Icelandic farmers have probably hosted foreign visitors since the country was first inhabited. But it was not until 1970 that a handful of farmers started renting out rooms to foreigners in a more organised manner, providing extra income at a time of a declining farming industry. Slowly, more farmers joined the trend, until the Icelandic Farm Holidays Association was formed in 1980 to define common service values and quality standards with the overall aim of developing a sustainable tourism industry in rural areas of Iceland. Subsequently, the travel agency by the same name was founded in 1991 to handle the growing number of bookings and promote the members’ services as the official booking office. In 2016 the travel agency got a new name Hey Iceland. Today , more than 180 members of the Hey Iceland Association representing more than 5,000 beds form the base of our wide range of travel services in Iceland. The travel agency is still majority-owned by farmers, keeping profits local and benefiting rural communities.
Hey Iceland is a membership-based operation. Members need to fulfill strict quality standards to enter the Hey Iceland Association and to be included in our portfolio of accommodation and tours.
All Hey Iceland´s members are inspected on a regular basis by our Quality Manager and other staff to make sure quality standards are met and that our team has first-hand knowledge of the properties and service providers for the benefit of our customers.
Our office is licensed by the Icelandic Tourist Board as are all of our individual members and other partners. We are certified by Vakinn, the new official Icelandic quality label and have an active sustainability policy. Our car rental partner Europcar is also certified by VAKINN.
Read more about Vakinn
We have won several awards throughout the years including the Icelandic Tourist Board’s Environmental Award in 2004, the President of Iceland’s Export Award in 2011 and The Strongest in Iceland acknowledgement in 2010 - 2015.
Our customers’ experiences are, however, our best recommendation.
The turf farm – a sign of quality and Icelandic hospitality
Our logo is the old traditional Icelandic turf farm, representing our roots in rural Iceland and the genuine hospitality that we like to stand for.
Remarkably eco-friendly and energy efficient, the old turf farms provide an insight into what life was like for our hard-working ancestors who had to deal with a harsh environment without modern amenities – but who still always offered guests from afar a warm welcome. The turf farms are not inhabited anymore, but many have been beautifully restored and we recommend looking out for them on a trip around Iceland.
You will only find the Hey Iceland sign at assessed Hey Iceland properties and service providers. Their locations can usually be easily identified by our logo on small blue road signs, green flags or window stickers either by the road or at the entrance.