Þingvellir National Park

Step back in time and see Iceland’s natural and cultural history up close at this major historic site.

South Iceland
Þingvellir National Park covered in snow
Þingvellir National Park, the site of Iceland’s ancient parliament
Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, in autumn colors
Þingvellir National Park covered in snow
Þingvellir National Park, the site of Iceland’s ancient parliament
Best time to visit
All year
Every day
Charging station

Follow in the footsteps of Vikings at Þingvellir, Iceland

Perhaps no other single location in Iceland is more important than Þingvellir National Park when it comes to culture, history, and nature. You’ll definitely want to add this place to your itinerary if you want to figure out what Iceland is all about.

At Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, you’ll find breathtaking views and historic sites in spades. It’s one of the 3 stops on the famous Golden Circle route. This is thanks to its one-of-a-kind natural features, like the Mid-Atlantic Rift.

When you visit the national park, you can see incredible volcanic landscapes, the power of tectonic plates, and beautiful lakes and rivers. The park is exceptionally well preserved and visitors come all year round to see this piece of wild Iceland. 

Þingvellir is even recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique status and importance to the Icelandic nation and the world.

Whether you’re visiting to see the culture, nature, history, or geology, there’s something for everyone at Þingvellir National Park. Make sure you include a stop as a must-do when on your Iceland adventure!

Feeling ready to set off to Þingvellir? We’ve covered some key FAQs to help you get started below.

Other attractions near Þingvellir National Park

The Tjörnin pond in Reykjavík in summer

Downtown Reykjavík

Immerse yourself in culture, cuisine, and heritage at the beating heart of the Icelandic capital.

47 km (29 mi)

The Strokkur geyser erupting in winter against a sunset

Geysir and Strokkur

Experience the power of nature first-hand when you visit the geothermal areas of Geysir and Strokkur.

60 km (37 mi)

The town of Akranes with mountains in the distance


Visit the outdoor folk museum and a historic lighthouse in this cute coastal town.

60 km (37 mi)

The Gullfoss waterfall in summertime


Explore the pathways and history leading to one of Iceland’s greatest waterfalls.

70 km (43 mi)


FAQs about Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir National Park can be found in the southwest of Iceland. It’s close to the town of Selfoss and the capital Reykjavík. The park itself covers around 240 square kilometers (150 square miles).

Depending on who you ask, you might get some very different answers to this question!

In Icelandic culture, Þingvellir is best known as the site of the Alþingi (Althing). This general assembly and parliament was first established in the 9th century, and still operates today (although now from Reykjavík).

As a visitor to Þingvellir, you can also see where the North American and Eurasian continental plates form the Mid-Atlantic Rift as they pull apart. This 5 km (3 mi) stretch of volcanic rock is where you can literally walk between two continents.

You’ll find that the national park is also home to native wildlife, crystal-clear rivers, and stunning waterfalls. Scenes from popular TV series Game of Thrones were also shot here. For just one national park, Þingvellir certainly packs in a lot!

There’s so much you can see at Þingvellir National Park, you’re really spoiled for choice! Here’s some of what you could see:

  • The site of the Alþingi and Lögberg or ‘Law Rock’, where the lawspeaker would preside over the sitting general assembly
  • Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland
  • Silfra fissure, a flooded canyon alongside the Mid-Atlantic Rift where you can dive or snorkel
  • River Öxará and Öxarárfoss waterfall
  • Game of Thrones filming spots
  • Mid-Atlantic Rift
  • Local wildlife, including arctic fox and mink, plus 52 different bird species

You know there’s plenty of things to see in the national park, but you might be wondering what you can do on top of this. You’re in luck, Þingvellir is full of things to do:

  • With its crystal clear waters, the Silfra fissure is a popular spot to scuba-dive or snorkel. It’s quite cold though, so you’ll need to go in the summer or be certified to dive in a dry suit.
  • Lake Þingvallavatn is very popular for brown trout and Arctic char fishing, as the Icelandic trout are larger than their mainland European cousins. Do check the rules around fishing though before you set off.
  • The national park is full of hiking trails and walking paths ready for you to explore. Several have been made more accessible in recent years, but there are plenty that go further into the wilderness if that’s your thing.
  • Öxarárfoss waterfall. Venture up close to this beautiful waterfall surrounded by basalt rock. Watch out for ice in the winter.
  • As the former site of the Alþingi, there are lots of signs up offering information about how the parliament worked, and what Iceland was like hundreds of years ago.
  • How many people can say they walked from North America to Europe in just a few steps? Exploring the Mid-Atlantic Rift, you can be one of them!
  • Þingvellir church is a pretty 19th century church that is a great photo op, although not normally open to visitors.

Try your hand at riding Icelandic horses. There are two horse trails in the national park. What better way to see Icelandic culture and history up close than from one of the famous steeds?

It might be tempting to go completely off-piste and explore the rocky volcanic landscape as your heart takes you. However, it is strongly recommended that you stick to the marked paths in the national park.

The moss on the rocks in Þingvellir National Park has been sadly damaged by visitors walking on it. There’s also the risk of hidden cracks and dips in the ground which you wouldn’t easily see.

Sticking to the paths keeps the area pristine and unspoiled for you and future visitors. Read more about how to travel sustainably in Iceland.

It’s free to enter Þingvellir National Park, but theres a small parking fee to pay when you pull up. It’s well worth it for the amount you can see and do in the park though.

If you’re here to hike trails and explore cultural sites, you might want 2 hours for exploring. If you’re keen to do more active experiences, like horse riding, fishing, or snorkeling, it would be better to have anywhere from 4 hours set aside.

While you can easily drive to the national park, driving through it is a little trickier. There are roads and routes on the edges of the park, but the heart of it is strictly for pedestrians and park officials only. Besides, it’s much more fun to explore on foot and get up close to Iceland!

Þingvellir National Park is very close to Reykjavík, you’ll be pleased to learn. It’s only 50 minutes away, or about 48 km (30 mi).

The best way to reach Þingvellir is by car. You can either rent a car and do a self-drive tour, or there are guided group tours and individual private tours that will take you.

If you want to do a specific activity like snorkeling or horse riding, a tour operator is your best bet for a great day out.

Driving to Þingvellir from Reykjavík. Simply pick up Route 1 heading north, and then turn onto road 36 heading east. The park is well signposted and as a major road in Iceland, it’s kept relatively clear all year round making driving much easier.