Information about Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir has always been popular, for obvious reasons. The history and striking landscape make the place an almost mandatory stopping point for tourists. In the middle of the 19th century, an idea was put forward in the US to conserve areas that are unique because of their beauty and grandeur. Settlers and others who travelled to uninhabited areas discovered places and natural phenomena at the sight of which they were spellbound. These were new ideas, a vision in which beauty and special characteristics started to be evaluated as wealth that mustn't be sacrificed, but instead, must be cared for and preserved for future generations. These ideas came to Iceland in the early 20th century.

In 1907, State Antiquarian Matthías Þórðarson wrote a magazine article entitled "Protection of Beautiful Places and Remarkable Natural Phenomena". There he discussed the necessity of preserving places that were remarkable and special because of their beauty; no less important, he maintained, than protecting ancient relics and old church objects. He suggested various places, but specified the Almannagjá fault and the area around Þingvellir by the river Öxará as an example of a site that deserved better care. He actually pointed out that Almannagjá had already been ravaged by the road work that by then was a fact. He cited examples of protection plans abroad and mentioned Yellowstone Park in the US as a place protected by law.

In 1913, teacher Guðmundur Davíðsson wrote an article that turned out to trigger the discussion of establishing a national park at Þingvellir. The article was published in a periodical called Eimreiðin, edited by University teacher Valtýr Guðmundsson. The article was explicit indeed and Guðmundur did not beat around the bush in depicting his countrymen's bad treatment and negligence of this most historic place in the country, Þingvellir. At beginning of the article he wrote:  "Few Icelanders visit Þingvellir for the first time, without admiring the beauty of the landscape and being reminded of some of the major events that are interwoven into the history of this important place. These two factors, the historical events and the natural beauty, must stir the feelings of anyone standing in this sacred and legendary place. It brings together some of the most striking and beautiful aspects of Icelandic nature, while also being the site of many of the most important events of Icelandic history."

In the article, Guðmundur cited examples of national parks in the US and explained the necessity of protecting Þingvellir that, by then, had become a popular weekend destination for travellers. However, it wasn't until 1930 that the first national park in Iceland was established - Þingvellir National Park. In 1930, Guðmundur Davíðsson was appointed as the first National Park Warden at Þingvellir, living there until 1940, when he had to retire because of poor health. He then moved to Reykjavík and was an Alþing employee until 1948.

Today, Þingvellir is one of the most frequently visited tourist sites in the country. Each year, thousands of visitors go there to become better acquainted with Iceland's greatest historical site and jewel of nature.

Services near Þingvellir National Park

All services in 50km radius

Attractions nearby Þingvellir National Park

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss is a waterfall in Þingvellir National Park, Iceland. It flows from the river Öxará over the Almannagjá. The pool at the base of the waterfa...

View

Kerið

The crater Kerið was formed about 6,500 years ago and lies at the northern end of a row of craters known as Tjarnarhólar. It is oval, about 270 m long...

View

Dynjandi

DYNJANDI Simply enthralling; The Westfjords' favourite front-page model for decades, and is never short of breathtaking. The biggest and widest p...

View

Geysir

This most famous and former largest spouting hot spring of the world probably was created during an extended earthquake period at the end of the 13th...

View

Reykjavík

The Reykjavík Capital Area is the country's largest and most populated city and currently home to 211.282 people, that's two-thirds of the ent...

View

Gullfoss

The Golden Waterfalls (Gullfoss) are situated in the upper part of River Hvita. The water cascades down two steps, one 11 m high, and the other 22 m,...

View

Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar - Lava Falls - are beautiful and unusual natural phenomena. Clear, cold springs of subterranean water seep through the lava and run as tin...

View

Hjálparfoss

Hjalparfoss is a beautiful, two stepped waterfall near the confluence of Rivers Thjorsa and Fossa in the Thjorsa Valley. The surrounding area is calle...

View

Háifoss

HAIFOSS The waterfall Háifoss is situated near the volcano Hekla in the south of Iceland. The river Fossá, a tributary of Þjórsá, drops here from a h...

View

Hekla

The most “renowned or infamous” volcano of Iceland, Hekla, is situated on a 25 miles long volcanic fissure. The volcano itself is about 3 miles long a...

View

Seljalandsfoss

A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west from Skógar. It is 60 meters high with a foot path behind it at the bottom of the cliff,...

View

Gýgjarforss

There are not many waterfalls in the Icelandic highland that have become popular or major attractions.  One of the reasons is the relatively short tim...

View

Sigöldugljúfur / Valley of tears

Sigöldugljúfur used to be a river way, but when the hydro electric damn Sigölduvirkjun was built, the water from the waterfall Sigöldufoss was directe...

View

Kerlingafjöll

Kerlingarfjöll Kerlingarfjöll peaks.jpg The peaks of the Kerlingarfjöll area, close. Highest point Elevation    1,477 m (4,846 ft) Coordinates    64°...

View

Eyjafjallajökull

Eyjafjallajökull is one of the smaller ice caps of Iceland, north of Skógar and west of Mýrdalsjökull. The ice cap covers the caldera of a volcano wit...

View

Hveravellir

Hveravellir (The Hot Spring Fields) is a very interesting low temperature area at the northern edge of the lava field Kjalhraun. It is a popular stopo...

View

Þórsmörk

Þórsmörk is a mountain ridge in Iceland that was named after the Norse god Þór. It is situated in the south of Iceland between the glaciers Tindfjalla...

View

Frostastaðavatn

Lake Frostastadavatn rests in breathtaking nature and is surrounded by black lava fields and colourful rhyolite mountains. It covers around 2,5km2 and...

View

Bláhylur

Bláhylur / Hnausapollur Lake Hnausapollur is on of two crater lakes of the Veidivotn System south of River Tungnaa.  The other one is Lake Ljotipollu...

View

Landmannalaugar

LANDMANNALAUGAR - NATURE RESERVE Landmannalaugar derives its name from a hot pool that rises from under the Laugahraun lava field. Landmannalaugar ha...

View