Tingvellir National Park

Thingvellir National Park is a favorite stop among travelers on the Golden Ring route. Tingvellir became a national park in Iceland in 1930 and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. And all because when the Viking settlers arrived in the 10th century, the place where the park is now located was chosen as the meeting place of the Althing, the world's oldest parliament.


The location of the Tingvellir Park is slightly away from the main route of the Golden Ring. But this place is definitely worth a visit. The unique geology has created a natural amphitheater, ideal for public performances, including the high wall of the Logberg Rock (Law Rock). The ancient Vikings chose this place for public gatherings and it was here that the first laws of Iceland were written down.

In addition to historical interest, Tingvellir Park has a lot to offer to nature lovers. The National Park is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. The plates are moving apart at a rate of 2 centimeters (about an inch) per year, creating the Tingvellir Rift Valley. The geology here is not only interesting, but also impressive in its scale.

In winter, there is also a wonderful panorama, especially after dark, when the northern lights illuminate the sky. And when snow covers the lava fields, the landscape becomes almost unreal.

Tingvellir has been a favorite place among professional and amateur photographers for many years.

Thingvellir park in Iceland

According to a law passed in 1928, Tingvellir will always be the property of the Icelandic nation while maintaining the Althing. The National Park was founded in 1930, in honor of the thousandth anniversary of AlþIng. Later, the park was expanded to protect the incredible and diverse nature of the park. In 2004, Tingvellir Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tingvellian tectonic plates

Tingvellir is characterized by an unusual tectonic and volcanic environment in the rift valley. Continental drift can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults that cross the park. In the center of Tingvellir you can learn more about the geology of this region. In Almannage, you can also see the easternmost edge of the North American tectonic plate. And on the eastern side of the Haidargya gorge, you will be located on the westernmost edge of the Eurasian plate.

Iceland tectonic plates

Lake Thingvallavatn

South of the fault you can see Lake Tinguadlavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.

There are three islands of volcanic origin on the territory of the lake, and traces of crustal fractures can also be seen on the shores of the lake. But its most important feature is the incredibly clean water, where there are many different species of fish. Therefore, diving enthusiasts who want to plunge into the incredibly interesting underwater world of the lake often come here. Of particular interest is the Silfra Lava Gorge, where underwater tunnels and caves are located. It is also the only place in the world where you can dive into the rift between tectonic plates to a depth of up to 40m.

Lake Thingvellir in Iceland

What to see in Tingvellir National Park

There are many attractions in the park, including the 20-meter-high Oxara Waterfall and Nikulardzha Gorge, better known as Peningadzha (Money Gorge), because it is customary to throw coins (and sometimes credit cards!) into the water and make a wish.

Oxararfoss Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall, although its foot hides a darker history. In ancient times, this waterfall was used as a place of execution - men and women were drowned here after they were sentenced to death in the Middle Ages.

waterfall at Thingvellir in Iceland

The view from the top of Almannaggi, where the visitor center is located, is stunning. If you have more than one day, then it is definitely worth a walk along one or more trekking routes, which are spread out in large numbers throughout the park.

Scuba diving in Tingvellir

Thingvellir is also home to Lake Thingvallavatn, best known for the Silfra Gorge, an unusual diving spot where you literally swim between continents in clear, icy water.

You can plunge into a narrow crack between the American and Eurasian continental platforms, which expands by 2 centimeters every year. The fault continues at the bottom of Lake Thingvallavatn. The studied part of the fault has a depth of up to 63 meters.

The water in the fault is very cold and transparent, visibility under water reaches 100 meters. If you enjoy exploring more than just tropical seas, this is something worth a try.

diving in Thingvellir park in Iceland

How to get to Tingvedlir National Park

Tingvedlir is located about 45 km northeast of Reykjavik. From Reykjavik, head north onto the ring road, drive past the town of Mosfellsbaer, and turn right at the first roundabout onto Road 36, which leads to Tingvedlir.

Unfortunately, there is currently no public transport that would go to Tingvedlir Park. But finding a suitable tour with a visit to the park is not a problem!

fault in Thingvellir park in Iceland

Is there an entrance fee?

Tingvellir Park does not have an entrance fee, but if you travel by car, you will have to pay 500 ISK for parking. The ticket is valid throughout the day and at all parking lots in the park.

If you are going to stay in the park for the night, then you can leave your car in the free parking lot near the campsite. By the way, camping is a great alternative to expensive Icelandic hotels and allows you to be closer to nature. And camping in Tingvellir Park is located on the shore of Tinvadlavatn Lake, which means that you will have a beautiful sunset on the shore. Learn more about camping in Iceland:

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Thingvellir park in Iceland

Iceland's Golden Ring

Tingvellir National Park is part of the famous Golden Ring, as well as Geisir and Gullfoss Waterfall. The journey along the Golden Ring will take at least one day, and it is one of the most popular routes in all of Iceland.

If you don't know yet. what is a Golden Ring or would you like to know more ->

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