Þingvellir ( or "þingvellir" in Icelandic") is the name of the entire national park which includes the popular tourist stop of the same name. The park also includes parts of Thingvellir lake and the surrounding area. The park has an area of 9270 ha or about 93 km². Being a national park the speed limit is only 50 kilometres per hour to protect the birds and plants. Here the Icelandic parliament Alþingi ("Althingi") was established in 930 AD, making it the oldest parliament in the world. Here the chieftains would meet once a year during the summer to amend laws, settle disputes and appoint juries. Today the Icelandic parliament has a newer building in the capital city Reykjavik, but the national park is still is worth a visit.
In English it is best to write is as "Thingvellir" even though the correct form is Þingvellir. In tourist guides and other literature you may encounter it written with a "P" which simply is wrong. The "Þ" ( Thorn) is pronounced very similar to the English "th". Therefore writing Thingvellir invites to pronounce it in the most correct way possible.
Þingvellir also has a geological significance, since you can see the Eurasian and American plate meet here. They drift apart a few centimetres every year so in a few thousand years we could build a superhighway here. For now this only allows us to walk between the continental plates by going down Almannagjá canyon. Once you have made your way down you can find Thingvellir church ( "Þingvallakirkjan") and the cemetery of Thingvellir. If you continue walking you get to Silfra rift which has become a popular location for scuba diving and snorkelling in the last years. The rift is part of Thingvellir lake ( "Þingvallavatn") which is Iceland´s largest natural lake with a surface of 84 km² and it is up to 114 meters deep.
From Thingvellir you can also take the Kaldidalur mountain road which is only open during the summer. This is ideal if you are on your way west towards Borgarfjörður and Langjökull glacier.
It is part of the so-called "Golden Circle Day Tour", Iceland´s most famous and popular day tour, which you can complete in eight hours from Reykjavik. Depending on the direction your tour takes it usually is either the first or last stop from Reykjavik. This tour usually also includes visit to Geysir and Gullfoss. Below you find some suggestions for tours to visit the golden circle.