5 Family-friendly farm visits in Iceland (Part I)



5 Family-friendly farm visits in Iceland (Part I)

31.05.2019 | Camille Beuvard

We can’t speak highly enough about this, but the best way to explore and dive into the Icelandic culture is to hang around the best placed to talk about it: locals! With our network of over 170 farmstays, we’ve got you covered. Farmstays offer all the modern conveniences with the amazing charm of the countryside and a long life of traditions. We pride ourselves in having partners with all their own specificity, ensuring you an authentic and unique stay. Not just another hotel room.

All of them lie in idyllic settings, very often a haven of peace after a day of sightseeing, yet with plenty of options for outdoor activities. The good thing with farmstays is that you always find yourself positively surprised with details and small attentions. All have in common a natural sense of hospitality and the desire to make you feel cozy and… yes, just at home.

We have as many partners as unique experiences! If you spend the night, you will be pleased to stay in converted cowsheds or barns, wake up to open views over the fjords, enjoy a homemade breakfast… But you can also just drop by during the day, try your hand at trout fishing, get up close and personal with the friendly farm animals, have a lovely chat with your hosts, or taste some of the local produce for a farm-to-table experience.

Here is a selection of family-friendly farms to add to your trip! The first of many!

 

1. Efstidalur II – Dairy Farm

When it comes to farm destinations, Efstidalur II is everything first rate. Right in the middle of the Golden Circle, four siblings run what was first a sole dairy farm. In the wake of tourism, the farm-to-table concept has developed, and a café-restaurant was opened. Soon, the dynamic family started to make their own products for guests to enjoy. They have always seen growing at a farm as a privilege and aim at maintaining the highest standards for farming while inviting people to know the process and get a chance to watch daily tasks like cow-milking.

There are plenty of calves to pet, horses running in the surrounding fields, dogs, cats, which, I am sure we can all agree, make for the best attraction for kids! A perfect opportunity for them to get this contact with animals and remember what Nature gives us.

But that’s not all. If you stop at the farm during the day, you should follow the farm’s motto “Life is short, eat the dessert first” and get an organic homemade ice cream, whose selection often changes. We also recommend you stop at the restaurant upstairs for a farm-fresh meal featuring tableside cow views. The farm prides itself in using only locally sourced ingredients, producing its own dairy products and meat, and getting vegetables from the surrounding farms.

And if you want to experience the countryside at its core, the farm also operates as a country hotel, offering a selection of double, twin, triple and family rooms. There is so much to do around that you could easily stay a few nights there. Did we mention that they offer riding tours too?

  • Where: Golden Circle
  • Hlöðuloftið restaurant is open 07:30 - 21:00 all year round
  • Íshlaðan ice cream barn is open 08:00 - 22:00 all year round

View Efstidalur II farm

2. Fridheimar Farm – Geothermal Tomato Farm

Friðheimar

 Friðheimar

 
Friðheimar is a blend of tomatoes and Icelandic horses, a creative and daring combination that will delight you. You will first be welcome by the Icelandic horses and can even assist some horse shows there or visit the stables if you like. Over the years, Friðheimar has earned a name on the Icelandic foodie scene and has become a popular stop on the Golden Circle. Inside the greenhouses, they grow different varieties of tomatoes all year round, and happily explain you the entire process. How amazing it is to step in there in the middle of dark winter nights, brightened by the greenhouse lighting!

On the menu, you will find the Chef’s specialty, Friðheimar tomato soup, served on a buffet with sour cream, home baked bread, cucumber salsa, butter and fresh herbs. Looking for something richer? Let yourself be tempted by fresh ravioli pasta, fresh mussels and stone baked tortillas, that all bring out the taste of the tomatoes. Save your appetite for the homemade tomato ice cream and other mouthwatering desserts à la Friðheimar!

This is an especially family-friendly stop. You are served in a jungle-like environment among the tomato plants and can let your kids be amazed by the relentless work of the bumble bees pollinating the plants. In your tomato frenzy, you can also drop in the Little Tomato Shop and buy organic products to take home.

  • Where: Golden Circle
  • Friðheimar restaurant is open 12:00 - 16:00 all year round. We recommend that you book in advance.

View Fridheimar Farm – Geothermal Tomato Farm

3. Hestaland – Icelandic Horse Farm

Hestaland

 Hestaland

 
“Icelandic horses aren't our hobby – they're our way of life.” This is how Hestaland likes to introduce themselves, which depicts well the farm’s spirit. About 17 km from Borgarnes, a little secluded yet an easy jumping place to many of the sites of the Western Region, lies the horse farm Hestaland.

Hestaland invites you to experience the Icelandic horse in its natural environment through riding lessons, trail rides and treks. Nothing is left to chance and every ride is preceded of a preparation lesson to make you feel comfortable on your horse before you head off. The riding conditions there are picturesque, and the feeling of riding through the highlands is indescribably refreshing, giving full meaning to the word “freedom”. And this is exactly what Guðmar and Linda want to share with you.

Not quite in the mood for a ride? You can also opt for a farm visit through the barn (min 10 people). There, a horse expert will tell you all about the Icelandic horse, its origins and what makes it a breed apart. One of the highlights of the tour is the demonstration of the five natural gaits of the Icelandic horse - walk, trot, canter, tölt, and flying pace - in the large indoor arena.

In our opinion, the perfect place to stop on a quiet day and enjoy being close to nature, bonding with the world’s purest breed, and meeting with friendly farmers. To enhance your experience, you can stay the night at the cabin or the guesthouse, whose outdoor hot tub provides views over the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

  • Where: West Iceland
  • Hestaland guesthouse is open from April to September. 
  • Horseback riding tours are available from May to October. Farm visits are available all year round.

View Hestaland – Icelandic Horse Farm

4. Bjarteyjarsandur – Sheep Farm

Bjarteyjarsandur

 Bjarteyjarsandur

 
Bjarteyjarsandur farm, on the northern shore of Hvalfjörður fjord, about 1 hour from Reykjavík, holds all the variety you could ask for. Bjarteyjarsandur is a typical yet somewhat different Icelandic sheep farm, with roughly 600 sheeps. While the farm focus is on the Icelandic sheep, Arnheiður and Guðmundur have been catering for groups in many occasions before Iceland became an increasingly popular travel destination, and with it, agritourism.

The farm is located in picturesque surroundings, between green hills where the sheep are let loose during the Summer months, and the sea front. During the Spring, foals and lambs can be seen making their first shaky steps into the world while in Autumn, the annual sheep gathering (réttir) is amazing to witness.

The farmers welcome you all year round into two well-equipped cottages and inside the working sheep farm, where you can experience the reality of sheep farming and rural Iceland. They also offer activities like sheep shearing, cooking classes, wild mussel picking, observation of an Eider colony, throughout the seasons. You can also have a taste of the local produce at the small restaurant and pick up one-of-a-kind delicious edible souvenirs directly from the farm!

Bjarteyjarsandur stands out by its efforts and engagement for sustainability. They put an emphasis on high-quality products made in an eco-friendly way. The farm produces free-range lambs, pigs, chicken, organic vegetables, wild berries and a variety of sea products. Each of their actions aims at minimizing their impact on their environment. This way, they made the choice of not “putting on a show” for visitors, but rather invite them to experience the reality of living in the Icelandic countryside.

  • Where: West Iceland
  • Bjarteyjarsandur guesthouse is open all year round. Farm visits are available all year round.

View farm Bjarteyjarsandur

5. Stóra-Ásgeirsá – Icelandic Horse Breeding Farm 

Stóra-Ásgeirsá

 Stóra-Ásgeirsá

 
A visit to Stóra-Ásgeirsá is the promise of a wonderful day in the Icelandic countryside and a great insight into the day-to-day life of Icelandic farmers. Located in North West Iceland, just 4 km from the Ring Road, Stóra-Ásgeirsá is a family-run horse farm, specialized in breeding and riding tours.

As an animal lover, Magnús also takes care of around 200 sheep (that makes 350 lambs each Spring!), ducks, hens, and even goats. Due to the prevalence of sheep farming, goats went close to extinct in Iceland in the 1900s, so it is always pleasant to see new goat kids each year jumping in the fields and yelling with their hilariously cute little voices! They will instantly become your children’s favorite, not to say yours.

Whether your desire is to go for a horse riding tour in the scenic farm surroundings, lush hills and secret waterfalls included, pet the animals or assist in the daily tasks, Magnús and his family have something for you. You can put yourself into a farmer’s shoes for a day or if you are visiting in May/June, watch the new lambs come to the world and bottlefeed those who need. As authentic as it gets!

This is the kind of place where you don’t want to rush, so a good idea would be to stay a night at the guesthouse, and unwind the day in the hottub overlooking a beautiful waterfall. Magnús plays guitar and sings since his young age, so don’t miss a concert to take away!

  • Where: North West Iceland
  • Stóra-Ásgeirsá guesthouse is open all year round. Farm visits are available all year round.

View Stóra-Ásgeirsá – Icelandic Horse Breeding Farm

We hope you will enjoy the visit to these farms and share your experience with us @heyiceland and #heyiceland

 

About the author

Web and marketing specialist

Camille Beuvard

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