Hikes near Reykjavik

travel guide
Björgvin Hilmarsson

There are many possibilities for walks and hikes in beautiful surroundings near Iceland’s capital Reykjavik. Within 1-2 hours’ drive from Reykjavik you can find many interesting hiking destinations. They vary in difficulty, from relatively easy to more difficult 2-3 days tours. The nature is very diverse, ranging from black beaches to cold, white glaciers. Everybody should be able to find hiking tours that suits them.

Close to Reykjavík, Esja is probably the most popular destination for hiking. Esja is the beautiful mountain you see when looking north from Reykjavík. There are marked trails from the roots of this beautiful mountain to the top. Icelanders really like to visit Esja and go to the top. Some are even so eager that they hike to the top once (or even more often) every week all year around. This is a hike that is suitable for most people. From the top the view is magnificent, both to the south over the Capital area and to the north. Is it truly a feeling no other like to stand on the top of a mountain like Esja and enjoy the view and the fresh air.


If you have not had enough of magnificent nature after hiking to the top of Esja, it is ideal to go to Glymur waterfall, which is in Botnsdalur in Hvalfjörður fjord. Glymur is 198 meters high and has for a long time been considered the tallest waterfall in Iceland. Glymur is easily accessible, it is a short drive from Reykjavik. There are a couple of hiking routes from the parking spot to the waterfall. The easiest one does not require you crossing the river.


Reykjadalur valley is a popular hiking destination in the vicinity of Hveragerði, a small town about 45 km from Reykjavík. Reykjadalur is known for a warm river that runs through it, the river is a popular spot for bathing. The valley is also filled with hot springs and mud pools. The hiking route takes you past steaming vents and bubbling springs and along the river. The chemicals rising from the earth through the hot springs provide beautiful colours in the soil, such as pinks, blues, reds and yellows.

If you want to get even more out of your hike in Reykjadalur, The Hot Springs and Lava Cave hiking tour is a day tour which explores the famous volcano Hengill and one of the many lava caves in the Bláfjöll mountains, a mountain range east of Reykjavík. On the tour you will learn about how the lava caves are formed and discover interesting geological formations, such as stalagmites and stalactites. After exploring the caves, the tour heads to the Hengill geothermal area where you will hike in beautiful ethereal surroundings which include hot springs and bubbling mud pools. The hike will then continue down through Reykjadalur. This hiking tour gives you the opportunity to explore volcano, lava caves and end the tour enjoying Reykjadalur with its warm river and hot springs.

Mosfellsdalur Valley

Mosfellsdalur Valley is close to Reykjavík and offers beautiful hiking trails where you can hike at your own pace in a green valley where many farms are located. A beautiful river runs through the valley. It is a good idea to start your hike at Gljúfrasteinn, where the Laxness museum is (dedicated to Iceland’s only Nobel laureate, writer Halldór Laxness). From Gljúfrasteinn you can walk along the river Kaldakvísl to the Helgufoss waterfall. From Mosfellsdalur Valley you can drive back to Reykjavik or even to Þingvellir if you have time for more magnificent nature.


Þingvellir is the most important place in Icelandic history as Alþingi (the Parliament) was established there in the year 930 and was located there for centuries. This makes the Icelandic parliament the oldest parliament in the world. But Þingvellir is more than a historic place, it is also very interesting in geological sense. Þingvellir are located on a rift between two tectonic plates, the North-American and the Eurasian plates. Þingvellir are the only place in the world where the rift between two tectonic plates can be seen above sea-level. Every year the plates move apart, around 2,5 cm, and have done so for thousands of years. All this, and much more, you can experience when hiking in Þingvellir.


If you want to take your tour and hike in very different environment Sólheimajökull is a good place to visit. Sólheimajökull is an outlet glacier from Mýrdalsjökull, which is Iceland’s fourth largest glacier. The glacier lies just east of Eyjafjallajökull and is a two-hour drive from Reykjavík. At Sólheimajökull you can go on guided glacier walks, The Take a Walk on The Ice Side tour. Glacier walks are a great way to experience the Icelandic nature. On the glacier walk you learn about the Icelandic glaciers and explore the magnificent ice sculptures, ridges and deep crevasses.  On this tour you will also visit the DC-3 plane wreck on the black beach and stop at the picturesque waterfalls, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss.

About the Author

IMG Staff Writer

IMG Staff Writer

An anonymous but well informed member of our team that enjoys sharing their knowledge of Iceland & Greenland’s stunning nature.

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