Thingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park

Explore Iceland: explore Thingvellir


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Thingvellir National Park is a world class geological site, a place where it is possible to view the conflict between two continental plates. The main area for observation is based around Thingvallavatn Lake (Iceland’s largest), its tranquil waters are a stark contrast to the enormous dark Almannagja ridge wall, part of the North American tectonic plate. It is impossible to notice but this shelf is constantly pulling away from its Eurasian counterpart at 1.5cm per year. Cracks which have appeared within the lake are testimony to this and create a wonderful snorkelling/diving experience “Drift Between Two Continental Plates.” On land, the best place to view the Almannagja ridge is from the visitor centre. With a wonderfully scenic lookout and a trail allowing you to walk between the tall basalt columns of a tectonic plate this is an incredible experience.

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You will also notice the sense of national pride at this location and an Icelandic flag dancing in the wind. Thingvellir means ‘Assembly Plains’ and it was at this site that general assemblies were first conducted in Iceland. Regional chieftains were ordered to gather every summer for an assembly which accepted christianity into Iceland in 1000AD, conducted court cases and discussed everything from politics to trading.

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It became a protected area under the name Thingvellir National Park in 1930.

 

Thingvellir National Park, Explore Iceland
Thingvallavatn Lake

Thingvellir National Park, Explore Iceland

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How to get to Thingvellir National Park

It takes under 1hours to drive the 46km from Reykjavik to Geysir. From the N1 head east on route 36. As this road is in tip top condition this might be your best access to the park if also coming from the north. Route 48 is a gravel road so this detour might not be worth your time.

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If coming from the south heading north from the N1 on route 35 just west of Selfoss. Keep your eyes peeled for a left hand turn onto route 36. is another comfortable drive.

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The Visitor Centre and Thingvellir’s most popular lookout is accessed from route 36, south-west of the main National Park Information Centre.

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Thingvellir National Park is on route to other Golden Circle highlights such as Geysir Geothermal Area and Gullfoss Waterfall, all 3 sights can be visited in a day trip from Reykjavik.

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Thingvellir National Park, Explore IcelandThingvellir National Park, Explore Iceland

 

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Back to our destination guide: ‘Explore Iceland’ 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

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