With its futuristic facade looming over the city, the hilltop Akureyrarkirkja (Akureyri Church) is one of Akureyri’s most striking landmarks. The Lutheran church is not only a place of worship, but an architectural marvel, designed by Iceland state architect Guðjón Samúelsson, whose bold designs include the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík.
Since its completion in 1940, Akureyrarkirkja has become a memorable symbol of Akureyri, and the church’s interior also merits exploration. Most sightseeing tours and walking tours of Akureyri include a photo stop at the Akureyrarkirkja, and it’s easy to visit alongside nearby sights such as the Akureyri Art Museum or Akureyri Botanical Garden. Climb the 112 steps up to the church for an incredible view over the city below or head inside to admire its unique architecture.
Things to Know Before You Go
- There is no entrance fee to visit Akureyrarkirkja, but donations are welcome.
- The church is closed to visitors during services and funerals—check the board out front for the weekly schedule.
- Parking is available right outside the church, at the foot of the steps.
How to Get There
Akureyrarkirkja is located in downtown Akureyri, a short walk from the waterfront and the Akureyri Botanical Garden. The stairs to the main entrance are on Eyrarlandsvegur. When to Get There
The church is open to visitors on weekdays, while services are typically held on Thursdays and Sundays. For the most impressive photos, arrive in the early morning for a crowd-free view or stop by after dark, when the church is dramatically floodlit.
Architecture of Akureyrarkirkja
The innovative design of the Akureyrarkirkja, with its geometrical twin towers, is said to have been inspired by the natural rock formations of Iceland’s Svartifoss waterfall. The church’s interiors are equally arresting, including an exquisite stained glass window that once belonged to England’s now-ruined Coventry Cathedral. Additional highlights include Icelandic spar tiling, a series of reliefs by sculptor Ásmundur Sveinsson, a Nordic ship suspended from the ceiling beams, and a 3,200-pipe organ.