Proudly standing guard over Reykjavík, Mount Esja (914m) is a familiar sight to anyone who’s spent even a few hours in the capital. At 909m, the mountain appears to change colour – from light purple to deep blue, from light grey to golden – depending on the prevailing weather conditions and the light that reflects on the basalt rock and palagonite minerals which make up the mountain, although locals say it depends on her mood. Several hiking trails wind their way around Mount Esja – a detailed trail map is available from the tourist office – but it’s best to start out at Mógilsá, beside the Ringroad, where the Icelandic state forestry station has its base. From here an easy path leads up the mountain towards the rocky higher stretches.

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