Nine Churches in Southwest Iceland – Part 2

As promised in my previous post, I’m back with the remaining 5 churches I found on my ramble through southwestern Iceland. If you were following me on a map. you’ll remember the first 4 were along Route 35 between Reykjavík and Geysir. Now we turn more south from the last one and head to Skalholt. Then onto Route 37 and out Route 1 before returning to Reykjavík.

Skalholt Cathedrael

Situated in the lower part of the Biskupstungur valley between the rivers Hvítá and Brúará, Skálholt is one of Iceland’s places of special historical interest. For seven centuries it was the scene of the most dramatic events which shaped the political, spiritual and cultural life in Iceland.

4skalholt_8620Outside of Reykjavik this is the largest church I found on my trip. One web page estimated that the seating capacity was about 150. At one time this was the main Cathedral in Iceland, but that honor moved to Reykjavík. (see more history here and even more here)

4shalhortalter_8522Inside I found a unique painting over the altar, as well as the organist practicing. Otherwise the church was empty except for one other pair of tourists. 4shalhostorganist_8524 4shalholt_8531

4shalholtexcavation_8515The day I was there the weather was raining but fortunately I was able to do a little exploring and found some archeological excavations and the old Sod Church4shalholt_8508

The Church of Ólafsvellir

My schedule allowed me to stay three nights at the Hotel Hekla, an experience I will treasure for years to come. I was talking with the hostess and mentioned taking photos of the small churches, she asked if I’d found her local church. Then told me it was only about 3km down the road. So that was the next one on my tour.

From the sign in front of the church [2]

Olaf Split-Brown’s Settlement
There was a man called Olaf Split-Brow who went from Lofoten islands to Iceland. He took possession of the whole Skeid, between Thjors River, Hvit River and Sand Brook. He was a great sorcerer. Olaf made his home in Olafsvellir , and lies buried in Bruni’s Mound below

4Olafsvellir-8623Again this little church sits in the middle of nowhere, the closest town of any size is about 25km distant. Only farms surround this lonely church, but what I’ve been lead to believe is that a group of farms would have their own church. Counting church seats in my photos reveals that most of these churches could only seat about 40 or 50. This church had a full wall-size painting, one thing the hotel hostess was quite proud of.4olafsvellir_8632

(For more history
read and here These are not required reading)

Skeidflatarkirkja Church

4spoonflats_8828My time was short, I was to meet up with the rest of my tour group at Volcano Hotel about 15km from Vik Located on the southern tip of Iceland, this meant that I didn’t have time to explore and find all the other small church buildings, but only about 3km from my destination I found one more – but not my last church to photograph. The sun only shown for a couple of hours the afternoon when I was 4spoonflats_8832photographing this church and its cemetery. The rest of the time the sky was obscured with clouds or even raining.


4vik_8751Sitting high on a hill overlooking the small village of Vik I found this small church, I’d stopped to have lunch and by the time I found this one it was late in the afternoon, and clouds were rolling in again, so I only took one photo from a parking lot down in town.

Cathedral Of Reykjavik

4reykjavik_9071I spent the last full day in Reykjavík, stopping at the National Museum, and a couple of stores. Then we enjoyed a Smoothie and a stop to purchase a Lamb’s Wood Yoga Mat. As we continued back to Hótel Frón, on Laugavegur we came across the last church of the trip. It’s not far from Parliament House


On my return to Reykjavík at the end of my vacation I walked to Hallgrímskirkja (church of Hallgrímur) at a high point in the center of town. This church has a Steeple that soars at least 10 stories over the city. I’ve posted some photos I took from the observation deck, but I took very few photos of that church, nothing interesting enough to include here. But that tall steeple was handy as a landmark. When I felt I’d lost my direction all I needed to do was to find it.

And so this trip has come to a close, but the memories will linger on for quite a while. If I ever have the chance to return to this beautiful land I will be sure to schedule more time to just roaming around and have time on the internet to research what I’m photographing. Keeping an eye on the weather is easy, visit the Icelandic Met Office, this link is the English version.


About Mike

I'm an avid bicyclist, that also enjoys Kayaking, Nature Photography, Cross Country Skiing and Geocaching. There's nothing more boring than sitting indoors in "good" weather.
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One Response to Nine Churches in Southwest Iceland – Part 2

  1. Pingback: Nine Churches in Southwest Iceland | Weakly Thoughts

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