National Parks Thingvellir Skaftafell Vatnajokull, Iceland,

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NATIONAL PARK THINGVELLIR
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Thingvellir, The Parliamentary Plains, are the most important historic site of the country. It is located just below the western fault line of the Icelandic Graben within the boundaries of the first National Park, which was established in 1928. The oldest parliament of the world was founded here in 930 on the Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake of the country with an area of 83,7 km▓. Its greatest depth is 114 m, and this lowest point lies 13 m below sea level. Its discharge is the river Sog, the longest spring fed river of the country with a very constant volume of 112 m│/sec. Three hydro electric power stations are situated on the river, which counts among the good salmon rivers. Very little water enters the lake on the surface, which means that it is mainly spring fed.

The natural surroundings are majestic and the contrasts are great. There is a system of interesting hiking trails all over the park. The present natural landscape has been in creation for about 9000 years and is still being created by the plate tectonics. The lake contains an abundance of at least four species of trout and char and angling is a popular pastime there. The farmers in the area net the lake and process the fish for the domestic and foreign markets. The distance from the capital is 49 km.

NATIONAL PARK SKAFTAFELL
(NATIONAL PARK VATNAJOKULL)
How to get there.

The second national park, Skaftafell, established in 1967, contains some of the most precious natural pearls of the country. The rugged landscapes, mountains and glaciers, the flora and the fauna have a magnetic influence on the visitors. There are no roads in the park, but a network of trails offers the opportunity for differently extended hikes.
After National park Vatnajokull was established on June 7th 2008. the NP Skaftafell, came part of the National Park Vatnalokull.

The camping grounds are large but it is difficult to hammer the tent pegs into the gravel surface. Among the services rendered in the park are toilets, washing machines, a restaurant, a shop and a petrol station The park wardens offer regular guided walking tours and the Bus Company Kynnisferdir hf., offers daily tours from the park to the volcanic Laki area as well as the daily schedule. A comprehensive brochure with maps and hiking trails is available at the Visitors' Centre. The distance from the capital is about 340 km.

NATIONAL PARK VATNAJÍKULL
Map of Vatnajokull

National Park Vatnajokull was established on June 7th 2008.  Its area is 12,000 square kilometres, almost 12% of Iceland's area, which makes it the largest NP in Europe.  The Icelandic government agreed to present a bill to realize the establishment on November 10th, 2006.  It comprises the NP Skaftafell, NP Jokulsargljufur, almost all of glacier Vatnajokull, lava fields Hagonguhraun and Veidivatnahraun, Vesturoraefi, Mt Snaefell, Eyjabakkar and a part of Hraun to the north of the glacier.  Most of the areas within the NP area are the property of the state.

The NP management also includes some nature reserves, which are most probably going to be merged in the future.  The Langisjor area is expected to become a part of the NP.

Visitors' centres are in six places:  Asbyrgi, on Lake Myvatn, at Skriduklaustur, Hofn, Skaftafell, and Kirkjubaejarklaustur.


Proposed centres for NP wardens are in the following places:  Drekagil in Askja, Herdubreidarlindir, Kverkfjoll, Hvannalindir, at Mt Snaefell, Lon, Heinaberg area, Hrauneyjar, Nyidalur/Jokuldalur, and in Vonarskard.


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