Mt. Esjan, Reykjavík
Wherever you are in Reykjavik you will nearly always have a view of Esjan, a 914 m volcanic mountain range that is 10 kms from the capital. I actually intended to climb this but due to the very cold weather i decided against it. Esjan is 1.8 to 3 million years old and many people hike to the top using several different paths that are marked by degree of difficulty, one to three boots. There are two main summits where climbers hike to, Þverfellshorn (780 m) and Kerhólakambur (851 m), the former being easy to reach by bus.
Now, Esjan is Reykjavík's mountain and we are proud of it. We have been getting some insults from Icelanders living in other parts of Iceland saying that Esjan is just a hill compared to their mountains. The highest peek of Esjan is 914 m high.
Esjan is not in Reykjavík per se, it is north of Reykjavík on Kjalarnes across Kollafjörður bay, but we call it ours as it is the mountain we have before our eyes.
Driving there takes ca 15 minutes and in front of the mountain (in one place) is a parking lot, WC and benches and tables and a restaurant. From there begins the ever so popular hike up the mountain. There is a good trail from Mógilsá river and on good days one will meet a lot of people there. The hike is 4 km but one can just go as far/short as one likes. I have never made it up really far, but the last part of the hike is only for experienced hikers I have heard.
The Yule-lads (jólasveinarnir) and their mother, Grýla, and their father, Leppalúði, live in this mountain. Try not to run into them.
I think its fair to say that the real beauty of Reykjavaik is not so much the city itself but its locationa and surroundings. Reykjavik is located in a bay overwhich the snowcapped peak of Mt Esja towers.
Mt. Esja itself is one of the most memorable sights of Reykjavik and standing at 914 metres above the sea, stands guard over the city and gives the perfect backdrop to Reykjavik.
Mt. Esja is a popular location for hiking both for icelanders and visitors and can be reached easily from Reykjavik using public transport.