Þingvellir Travel Guide

  • Öxarárfoss waterfall as seen from above.
    Öxarárfoss waterfall as seen from above.
    by Regina1965
  • Flosagjá next to Peningagjá don't throw coins in!
    Flosagjá next to Peningagjá don't throw...
    by Regina1965
  • No no no!
    No no no!
    by Regina1965

Þingvellir Things to Do

  • Throwing coins into Peningagjá.

    It has been a national tradition for hundred years to throw coins into Peningagjá (Money fault) and make a wish. This fault was earlier called Nikulásargjá, but changed its name due to this tradition. This tradition started after the fault was bridged when the Danish king Frederick VIII paid Iceland a visit in 1907. There are a myriad of coins in...

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  • Please don´t make cairns here.

    This tip is about "things not to be done" really. There is a special view-spot on road 36. After driving through a desert like landscape for some period of time all of a sudden the view of Þingvellir and lake Þingvallavatn opens up. It is a beautiful sight, so most people stop here to take photos.Somebody thought of making a cairn here as a kind of...

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  • Almannagjá rift.

    Now it is not every day that one can walk in the Mid-Atlantic ridge. But in Þingvellir the tectonic plates are actually visible, in earlier days the rift where the plates meet used to be a lot more shallow, but has sunk more and more over the years and it is said that the Vikings might not even recognise Almannagjá rift anymore. There are many...

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  • Þingvellir National Park

    Þingvellir National Park is one of the main stops on the popular Golden Circle route. We visited on our Golden Circle tour with Iceland Guided Tours. Þingvellir is the site of the oldest parliament in Europe, established in the year 930. It is also located on the crest of Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are...

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  • Lake Þingvallavatn.

    Lake Þingvallavatn in the National park is the largest lake in Iceland 83,7 km2 large. There are 3 islands in the lake and the normal depth is 34 m with the deepest part being 114 m. Þingvellir is located on the mid-Atlantic ridge and there are a lot of rifts in the lake. Water runs from Öxarár river into the lake and underground water runs from...

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  • A view-platform overlooking Þingvellir -...

    Before entering the National park of Þingvellir, depending on which route you take, we took the route from Mosfellsdalur (north-east of Reykjavík), there is a scenic platform, view-spot, with breathtaking view of Þingvellir and the lake.You can walk from there down the trail and into Almannagjá, the great fault. Well, you could, now they have...

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  • The national graveyard behind...

    There is a national graveyard behind Þingvallakirkja church since 1939 and the great Icelandic poets Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807-1845) and Einar Benediktsson (1864-1940) are buried there.South-east of the church is Þingvallakirkjugarður graveyard with a lovely lichgate, which was raised there on the 150th anniversary of Þingvallakirkja church.

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  • Þingvellir Information center.

    The Information center at Þingvellir is at Leirar, close to the camping grounds, which are very popular, as just exploring Þingvellir and its surrounding areas, angling in lake Þingvallavatn etc. can keep you busy for a whole day and then some. The Information center is open only during the summer time from the 1.05 - 1.09, and they give you all...

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  • Vinaskógur - Friend Forest

    Close to Þingvellir National park is a lovely little forest called Vinaskógur or Friends forest. It was opened in 1990 when Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was president here in Iceland. The forest is a symbol of friendship and peace amongst men. The idea is that when the President of Iceland shows Þingvellir National park to his guests that they would stop...

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  • Þingvallakirkja church.

    There has been a church at Þingvellir since the conversion in Iceland to Christianity in 1000 but this church at Þingvallir was raised in 1859. You can see the year 1907 on its tower and that year the Danish king came to visit Þingvellir and the tower was rebuilt. The bells in the tower are 3, one ancient, one from 1697 and Íslandsklukkan is from...

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  • Lögberg - Law Rock.

    Lögberg or Law Rock is the place where Alþingi was first held in 930AD. It is debatable where Lögberg was exactly located, but it is believed to have been on a rock pedestal where the flag pole is now located. The other theory is that Lögberg was located inside Almannagjá rift by the rock face.Lögberg was the focal point of Alþingi and from there...

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  • Mt. Botnsúlur.

    When at Þingvellir you will notice a beautiful mountain to the north, in winter time it looks like a glacier, but is actually an extinct central volcano. It is called Botnsúlur and is 1.075 m.One can hike to the mountain and the hike up the mountain takes ca 3 hours, I haven't done that though, but I know this is a popular hike.When throwing coins...

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  • Bláskógar - The Blue Forest at...

    Bláskógar "The Blue Forest" at Þingvellir is one of few forests in Iceland. It is a lovely small forest with picnic tables and benches. The name Blue Forest "Bláskógar" is the old name of the area around Þingvallavatn lake. The owner of Bláskógar, Þórir kroppinskeggi, was found gulity of murder and it was decided to take his land and then use it...

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  • Walking inside a fissure leading to...

    There are several routes which one can take which lead to Öxarárfoss waterfall. As you can see from my previous tip there is the upper route where you can see the waterfall from above. From the parking lot you can also take a path inside the fissure where you can walk to the waterfall and see it from below. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from...

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  • The upper route to Öxarárfoss waterfall.

    Öxarárfoss waterfall at Þingvellir is such a lovely waterfall and usually people watch it from below. But there is another route to see it from above as well. I grant you that the view from below is much more breathtaking though. But for me the whole of Þingvellir with all its fissures is breathtaking and while taking this upper route to the...

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Þingvellir Transportation

  • Bus

    I saw Þingvellir and the surrounding areas as part of a tour with Iceland Excursions. The day trip, known as the Golden Circle, is offered by other tour groups as well, and is really a must if you're in Iceland. The bus provided by Iceland Excursions was clean and comfortable and the guide was knowledgeable. The tour itself was paced pretty well...

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  • The Golden Circle

    There is no public bus to Þingvellir. The two best options are to hire a car or take a tour. Going there alone, I decided not to hire a car because it wouldn't be worth it. Special thanks to Bragi for giving me 15% discount on the tours! The tour included a visit to Geysir, Gullfoss and Þingvellir.

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Þingvellir Local Customs

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    by acemj Updated Jun 13, 2007

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    If you follow the path from the lookout over the lake down toward the AlÞing, keep walking toward the parking lot across the valley a bit and you'll cross over the Peningagjá (The Money Chasm). Here in this deep fissure you'll see thousands of glistening coins in the crystal clear waters. It's somewhat of a tradition for visitors to throw loose change into the water from the bridge that crosses over the fissure. It's said that if you can follow the coin all the way down as it falls through the water, your wish will come true.

    However, with the prices in Iceland, I suggest you look for the smallest coin possible before you toss it in. Gotta save some bucks!

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Þingvellir Warnings and Dangers

  • A new fissure opened up in Almannagjá.

    Almannagjá Gorge was closed to public for a while, i.e. the southern most part of it - due to the ground caving in and a big hole/fissure appearing on the path. First a small hole appeared on the 31st of March 2011 and then underneath it a fissure, 10-14 meters deep and in parts 4 meters wide :( It was repaired temporarily by putting a plank on it,...

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  • Deep, deep

    When you're standing above the lake and overlooking the fissures in the valley, it looks like a really peaceful place, but when you think that this is land that is literally being pulled apart by the forces of nature, you realize there's more to it than meets the eye. Those strips of water that look like shallow little creeks are actually...

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  • Drive safely. . .

    . . . Especially in the winter time, especially if the roads are slushy, especially if you have a tiny rental Toyota! It could be hard gettting roadside assistance out here!

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Þingvellir What to Pack

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    by acemj Updated Jun 17, 2007

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I was in Iceland in April and I can assure you that you want to come prepared for the weather. It was quite cold for much of my time here and the day that I did the Golden Circle tour was also a wet and slightly windy one, so I was really glad that I had a wind and waterproof jacket.

    If you're doing the Golden Circle with a group, a pair of cross-trainers or any good athletic shoes will be sufficient, but if you're on your own and are looking to hike around Þingvellir National Park, I'd recommend a pair of good hiking shoes.

    Photo Equipment: Be prepared with all of your best camera gear to capture the sights here. If there weather is wet like it was for me, you should also be prepared to keep your camera gear dry. Cloths for the lenses, plastic for the body, etc.

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Þingvellir Off The Beaten Path

  • Hverageroi

    Hverageroi was perhaps the least interesting part of the Golden Circle tour for me, although it was a nice place to stop and grab an ice cream. It is a small town about 45 km east of Reykjavik and was our last stop in the afternoon before heading back to our hotels. The town has a population of about 1700 people and is located on some of the most...

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  • Skálholt

    Around the church at Skálholt, you'll see some archeological digs as well as a monument on the spot where the last catholic bishop of Iceland, Jón Arason and his two sons were beheaded for their opposition to the Reformation. Below the church, in the crypt, there is a free museum with artefacts dug up over the years including tombs of bishops, but...

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  • Skálholt

    The first church in Skálholt was built in around the year 1000 A.D. and the site has been historically and religiously important in Iceland since then. That was the same year the Christianity become the official religion of Iceland and the first bishop was Ísleifur Gissurarson, who was one of the most educated men in the county. Isleifur lived here...

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Þingvellir Sports & Outdoors

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    Hiking around ��ingvellir

    by seamandrew Updated Sep 7, 2005

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    Certainly one of the best ways to see this amazing National Park is to hike it. There are many things to see like the lake, waterfalls, fissurs of the land, historical buildings, wild flowers, rivers and streams, interprative centers etc. A trip to this park should include some time for hiking around and see what's to be seen. It is all so beautiful.

    Equipment: Be sure to pack a warm jacket and longer pants if you're wearing shorts. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable and can change dramatically in the course of an hour. A good pair of hiking shoes is ideal, but I had a pair of cross trainers and they were sufficient.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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Þingvellir Favorites

  • Landscapes

    Þingvellir National Park is a wild and unique landscape that is really worth the trip. Where else on earth can you say that you were able to drive or walk from North America to Europe? The geological impacts of glacial and volcanic activity are truly remarkable worth some exploration. It's no wonder that the park was named as one of UNESCO's World...

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  • Roadside pullouts

    There are several places along the road where you can pull-over safely, without having to worry about being in the way of oncoming traffic. Not that there was much traffic here in early March!

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  • Geothermal power station

    The power lines which connect the generating station to the outside world are one of the few signs on human civilization in this part of the country.

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