Choose from 2 Fun Things to Do in Reykjanes
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Named after Reverend Hallgrimur Petursson, author of Iceland’s most popular hymn book, Passion Hymns (Passiusalmar), the white concrete Lutheran church of Hallgrimskirkja is an unmistakable landmark in downtown Reykjavik. Visible throughout the city, its tower offers some of the best views of the Reykjavik skyline and surrounding area.
For a small fee, the church’s elevator whisks you to the top of the tower for 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape: the colorful roofs of the city and nearby snow-capped mountains. Entrance is often included in walking tours of the city.
Other city sightseeing tours (group or private), by bus or Segway, stop at the church so that you can admire the architecture from outside. Hallgrimskirkja is also a stop on most hop-on hop-off Reykjavik bus tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hallgrimskirkja is a must-visit destination for architecture and history lovers.
- Access to the tower is only by elevator. At the top, there are a few steps to the open-air viewing platform.
- The tower is closed during Sunday mass.
- Hallgrimskirkja is a working church and so may be closed, without notice, due to weddings or funerals.
- Everyone is welcome to join services, but, to avoid disturbance, you should stay for the duration.
- The sweeping columns on either side of the tower represent volcanic basalt.
How to Get There
Standing at the top of a hill in the center of Reykjavik and visible from 12 miles (19 kilometers) away, the church is difficult to miss. Just walk up the hill from any side and you'll be there. It’s a short walk from Reykjavik Town Hall.
When to Get There
The church is open year-round, from early morning to evening (slightly later in summer). From mid-June through mid-August, the church hosts a summer concert series, three times per week, in which you can hear the vast 5,275-pipe organ in action.
Statue of Leif Erikson
Alexander Stirling Calder, famed American sculptor and father of the even more notable Alexander Calder, created the statue of the Norse explorer Leif Erikson (the first European to discover North America) that sits in front of the church. It was a gift from the US in 1930 to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of the founding of Iceland’s parliament.
Address: Skólavörðuholt, Reykjavik, Iceland
Admission: Free. Tower: Adults 500 kr, Children 100 kr
From $ 4
Seltún is located in a area of intense volcanic and geothermal activity called KrÃƒÂ½suvík, slightly southwest of Reykjavik on the Reykjane peninsula. It sits right above a major fissure on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and even in the land of 'fire and ice,' it is a bizarre and volatile landscape of steaming thermal springs, gurgling mud and cracks in the ground that spew forth hissing gasses and water warmed by subterranean layers of boiling magma, which raises temperatures underground to 200°C (390°F).
Set against an arid background of barren rocks layered with brown, green, red and yellow soils stained with minerals, steam and the acrid smell of sulfur hang heavy in the air above silver layers of mud and turquoise water. A wooden boardwalk allows visitors to view the bubbling hot springs close up and the KrÃƒÂ½suvík area is popular with photographers and hikers; a sign-posted walking trail departs from the parking lot at Seltún.
Set in Reykjanes Geopark, the area is 40 minutes from Reykjavik by car on Road 42; parking is available.
Address: Seltún, Near Kleifarvatn, Reykjanes Geopark IS-230, Iceland
From $ 430