Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir national park became a national park in 1930 and therefore became the first national park in Iceland.

The history of Þingvellir is so rich that you can almost feel and taste it miles before you arrive. It’s a site of historical, cultural and geological significance and holds a very dear part in the hearts of Icelanders.

Alþingi, the national parliament of Iceland, was established at Þingvellir in 930 AD and sessions were held there until 1798. In 1930 the Þingvellir national park was founded, marking the one-thousandth anniversary of Alþingi. In 2004 the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site based on cultural criteria.

One of the things that make Þingvellir quite the phenomenon is the fact that the park lies in a rift valley, that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between the North American tectonic plates and the Eurasian. The continental drift can clearly be seen in the cracks, the largest one being Almannagjá. Some of the rifts are full of water, such as Nikulásargjá, which is actually more known today as Peningagjá, or coin fissure. That is because visitors have thrown coins into the fissure for several decades.

In the national park you will also find Þingvallavatn, the largest natural laek in Iceland, Öxará river and Silfra fissure, a popular diving and snorkeling location.