If you are traveling to Iceland, one of the most popular tours that you will hear about is the Golden Circle Tour. Typically, the first stop on this tour is usually the Thingvellir National Park. If you are staying in Reykjavik, it is about a 45 minute drive, which is pretty close location wise.
We were super excited to check this location out because one of our favorite activities in the States is to hike in parks,(this is why I have so many travel guides about parks) so we were definitely eager to do this in Iceland. Also, we had seen clips of this area on one of our favorite shows “Game Of Thrones.” For your reference, this location was used in the filming of season 1 with Caitlyn Stark and her group, and also in season 4 with the Hound and Arya Stark. Another cool fact is that Lake Thingvallavatn (which is Iceland’s largest natural lake in the southern part of the park) was utilized by Arya when she leaves Westeros for Braavos.
Besides being a location for a hit show, there is so much history in this park for the early development of Iceland itself. In 874, the Norse began to settle in Iceland, seeking a refuge from the harsh rule of King Harald Fairhair. Since there were many clans that had arrived on this island district assemblies were formed to improve on relations with another. Eventually, the country created a general assembly, so that citizens could live together in peace. This early development of an Icelandic government was their own version of a representative parliament in response to monarchy, and was years ahead of many other countries developing one. The location of this government was originally in the Thingvellir National Park.
One topic that I have talked about a lot in this Iceland series is how the country was formed from the separation of the North American and Eurasian Plates. The very cool thing about this park is that it is literally on the divide. There is a rift valley in the park, and it divides the two plates.
In addition to being an excellent place for hiking, there is also snorkeling and diving in the ravine of Silfra. You will want to check first before going to see if there are any updated certification or logging hours that you will need to attain to do this activity. Also, even though we did not see any, apparently there are also artic fox and mink that reside in the region, so you will want to keep an eye on that.
Thingvellir National Park is truly spectacular, and has such a unique landscape and nature perspectives. As a side note, visitors will want to make sure not touch or interfere with these natural elements in the park such as the lava rock. It is very important that we respect the land, nature, and the creatures that call this place their home. If you are on the trail do not go off of it and explore. It is important for the travelers safety to stay on it in addition to preserving the land. Also, the Icelandic society as a whole truly cherishes the environment, and I think this is something that every country can work on as well and do better with. We have to respect our Earth, and make choices even in our day to day life that will positively impact and enable it to flourish.
Let me know in the comments if you have traveled to this unique place, and also what you have thought of it! I hope you are having a wonderful day, and remember to click that subscribe button!
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My absolute favorite book that I have found about Iceland is appropriately also called “Iceland” and is written by Jenna Gottlieb. This book is so detailed with the landmarks in Iceland, and it reviews the capital of Reykjavik, the Reykjanes Peninsula and the South, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the Westfjords, North Iceland, East Iceland and the Eastfjords, the Highlands, and the Ring Road. It also reviews when the best times are to see the Northern Lights, the best wild-life watching spots, the best day hikes, and various weekend getaway spots. When we personally went, we stayed in Reykjavik, and I absolutely love her super detailed guide of the city. She lists the best accommodation spots, how to get around Reykjavik, shopping areas, dining options, nightlife, sights, sports and recreation, and seriously so much more. I appreciate that she not only details the different areas in Iceland, but she really dives into the history too. There are photos in color as well so you can get the sense of what each part of Iceland looks like. There is so much more information in this book that will help you feel more confident on your travels to Iceland, and it is worth the read!
If you would like to learn more click on the link below!
If you would like to check out the full list of travel books that I recommend make sure that you check out this comprehensive guide!
Additional Iceland Resources/Articles-