Thingvellir National Park

Overview

Introduction

An hour's drive 35 mi/55 km northeast of Reykjavik is Iceland's cherished national park, home to what's said to be the world's first parliament, Althing, used as early as AD 930. You can see the Logberg ("Law Rock"), the volcanic rock from which speakers addressed their Althing peers, as well as Almannagja, a massive rift that forms a natural gorge. Plan to spend at least two hours in the park (it's easily seen as a day trip from Reykjavik). Also in the park is a beautiful waterfall, Oxarafoss, which pours over a rift, and Thingvallavatn, a stunning lake and popular summer destination.

The geology of the valley is fascinating, as visitors can clearly see the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates through the many faults and fissures. One such fissure has been dubbed by locals as Peningagja, literally "coin fissure," after the coins that have littered the bottom for more than a century.

Another popular activity is snorkeling and scuba diving in the Silfra Fissure, with its crystal-clear glacier runoff and vivid underwater blues and greens.

The park is on the Golden Circle and can easily be accessed via car or bus. Take a good jacket, as winds tend to be fierce.

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