To tour Thingvellir National Park in a custom built Superjeep is to do it in truly Icelandic style. It really doesn’t get more Icelandic than that. Icelanders take great pride in their history, culture and the natural beauty of the land that they call home and all of those things come together in Thingvellir National Park.
Natural Beauty & Historical Significance
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thingvellir National Park is where Iceland’s human and natural history come together in spectacular beauty. The plains where Iceland’s parliament (Althingi), met for centuries lies in a rift valley, flanked by cliffs on either side, created by two tectonic plates slowly separating. In the middle of this valley lies Thingvallavatn or Thingvellir Lake, the largest natural lake in Iceland. Looking out at the still waters of the lake, with the cliffs and mountains rising up in the distance is serenity itself.
Dive In...or Not
Back in 1789, an earthquake opened a fissure in Thingvellir called Silfra. The fissure tapped into an underground spring filled with icy glacial meltwater from Langjokull glacier. Filtered through layers of rock for as many as 100 years, the waters filling Silfra are crystal clear with visibility upwards of 100 meters. Gazing into the clear pure waters is almost as mesmerizing and thrilling as (if you are a brave soul) diving into them. The waters of Silfra are so clear that some swimmers describe the sensation of staring down into the depths as dizzying as the waters are so clear, you almost feel as if you’re flying instead of swimming.
While the stunning landscape and political history of Thingvellir are fascinating, the somewhat macabre folklore is not to be overlooked. When the Althing met, all those years ago, not only were laws passed but judgements were made and punishments meted out. Women convicted of having “loose morals” were sentenced to death in the Drowning Pool, while it was the Gallows Rock for thieves. The Scaffold Beach and Burning Gap were reserved for murderers, loose men and those caught practicing magic. Viking era justice was no joke.
Icelanders may have traded in their long ships for Superjeeps they wouldn’t trade their heritage and the striking beauty of this island for anything.