- Best time to visit
- All year-round
- 64.28226, -21.07594
- Distance from Reykjavík
- 51.8km (32mi)
Looking for a multi-day tour that offers thrilling outdoor adventures, spectacular sightseeing, and cosy accommodation? This is it! This all-inclusive farm stay includes incredible scenery, including vast glaciers, epic waterfalls, and hauntingly beautiful black sand beaches.
Experience the best of Iceland with this package of two of the island’s most popular tours in one day! The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. After touring the landmarks, soak in the milky blue healing water of the Blue Lagoon.
This best-selling tour of Iceland’s most famous south Iceland landmarks includes a visit to Friðheimar Greenhouse. The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. Experience the classic Golden Circle landmarks with a sustainable twist, a stop at Friðheimar!
Nature, culture, and history prevail in this combination tour, which takes you to the sites of the Golden Circle and inside the Lava Tunnel Raufarhólshellir cave. Experience a new world of Iceland's natural wonders -- Gullfoss waterfall, the Geysir geothermal region, Þingvellir National Park and the raw beauty of a lava tunnel. This is an easy, guided tour with no caving experience required.
Snorkel between the North American and Eurasian continental plates in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park is filled with glacial water that has been seeping through underground lava rocks for decades producing the clearest water on earth. The fissure allows for over 100 metres of visibility.
Plan for a fantastic day of seeing the classic Golden Circle landmarks capped off with a visit to the dreamy Sky Lagoon! The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. After touring the sights, relax at Reykjavík’s newest luxury bathing experience, the Sky Lagoon.
Snorkel between the North American and Eurasian continental plates in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park fills with glacial water that has been seeping through underground lava rocks for decades producing the most transparent water on earth. After snorkelling, drive your rental car to the heavenly Laugarvatn Fontana spa to warm up and relax!
Experience the classic Golden Circle landmarks before heading to the healing Fontana Wellness facilities! The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Thingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. Cap off your sightseeing day with a healing visit to Fontana Wellness.
Experience the landmarks of the classic Golden Circle in South Iceland with an exciting snowmobile ride on this unforgettable day tour. The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. Cap off your sightseeing adventure with a thrilling snowmobile ride on Langjökull glacier!
Want to see the sites of the Golden Circle and hunt for the northern lights but have a limited amount of time? Consider this express Golden Circle/Northern Lights tour! Experience the landmarks of the classic Golden Circle in South Iceland on this unforgettable day tour. The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Thingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir. After your return to Reykjavík, a guide will lead you on a search for the elusive northern lights!
Experience the best of Iceland's natural wonders and the charm of its capital city with our Golden Circle & City Sightseeing combo. This tour combines an insightful 8-hour journey through the iconic Golden Circle, with a visit to the Fridheimar Tomato Greenhouse along the way, and additionally, the flexibility of exploring Reykjavík at your own pace on the Hop On Hop Off bus.
Want to see the sites of the Golden Circle but have a limited amount of time? Consider this express Golden Circle tour! Experience the landmarks of the classic Golden Circle in South Iceland on this unforgettable day tour. The Golden Circle encompasses the must-see sights of Þingvellir National Park, the golden Gullfoss waterfall, and the bubbling geothermal region of Geysir.
Exploring Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park history
Þingvellir (sometimes written as Thingvellir) National Park is a protected area of Iceland where two great tectonic plates meet. Folk flock to this vast stretch of landscape to witness the unique geology of Iceland brought to the surface.
Iceland is the only place on Earth where you can see the continental rift above the sea and the Almannagjá fissure allows you to walk between the tectonic plates, showing off the clearest example of the continental seam. As you walk between the black volcanic rock of the ravine, North America is on one side of you and Eurasia on the other. For millennia, the plates have been drifting apart by approximately 2.5 centimetres each year.
Apart from the island’s fascinating geology, Þingvellir National Park offers an insight into the human history of Iceland too. At Lögberg Rock, you can see the spot where Iceland’s and the world’s first parliaments gathered. The Alþingi first assembled in 930 AD, during the Viking age. Today, the spot where lawmakers and speech-givers would gather all those centuries ago is marked by an Icelandic flag.
In 1930, Þingvellir was awarded national park status, making it the first national park in Iceland, and in 2004 Þingvellir National Park’s UNESCO status was made official, making it one of the world heritage sites on the mainland of Iceland.
Hiking and walking at Þingvellir National Park
Hiking trails meander across the volcanic landscape at Þingvellir. The most popular walking route runs through the Almannagjá fissure where you can admire the dramatic rock formations that have been created by the drifting of the continental plates.
This route is paved, taking you past waterfalls with an optional path to the site of the first parliament. Overall, it takes around half an hour to walk this 1.3 mile (2 kilometres) trail at a leisurely pace with time to snap pictures along the way.
For those who want to stretch their legs a bit more, there are plenty of longer trails throughout the national park. The trail from the visitor centre to Öxarárfoss waterfall takes in the classic route through the Almannagjá fissure and beyond, past the pretty Þingvallakirkja – a wood-clad church dating back to the 19th century. After around 7 kilometres (4.5 miles), you’ll reach Öxarárfoss Falls, tumbling over a cliff and crashing against the jet-black rocks below.
Overall, Þingvellir covers an expanse of around 240 square kilometres, and former bridle paths wend their way across the land, providing miles and miles of walking trails. Check a Þingvellir National Park map at the visitor’s centre to see where you can explore on foot. It is worth noting that camping is only permitted at designated campsites, and wild camping is not allowed.
Snorkelling and diving at Þingvellir National Park
Within Þingvellir National Park, you’ll find one of the only places in the world where you can snorkel or dive between the continental plates. The Silfra fissure is filled with fresh spring water that has been filtered through porous volcanic rock, so the visibility down here is exceptional.
You can see over 100 metres clearly, which is a good thing as the other-worldly rock formations between the plates are a sight to behold. You don’t need any special qualifications to join a snorkelling experience at Silfra, but you do have to be an adequate swimmer.
For Scuba diving, you need to be PADI qualified and an experienced dry suit diver – the icy water is too cold for a wetsuit. There are plenty of organised diving and snorkelling tours to Silfra which include pick-up from Reykjavík.
Things to See Around Þingvellir National Park
The national park is vast, covering a massive swathe of Iceland’s rugged landscape. Beyond the limits of the national park, you’ll find some of Iceland’s other natural wonders. A short drive away, Langjökull (the country’s second-largest glacier) offers a chance to explore a man-made ice tunnel. A Langjökull monster truck experience is a popular addition to a Golden Circle or Silver Circle experience.
Often the first stop on a Golden Circle tour, visitors tend to pair a trip to Þingvellir with a stop at Gullfoss waterfall and a stop at Geysir Geothermal Area. The three together make up the classic itinerary of this circular route from Reykjavík.
Of course, Þingvellir is also only a forty-five-minute drive from Reykjavík itself so all the sights of the capital are within easy driving distance, including the Sky Lagoon. This geothermally heated outdoor bath juts out over the North Atlantic Sea and is the perfect place to unwind with spa-like treatments after a day exploring the wild countryside.
Þingvellir National Park is in the southwest of Iceland, where the North American and Eurasian continental plates meet. It is often the first stop on the route of the Golden Circle from Reykjavík.
As it is quite close to Reykjavík, you can easily drive to Þingvellir National Park yourself. Follow the Route One ring road out of the city for 17 kilometres and then turn onto Road 36 until you reach the park’s main car park about 30 kilometres later. Although the roads are paved and ploughed every day when it snows, driving can be challenging in winter for those not used to blizzard conditions. Avoid the hassle of driving by joining an organised Golden Circle or Þingvellir National Park diving tour from Reykjavík which includes an experienced guide and driver.
How long you spend at Þingvellir depends on what you want to see when you get there. Many of the Golden Circle tours stop for forty-five minutes or an hour to allow you to walk through the dramatic chasm between the continental plates, snap some pictures and perhaps visit the spot of Iceland’s first parliament. If you are embarking on a longer Þingvellir National Park hike, you may want to allow two or three hours to visit. Those diving or snorkelling at Silfra should also allow three or four hours for the experience.
Most people are attracted to Almannagjá – the rocky fissure that scars the landscape at Þingvellir, where two continental plates meet and create twisting rock formations. You can walk through the ravine and spot waterfalls along the way. You’ll also find pretty Öxarárfoss waterfall within the national park which has a viewing platform, and the equally beguiling Þórufoss. Within the park, you can visit Þingvallakirkja – a wood-clad church, typical of Iceland – and the Lögberg rock where a flag marks the former spot of Iceland’s first parliament. Hiking trails snake across the ancient landscape of the park and there’s an opportunity to dive or snorkel between the tectonic plates at Silfra.
Þórsmörk hiking trails include the two famous routes through the Icelandic highlands – the Laugavegur trail and the Fimmvörduháls trail. But there are a couple of shorter trails in the valley if you want to linger longer in Þórsmörk. The Valahnukur trail is a circular route from the volcano huts that only takes a couple of hours and rewards with beautiful views of the river valley from on high. While the Tindfjöll Circle sees you crossing lava beds, hiking through gorges and up into the hills where you get a spectacular panorama of the whole green valley.
Geysir area of geothermal activity, where you can see the impressive Strokkur geyser erupt like clockwork, is also on the route of the Golden Circle but it is not in Þingvellir National Park. Geysir is around 55 kilometres away from Þingvellir.
The ‘Þ’ in Icelandic sounds like a ‘th’ sound in English. So, Þingvellir is pronounced ‘thingvellir’ and you will sometimes see it spelt ‘Thingviller’ in guides, online and in books.
There is no fee to enter Þingvellir National Park. However, if you are driving there yourself, please bear in mind that you’ll have to pay to use the car park. Using the restrooms is free and the visitor’s centre is also free. However, you might want to buy refreshments in the café or perhaps do some shopping in the gift shop.
During the winter months, you’ll often see Þingvellir National Park dusted with snow and there is something magical about the volcanic black rock of the Almannagjá fissure contrasting with the glowing white powder. Þingvallakirkja is particularly beautiful when crowned with a layer of snow – it looks like a church from a fairytale. The main walking route through the park is cleared of snow daily, so you can experience the Almannagjá fissure in the midst of Iceland’s frozen winters. However, a lot of the other hiking trails in the national park will not be cleared of snow so are inaccessible in the winter weather.
In terms of season, the best time to visit Þingvellir National Park is between May and October when the weather is clear and you can experience long hours of daylight. This is the best time of year to enjoy the national park’s hiking trails and the calmer weather makes diving or snorkelling at Silfra an easier experience. The park is still open in winter and, forty-five minutes away from the lights of Reykjavík, you can drive here to witness the Northern Lights dancing against the night sky. The lakes and marshes reflecting the ethereal green lights make this one of the most beautiful places to spot the aurora. In terms of time of day, the best time to visit Þingvellir is early in the morning or later in the evening. The park’s close proximity to Reykjavík means it does get busy during the peak hours in the middle of the day.
When visiting Þingvellir, you’ll no doubt be spending most of your time outdoors – walking through the continental fissure, following the hiking trails and spotting waterfalls along the way. Iceland’s weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer months, so dressing for all eventualities is a good idea. A waterproof coat and sturdy, waterproof hiking boots are essential. In summer, a breathable t-shirt and light jumper should have you covered and in winter, you’ll want to wrap up warm with a fleece or woolly jumper, hat, scarf and insulated gloves.