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Easy Hike in Reykjavik: Öskjuhlíð Hill

Heading to Iceland? There are many healthy things to do in Reykjavik, and hiking at Öskjuhlíð hill is one of them! Approximately 20 minutes on foot from the Reykjavik’s centre, Öskjuhlíð is the perfect little nature escape from the city. Best of all, it’s free!

Reykjavik city from Öskjuhlíð Hill & Perlan

View from Perlan observation deck

Öskjuhlíð Hill:

At just 200 metres above sea level, Öskjuhlíð hill is an easy hike suitable for all ages and fitness levels. I went in February so it is definitely possible to hike in winter (though full disclosure, I’m Canadian and used to far worse temperatures). 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.

Öskjuhlíð History:

Öskjuhlíð hill is 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 still remaining 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.

Getting to Öskjuhlíð:

From the Hallgrímskirkja church downtown, you can walk to the trail in 5-10 minutes, making this an accessible hike 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 down. I really liked the walk though though and would recommend traveling by foot!


Pro tip: If you are directionally challenged like me and haven’t already discovered MapsMe, I highly recommend it: it’s a free navigation app you can use offline.

Conversely, you can download the Google map directions here.

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.

Eventually I caved and went to check the building out. At this time, they were renovating Perlan to create an indoor Icelandic glacier museum that would open summer 2017. At this point it was 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.

Hike Stats:

Elevation: 200m

Intensity: beginner

Time: 30 minutes minimum

I hope this post helps you to plan your time in Reykjavik!

If you are needing some Iceland inspo, you might want to read about the reasons you will fall in love with Iceland or browse through these healthy activities to do in Reykjavik!

If you are traveling on a budget, be sure to check out the best hostels in Iceland for backpackers!

Happy travels!

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Heading to Iceland? Read next:

Healthy and Alternative Activities to do in Reykjavik

Whale Watching from Reykjavik with ELDING Tours

17 Reasons to Fall in Love with Iceland

What are your thoughts?

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Spencer said:
You have given some really Amazing Post! Thank you for the ideas.
March 15, 2017 at 7:45 am
Elise said:
I love the sound of "easy hike" haha. I always do those! Maybe one day I'll work my way up to 'intermediate' ;-)
March 13, 2017 at 4:56 pm
Kelly said:
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!!
March 11, 2017 at 5:58 pm
Obligatory Traveler said:
Great information. Really like all of your staying healthy posts as I like doing outdoor activities.
March 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm said:
So excited to hear you liked the post Dany :) I hope you enjoy the path
March 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm said:
You definitely should Stephanie, its SO beautiful. One of my favourite destinations so far.
March 10, 2017 at 5:21 pm said:
Thanks Andrea! So grateful that you stopped by my little corner of the web :)
March 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm said:
Hi Kayla, I love hiking too :) I hope you can enjoy this one some day!
March 10, 2017 at 5:19 pm
Andrea said:
very cool! never saw a hiking possibility in Iceland! Very nice post!
March 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm
sophie said:
I have done the same last year. and It was an amazing experience I must say. also glad to know that you had a great exp,too.
March 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm
TravellingDany said:
I also love hiking and I loved all the details you put into this article: I've just bucketlisted the suggested path, it looks so beautiful!
March 10, 2017 at 11:22 am
Stephanie said:
Iceland is one my goal :-) I hope one day I'll go there !
March 10, 2017 at 10:38 am
Kayla said:
I absolutely love hiking, and this looks like such a picturesque hike! Definitely putting it on the bucket list!
March 10, 2017 at 9:54 am said:
Happy that you found it useful Stephanie :)
March 10, 2017 at 9:28 am said:
Oh I'm so excited for you Becky! I'm sure you will have such an amazing trip!!
March 10, 2017 at 9:28 am
Stephanie Fox said:
Some really useful information and sounds fascinating, would love to visit Reykjavik!
March 10, 2017 at 9:04 am
Becky Angell said:
Great thanks Steph, I am looking at going to Iceland in June so really useful :)
March 10, 2017 at 8:34 am said:
Thanks Abbi! Glad you liked it :)
March 10, 2017 at 8:14 am
Abbi @ Spin the Windrose said:
I would love to visit Iceland! Such an informative post! ?
March 9, 2017 at 8:05 pm said:
Thank you Nina!!
March 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm said:
Morgan, so happy to know that you will try out the hike! Hope you love it :)
March 6, 2017 at 7:22 pm said:
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 :D
March 6, 2017 at 7:21 pm said:
Oh that's too funny and super exciting for you!! Tons to do in one day :)
March 6, 2017 at 7:20 pm
Nina Frambuesa said:
Wow! Such absolutely stunning photos!! :)
March 6, 2017 at 2:28 pm
Morgan said:
Stephanie, this is a great hike option! Definitely adding this to my list of activities for the summer months. xx Morgan
March 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm
Lindsay | The Anthrotorian Travel + Adventure Blog said:
I feel like I'm the only person in the world who hasn't made it to Iceland yet! :) This will definitely be added to my Iceland to-do list!
March 5, 2017 at 9:53 pm
Leigh | Campfires & Concierges said:
Perfect timing! I have an overnight stopover in Reykjavik this summer and am just starting to plan my day. With a taxi, this seems totally doable for a morning hike!
March 5, 2017 at 9:08 pm said:
Perfect!! So glad it was useful for you Megan, thanks for stopping by :)
March 5, 2017 at 11:43 am
Megan | Red Around The World said:
This looks like an awesome hike! I love hiking so this is definitely something I'll come back to when I go to Iceland!
March 5, 2017 at 11:02 am