Dramatically dominating the Reykjavík City skyline and providing a stunning backdrop to the capital area is the impressive Mount Esja, a popular destination for day-trippers and riddled with well-worn hiking trails. Once surmounted, the view from the top of this 914-metre high mountain is breathtaking.
There are several different routes up and around the mountain, varying in terms of difficulty. The path is divided into sections, marked with signs along the way. Each sign gives an indication of the difficulty of the path ahead with a grading system ranging from 1 boot (easy) to 3 boots (challenging).
At sign 3, experienced climbers can choose to climb directly to the top, instead of following the path which goes off to the right. Approximately 200 from the top, there's a point marked with a big rock called "Steinn". Most inexperienced climbers choose to stop here and take in the view before going down again, as the path becomes increasingly difficult from there on. If you do get to the top, don't forget to sign the guestbook!
Please remember to take care when climbing. It can be steep in places and large quantities of snow are often present on the upper slopes. Follow your chosen route closely and definitely take advice on the weather conditions before attempting a climb.
Mt. Esja is located in Kjalarnes, past the town of Mosfellsbær just east of Reykjavík. It is accessible by bus number 15 from Hlemmur Bus Station. Get off at Háholt in Mosfellsbær, then take the number 57 to the foot of Esja at Hiking Centre Esjustofa.
If you want to control your own journey or have the possibility of embarking up Esjan later at night when the bus route has stopped, press here for a marketplace of low-cost car rentals in the capital.