Reykjavík has plenty of pretty churches, if you’re into that sort of sightseeing. We’ve gathered a short list of our favorite churches, but please note that there are plenty more in Reykjavík. If you’re wondering about their names, just know that “kirkja” is the Icelandic word for “church”. [Not to be confused with “kyrkja”, which means “to strangle”, so not very nice.]
Hallgrímskirkja is probably Reykjavík’s best-known church and it’s likely that you’ve seen it in pictures already. It’s named after the famous religious poet, Hallgrímur Pétursson. If you’re in downtown Reykjavík, the church is easy to spot on top of Skólavörðuholt. In front of Hallgrímskirkja church you´ll see the statue of Leifur Eiríksson, a hero from the Viking age. He’s said to be the first European to arrive in America, way before Christopher Columbus. If you want to look inside the church you can check out the opening hours.
Consecrated in 1929, this cathedral has a unique, neo-Gothic look, which is different from most churches in Reykjavík. It has quite a dramatic gray-stone façade and a tower with a flat roof. Its interior is very beautiful, with colored windows and fine relics, some a gift from Pope Pius XI. You can’t visit the cathedral during mass sessions but the church is open to the public during opening hours.
If you want to catch a glimpse of life in the old days in Iceland, a visit to Árbær open air museum is highly recommended. Old buildings have been relocated there and members of staff dress up and educate visitors on the lifestyle and way of life in Iceland. At the museum, you´ll find an old church: Árbæjarkirkja. It was originally built in 1842 in Skagafjörður, Northern Iceland, but taken down and rebuilt at the museum in 1960. The church has a turf roof and inside you´ll find the original pulpit, among other things.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the other churches in Reykjavík, check out this list of churches in Iceland.