See rifts where the earth’s continents are moving apart, visit a lava-strewn lake and learn about the political beginnings of Iceland.
Along the line of two tectonic plates, Thingvellir National Park features unforgettable natural formations. Its highlight is the otherworldly Lake Thingvallavatn into which hot lava runs, cooling to make a fertile environment. The area features major stories of Iceland’s past, where politics took hold 1,000 years ago. Trek through the intriguing vegetation of the terrain, which is covered by birch woodland.
Make your way to the visitor center to get an idea of the park’s formation. Learn about the natural terrain through informative films. Interactive displays offer detailed information and video clips of the park’s highlights. Take a free guided tour with a park ranger.
Bring a tent and set up camp in the rolling green meadows. Capture photos of the scenic countryside against a backdrop of mountains. Walking trails range from dirt paths to man-made steps and paved walkways. Discover waterfalls between cliffs and the clear water pools of Silfra and Davíðsgjá. Dive here among colorful fish.
Visit Lake Thingvallavatn to see the steam rising from geysers around it. This is the largest natural lake in Iceland. Peruse more than 150 types of plants rooted in this fertile ground.
The park’s name translates as “Parliament Plains,” in reference to the general assembly that was set up in the 10th century and lasted until 1798. Look around the church that dates back to 1859 and has a 17th-century pulpit.
Learn about the park’s fascinating geological history. Thick glacial ice covered active volcanoes, forming the ridges and mountains of today.
Enter the park for free and pay a daily fee for a fishing permit. The visitor center and its interactive exhibition open daily from morning until late afternoon in summer, and weekends only in winter.
Thingvellir National Park is a 1-hour drive north of Hveragerdi in southwestern Iceland. Fly to the nation’s main transportation hub of Keflavik International Airport just outside Reykjavik. From the capital city, it is just 40 minutes east by car to the national park. Regular buses reach the park from Reykjavik.