So, you want to know how to best visit Thingvellir National Park? Looks like you’re one of those interested people who like to explore national monuments? You’ve come to the right place! Thingvellir is by far the most important historical place for the people of Iceland. This guide will teach you everything you need to know before you visit Thingvellir.
We have so many exciting things to cover! Þingvellir is a site of both historical, cultural, and geological importance. It’s also possibly the most popular tourist destination on the island – interesting, right? We’ll obviously talk about why that is.
We’ll also talk about how to visit this Icelandic shrine, how to get there and how much time you will need to visit Thingvellir. Other topics like Vikings, murder and movies will also be covered! You’ll get a step by step guide, answering every question you may have about this place. Let’s get started!
Where and What is Thingvellir
How to get to Thingvellir
It is actually very easy to visit Thingvellir National Park. As mentioned it is possibly the most visited site in Iceland. This means that there are plenty of organized tours going there. It is part of the famous Golden Circle that we will talk more about later.
You can not really visit Thingvellir by public transport. Line 15 will take you from central Reykjavik to the outskirts of the metropolitan area. From there you still need to take a long taxi ride to the park. You will with this combination get there in less than 1 hour. But, there is a but, it’s not for the “normal” public transport price since it costs almost 100€/person, yeah, that’s right.
We came in a car and we definitely recommend bringing a car. The park itself is more than 90m2 large. With that said, almost all the important places are within walking distance.
The ultimate budget travellers might consider hitchhiking. It is quite common in Iceland and it is considered very safe. At the same time, it’s not the usual thing you would do to visit Thingvellir, but you can definitely try.
How far is Thingvellir from Reykjavik and the airport
One important thing to point out is that the Keflavik International Airport is not the same as the Reykjavik Domestic Airport. In fact, it will take you close to 1 hour from the International Airport to the capital.
If you want to visit Thingvellir directly from the airport, it will take you about 1.5 hours by car from the Keflavik International Airport. It’ll take about half that time, 45 minutes, from central Reykjavik.
Why is Thingvellir a World Heritage Site
All World Heritage Sites are by definition amazing. We as humankind have picked them to be protected for current and future generations. What makes Thingvellir National Park so special that in 2004 the UNESCO decided to include it on the list?
Thingvellir is unique because it’s the location of one of the oldest parliamentary like institutions in the world. More than 1000 years ago an early form of democracy happened here. In 874 the Norse started settling on Iceland. 56 years later, in the summer of year 930, the new settlers of Iceland met here for a 2-week session. They called the gathering the Alþingi. It was such a success that they continued doing so every year.
Geographically the Alþingi met in a river valley. This happens to be where the Eurasian and the American tectonic plates drift apart.
If you want to know more about the UNESCO site itself then click the ‘More’ button below. If you want to get more information on how to best visit Thingvellir National Park then read on.
How to get around Thingvellir
Best time to visit Thingvellir
Things to do in Thingvellir Park
Visit at the Hakið Þingvellir Visitor Centre
The Hakið Visitor Centre is in a new building next to where the main P1 parking is. The parking is also where the pubic toilets are, use them when arriving.
In the Þingvellir Visitor Center, you find plenty of great information about the park, its nature and history. It’s a brilliant, first of its kind, interactive multimedia show. Þingvellir literally comes alive on the large screens. It takes about 40 minutes to view the whole show. There is also a short film about the whole exhibition here. Here they also have maps of the park. They show where the trails are and point out other places of interest so you can visit Þingvellir well prepared.
If you want to this is also where you find a small cafeteria and a souvenir shop.
Should you take a tour to visit Þingvellir National Park
Walk Almannagjá Gorge All Man’s Gorge
Visit the Alþingi
Walk to the Öxarárfoss Waterfall
Öxarárfoss is the only waterfall in Þingvellir National Park. It flows from the river Öxará over the Almannagjá. The pool at the base of the waterfall is filled with rocks and is often extremely icy during winter. Legend has it that during the settlement period in Iceland’s early history, some settlers encountered a frozen river. They then dug a hole in the ice and put an axe in it to claim the land. The word öxi means “axe” in Icelandic. The waterfall is one of the main attractions you shouldn’t miss when you come visit Þingvellir National Park. It is located on the eastern end of the rocky fault line. There is a path from the nearby car park leading up to it.
See the Þingvallakirkja Thingvellir Church
Look at the Lögberg The Law Rock
Visit Drekkingarhylur Drowning Pool
Visit Brennugjá Burning Chasm
Flosagjá, Nikulásargjá and Peningagjá
The best photo spots in Thingvellir National Park
It’s becoming more and more important to find those wonderfully Instagrammable places. We all want to get those perfect stunning and unique shots. We’re also guilty of that, always looking for the best spots with the best views. We spend time to research where to find the best photo opportunity in every place we visit.
If you want to visit Thingvellir National Park like a pro, keep reading!
Below we’ve put together the top photo spots we found in Thingvellir for you. So, here we go!
The view from the Hakið Platform
The Almannagjála View
How much time should I spend in Thingvellir National Park?
As your schedule is very likely packed, you might want to figure out how much time you need to visit Thingvellir National Park properly.
On average, we would say that most of the visitors spend in the park for 2-3 hours. That was roughly about the same time we spent in Thingvellir as well.
During this time you’ll be able to walk most of the trails close to Visitors Center and see the best things.
How to spend 1 day in Thingvellir
Our 1-day itinerary suggestion
Off the beaten track
Dive the Silfra
Other places to visit nearby
Insider Tips on how to visit Thingvellir
Here’s our summary of some of our travel tips and advice. All useful when planning to visit Thingvellir National Park.
So, that’s a wrap! What do you think? Would you like to visit Thingvellir National Park? We had a great time in the park and highly recommend the trip.
Perhaps, after reading all this you still have questions? Was something unclear? Still don’t know how to visit Thingvellir? That’s what we have the Comments section for. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Useful Travel Links
Here you find all the external links we refer to in the text. On top, we have added other links that we found useful when planning to visit Thingvellir National Park.