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“Iceland's largest church - a landmark in Reykjavik”
Review of Hallgrimskirkja

Hallgrimskirkja
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$68.71*
and up
Reykjavik City Walking Tour
Ranked #1 of 187 things to do in Reykjavik
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Reviewed February 24, 2008

Hallgrímskirkja is our biggest church (kirkja=church) and is named after Hallgrímur Pétursson, a reverend and hymn writer (1614-1674) who wrote the beautiful hymns "Passíusálmar" which are Iceland's most popular hymns (apart from the National anthem) and very dear to our Icelanders. Hallgrímskirkja is 73 m tall and was our biggest building until recently, when we got our first "sky scraper" :) The church stands on a hill, Skólavörðuholt, which is situated in the center of the city and is visible from all over Reykjavík and surrounding areas, making it a great landmark. It is the building in Iceland which took the longest time to build. The former state architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, got the plans for the church in 1937 and it was totally finished only in 1986, but long before that it was taken into use. The plan for the church was to make it resemble volcanic basalt rock formations. In December 1992 the church got its pipe-organ which is 15 m tall and weighs 25 tons with 5275 pipes, making it by far the largest church organ in Iceland. Notice the sculpture of Christ below the organ in my picture, which was made by Einar Jónsson, one of our most famous artists. He donated this sculpture to the church in 1948. His museum is across the street from Hallgrímskirkja.

Opening hours in Hallgrímskirkja: Every day from 9am - 5pm.

If you want to go to services you can visit the church at 11 o' clock on Sundays. It is a Lutheran church as are most of our churches in Iceland. There are also concerts in the church from time to time and the church has a remarkable choir "Mótettukórinn".

The tower with the observatory is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The price is 400 ISK for adults and 100 ISK for children 7 to 14 years old. You buy the tickets from the church-shop on the left hand side inside the church. The view is breathtaking, you can see all of Reykjavík from it really, the Atlantic ocean, the mountains, the mountain Esjan being the closest to Reykjavík. The church bells ring every 15 minutes so be aware of that. From time to time the church bells play tunes, which is lovely really.

In front of the church is a statue of Leifur Eiriksson "Leifur heppni" meaning "Leif the lucky", the first European to discover America around 1.000 A.D. On the back of the statue is written: "Leifr Eiricsson, son of Iceland, discoverer of Vinland. The United States of America to the people of Iceland on the one thousandth anniversary of the Althing A.D. 1930."

Across the street opposite the church is Hotel Leifur Eiríksson and our airport is named after Leifur Eiríksson as well "Flugstöð Leifs Eiríkssonar".

If you take a bus to the Lækjartorg main bus terminal then walk from Lækjartorg up Bankastræti, which is the beginning of Laugavegur, but turn right on Skólavörðustígur, which takes you straight to Hallgrímskirkja. You cannot miss it as the church can be seen from the very beginning of Skólavörðustígur

25  Thank Regina1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"beautiful church"
in 1,097 reviews
"pipe organ"
in 629 reviews
"elevator ride"
in 152 reviews
"entire city"
in 134 reviews
"bell tower"
in 350 reviews
"small fee"
in 386 reviews
"great view of the city"
in 212 reviews
"stained glass"
in 158 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 570 reviews
"viewing platform"
in 139 reviews
"interesting architecture"
in 171 reviews
"basalt columns"
in 138 reviews
"landmark"
in 729 reviews
"steeple"
in 225 reviews
"organist"
in 509 reviews
"simplicity"
in 345 reviews
"skyline"
in 220 reviews
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13,574 - 13,578 of 16,736 reviews

Reviewed September 9, 2007

I suppose that this is one of the true real "must see's" in Reykjavik. The interior of the church is quite austere, but peaceful. The main reason to visit is to take the elevator to the top of the steeple for a view of the city. The whole town is laid out at your feet, but dress warm! The wind can be fierce and rain comes in through the windows (no glass).

6  Thank Mike Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2007

Ok, ok, it's just a church, but if you're going to Reykjavik, you have to check it out. It's like going to NYC, and not checking out the Empire State, or Paris, and not having a peek at the Eiffel Tower, you know what I mean. The Church itself is austere and simple, but it is simultaneously grand and beautiful. Definitely worth a look. Beautiful architechture.

8  Thank preciosa919
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2007

The view from the top is unbeatable..It is the highest point in town, added by the cleanness of air enhancing the unbeliavable visibility of the surrounding areas miles and miles ahead, you will love it..If the weather is sunny, the colors are fantastic..

8  Thank Tatun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 9, 2006

My husband and I went to Reykjavik just to see the 2005 fireworks. They were worth every penny we spent. Spectacular! We asked some locals where to go to have the best view and they all said the same thing. Hallgrimskirkja Church. We were not disappointed. We stood in the plaza of the church, next to the statue of Leif Ericson. In any direction we looked the sky was filled with beautiful fireworks over the entire city. Looking at the church's cross with lovely lights bursting forth in a multitude of colors was actually very heavenly! Before we left Reykjavik we returned to the church and walked about. It is very lovely and a "must see" while in Iceland.

15  Thank promqueen67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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