Thingvellir National Park: the best of Iceland

THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK HISTORY

Thingvellir National Park is historically known to be the place where the first parliamentary assembly of Iceland was formed in the year 930, and was the meeting place of the Parliament for an uninterrupted period of 868 years, until 1798. There they met from all over the country, people who traveled for up to 17 days to be part of that holiday that was the Parliament meeting, a unique occasion to get drunk and dance with other faces beyond the few that they saw during the long and hard winters.

The place was ideal: the south assured good weather and the river, access to fresh water. In addition to the long parties lasting two or three weeks, Parliament had to cope with the everlasting quarrels among the Viking families of the time.

It is one of the most sacred places in the country since it began to build the Nation and the identity of the Icelandic people, and it was there when in 1944 the country was declared independent.

Walking there is a pleasure, at least by day, as at dusk it is said that the ghosts of people executed there for centuries wander around the park.

 

HOW TO GET TO THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK

Parque Nacional de Thingvellir

As explained on the official park website, getting to Thingvellir National Park is an easy ride from the capital. We share the information as presented on the website.

There are several roads leading to Thingvellir National Park which is located approximately 45 km northeast of Reykjavík.

 

From Reykjavik:

Take road no. 1 heading north out of Reykjavík. After driving through the town Mosfellsbær take the first exit to the right at roundabout onto road no. 36 to Thingvellir. This route follows the main road to Thingvellir and is plowed most days during the winter.

Another option in summertime out of Reykjavik is to take road 1 towards Hveragerdi/Selfoss on the south coast.  Just after leaving the Reykjavik city limits turn left onto road 431 and follow it onto road 435 (Nesjavallaleid).

This road will follow the pipeline delivering hot water to Reykjavik from the Nesjavellir power plant in the Mt. Hengill area. The road crosses the Hengill volcano providing great views of Lake Thingvallavatn coming down from the mountain on the north side.

When coming down the mountain turn left on road 360 (Grafningsvegur) and drive about 11 km along the banks of Lake Thingvallavatn until turning right onto road 36. Follow that about 8 km until reaching the visitor center at Thingvellir National Park at Hakid (Fraedslumidstod).

Note that this road (435) is closed in winter and only open from May-September depending on snow conditions.  Make sure to check conditions before driving it.

 

From Geysir and Gullfoss:

Take road 35 onto road 37 to Laugarvatn.  At the roundabout on the outskirts of the town of Laugarvatn take the first right exit onto road 365 followed by road 36 to Thingvellir.

 

From the Borgarfjordur area in the west:

There are two options which are only open in the summertime and some restrictions might apply for rental cars.

Driving road 50 in Borgarfjordur turn on to 52 in Lundarreykjardalur valley and drive east and turn right on to road 550.  From Husafell take road 550 over Kaldidalur to Thingvellir.

The coordinates for Thingvellir (Hakid viewpoint) are: 64° 15,327’N, 21° 7,691’W

 

THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK PHOTO GALLERY

We leave here a series of photos to enjoy for yourself the beauty of the place. If you are interested in knowing more about our journey around Iceland, check the article ICELAND: TWO WEEKS IN A CAMPERVAN.

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Written by Pie & Pata
Happy is he/she who enjoys family travel.