Þingvellir national park where the parliament was established in the year 930.
For most Icelanders, Þingvellir is the most sacred place in Iceland. From the year 930 when the parliament was established, this place has hosted most of the biggest events in the history of Iceland.
For many, Þingvellir are the first stop in the Golden Circle, only about 30 minutes drive from Reykjavík. The lake Þingvallavatn is the biggest natural lake in Iceland, 82 square kilometers. It reaches below sea level, 114 meter deep. 90% of the water in the lake comes from underground rivers, coming from the glacier Langjökull. It takes the water about 20-30 years to reach the lake after being filtered through the lava. Only 10% of the water comes from Öxará river and few other small rivers along with rain. The lake is very fertile, rich in minerals and up to 40-50% of the bottom has vegetation.
In the lake are only three species of fish. Brown trout, which can grow up to 25 pounds. The brown trout is a special breed that can only be found in this lake. The others are Arctic char, and Stickleback, a very small fish, only a few centimeters.
When arriving at the national park the visitors center has information about the flora and fauna along with the rich history of the place. Also a multimedia show which is worth seeing. When standing on the viewing platform and looking over the lake and the national park, one is standing on the American tectonic plate and looking over to the Eurasian tectonic plate, or to be accurate, looking over to our very own Icelandic tectonic plate, called Hreppaflekinn.
This place is one of the best in the world to see the movement of the tectonic plates, as the North Atlantic ridge crosses Iceland from south west to north east, diagonally through the country, and through Þingvellir national park.
The park offers a great deal of walking paths and during the summer months it is very common to see enthusiastic fishermen standing by the lake, even in the middle of the night during the brightest time, in June to July.
Another popular attraction is to scuba dive and snorkel in one of the big crevices named Silfra. The water is very cold or about 2 C or just above freezing point. After being filtered through the lava the water is very clear and that’s why this place is popular among divers.
Þingvellir is on the Golden Circle on road no 36, between Reykjavik (47 km / 29,3 mi) and Laugarvatn (32 km / 20 mi).
Share this tour
Golden Circle, Gullfoss, the golden waterfall, Þingvellir, National park, Geysir, the geysers
Golden Circle, South Coast, Waterfalls, national park, geysers, black sand beach, Eyjafjallajökull, volcanoes