Photo Donna Ikenberry/age fotostock
You can’t miss Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík’s 240-foot-tall, rocket-shaped church, which soars above the city skyline and is illuminated at night. Designed by famed national architect Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, and inspired less by outer space than by Iceland’s picturesque basalt rock formations, the church took over 40 years to construct, finally opening in 1986. The statue outside the church doors is of Leifur Eiríksson, the first European to discover continental North America, 500 years before Christopher Columbus. The church interior is well worth a visit, if only to admire the giant organ, which has over 5,000 pipes and was designed and constructed by German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn. You can also take the elevator to the church’s tower for magnificent views over Reykjavík’s colorful rooftops.
By Paul Sullivan, AFAR Local Expert
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
A Steeple with a View
The standout silhouette in Reykjavík’s skyline, Hallgrímskirkja is the modernist triumph of Icelandic architect Guðjón Samúelsson. Pop inside the church’s silent, great white hall for a concert and take an elevator to the top of the tower for the ultimate panoramic view of the city.—Andrew Evans
This appeared in the March/April 2017 issue
By Afar Magazine, AFAR Staff
The House of the Passion Hymns
If you want to be one of the most imposing churches in Europe, you have to earn it. Reykjavik's Hallgrímskirkja is a massive Lutheran church that dominates the otherwise simple Reykjavik skyline. The interior is every bit as impressive as the exterior (the grand pipe organ is a mechanical marvel), but approaching this church from the street, on a cool, crisp evening, is a moving experience.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Looking Out Over Reykjavik from the Top of Hallgrimskirkja
As soon as we got to Iceland, the first thing we did was go out and wander around Reykjavik. We soon found ourselves at Hallgrimskirkja and decided to go up to the top and were rewarded with a great view of the whole city. But it was so cold and windy that we had to keep running back into the indoors part of the tower. The rest of the trip was very busy and we were up by 7 am to go on some excursion somewhere every day. But it was so peaceful and nice to be at the top of the tower during the long sunrise, as soon as we got off the plane in a new place.
By Brian Hasday
Northern Lights and full moon
The Northern Lights and a full moon behind the Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland. One of the most amazing things I have ever seen, in one of the most unique and interesting places this planet has to offer.
By Matt Forman
A View Of Reykjavik
From the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church awaits Icelandic views of Reykjavik.
View from Hallgrímskirkja
A photo from the top of Hallgrímskirkja Church during a January sunset.
By Kelly A
See the Ultimate Church Steeple: Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik
This Lutheran church has a soaring, monolith-style steeple that dominates Reykjavik's skyline. Despite the dramatic architecture, what I love most about it is that it manages to feel organic, like it grew out of the earth somehow. (As I learned, the architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, created the church to resemble the basalt lava flows that are common to Iceland’s landscapes.) To stand next to this bold, beautiful building is to appreciate the 38 years it took to construct. (photo: Daniel Williams/Flickr Creative Commons)
Sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton
Great view and best way to see the whole city of Reykjavik
Hallgrímskirkja was the first thing we checked out in Reykjavik, fresh off the plane and full of jetlag. In in pouring rain, the view from the tippytop is awesome (and also a good way to orient your brain on the layout of the city). And the inside is impressive as well: the organ is gorgeous and massive. A quick stop that's easy to do if you sepnd an afternoon exploring the city sights
New Years Eve in Reykjavik
Best fireworks you will ever see!
The jumbo jetlike Lutheran Hallgrímskirkja was designed to look like Iceland's basalt formations: sleek and statuesque. Architect Guðjón Samuel was in love with the country’s volcanic landscape, and it shows in this attention-seeking church that dominates the city skyline. At 73 meters tall, it is the largest church in the country: Ride the elevator to its top for stunning views, including of the mighty Mount Esja, which looms over the city.
By Emily Payne
Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 510 1000
Sun - Sat 9am - 9pm