Hallgrímskirkja: a beautiful church in Iceland
A remarkable building in Reykjavik in Iceland is the Hallgrímskirkja. People either love the architecture or dislike it. I personally belong to the group of people who loves the architecture of Hallgrímskirkja church, and a visit should definitely be part of 2 days in Iceland. Read further for some background on the church and need to know information for a visit.
The name of the church derives from Hallgrímur Pétursson, a clergyman and famous poet. He’s regarded as the greatest hymnwriter of Iceland. The name of the church literally means the church of Hallgrímur.
The architect of the building is Guõjón Samúelsson. Building started in 1945 and was ready in 1986. During construction the design was criticized as being old fashioned and a mix match of styles. It turned into one of Reykjavik’s most famous buildings and a true landmark of Iceland. It’s the highest church building in Iceland, with 74 meters (244 ft).
Some people say Hallgrímskirkja cathedral, but this is factly incorrect, since it’s a Lutheran church. So not a cathedral.
The church is built on a hill, which makes it tower over the city. Because of this, it’s visible from afar (at least the top of the church). The building is situated in Reykjavik close to the old town.
The church is shaped in the form of cooling lava, inspired by volcanoes. Basalt rocks form the church into a mountain and/or gletcher. Trap rocks, mountains and gletchers are everywhere in Iceland and this is being resembled in the church. It’s built from white concrete. It fits perfect in its surroundings. The white modernistic, icy look of the church makes it stand clear against the ever changing sky.
In front of Hallgrímskirkja is a statue of Leif Eriksson, son of Eric the Red. The presumed first European settler on the North American continent. Alexander Stirling Calder made the statue. The USA gifted the statue in 1930 at the 1000 year existence of the AlÞingi.
The inside of the church has a simple, but special interior. Highlights are the organ and the tower. The church can seat 1200 people.
The Hallgrímskirkja organ is built by Johannes Klais in Bonn, Germany in 1992. It’s 15 meters high and weighs 25 tons.
The tower has a beautiful 360° view over Reykjavik, it’s harbor and the coast.
The church is designed in a way that on every moment in the day, sunlight falls through the windows.
The entrance to the church is free of charge. However going up in the tower, by way of an elevator, is 1000 ISK per person. Hallgrímskirkja hours are from 9am till 9pm from May till September and 9am to 5pm in October to April.
The address of the church is Hallgrímstorg 1, 101 Reykjavik. The church is a must-visit and also fun for kids. Our than 5 year old son liked visiting it. He especially loved the waffle stand in front of the church and going up in the tower. We went twice, once in 2006 and again in 2015. Next time we’re in Reykjavik, we’ll probably go again, since it’s just a perfect stop on road trips. Reykjavik is also perfect to visit during Christmas time with one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Other things to visit are the waterfalls of Iceland, which belong to the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe.
Like it? Pin it!
Like it? Pin it!
Rob + Ann @TravelLatte
Wow, that organ is huge! And those views from the tower are just amazing. We have not been lucky enough to visit Iceland yet, but this church is at the top of our To Do list once we get there. The architecture is just so unique and stunning!
Hope you get to go to Iceland, it’s definitely worth your time. Hallgrimskirkja should certainly be on your itinerary.
The church is quite impressive. I personally like the mix of styles but it is the outside view that is most striking and different.
Yes, the outside is really fantastic to see.
I loved visiting this church when I did my Iceland trip in 2017. It is so cool, especially seeing it lit up at night. 🙂
Haven’t seen it lit up at night, so have to see that the next time I visit Iceland.
Wow! Go big or go home! Iceland definitely goes big!!! Great post! 🙂
Yes, Iceland definitely does.
Such a beautiful church and really unique looking as well!
Yes, it really is a beautiful and unique church.
Kristy M Esparza
Fascinating! I’d love to visit Reykjavik someday. We’ll definitely add a visit Hallgrímskirkja when we do!
Hope you get to visit Reykjavik. And Hallgrimskirkja should definitely be on your to do list then.
I was just in Reykjavik and I loved visiting Hallgrimskirkja! The architecture is just stunning. So interesting to learn more about this church!
Wow! Such an absolutely beautiful spot. I have seen photos of the Hallgrímskirkja from the outside before but never from the inside. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be adding this to my travel list for sure!
What an absolutely stunning church – inside and out! The views look amazing too and I can see why it would be on the top of anyone’s list of landmarks to visit.
Linda (LD Holland)
This post brought back great memories of our visit to Hallgrimskirkja. We only got the view from the outside. But we did find a cafe with that beautiful outside view of this church. It would be great to go to the top for the panoramic view.
Pin North CT Waterfalls Iceland
It makes so much sense now you say it is shaped in the form of cooling lava. It really does resemble basalt columns. We visited it when we were in Iceland, but I never knew much about it (and we didn’t see inside) so it is very cool to learn more. 🙂