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Landakotskirkja Cathedral Rejseguide

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Túngata 13, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
07:30 - 18:30
Afstand fra centrum
0.8 km

The Landakotskirkja church in ReykjavikLandakotskirkja was built in 1929 in a neo-Gothic style and is the only Catholic cathedral in Iceland. It's located in the western part of downtown Reykjavik.

Landakotskirkja is Iceland's only Catholic-faith cathedral and a striking example of neo-Gothic architecture. It's an impressive and grand building that stands as a spiritual and cultural landmark in the western part of Reykjavik.

The church is also known as Christ the King Cathedral or "Dómkirkja Krists Konungs" in Icelandic, and alternatively Basilica of Christ the King or "Basilíka Krists konungs." It's worth stopping by for the architecture and the cathedral's surrounding parkland or for those wanting to attend mass in English, Icelandic, or Polish.

You can visit the Landakotskirkja church with ease when staying in Reykjavik accommodation as it's just a few minutes detour from the city center. You can also see it during Reykjavik walking tours or when planning self-drive tours with a rental car.

The History of the Landakotskirkja Cathedral

Landakotskirkja cathedral towered over Reykjavik

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Willem van de Poll. No edits made. Landakotskirkja cathedral towered over Reykjavik in 1934.

Iceland officially adopted Christianity as its state religion in the year 1,000 A.D., which was a critical historical shift away from pagan belief in the Norse gods. Catholicism was the state religion until the mid-16th century when the country transitioned to Protestantism. Today, most Icelanders follow Lutheranism, a form of Protestantism, but almost 4% of the country's population identifies as Catholic.

Early Catholic priests in Iceland built a small chapel in the Landakot area of Reykjavik. They later expanded this to a small wooden church and a Catholic school but believed a larger structure was required.

They hired renowned architect Guðjón Samúelsson to design the Landakotskirkja cathedral, and the project was completed in 1929. It was Iceland's largest church at the time, but Guðjón would go on to create plans for the famous Hallgrimskirkja, which is now the country's largest church and second-tallest building.

What Makes the Landakotskirkja Cathedral Special?

The interior of the Landakotskirkja church in Reykjavik.

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by F. Higer. No edits made.

The Landakotskirkja cathedral is an architectural gem built in a neo-Gothic style. Its exterior is made of gray basalt stone, harmonizing with the nature of Iceland. 

The church's facade has intricate detailing, with an impressive spire that reaches toward the sky — although its spire is flat instead of pointed, like most Gothic-style church towers. Inside, you'll find high, vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained-glass windows that fill the space with gorgeous colors.

As Iceland's only Catholic-faith cathedral, Landakotskirkja holds a special place in the hearts of Icelanders and visitors alike. Its size and impressive spire make it a prominent landmark that can be seen from various parts of the city.

The church is also home to the Reykhola Maria, a wooden statuette of the Virgin Mary believed to date back to the 14th century. Outside the church, in the garden, visitors can see the "Kollun" ("Calling") statue by artist Steinunn Þórarinsdóttir.

Where Is the Landakotskirkja Cathedral?

A close-up shot of the Landakotskirkja church in Reykjavik on a clear day.

Photo from Flickr, Creative Commons, by Helgi Halldorsson. No edits made.

The Landakotskirkja church is in western Reykjavik, Iceland's vibrant capital city. It's about 1,600 feet (roughly 500 meters) from the Tjornin pond and just over half a mile (approximately one kilometer) from the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center.

Its prime location in the city center means it's easy to reach no matter where you're staying in Reykjavik.

How to Visit the Landakotskirkja Cathedral

The Landakotskirkja church in Reykjavik, surrounded by grass and with wispy clouds in the blue sky above it.

Photo from Wikimedia, Creative Commons, by Diego Delso. No edits made.

If you're staying in Reykjavik, you can easily visit the Landakotskirkja church on foot. It's within a 15-minute walk from many of the city's top attractions, so it's not a big detour from other attractions on your sightseeing list.

If you want to take public transport, various buses run to the Landakot bus stop, just three minutes from the church on foot.

The church is open to visitors from 07:30 to 18:30 every day. If you want to visit without joining a service, be aware that mass occurs at different times daily. It's worth checking the Landakotskirkja mass times online before you go, as you can't come in as a tourist during a service. You can usually attend mass conducted in Icelandic, English, or Polish.

Attractions Close to Landakotskirkja Cathedral

Hallgrimskirkja is located on the other side of downtown Reykjavik from LandakotskirkjaGiven the church's central location in Reykjavik, it's easy to reach a range of other attractions. One of the most famous of which is Hallgrimskirkja church. Stopping at the Hallgrimskirkja church is essential while you're in Reykjavik. With its enormous tower reaching 245 feet (about 74 meters), it offers spectacular city views and has become a symbol of the city.

Guðjón Samúelsson took inspiration from Icelandic landscapes, such as basalt columns, to design this striking Lutheran church. It's fascinating to compare this structure, completed in 1986, to the earlier Landakotskirkja church by the same architect. Only 1 mile (roughly 1.5 kilometers) separates them, meaning you can easily visit both on the same day.

For a different glimpse into Icelandic history and culture, you can visit the nearby National Museum of Iceland. It's roughly half a mile (approximately 0.8 kilometers) from the Landakotskirkja cathedral and provides an insightful journey through the country's heritage. 

It houses a diverse collection of artifacts, from Viking relics to medieval manuscripts. Visitors can explore the nation's past through interesting exhibitions, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and curious travelers.

Stroll through the Laugavegur shopping street in ReykjavikIf you prefer strolling through the streets of Reykjavik, no trip to Iceland's capital would be complete without a visit to the Old Harbor. This charming waterfront area is a hub for whale-watching tours, fresh seafood restaurants, and cultural attractions.

Strolling along its scenic promenade, you can soak in the maritime history and enjoy a taste of Iceland's coastal delights. Don't forget to stop at the nearby Sun Voyager statue, too.

Afterward, walk through Laugavegur, Reykjavik's bustling shopping street. It's brimming with boutiques, cafes, and colorful shops! It's a vibrant hub for fashion, souvenirs, and local cuisine, featuring some of the best restaurants in Reykjavik. Tourists and locals alike explore this lively avenue for a taste of Reykjavik's urban charm and retail therapy. You'll find it less than a mile (about 0.8 kilometers) from the Landakotskirkja cathedral.

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