Travel & Leisure recently tweeted that Hotel Búdir is one of ‘Europe’s Best Winter Getaways’ and I completely agree. Traveling and staying in Iceland doesn’t just mean Reykjavik and the Blue Lagoon. Iceland is jam-packed with amazing sights and heading to the Snaefellsnes peninsula in the winter is indeed a marvelous winter getaway.
Getting to Hotel Búdir is a stunning 2-hour drive from Reykjavik, however you should plan on taking much longer so you can stop at the many scenic sights along the way. Once you’re in the tiny village of Búdir, one of the most dramatic sights is man-made: Búdakirkja, or the black church as many people call it. Fortunately for those who stay at the Hotel Búdir can see it from the front door, or even from one of the hotel’s attic rooms.
Like much in Iceland, there’s history and stories that accompany each place. After all, this is a land where nearly 50% of inhabitants can trace their family lineage back to the first Vikings who settled here in 874. In fact, I’ve been told there is a sort of ‘dating database’ couples check to see how closely they are related. The Islendingabók, the book of Icelanders, is free for Icelander families registered in it.
Búdir may be a tiny hamlet now, but in the past it was the site of a commercial fishing village and trade center for Snaefellsnes and the coastal towns. Remnants of building can still be found as you walk from the hotel to the beach. But it’s the small wooden black church that captures the eye.
In Icelandic, Kirkja, means church. The original church was constructed in 1703. A second church was built, however in 1816 it was deconsecrated. Credit one woman, Steinumm Sveinsdottir, for the church we now see. Build by her persistence in 1847, the church today is reconstruction based on sizing and descriptions from 1850. During the reconstruction, parts of the 1847 church were intact, original colors were uncovered and artifacts rediscovered. The church was rededicated in 1987 and today is a favorite place for weddings.
Interested in getting married in the Black Church? It can be arranged by the folks at the Hotel Búdir, where you will no doubt, be holding your wedding reception. By the way, the food is fabulous there!
Ready for another historical moment? Read the story of Iceland’s only known serial killer, Axlar-Bjorn who was sentenced to death in 1596. His story unfolds within sight of the Hotel Búdir. And I’ve got the details in the post ‘The Wild & True Story of an Icelandic Serial Killer.’