July 20, 2022

Many people in Iceland own their own summer houses or cabins, where they go to get away and get all cozy for a weekend or a week, any time of the year. They offer peace and quiet, while also way more comfortable and much less wet and windy than camping, which is why they‘re definitely a place people‘s minds wander to when planning their holidays.

Not everyone can afford their own summer house, but luckily the various labour unions have thought of that! Most of the unions own a whole bunch of summer houses and rent them out to their members at a very reasonably price. Sumarbústaðaferð is one of those long combination words which we hope you will get to hear and use one day in the context of planning a relaxing weekend (week even!) in one of these houses!

One thing most summer houses have in common is a hot tub and foliage, perhaps even dense-ish forests surrounding them! An evening extending long into the bright night, soaking in your private hot tub surrounded by trees full of little birds making music, in the company of people you love/like – what could possibly be better than that? Politely ignoring neighbours in nearby summer houses is not rude, not at all. If you want to mingle, feel out the situation first, as some people may just want to politely ignore you, as they're escaping the throngs in the metropolis ;) When staying in a summer house you'll also go on hikes around the area, candy runs to the nearest shops, sight seeing, and have barbecues every night. Or not, there's obviously a kitchen in the house and utensils, everything provided. Also showers, and "real" toilets. No tv or internet in some cases, but there are usually plenty of books and games just waiting in the summer house, for your entertainment.

Icelanders obviously get up to more things during the summer than what we’ve highlighted in the last 4 or so posts. Things such as fishing, hiking, running, cycling, both on an individual basis as well as part of organised events, and so much more. The activities detailed in our posts are just the ones that most will recognise as very Icelandic – perfect when chasing the sun & good weather around the island.

Other posts in the series: 

What on earth do Icelanders get up to in the summer?

The one about the most popular summer dining experience

The one about sleeping in god's green nature

The one about "going the ring road"

The one about public soaking

And here are links to two posts about being careful when travelling, any time of year - because we care :)

The one about the way in which Icelanders (and you!) choose a destination

The one about travelling safely

Photo source (a random labour union page listing a summer house option to book, when available, and such.)


Sumar = summer

Að búa = to live somewhere (location)

= estate, legal word for place of dwelling, and a farmstead
Staður = place
Bústaður = a place where people live, often used in the context of a place of intermittent use, like a...
= summer house / cabin

Ferð / ferðalag = trip or journey

Sumarbústaðaferð = summer house trip

All blog posts