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  • Writer's pictureEinar Páll Svavarsson

Þingvellir National Park self-drive guide and information

Updated: 2 days ago


Þingvellir National Park in Iceland
Þingvellir National Park in Iceland

Þingvellir is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland for several reasons. Most importantly, it is significant in Iceland's history and culture. The first settlers, including Norwegian chieftain Ingólfur Arnarson, arrived on the island around 874. Soon after that, Alþingi was established as an assembly after the settlers realized the need for a way to settle disputes and establish laws. Thus, the Icelandic Parliament, Alþingi, was founded at Þingvellir in 930 and remained there until 1798. Today, Alþingi is located in Reykjavík.


Þingvellir National Park is in the South Region on the map of Iceland
Þingvellir National Park is in the South Region on the map of Iceland

In 1930, Þingvellir National Park was established to celebrate Alþingi's 1000th anniversary. Later, the park was expanded to protect the area's nature and environment. In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, Þingvellir was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2004. Þingvellir is a highly interesting place to visit, also from a geological point of view. As I have pointed out many times, the best way to travel in Iceland is to rent a car or a camper and control your pace -or hire a private guide. 


As car rental is expensive in Iceland, here is a useful link to compare offers from reliable companies and find the best price.


Self-drive to Þingvellir National Park is simple and easy


Map of road to Þingvellir from Reykjavík
Map of self-drive rout from Reykjavík to Þingvellir National Park

To self-drive to Þingvellir, start by driving from Reykjavík to Mosfellsbær town on Ring Road Nr. 1. as you can see on the map above. Once you pass the town of Mosfellsbær, turn east on Þingvallavegur Nr. 36 and continue until you reach one of the two or three parking lots available. The distance is only about 52 kilometers, 32 miles. From there, it's a bit of a walk to reach Þingvellir, Almannagjá, Öxarárfoss, Drekkingarhylur, and some of the other magnificent landscapes in the area, but access is relatively straightforward, and be prepared to spend two to three hours there if you are only visiting Þingvellir National Park.


A reason why Þingvellir is such a sacred place for Icelanders

The fissure between two tectonic plates
The fissure between two tectonic plates

Þingvellir, Thingvellir, is an invaluable gem for Icelanders. It is the most significant place in Iceland's rich history and has remained central to every story and decision over the centuries. The Althing Assembly, once the highest legislative and judicial authority in Iceland until 1271, was responsible for determining punishments for various crimes ranging from minor misdemeanors to severe offenses. Attendees of the assembly were known to dress in colorful silk apparel, as written in the Sagas.


ÞIngvellir is an important historical place and has also appeared in popular culture

The lava landscape at Þingvellir National Park
The lava landscape at Þingvellir National Park

Thingvellir is a site of great historical, cultural, and geological importance. It is located in a rift valley that runs along the summit of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The rift is clearly visible in the cracks that traverse the region, with the most significant one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. Consequently, earthquakes are quite common in the area. The Thingvallavatn Lake, Iceland's largest natural lake, adds to the combined beauty of Thingvellir. The landscape at Thingvellir is stunning, with colorful moss-covered lava and beautiful mountains in the background. It is a place that many visitors love to see and explore. Like many other places in Iceland, part of Thingvellir, Almannagjá, appears in Game of Thrones as the road to the Eyrie leading to the Bloody Gate.


Almannagjá in Þingvellir National Park
Almannagjá in Þingvellir National Park

There are no hotels at Þinvellir National Park or any accommodation except for two large, nice camping sites. Overnighting in the sacred Þingvellir is a great option if you rent a camper or in a tent if you have a car.


Camping at Þingvellir camping ground
Camping at Þingvellir camping ground

If you're planning to tour Iceland in a rental car, make sure to read this article about the type of car that would be best for your trip.



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