Looming on the horizon north of Reykjavik, the 914-meter peak of Mount Esja offers a striking backdrop to the city and the capital’s nearest mountain is also a captivating attraction in its own right. A small mountain range made up of basalt and volcanic tuff, Esja is best known for its cap of pale rhyolite rock that appears to change hues with the sunlight, as well as the impressive views it affords over Reykjavik city and bay.
A network of hiking trails traverse the peak of Mount Esja, the most popular of which starts from Mógilsá, and most trails converge at the “Steinn”—a rocky plateau and lookout point about 200 meters from the summit. From here, seasoned hikers can opt for the steep climb to the top, while less experienced walkers can follow an easier, winding trail to the summit.
Mount Esja is located about six miles (10 km) northeast of Reykjavik.