Alþingi, the parliament in Iceland

©Egill Bjarnason/Lonely Planet



Iceland’s first parliament, the Alþingi, was created at Þingvellir in AD 930. After losing independence in the 13th century, the country gradually won back its autonomy, and the modern Alþingi moved into this current basalt building in 1881. A stylish glass-and-stone annexe was completed in 2002. Visitors can attend sessions (four times weekly mid-September to early June) when parliament is sitting; see website for details.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Reykjavík attractions

1. Ingibjörg H Bjarnason Statue

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Two things set the statue of Ingibjörg H Bjarnason apart from other monuments in the area: it depicts a historical female figure and it is not made by…

2. Old Reykjavík

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With a series of sights and interesting historic buildings, the area dubbed Old Reykjavík is the heart of the capital, and the focal point of many…

3. Dómkirkja

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Iceland’s main cathedral, Dómkirkja is a modest affair, but it played a vital role in the country’s conversion to Lutheranism. The current building (built…

4. Jón Sigurðsson Statue

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The statue in the centre of Austurvöllur park is of Jón Sigurðsson, who led the campaign for Icelandic independence.

5. Austurvöllur

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Grassy Austurvöllur was once part of first-settler Ingólfur Arnarson’s hay fields. Today it’s a favourite spot for cafe lounging or lunchtime picnics and…

6. Skúli Magnússon Statue

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This statue represents Skúli Magnússon, the ‘Father of Reykjavík’, who organised the city's early industry.

7. Ráðhús

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8. Settlement Exhibition

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This fascinating archaeological ruin-museum is based around a 10th-century Viking longhouse unearthed here from 2001 to 2002 and other Settlement-Era…