Öskjuhlíð hill:

There are so many healthy things to do in Reykjavik, and hiking at Öskjuhlíð is one of them! Approximately 20 minutes on foot from the Reykjavik’s centre is Öskjuhlíð, the perfect little nature hike; so much so that you may even forget your still in the city!

At just 200 metres above sea level, Öskjuhlíð hill is an easy hike suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is also home to one of Reykjavik’s famous architectural structures, Perlan. The hill has a series of wooded trails around it, including some old architecture from World war II embedded within the forest. Apparently these walls were built to contain British army fuel tanks which occupied the country at the time. If the fuel tanks were hit by a German raid, these walls would prevent flames from spreading down the hill to civilians.

WWII wall remains inside the woods

Getting there:

From the main church downtown, a walk to the start of the trail is maybe 5-10 minutes so this is accessible for those who don’t have a vehicle. There is also parking at Öskjuhlíð, so if you are driving you can park at Perlan and then explore the trails starting from the top. I really liked the walk though and would recommend traveling by foot!

Rustic beauty inside the woods!
Inside the woods!

Even though it was drizzling rain the day that I went, I still spent a good amount of time wandering through the trails. After meandering through the woods, I headed up the hill to Perlan, where there are some pretty stunning views overlooking Reykjavik. At first I wasn’t exactly sure what the building was or whether you had to pay to go inside, so I took some photos from the hill outside.

View from outside Perlan

Eventually I caved and went to check the building out. They are currently renovating Perlan to create an indoor Icelandic glacier museum that will open summer 2017. For now it is currently only open to the public for its café and free observation deck. I’m not sure whether it will remain free once the museum opens in a few months, but it was sure worth a trip up the building for this view!

easy day hike from reykjavik, iceland
View from Perlan observation deck
easy day hike in reykjavik, iceland
View from Perlan observation deck
Reykjavik city from Öskjuhlíð Hill & Perlan
View from Perlan observation deck

Overall, the entire hike took me 2 hours, but I started on foot from downtown and was also walking pretty slow the entire time to take photos. You could easily explore the area in a half hour if you drove there and parked.

Hike Stats:

Elevation: 200m

Intensity: beginner

Time: 30 minutes minimum

Related: Healthy Things to do in Reykjavik, Iceland


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Stephanie - the pink backpack travel blog



    1. Hi Lindsay, It’s definitely a hot destination right now! Glad to know that you liked to post enough to add it to your to-do list 😀

  1. So, kind of love this post because I love the outdoors but am not super fit, so this hike totally seems my speed. That, and I love that it’s so close to the city. Thanks for the share!!

  2. I love the sound of “easy hike” haha. I always do those! Maybe one day I’ll work my way up to ‘intermediate’ 😉

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