snorkeling in this otherworldly setting is truly unforgettable.

It’s advisable to book a guided snorkeling tour, as they provide all the necessary equipment and ensure a safe and enriching adventure.

Northern Lights

Golden Circle - Northern Lights

One of the most enchanting aspects of visiting Thingvellir National Park is the opportunity to witness the ethereal dance of the Northern Lights.

The park’s location in the northern hemisphere, combined with its low light pollution, makes it an ideal spot for observing this natural spectacle.

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, paint the night sky with vivid colors, creating a mesmerizing display that is nothing short of magical.

Visitors are advised to plan their trips during the autumn and winter months when the chances of a clear night sky are at their peak.


Understanding the weather conditions is crucial when planning a visit to Thingvellir National Park.

The Icelandic climate is characterized by its unpredictability, so visitors should be prepared for various weather scenarios. Even during the summer, temperatures can be quite chilly, so dressing in layers is advisable.

In winter, the park can be covered in a blanket of snow, creating a winter wonderland that is exceptionally beautiful but also requires proper cold-weather gear.

Checking the weather forecast before embarking on your journey is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Visitor Center

The Visitor Center at Thingvellir National Park is a treasure trove of information and services.

Here, visitors can gather valuable insights into the park’s history, geology, and the array of activities available.

Knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer questions and provide guidance, ensuring that visitors make the most of their time at the park.

The Visitor Center also offers restrooms, a cafeteria, and a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs to commemorate their visit.

It’s an excellent starting point for any excursion into the park, providing maps and up-to-date information on the current conditions.


Thingvellir National Park is a place where history and nature converge, offering visitors a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

From its captivating waterfall and the enchantment of winter to the mesmerizing snorkeling adventures and the celestial spectacle of the Northern Lights, the park is a testament to the wonders of the natural world.

As you navigate through the shifting tectonic plates and explore the rich history that unfolded within its boundaries, you’ll come to appreciate the true magic of Thingvellir.

With its affordable entrance fee, diverse activities, and welcoming Visitor Center, this national park ensures that every visitor leaves with unforgettable memories of Iceland’s unique beauty.

Embrace the adventure, and let Thingvellir reveal its wonders to you.