One of the key stops along the Golden Circle in Iceland (a nice day trip from Reykjavik) is Þingvellir (or “Thingvellir”, as the first letter is a “th”-ish sound), in the Þingvellir National Park. It is a site of great importance both because of historic and geological reasons. It was here than in the 10th century, Iceland’s parliament was set up less than 100 years after the island was populated by settlers from what is Norway today And it stayed there until the very end of the 18th century! Setting up this parliament was key in creating a unique Icelandic sense of nation.
The park is also the home of the largest lake in Iceland and it contains the crest of the rift valley in the mid-Atlantic. As you walk in down a paved path, a large cliff wall on your left frames the scene. It is an imposing wall!
As you walk down on it, you are shown to the spot where parliament was founded. It is barely noticeable except for the flag pole and the framing put in place on the actual site – oh, and all the tourists!
Standing on the spot gives one a great view down to the valley. But walk down to the water, perhaps the church and admire the cliff walls from below.
It was one of the first “sights” I visited in Iceland (after the Blue Lagoon) and it definitely help frame the country for me by marrying its history with its incredible landscapes!