Designed in 1939 by the late architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, Hallgrimskirkja is a 1,000-seat church that took more than 40 years to complete. Samúelsson’s inspiration came from the shapes of the Icelandic countryside. He created the structure to appear like cooling lava from a volcanic eruption. Visit for Sunday mass or simply for the best views of Reykjavík.
Situated on the hill at Skólavörðuholt, Hallgrimskirkja’s magnificent 240-foot (73-meter) tower is visible for 12 miles (20 kilometers) and is a good reference point to get your bearings. The dramatic concrete exterior houses a peaceful inner sanctum flooded with light. The church is home to an enormous German organ, built in 1992 and made up of 5,275 pipes. Time your visit to experience one of the many recitals, concerts and recordings held here throughout the summer. CDs are on sale at the church.
Take an elevator trip up the bell tower for a breathtaking panoramic view across the colored rooftops of Old Town to the countryside beyond. On clear days the sky seems to go on forever.
In front of the church, pause by the statue of the Viking Leif Ericson (Leifur Eiríksson), who traveled to America centuries before Christopher Columbus. Designed by Alexander Stirling Calder, it was a gift from the United States in 1930 as acknowledgment of the 1,000th anniversary of the Icelandic Parliament. The church was named after the much-loved Icelandic poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 – 1674) who was an influential clergyman during Iceland’s reform to Lutheranism.
The church is open daily and entry is free. There is a charge to take the elevator up the tower. In the summer months, fares after 5 p.m. are donated to local charities. Visit in February to see the church spectacularly illuminated as part of the Winter Lights Festival.
Hallgrimskirkja is located in Skólavörðuholt, a charming inner-city area well worth exploring.
Give yourself lots of time at Hallgrimskirkja. Here are some of the top activities:
Take a look at our Reykjavik things to do page to learn about more activities while you're here.
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Excellent, I booked on this hotel for my girlfriend's birthday and she loved it, very clean and comfortable. The reception team was very kind, we arrived in town before the check in time and they sent us a message letting us to know that the room was ready in advance. Our studio was amazing. Highly ...
Great location! We arrived at 1230 and were so grateful that our room was ready early because we had travelled far and long and were exhausted. The room was small but clean and comfortable. There was free parking very close to the hotel. Breakfast was excellent and the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. ...
The hotel was centrally located in the downtown Reykjavik area and this was it's advantage and disadvantage. Although convenient for everything the rooms were noisy if you wanted to have a window open overnight.
For the price I paid, everything was really excellent. Staff was nice. Coffee, cream, sugar, tea bags, a kettle, and a fridge in the room were nice. An advice is to bring your conditioner.