As I mentioned in the previous post, the Golden Circle can be done in a just a day, but we chose to spend two full days exploring the sights since we stayed three nights along the route. Our first day we covered Fridheimar Greenhouse, Geysir, Gullfoss, Efsti-dalur, and the Secret Lagoon. On our second day, which was pretty cold and rainy, we headed to the place many people start their tour of the Golden Circle at: Thingvellir National Park.
Thingvellir National Park:
Thingvellir is a really large park not too far from Reykjavik. There are a number of cool things to see and do there. Many people choose to do special excursions or experiences there, such as snorkeling between the continental divide, but we just walked around. Thingvellir is an important site not only because of it’s natural beauty, but also for its history. It is here that the first Icelandic parliament met for centuries, beginning around 930 AD until the 1700s. Not only is it where the first Icelandic parliament met, but it is also considered the first and longest-lasting parliament in the world.
We started off at the parking location near Oxararfoss Waterfall. From there, we walked up to the waterfall. Though much smaller than Gullfoss, it was in an interesting location and quite beautiful. The walking trails from this parking lot wind between two ridges that are the divide between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe, called the Almannagja Fault.
From there we walked on to the Hakid viewpoint and Logberg (Law Rock), where the first laws of Iceland were discussed and announced. We also walked down to and around Thingvellir Church, which was built in the mid-1800s on the site of the church that was built shortly after Christianity was adopted in Iceland in 1000 AD. The church is surrounded by water and is very small but cute.
We enjoyed our visit to Thingvellir National Park, despite the light rain that fell all day.
Where we stayed: Duo Bungalow in Selfoss (Airbnb)
Costs: Parking at Thingvellir was 750 ISK (about $7.50 USD). We ate/made all of our meals at home on this day, saving a lot of money.
- Thingvellir Park is gorgeous! We really enjoyed just walking along the paths and taking in the views. There are special excursions we decided not to do, as well as additional sights to those we checked out.
- We had to pay for the parking using a website and credit card on my brother’s phone. I’m not sure if there is a way to bypass having a phone/data in order to pay for parking.