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Iceland Mag

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Þingvellir National Park will soon have to limit number of visitors

By Staff

  • Þingvellir in autumn The historical significance and natural beauty of Þingvellir, the oldest National Park in Iceland, has made it a major tourist attraction. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

The dramatic increase in the number of visitors in recent years is straining the capacity of Þingvellir National Park. Some visitors and tour guides have complained that too many people visit the park during busy hours. Large crowds, they argue, reduce the quality of the experience to other visitors as well as threatening to damage nature.

Read more: 9 essential things to know about Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir has seen a rapid increase in the number of visitors in recent years. Today more people visit the park during the "off-season" in the winter than visited during the peak summer months only a few years ago. Growing numbers threaten vegetation and walking paths, as Icelandic nature is especially fragile in winter when snow and frost alternate with thaw and rain. 

The park authorities are currently looking into various steps to meet these challenges. A new service center above Öxarárfoss waterfall as well as new improved walking paths. The park is also looking at imposing caps on the number of people who can visit the park every day. 

Read more: Þingvellir National Park to close down parking lot to protect the view and serenity of the park

"We are at the point where caps on the number of visitors at Þingvellir need to be considered", the chief manager of the park told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið. Visitors and tour groups would have to book a time to visit in advance to ensure that the number of visitors at each time does not exceed the park's capacity.

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