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A Visitor's Guide to Hallgrímskirkja Church Reykjavík

One of theIceland's most iconic landmarks

11. janúar 2024

A Visitor's Guide to Hallgrímskirkja Church Reykjavík

One of theIceland's most iconic landmarks

11. janúar 2024

When you stroll through the heart of Reykjavík, it's hard to miss the towering presence of Hallgrímskirkja Church. This remarkable building stands proudly as one of the country's most iconic landmarks.

For anyone visiting Iceland's charming capital, a visit to Hallgrímskirkja is a must; it's probably the most important stop on any Reykjavík city sightseeing tour. If you have time to visit only one site in Reykjavík, make sure it's Hallgrímskirkja.

The Rich History of Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja's story is as fascinating as its architecture. Named after the revered Icelandic poet and clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson, the church stands as a tribute to his profound impact on Icelandic literature and religious life. Pétursson, best known for his passionate and soulful hymns, has left an indelible mark on the country's cultural heritage, a legacy that Hallgrímskirkja represents with pride and dignity.

Construction of the church began in 1945, but it wasn't until 1986 that it was completed. This long journey in its making is a testament to the meticulous care and attention to detail that went into its creation. Over these four decades, Hallgrímskirkja grew from a concept into a colossal structure that now dominates Reykjavík's skyline, its lofty spire visible from miles around, guiding visitors and locals alike towards its welcoming doors.

As you approach Hallgrímskirkja, it's easy to feel a sense of awe. The church's design, inspired by the stunning natural landscapes of Iceland, particularly the basalt lava flows, is a masterpiece of modernist architecture. Yet, despite its grandeur, there's a certain humility in its presence – a reflection of the modest, yet proud Icelandic spirit.

Inside, the church's ambiance changes from majestic to serene. The interior, with its simple and elegant design, invites visitors to pause and reflect. It’s a space that resonates with the quiet but powerful beauty of Iceland itself – unassuming yet profound.

Architectural Marvel - The Design of Hallgrímskirkja

The architectural design of Hallgrímskirkja is a harmonious blend of nature and artistry, an embodiment of Iceland's rugged yet captivating landscape.

The most striking feature is its resemblance to the basalt lava columns found throughout Iceland’s volcanic landscape. These columns, which form as a result of the cooling of thick lava, are a common and awe-inspiring sight in the Icelandic countryside.

The church's architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, drew inspiration from these natural formations, envisioning a structure that rises organically, much like the columns themselves. This connection to the land is a poignant reminder of Iceland's volcanic origin and the dynamic forces that have shaped its terrain.

The Exterior - A Soaring Tribute to the Icelandic Landscape

The church's central spire, standing at an impressive 74.5 meters (244 feet), is a visual beacon but a symbol of reaching towards the heavens. The grey, concrete exterior, with its sharp lines and angles, contrasts beautifully with the often cloudy Icelandic sky, creating a picture of resilience and timelessness.

Around the church, the landscape is kept minimalistic, allowing the building itself to be the focal point. This simplicity echoes the Icelandic terrain, where nature is often stark yet breathtakingly beautiful.

The Majestic Stuðlaberg

Stuðlaberg, the Icelandic term for basalt columns, represents a captivating natural phenomenon prevalent in Iceland's volcanic landscape. These striking columnar formations are created by the cooling and crystallization of lava. As the lava slowly cools, it contracts and fractures, often in a hexagonal pattern, resulting in these remarkable, symmetrical columns that have fascinated both geologists and artists alike.

The design of Hallgrímskirkja is a homage to these natural basalt formations. Guðjón Samúelsson, the architect, envisioned a structure that would embody the grandeur and mystique of Iceland’s unique geology. He succeeded brilliantly, creating a building that mirrors the vertical, majestic lines of the stuðlaberg.



svartifoss waterfall


The church's façade, with its array of concrete 'columns', evokes the image of basalt columns soaring towards the sky. This design not only integrates the church seamlessly with the Icelandic landscape but also imparts a sense of natural growth, as if the structure itself is emerging from the earth. The effect is both grounding and uplifting, providing a visual connection between the heavens and the rugged Icelandic terrain.

The influence of the stuðlaberg extends beyond the exterior to the very heart of the church. Inside, the theme of vertical lines continues, drawing the eye upwards, much like the natural columns that inspire awe in their natural settings. This architectural choice creates a sense of elevation and spirituality, inviting those within to contemplate the natural beauty and wonder of the world.

The use of concrete in replicating the basalt columns is a stroke of genius. It gives the building a robust, enduring quality, much like the ancient lava flows that shaped Iceland's dramatic landscape. The texture and colour of the concrete also mirror the dark, volcanic rock, further enhancing the connection between the church and its natural muse.

The Interior - A Haven of Tranquility

As you step inside Hallgrímskirkja, the exterior's dramatic presence gives way to an interior that exudes calmness and serenity. The vast, open space, with its high ceilings and minimal decor, creates an atmosphere of tranquility and introspection.



Hallgrimsrkirkja interior


The use of light plays a significant role in the church's interior design. Natural light filters in through the tall, narrow windows, creating a serene ambiance that changes with the passing day and the shifting weather, mirroring the ever-changing Icelandic skies.

The church's furnishings are modest yet elegantly crafted, with each piece carefully chosen to complement the overall design. The altar, simple in form yet profound in its symbolism, serves as a focal point, drawing the eyes of visitors upwards, towards the light and beyond.

The Pipe Organ in Hallgrímskirkja

Standing tall in the heart of the church, the Hallgrímskirkja pipe organ is a true testament to craftsmanship and musical artistry. Crafted by the renowned organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn, Germany, the instrument was installed in 1992. It is a work of art that seamlessly blends the traditional and the contemporary, reflecting the modernist style of the church itself.



pipe organ in halgrimskirkja


The significance of the Hallgrímskirkja pipe organ in the context of church services cannot be overstated. As the congregation gathers for worship, the majestic sound of the organ resonates through the vast nave, filling the space with a sense of awe and reverence. The organ's rich tones and majestic notes enhance the spiritual experience, creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere. Whether accompanying hymns, solos, or choral performances, this instrument elevates the worship experience, touching the hearts of all present.

Beyond its role in religious services, the pipe organ at Hallgrímskirkja is a prized gem for the world of classical and contemporary music in Iceland. The church's acoustics are impeccable, making it a preferred venue for concerts, recitals, and musical events. The organ's versatility allows it to shine in a variety of musical genres, from classical to avant-garde, from sacred to secular. Its powerful and dynamic sound can fill the vast space of the church with ease, providing an unforgettable auditory experience for concertgoers.



pipe organ in halgrimskirkja


The organ's 102 ranks and over 5,200 pipes, ranging from just a few inches to 30 feet in length, give it an unparalleled range and depth of sound. The organist, perched at the console, skillfully commands this impressive instrument, producing melodies that soar to the heavens and resonate deep within the listener's soul. It's no wonder that Hallgrímskirkja has become a sought-after destination for both local and international musicians, who are drawn by the allure of playing this exceptional pipe organ.

The Statue of Leifur Eiríksson at Hallgrímskirkja

Standing proudly in front of the church is the impressive statue of Leifur Eiríksson, a figure of historical and cultural significance for Iceland and beyond. This iconic statue pays homage to a legendary Norse explorer and serves as a symbol of the nation's rich heritage and enduring spirit of discovery.

Leifur Eiríksson, also known as Leif Erikson, was born in Iceland around 970 AD, a time when Vikings ruled the seas and the exploration of unknown lands was a way of life. He is best known for being one of the first Europeans to set foot on North America, predating Columbus's voyage by nearly 500 years. Leifur Eiríksson's journey to the continent is a testament to his courage and pioneering spirit, earning him the title of "Leif the Lucky."



The Statue of Leifur Eiríksson at Hallgrímskirkja


Crafted by the acclaimed Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson in 1929, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson is not only a remarkable work of art but also a symbol of national pride. It stands at an impressive 17 feet (5.18 meters) tall, made from bronze, and exudes an air of nobility and strength. Einar Jónsson, often referred to as Iceland's first professional sculptor, captured the essence of Leifur Eiríksson's adventurous spirit and his enduring connection to Iceland.

The statue of Leifur Eiríksson is not limited to being a local attraction; it represents a piece of Icelandic heritage on the global stage. Leifur's journey to North America, where he explored areas now known as Newfoundland and Labrador, is a testament to the seafaring prowess of the Vikings. It's a reminder that Icelanders were among the first Europeans to discover and establish connections with the New World.

For visitors to Reykjavík, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson is a popular photo stop. Its imposing presence against the backdrop of the Hallgrímskirkja church and the surrounding cityscape offers a striking visual composition that's hard to resist. Tourists and locals alike often pose beside the statue, capturing moments of their visit to this remarkable location.

Best time to visit Iceland

the view from Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland

With its serene snow-covered landscapes in winter and its long days in the summer, Iceland is a great place to visit at any time of year. The best time to come is down to you and will depend on what it is you want to get up to.

Find out more about when to visit—solo or with loved ones—in our guide to the best time to visit Iceland.

Visitor's Information for Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík

Hallgrímskirkja Opening Hours

Visiting Hallgrímskirkja is a delightful experience, and it's essential to know its opening hours to plan your visit effectively:

  • Winter (October – April): The church is open from 09:00 to 17:00. However, please note that the tower closes at 16:30.
  • Summer (May – September): During the warmer months, from May to September, you have extended hours to explore the church, with doors open from 09:00 to 21:00. The tower, though, closes at 20:30.
  • Sundays: Keep in mind that the tower is closed on Sundays from 10:30 to 12:15 due to the church's Sunday mass, which takes place at 11:00.

More info on opening hours during special days and holidays.

Entry Fee to Hallgrímskirkja

While you are welcome to explore the church's interior and exterior free of charge, there is a nominal admission fee should you wish to ascend the tower for breathtaking views of Reykjavík. Here's the breakdown:

  • Adults: ISK 1400
  • Children (Ages 7-16): ISK 200
  • Discounts: seniors (67+), disabled, and students: 1000 ISK

  • Discount of 10% for groups of 10 people or more if payed together.
  • School groups of students 16 and younger is free and accompanying adults and students over 16 get 10% discount.
  • School groups of students 17 and older get 10% discount as do accompanying adults.

Tickets for tower access can be conveniently purchased at the church's shop, and pre-booking is not required.

Obtaining admission tickets is hassle-free. Simply head to the church shop when you arrive, and you can purchase your tickets on the spot. There's no need to book in advance. The main entrance to the church is accessible to all without any admission charge.



reyvkavik view from hallgrimskirkja

Guided Tours

To enhance your experience and gain deeper insights into the history and significance of Hallgrímskirkja, consider taking a guided tour. These tours cover various themes and aspects of the church, providing a well-rounded understanding of its architecture, history, and cultural importance. Booking a guided tour is easy, and you can do so directly at the church. Just inquire at the information desk or in the church shop for availability and current themes.

How to Get to Hallgrímskirkja Church

Getting to Hallgrímskirkja is a breeze, thanks to Reykjavík's efficient transportation options:

  • By Bus: The 'Hop-On Hop-Off' city sightseeing busses, a fantastic option for exploring Reykjavík at your leisure, has its highlight stop at Hallgrímskirkja. With two types of passes available, 24 hours and 48 hours, you have the flexibility to extend your exploration of Reykjavík over two days if you wish.

  • On Foot: If you're staying in downtown Reykjavík, walking to the church is an enjoyable option. The central location of Hallgrímskirkja makes it easily accessible on foot, and you'll have the opportunity to explore the city's charming streets, shops, and restaurants along the way.

Address: Hallgrímstorg 1, 101 Reykjavík

What Can You Do at Hallgrímskirkja?

Once you've arrived at Hallgrímskirkja, there's a range of activities and experiences awaiting you:

  • Exterior Exploration: Marvel at the stunning architecture of the church and pay a visit to the iconic statue of Leif Eiriksson.

  • Interior Delights: Step inside to explore the church's interior, including its impressive organ and altar.

  • Tower Ascension: Don't miss the chance to ascend the tower for a panoramic view of Reykjavík from a high vantage point.

  • Musical Enjoyment: Keep an eye out for concerts and musical performances that occasionally take place in the church.

  • Sunday Mass: If you're there on a Sunday morning, consider attending the 11:00 mass for a unique spiritual experience.

Questions and Answers about Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík

How can I get to Hallgrímskirkja Church?

You can reach Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík by taking a bus, as several bus routes have stops near the famous church. Alternatively, if you're staying in downtown Reykjavík, walking to the church is a convenient option due to its central location.

What are the opening hours for Hallgrímskirkja?

The opening hours for Hallgrímskirkja are as follows: In winter (October – April), it is open from 09:00 to 17:00, with the tower closing at 16:30. During the summer months (May – September), the church has extended hours from 09:00 to 21:00, and the tower closes at 20:30.

Does it cost to visit Hallgrímskirkja?

Visiting and exploring the Hallgrímskirkja church is free of charge, but there is an admission fee if you wish to visit the tower. The ticket prices are ISK 1000 for adults and ISK 100 for children ages 7-16.

Is the viewing tower of Hallgrímskirkja accessible to the public?

Yes, the viewing tower of Hallgrímskirkja is accessible to the public. Visitors can ascend the tower to enjoy panoramic views of Reykjavík and its surroundings for an additional fee.

What architectural features make Hallgrímskirkja unique?

Hallgrímskirkja is unique due to its striking modernist architecture, inspired by the natural rock formations of Iceland. Its most distinctive feature is its towering spire, which stands at 73 meters (240 feet), making it one of the tallest buildings in Reykjavík.

Are guided tours available for Hallgrímskirkja Church?

Yes, guided tours are available for Hallgrímskirkja Church, covering various themes and aspects of the church's history and architecture. You can inquire about tour availability and themes at the information desk or in the church shop.

What are the best spots for photography in and around Hallgrímskirkja?

Some of the best spots for photography in and around Hallgrímskirkja include capturing the church's impressive exterior, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson in front of it, and the panoramic views from the viewing tower.

Can visitors attend a service at Hallgrímskirkja?

Yes, visitors are welcome to attend a service at Hallgrímskirkja, and there is a Sunday mass at 11:00 for those interested in a spiritual experience.

What are some nearby attractions to visit after Hallgrímskirkja?

Some nearby attractions to visit after exploring Hallgrímskirkja include the Einar Jónsson Museum, Skólavörðustígur shopping street, and the charming streets of downtown Reykjavík.

Are there any special events or concerts at Hallgrímskirkja?

Hallgrímskirkja often hosts special events and concerts, making it a cultural hub for music and arts enthusiasts. Check the church's event schedule for upcoming performances and events.

Who was Hallgrímskirkja named after?

Hallgrímskirkja is named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, one of Iceland's most famous poets and a Lutheran minister known for his hymns and religious poetry.

Who is the statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja?

The statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja is of Leifur Eiríksson, also known as Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer who is believed to have been one of the first Europeans to set foot in North America.

Can you go to the top of Hallgrimskirkja?

Yes, you can go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja's tower for a fee, where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Reykjavík and its surroundings.

Why is the Hallgrimskirkja important?

Hallgrímskirkja is important both as a place of worship and as an iconic symbol of Icelandic culture and heritage, with its unique architecture and rich history attracting visitors from around the world.

What is the religion practiced at Hallgrímskirkja?

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church, which means it follows the teachings and traditions of Lutheranism, a branch of Christianity.

Is Hallgrímskirkja open to people of all religious backgrounds?

Yes, Hallgrímskirkja is open to people of all religious backgrounds, and visitors are welcome to explore the church regardless of their faith.

Can I attend religious services at Hallgrímskirkja?

Yes, you can attend religious services at Hallgrímskirkja. The church holds regular Sunday masses, and visitors are welcome to participate if they wish.

Are there any restrictions or requirements for attending services at Hallgrímskirkja?

There are no specific restrictions for attending services at Hallgrímskirkja. However, it's advisable to dress modestly and respectfully when attending religious ceremonies out of cultural sensitivity.

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A Visitor's Guide to Hallgrímskirkja Church Reykjavík

One of theIceland's most iconic landmarks

11. janúar 2024

A Visitor's Guide to Hallgrímskirkja Church Reykjavík

One of theIceland's most iconic landmarks

11. janúar 2024

When you stroll through the heart of Reykjavík, it's hard to miss the towering presence of Hallgrímskirkja Church. This remarkable building stands proudly as one of the country's most iconic landmarks.

For anyone visiting Iceland's charming capital, a visit to Hallgrímskirkja is a must; it's probably the most important stop on any Reykjavík city sightseeing tour. If you have time to visit only one site in Reykjavík, make sure it's Hallgrímskirkja.

The Rich History of Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja's story is as fascinating as its architecture. Named after the revered Icelandic poet and clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson, the church stands as a tribute to his profound impact on Icelandic literature and religious life. Pétursson, best known for his passionate and soulful hymns, has left an indelible mark on the country's cultural heritage, a legacy that Hallgrímskirkja represents with pride and dignity.

Construction of the church began in 1945, but it wasn't until 1986 that it was completed. This long journey in its making is a testament to the meticulous care and attention to detail that went into its creation. Over these four decades, Hallgrímskirkja grew from a concept into a colossal structure that now dominates Reykjavík's skyline, its lofty spire visible from miles around, guiding visitors and locals alike towards its welcoming doors.

As you approach Hallgrímskirkja, it's easy to feel a sense of awe. The church's design, inspired by the stunning natural landscapes of Iceland, particularly the basalt lava flows, is a masterpiece of modernist architecture. Yet, despite its grandeur, there's a certain humility in its presence – a reflection of the modest, yet proud Icelandic spirit.

Inside, the church's ambiance changes from majestic to serene. The interior, with its simple and elegant design, invites visitors to pause and reflect. It’s a space that resonates with the quiet but powerful beauty of Iceland itself – unassuming yet profound.

Architectural Marvel - The Design of Hallgrímskirkja

The architectural design of Hallgrímskirkja is a harmonious blend of nature and artistry, an embodiment of Iceland's rugged yet captivating landscape.

The most striking feature is its resemblance to the basalt lava columns found throughout Iceland’s volcanic landscape. These columns, which form as a result of the cooling of thick lava, are a common and awe-inspiring sight in the Icelandic countryside.

The church's architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, drew inspiration from these natural formations, envisioning a structure that rises organically, much like the columns themselves. This connection to the land is a poignant reminder of Iceland's volcanic origin and the dynamic forces that have shaped its terrain.

The Exterior - A Soaring Tribute to the Icelandic Landscape

The church's central spire, standing at an impressive 74.5 meters (244 feet), is a visual beacon but a symbol of reaching towards the heavens. The grey, concrete exterior, with its sharp lines and angles, contrasts beautifully with the often cloudy Icelandic sky, creating a picture of resilience and timelessness.

Around the church, the landscape is kept minimalistic, allowing the building itself to be the focal point. This simplicity echoes the Icelandic terrain, where nature is often stark yet breathtakingly beautiful.

The Majestic Stuðlaberg

Stuðlaberg, the Icelandic term for basalt columns, represents a captivating natural phenomenon prevalent in Iceland's volcanic landscape. These striking columnar formations are created by the cooling and crystallization of lava. As the lava slowly cools, it contracts and fractures, often in a hexagonal pattern, resulting in these remarkable, symmetrical columns that have fascinated both geologists and artists alike.

The design of Hallgrímskirkja is a homage to these natural basalt formations. Guðjón Samúelsson, the architect, envisioned a structure that would embody the grandeur and mystique of Iceland’s unique geology. He succeeded brilliantly, creating a building that mirrors the vertical, majestic lines of the stuðlaberg.



svartifoss waterfall


The church's façade, with its array of concrete 'columns', evokes the image of basalt columns soaring towards the sky. This design not only integrates the church seamlessly with the Icelandic landscape but also imparts a sense of natural growth, as if the structure itself is emerging from the earth. The effect is both grounding and uplifting, providing a visual connection between the heavens and the rugged Icelandic terrain.

The influence of the stuðlaberg extends beyond the exterior to the very heart of the church. Inside, the theme of vertical lines continues, drawing the eye upwards, much like the natural columns that inspire awe in their natural settings. This architectural choice creates a sense of elevation and spirituality, inviting those within to contemplate the natural beauty and wonder of the world.

The use of concrete in replicating the basalt columns is a stroke of genius. It gives the building a robust, enduring quality, much like the ancient lava flows that shaped Iceland's dramatic landscape. The texture and colour of the concrete also mirror the dark, volcanic rock, further enhancing the connection between the church and its natural muse.

The Interior - A Haven of Tranquility

As you step inside Hallgrímskirkja, the exterior's dramatic presence gives way to an interior that exudes calmness and serenity. The vast, open space, with its high ceilings and minimal decor, creates an atmosphere of tranquility and introspection.



Hallgrimsrkirkja interior


The use of light plays a significant role in the church's interior design. Natural light filters in through the tall, narrow windows, creating a serene ambiance that changes with the passing day and the shifting weather, mirroring the ever-changing Icelandic skies.

The church's furnishings are modest yet elegantly crafted, with each piece carefully chosen to complement the overall design. The altar, simple in form yet profound in its symbolism, serves as a focal point, drawing the eyes of visitors upwards, towards the light and beyond.

The Pipe Organ in Hallgrímskirkja

Standing tall in the heart of the church, the Hallgrímskirkja pipe organ is a true testament to craftsmanship and musical artistry. Crafted by the renowned organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn, Germany, the instrument was installed in 1992. It is a work of art that seamlessly blends the traditional and the contemporary, reflecting the modernist style of the church itself.



pipe organ in halgrimskirkja


The significance of the Hallgrímskirkja pipe organ in the context of church services cannot be overstated. As the congregation gathers for worship, the majestic sound of the organ resonates through the vast nave, filling the space with a sense of awe and reverence. The organ's rich tones and majestic notes enhance the spiritual experience, creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere. Whether accompanying hymns, solos, or choral performances, this instrument elevates the worship experience, touching the hearts of all present.

Beyond its role in religious services, the pipe organ at Hallgrímskirkja is a prized gem for the world of classical and contemporary music in Iceland. The church's acoustics are impeccable, making it a preferred venue for concerts, recitals, and musical events. The organ's versatility allows it to shine in a variety of musical genres, from classical to avant-garde, from sacred to secular. Its powerful and dynamic sound can fill the vast space of the church with ease, providing an unforgettable auditory experience for concertgoers.



pipe organ in halgrimskirkja


The organ's 102 ranks and over 5,200 pipes, ranging from just a few inches to 30 feet in length, give it an unparalleled range and depth of sound. The organist, perched at the console, skillfully commands this impressive instrument, producing melodies that soar to the heavens and resonate deep within the listener's soul. It's no wonder that Hallgrímskirkja has become a sought-after destination for both local and international musicians, who are drawn by the allure of playing this exceptional pipe organ.

The Statue of Leifur Eiríksson at Hallgrímskirkja

Standing proudly in front of the church is the impressive statue of Leifur Eiríksson, a figure of historical and cultural significance for Iceland and beyond. This iconic statue pays homage to a legendary Norse explorer and serves as a symbol of the nation's rich heritage and enduring spirit of discovery.

Leifur Eiríksson, also known as Leif Erikson, was born in Iceland around 970 AD, a time when Vikings ruled the seas and the exploration of unknown lands was a way of life. He is best known for being one of the first Europeans to set foot on North America, predating Columbus's voyage by nearly 500 years. Leifur Eiríksson's journey to the continent is a testament to his courage and pioneering spirit, earning him the title of "Leif the Lucky."



The Statue of Leifur Eiríksson at Hallgrímskirkja


Crafted by the acclaimed Icelandic sculptor Einar Jónsson in 1929, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson is not only a remarkable work of art but also a symbol of national pride. It stands at an impressive 17 feet (5.18 meters) tall, made from bronze, and exudes an air of nobility and strength. Einar Jónsson, often referred to as Iceland's first professional sculptor, captured the essence of Leifur Eiríksson's adventurous spirit and his enduring connection to Iceland.

The statue of Leifur Eiríksson is not limited to being a local attraction; it represents a piece of Icelandic heritage on the global stage. Leifur's journey to North America, where he explored areas now known as Newfoundland and Labrador, is a testament to the seafaring prowess of the Vikings. It's a reminder that Icelanders were among the first Europeans to discover and establish connections with the New World.

For visitors to Reykjavík, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson is a popular photo stop. Its imposing presence against the backdrop of the Hallgrímskirkja church and the surrounding cityscape offers a striking visual composition that's hard to resist. Tourists and locals alike often pose beside the statue, capturing moments of their visit to this remarkable location.

Best time to visit Iceland

the view from Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland

With its serene snow-covered landscapes in winter and its long days in the summer, Iceland is a great place to visit at any time of year. The best time to come is down to you and will depend on what it is you want to get up to.

Find out more about when to visit—solo or with loved ones—in our guide to the best time to visit Iceland.

Visitor's Information for Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík

Hallgrímskirkja Opening Hours

Visiting Hallgrímskirkja is a delightful experience, and it's essential to know its opening hours to plan your visit effectively:

  • Winter (October – April): The church is open from 09:00 to 17:00. However, please note that the tower closes at 16:30.
  • Summer (May – September): During the warmer months, from May to September, you have extended hours to explore the church, with doors open from 09:00 to 21:00. The tower, though, closes at 20:30.
  • Sundays: Keep in mind that the tower is closed on Sundays from 10:30 to 12:15 due to the church's Sunday mass, which takes place at 11:00.

More info on opening hours during special days and holidays.

Entry Fee to Hallgrímskirkja

While you are welcome to explore the church's interior and exterior free of charge, there is a nominal admission fee should you wish to ascend the tower for breathtaking views of Reykjavík. Here's the breakdown:

  • Adults: ISK 1400
  • Children (Ages 7-16): ISK 200
  • Discounts: seniors (67+), disabled, and students: 1000 ISK

  • Discount of 10% for groups of 10 people or more if payed together.
  • School groups of students 16 and younger is free and accompanying adults and students over 16 get 10% discount.
  • School groups of students 17 and older get 10% discount as do accompanying adults.

Tickets for tower access can be conveniently purchased at the church's shop, and pre-booking is not required.

Obtaining admission tickets is hassle-free. Simply head to the church shop when you arrive, and you can purchase your tickets on the spot. There's no need to book in advance. The main entrance to the church is accessible to all without any admission charge.



reyvkavik view from hallgrimskirkja

Guided Tours

To enhance your experience and gain deeper insights into the history and significance of Hallgrímskirkja, consider taking a guided tour. These tours cover various themes and aspects of the church, providing a well-rounded understanding of its architecture, history, and cultural importance. Booking a guided tour is easy, and you can do so directly at the church. Just inquire at the information desk or in the church shop for availability and current themes.

How to Get to Hallgrímskirkja Church

Getting to Hallgrímskirkja is a breeze, thanks to Reykjavík's efficient transportation options:

  • By Bus: The 'Hop-On Hop-Off' city sightseeing busses, a fantastic option for exploring Reykjavík at your leisure, has its highlight stop at Hallgrímskirkja. With two types of passes available, 24 hours and 48 hours, you have the flexibility to extend your exploration of Reykjavík over two days if you wish.

  • On Foot: If you're staying in downtown Reykjavík, walking to the church is an enjoyable option. The central location of Hallgrímskirkja makes it easily accessible on foot, and you'll have the opportunity to explore the city's charming streets, shops, and restaurants along the way.

Address: Hallgrímstorg 1, 101 Reykjavík

What Can You Do at Hallgrímskirkja?

Once you've arrived at Hallgrímskirkja, there's a range of activities and experiences awaiting you:

  • Exterior Exploration: Marvel at the stunning architecture of the church and pay a visit to the iconic statue of Leif Eiriksson.

  • Interior Delights: Step inside to explore the church's interior, including its impressive organ and altar.

  • Tower Ascension: Don't miss the chance to ascend the tower for a panoramic view of Reykjavík from a high vantage point.

  • Musical Enjoyment: Keep an eye out for concerts and musical performances that occasionally take place in the church.

  • Sunday Mass: If you're there on a Sunday morning, consider attending the 11:00 mass for a unique spiritual experience.

Questions and Answers about Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík

How can I get to Hallgrímskirkja Church?

You can reach Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavík by taking a bus, as several bus routes have stops near the famous church. Alternatively, if you're staying in downtown Reykjavík, walking to the church is a convenient option due to its central location.

What are the opening hours for Hallgrímskirkja?

The opening hours for Hallgrímskirkja are as follows: In winter (October – April), it is open from 09:00 to 17:00, with the tower closing at 16:30. During the summer months (May – September), the church has extended hours from 09:00 to 21:00, and the tower closes at 20:30.

Does it cost to visit Hallgrímskirkja?

Visiting and exploring the Hallgrímskirkja church is free of charge, but there is an admission fee if you wish to visit the tower. The ticket prices are ISK 1000 for adults and ISK 100 for children ages 7-16.

Is the viewing tower of Hallgrímskirkja accessible to the public?

Yes, the viewing tower of Hallgrímskirkja is accessible to the public. Visitors can ascend the tower to enjoy panoramic views of Reykjavík and its surroundings for an additional fee.

What architectural features make Hallgrímskirkja unique?

Hallgrímskirkja is unique due to its striking modernist architecture, inspired by the natural rock formations of Iceland. Its most distinctive feature is its towering spire, which stands at 73 meters (240 feet), making it one of the tallest buildings in Reykjavík.

Are guided tours available for Hallgrímskirkja Church?

Yes, guided tours are available for Hallgrímskirkja Church, covering various themes and aspects of the church's history and architecture. You can inquire about tour availability and themes at the information desk or in the church shop.

What are the best spots for photography in and around Hallgrímskirkja?

Some of the best spots for photography in and around Hallgrímskirkja include capturing the church's impressive exterior, the statue of Leifur Eiríksson in front of it, and the panoramic views from the viewing tower.

Can visitors attend a service at Hallgrímskirkja?

Yes, visitors are welcome to attend a service at Hallgrímskirkja, and there is a Sunday mass at 11:00 for those interested in a spiritual experience.

What are some nearby attractions to visit after Hallgrímskirkja?

Some nearby attractions to visit after exploring Hallgrímskirkja include the Einar Jónsson Museum, Skólavörðustígur shopping street, and the charming streets of downtown Reykjavík.

Are there any special events or concerts at Hallgrímskirkja?

Hallgrímskirkja often hosts special events and concerts, making it a cultural hub for music and arts enthusiasts. Check the church's event schedule for upcoming performances and events.

Who was Hallgrímskirkja named after?

Hallgrímskirkja is named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, one of Iceland's most famous poets and a Lutheran minister known for his hymns and religious poetry.

Who is the statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja?

The statue in front of Hallgrímskirkja is of Leifur Eiríksson, also known as Leif Erikson, a Norse explorer who is believed to have been one of the first Europeans to set foot in North America.

Can you go to the top of Hallgrimskirkja?

Yes, you can go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja's tower for a fee, where you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Reykjavík and its surroundings.

Why is the Hallgrimskirkja important?

Hallgrímskirkja is important both as a place of worship and as an iconic symbol of Icelandic culture and heritage, with its unique architecture and rich history attracting visitors from around the world.

What is the religion practiced at Hallgrímskirkja?

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church, which means it follows the teachings and traditions of Lutheranism, a branch of Christianity.

Is Hallgrímskirkja open to people of all religious backgrounds?

Yes, Hallgrímskirkja is open to people of all religious backgrounds, and visitors are welcome to explore the church regardless of their faith.

Can I attend religious services at Hallgrímskirkja?

Yes, you can attend religious services at Hallgrímskirkja. The church holds regular Sunday masses, and visitors are welcome to participate if they wish.

Are there any restrictions or requirements for attending services at Hallgrímskirkja?

There are no specific restrictions for attending services at Hallgrímskirkja. However, it's advisable to dress modestly and respectfully when attending religious ceremonies out of cultural sensitivity.

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