Akureyrarkirkja - outside
The outside of the church
The landmark of Akureyri is without a doubt the Lutheran church Akyreyrarkirkja.
Located on top of a hill, it overlooks the town and the fjord.
If you want to go to the church, you'll have to climb over 100 steps (forgot to count them all).
After climbing all these stairs, don’t forget to turn around and look out over the fjord … you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view!
The church was completed and consecrated in 1940. It was designed by Gudjon Samuelsson, Iceland's state architect. He’s also the one who designed the Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik, so you can see some similarities in these 2 designs ...
Click here for my tip on the inside of this church.
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The inside of the church
This church doesn't only have an impressive outside, the inside is also very much worth a visit.
When we were visiting in April 2013, we wanted to have a look at the inside of the church. To our big surprise it was closed solid. Closeby there was something that looked like a tourist office, so we went inside. There were some people working there, in offices that apparently belonged to the church. When I asked if they knew when the church would be open again, they told us that it was closed regularly during the off-season. But no problem – they had a key! A very nice man went along, leading us through the small staircases up to the back entrance of the church. He told us we could stay as long as we wanted and left us alone inside this impressive church. We could open the main door from the inside and we could leave it unlocked upon leaving.
During high-season it should be opened all the time. But – as we’ve experienced – that’s not the case in off-season. But if you’re lucky enough to find the helpful people we’ve found, it won’t be a problem visiting.
Inside are beautiful stained glass windows. The one in the centre of the chancel came from a cathedral in Coventry - UK) which was detroyed during WW2.
There is a huge organ which has 3.200 pipes, which makes it quite impressive.
There is a ship hanging on the ceiling inside. This represents an old Nordic tradition of asking for protection for the ones at sea by making offerings to the gods.
The christening font in this church is a replica. The original is made by Bertel Thorvaldsen (a Danish-Icelandic sculptor) and can be seen in St. Giles church in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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Walk around town
We had a lovely walk around the town centre in Akureyri.
I like the style of the Icelandic houses, so very colourful, and that is not different in Akureyri.
There are some nice shops, but we mainly enjoyed the looking around.
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There is a viewpoint opposite Akureyri on the other side of the fjord.
When coming from the eastern direction, you'll have the fjord to your right.
The viewpoint is at your right hand side, a little distance before you reach the bridge over the fjord.
You have a spectacular view over the fjord and the town on the other side of the water.
My main 'Akureyri at night' picture was taken there.
You can hardly miss it. There is quite some parking space as well as a picknick table.
When we were there (april) there wasn't anyone else around, but I can imagine in summer that this is a popular stop for lots of tourists and tourist busses.
The city of Akureyri is not big to wander around by foot, our hotel was in the middle of city center where in the busiest street. We have gone by foot, and is the only way to see the beautiful buildings if you walking around
Culture House Hof
We continue walking to the harbourside, were quite far away from our hotel but we didn't feel tired, wandering around in this beautiful city, without noticed you are so far away and still keep on walking without realize, too many beautiful buildings and some other things you meet on the way, so keep your camera with you all the time
One of the best attractions in Akureyri is the Botanical Gardens they have a fantastic collection of plants and flowers from around Iceland, showcased on a special terrace, and those species from further afield, there is a notable collection of Poppies on display, which draws many horticulturists
There is no entrance fee
This is the separate Catholic church located on a slope, it is a white church with a red roof, if you wandering outside the center not far away from the Lutheran church you will met this small church is on the hilly location of the city, on the way to the Botanic garden
It doesn't looked like a church, at first I thought was a regular house but then I saw the cross on the angle side of the church, is a very attractive color with the red roof and white combination
This distinctive church it look like the Hallgrimskirkja in Ryjkjavik , and is the cities most recognizable feature, If features a large pipe organ and the stained glass above the alter
And dominating the town from high on a hill
Goðafoss - Waterfall of the Gods
Not in Akureyri but some 50 kilometres east you can visit the impressive Goðafoss. With a height of 12 meter not one of the highest in Iceland but it certainly is one of the prettiest. It is also closely related to the religious history of the country, hence its name.
Around the year 1000 the chieftain of Alþing (the parliament), the highly respected Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði, was given the authority to solve the dilemma of the two incompatible religions. Both worshippers of Odin and of Christ lived in Iceland at that time. By throwing his own idol statues of pagan gods in this waterfall and declaring Christianity the official state religion, Þorgeir (formerly a pagan himself) saved the country from a possible civil war.
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