Until the mid-twentieth century, most of Iceland’s population was rural, and its people made their living from farming and fishing. When Reykjavík, the capital, began to develop fast, the natives started moving from the countryside to the city.
Fast-forward to nowadays, and the Capital Region accounts for two-thirds of the country’s total population, with the other third spread thinly across Iceland.
However, despite the urban movement, many Icelanders still spend their lives farming sheep and other livestock. Lamb is one of the country’s biggest exports, and the demand for it is bigger than ever.
But many Icelandic farmers have chosen to diversify, converting their farms to BnBs to take advantage of the tourist boom.
As you can imagine, staying on an Iceland farm stay is very different from a hotel or hostel. Let’s take a look at the best way to visit and explore the Icelandic countryside, with a farm stay. Since these farms are often isolated, you’ll need a vehicle to reach them. Book yours at Campervan Iceland.502
What is it Like to Stay on an Iceland Farm?
First of all, getting to your farm stay in Iceland will be a fun challenge. Since you’ll be driving through some of the country’s most remote areas, even Google won’t be sure which direction to point you in at times.
Fortunately, the farms in question normally provide detailed instructions on how to reach them. These farms aren’t like the Viking farms of old, where a horse was needed.
Instead, expect to drive along gravel roads, dirt paths, and cross thin bridges to reach your farm stay. Only Iceland’s main highways are paved, so your car may get a little messy along the way. Your rewards for this journey, however, are well worth the effort.
If you’ve never stayed on a farm, you’ll be pleased to find just how peaceful and quiet they can be. If you’ve come to Iceland to get away from crowds and noise, this is the perfect place to stay.
Here, you’ll have incredible views all around you: wide green fields, mountains, rivers and maybe some volcanoes and glaciers. An abundance of animals will also graze nearby, such as sheep, cows and Icelandic horses.
Additionally, you’ll have easy access to nearby famous hiking trails which are off the main tourist routes. The accommodation type will often be a converted house, with the option of single or shared rooms. The farmers will generally live in a separate building on the property.
Another great thing about staying on an Iceland farm is the widespread availability of locally grown products. Whether it’s meat, vegetables or jam, many will offer their wares for guests to purchase. So, you can enjoy the authentic taste of Iceland while supporting its producers.
What to do on an Iceland Farm?
Apart from the aforementioned hiking trails, certain farms will also offer excursions to their guests. These can include Icelandic horse-riding treks, ATV tours and fishing tours. The owners will also happily provide guidance on how to reach nearby points of interest.
Not to mention almost every Iceland farm will be close to either a volcano, glacier, or lava field.
Many farms will offer the use of their hot tubs for guests, which are a big part of Iceland’s culture. If you prefer to venture into nature, they can probably point you to a nearby wild hot spring.
Of course, since you’re staying somewhere remote, this means a clear sky, weather permitting. There’s nowhere better than the countryside to stargaze and, hopefully, catch a glimpse of the northern lights.
How to Book a Stay on an Iceland Farm
The farmers who have committed to combining their farming lifestyle with hospitality will be listed on accommodation sites. Online services such as booking.com will always have options. Just search for the “farm stays” button to narrow your search.
There are farm stay options throughout the country, so you’ll have no problem finding accommodation wherever you go. The only place you won’t find a farm guesthouse is in the highlands, Iceland’s interior.
This large area has no permanent inhabitants, and campsites appear only in the summer months. Therefore, the highlands are unsuitable for both farming and living.
Some Iceland Farm Recommendations
This converted farm is not far from the capital, a journey of just over an hour to the east. It offers a range of room types, with double rooms, family rooms, cottages and apartments. Many of the rooms are renovated farm buildings, with modern comforts added.
There’s a restaurant on-site, and a special “blind raven” dining experience, where guests eat in the dark. As sight is removed, the other four senses work overtime, such as taste. See for yourself if you have an increased ability to taste at this fun restaurant.
The owners keep some domestic animals which guests of all ages can interact with, so it’s your perfect farm experience. Vatnsholt’s location makes it easy to find; just drive past the small town of Selfoss and turn onto Villingaholtsvegur road.
Check out their website here.
This was a working farm until the year 2000, when the owner at the time decided to switch to tourism. Naturally, the farm’s location in the rich lands of the south coast allowed for the development of many outdoor activities.
Now, the property is not only a series of cottages and hotel rooms, but also a nine-hole golf course.
The staff offer golf lessons for beginners, so you can enjoy the sport even if it’s your first time. There’s also a nearby fishing lake which contains plenty of salmon. If fishing and golf aren’t your thing, choose from a horse-riding or ATV tour.
A children’s playground, on-site restaurant and hiking trails will ensure you have everything you need to keep the family entertained.
If you fancy getting closer to nature during your Iceland farm stay, Hellishólar also contains a large camping ground. Pitch your tent or park up your campervan and enjoy the subtle sounds of the countryside.
Hellishólar is located about an hour and forty-five minutes from Reykjavík, in the south, close to Route 1. Visit their website to book.
Ytra Lón Farm & Retreat
An extremely remote farm stay option, Ytra Lón is in the Eastfjords, or the northeast of Iceland, one of the least-populated areas in the country. The accommodations are in the form of studio apartments, and since it’s still a working farm, they serve lamb from their own stock.
Breakfast, packed lunches and dinner are available if you don’t want to cook for yourself in your studio kitchen. When you’re not eating, explore the peninsula on which the farm is situated. Many bird species, including puffins, make the cliffs around the peninsula their home in the summer.
Very close to the property there’s also a river with an abundance of Arctic Char and Brown Trout. This is the best location for those who like to fish in a peaceful environment.
The retreat also contains both a hot and cold tub for your use, so don’t hesitate to dive in and relax after your long day.
Ytra Lón is far from all of Iceland’s major towns. Your journey there will take you away from the vast majority of tourists and the most traveled routes. Visit their site for a unique Icelandic experience.
The pros of an Iceland farm retreat
If you want to discover how countryside residents live in Iceland, book a stay on an Iceland farm. The pace is slower, the views wider, and the surroundings quieter.
That is, if you don’t mind the bleating of a few sheep or the neighing of a few horses. However, most of us will agree, those natural noises trump the artificial sounds of traffic and nightclubs any day.
Booking a stay at an Iceland farm doesn’t mean you won’t be able to visit popular sites. In fact, many of the farms are just a short drive away from famous landmarks.
You’ll get the best of both worlds, as you can explore the sights but leave the crowds behind every evening when you return to your peaceful accommodation. Lock in your farm stay and rental vehicle today to get excited about your upcoming adventure!