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Mount Esja, Capital Region

4.8
#94 of 140 in Outdoors in Capital Region
The mountain Esja, often called Esjan, is situated in the south-west of Iceland, about 10 km to the north of Iceland's capital city Reykjavík. Esja is not a single mountain, but a volcanic mountain range, made from basalt and tuff. The etymology of the name is unclear. Esja can be used as a first name in Iceland. In the Kjalnesingasaga, there is a rich widow among Irish settlers named Esja, but it is likely that the women's name is derived from the mountain and not vice versa.FormationEsja was built up at the end of the Pleistocene with the beginning of the Ice Age. During the warm periods lava flowed, and in the cold periods ridges of tuff were built up under the glacier. The western part of the mountain range is the oldest (about 3.2 million years) and the eastern part is the youngest (about 1.8 million years). The movements of the plate boundaries cutting diagonally through Iceland are continually pushing the strata to the west and away from the active volcanic zone. Intrusions, i.e. large magma channels coming from the old central volcanoes at Kjalarnes and Stardal, found entrances into the strata. The result was a series of large lava fields, one above the other, which the Ice Age glacier ground down. It left only the highest summits, like the mountain ranges of Esja or Akrafjall.
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(Reykjavik is the nearest city to Mount Esja)

Mount Esja Reviews
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42 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 15, 2017
    My husband and I and our 3 teenagers went here on a beautiful day to hike. The parking lot was about 30-40 min from Reykjavik. Parking was free and there is a big map of the different routes you could...  more »
  • August 4, 2017
    We needed to fill a late summer afternoon, so at our host's suggestion we came here. And it was so wonderful. we came back later that week for a second visit. Well marked trails from novice 1-hour wal...  more »
  • July 18, 2017
    Trails are well-marked and easy to follow. Carpets of lupine cover the lower slopes and there are wide views all along the moderate hike up. Parking is plentiful and there is a cafe restaurant at the ...  more »

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Where to stay in Reykjavik

In this highly walkable capital, many of Reykjavik's hotels and guesthouses offer close proximity to the city's popular attractions, bars, and restaurants. The waterfront offers an exciting dose of activity. Although Reykjavik provides plenty of accommodations to its flocks of visitors, there is a dearth of budget options in the city. Price-conscious visitors should consider staying in a hostel, with both private and dorm rooms available, or a nearby campsite. Although the campground is not as centrally located as some hotels, guests are better positioned to take advantage of the natural surroundings.
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