Top choice in Laugavegur & Skólavörðustígur

Reykjavík’s immense white-concrete church (1945–86), star of a thousand postcards, dominates the skyline and is visible from up to 20km away. An elevator trip up the 74.5m-high tower reveals an unmissable view of the city. In contrast to the high drama outside, the Lutheran church’s interior is quite plain. The most eye-catching feature is the vast 5275-pipe organ installed in 1992. The church’s size and radical design caused controversy, and its architect, Guðjón Samúelsson (1887–1950), never saw its completion.

The columns on either side of the tower represent volcanic basalt, part of Samúelsson's desire to create a national architectural style. At the front, gazing proudly into the distance, is a statue of the Viking Leifur Eiríksson, the first European to discover America. Designed by Alexander Stirling Calder (1870–1945), it was a present from the US on the 1000th anniversary of the Alþingi (Parliament) in 1930.

Hallgrímskirkja (pronounced hatl-krims-kirkya) was named after poet Reverend Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614–1674), who wrote Iceland’s most popular hymn book: Passíusálmar (Passion Hymns).

From mid-June to late August, hear half-hour choir concerts (www.scholacantorum.is; 2500kr) at noon on Wednesday and organ recitals (www.listvinafelag.is) at noon on Thursday and Saturday (2000kr), and for one hour at 5pm on Sunday (2500kr). Services are held on Sunday at 11am, with a small service Wednesday at 8am. There is an English service the last Sunday of the month at 2pm.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Laugavegur & Skólavörðustígur attractions

1. Leifur Eiríksson Statue

0.04 MILES

Gazing proudly into the distance outside Hallgrímskirkja church is a statue of the Viking Leifur Eiríksson, the first European to stumble across America…

2. Einar Jónsson Museum

0.06 MILES

Einar Jónsson (1874–1954) is one of Iceland’s foremost sculptors, famous for intense symbolist works. Chiselled representations of Hope, Earth and Death…

3. Einar Jónsson Sculpture Garden

0.08 MILES

The garden behind the Einar Jónsson Museum contains 26 bronze casts of Iceland's first sculptor, the symbolist Einar Jónsson.

4. Ásgrímur Jónsson Collection

0.23 MILES

Iceland's first professional painter, Ásgrímur Jónsson (1876–1958) was the son of a farmer. He lived and worked here, and you can visit his former atelier…

5. Ekkisens – Art Space

0.26 MILES

Artist-run and housed in a former basement apartment, this gallery features up-and-coming Icelandic artists.

6. Tales from Iceland


A total of 14 large flat-screens cover the walls in this vast two-storey exhibition hall. Each screen presents a three- to four-minute documentary,…

7. Listamenn

0.34 MILES

This small gallery shows an interesting array of Icelandic contemporary art.

8. Icelandic Phallological Museum

0.35 MILES

Oh, the jokes are endless here... This unique museum houses a huge collection of penises, and it's actually very well done. From pickled pickles to…