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Mount Esja is an excellent challenge for everyone. Each person can choose their path according to their physical fitness because there are several hiking options on Mount Esja. One should start at Mógilsá and from there the route is very well marked. Mount Esja can be seen from Reykjavík and from that distance it seems to change color constantly, some say to match her mood. The color changing has a more rational explanation though: the colours are reflected by the light on basal salt rocks and palagonite minerals. The mountain is 909 meters above sea level and is believed to be 3 million years old! A hiking trip on Mount Esja is hugely popular among people in Reykjavík.
Heiðmörk is an extremely popular recreational area. Whether it's for a nice walk in the outdoors with the whole family, jogging, or a romantic picnic 'á deux' this is the right spot! In 1949 the Reykjavík Forestry Station began systematic planting in Heiðmörk and since then, every summer thousands of trees are planted. If you have a special interest in plants or birds (or both) you will find a great variety of them in Heiðmörk.
A short distance from Reykjavík, Viðey is a charming island . The island's highest point is 32 meters (104.9 feet) above sea level. The island is thought to be around two million years old, a former volcano rising from the bottom of the sea. It rose above sea level only nine to ten thousand years ago. A day spent in Viðey is an ideal outing for the family. Besides walking the island, it is possible to hire a horse and see Viðey from horseback. The island is relatively well grown and rich in bird life. At least 30 species are known to lay eggs on the island. There are also beautiful, historic buildings on the island. Research has shown that people lived there as early as the tenth century and a church was built in the twelfth century. A monastery was established in 1225 and stood until 1539, when it was raided and everything from it stolen. The oldest stone building in Iceland is in Viðey and has preserved its original charm and grandeur. One of the oldest church buildings in Iceland, built in 1774, is also in Viðey.
Arguably one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world, the mighty Gullfoss Waterfall lies in the southwestern region of the country. Gullfoss was created out of a ravine on Hvítá River, the waters of which propel forward to cascade in a majestic two-tiered waterfall. On a beautiful day, one can see the skies etch a rainbow over the falls, even as they continue to spray merry wisps of water around. Visitors can explore some spellbinding vistas of the waterfall by climbing up the nearby viewing stage, and marvel at Gullfoss' alarming force and power. The waterfall is part of the iconic Golden Circle trifecta, which also includes Þingvellir and the geysers of Haukadalur.
At Elliðavatn you will find a very nice walking path that will lead you around the lake. As you walk along you will pass people horse-riding, arctic flora and last but not least historic ruins. The ruins date back to the Viking age and are believed to have served as the first assembly building in Iceland. The walk around Elliðavatn will take about 3 hours.
The Þingvellir has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its iconic status in Icelandic history. The site that is now a National Park was once occupied by farms, the remnants of which bear witness to the agricultural heritage of the region. The lush landscape is marked by old farmhouses, the 19th-century Thingvellir Church and various other structures. The park is endowed with remarkable natural beauty and is home to Iceland's largest natural lake. It is also the celebrated home of the world's oldest parliament that dates back to the Viking Age. Silken waterfalls such as the Oxara cascade dramatically from their place in the canyons, while the Peningagja is a ruggedly hewn gorge that ends in a swirl of icy cold waters. Visitors to the park can indulge in fishing at the lake, explore its depths or embark on a hike across the picturesque landscape.
The residents of Reykjavík are especially proud to have one of the highest waterfalls in the country practically on their doorstep (in Hvalfjörður). The height of Glymur is 200 metres and the power of the water is quite amazing. To see the whole waterfall at once, you have to go up the eastern side, which can be reached by two paths. Whichever path you choose, you have to be very careful when approaching the waterfall!
Backdropped by jagged mountain landscapes, the waters of the Þingvallavatn Lake display a breathtaking serenity. The lake, located in southwestern Iceland, is also part of the splendid Þingvellir National Park, and is the largest lake in Iceland at a surface of 84 square kilometers (32.4 square miles). Its mineral-rich content can be attributed to the lava that covers a majority of the lake's catchment area. Minuscule fissures dot the shoreline of the lake, making for nifty hideaways for tiny fish and other fauna. The lake's high mineral content also makes it a habitat for nearly 150 types of plants, 50 species of invertebrates, and four morphs of the Arctic Charr, a cold-water fish. The northern shore of Lake Þingvallavatn alludes to a bit of Viking Age history and is famous as the spot where the Alþingi parliament was founded in 930.