Social &

Social and sustainable

HI Iceland is at the forefront of sustainable and responsible tourism in Iceland. Sustainability is therefore intertwined with our culture of hostelling. Our values: respect, broad-mindedness and hospitality, reflect the three pillars of Sustainable Development.

We would like you to recognise those values in the stories we tell; our stories.


If you can’t reuse it, refuse it!
Plastic Bag Free Day

While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use and on average, plastic bags are used for 25 minutes only.

• One million plastic bags are in use around the world every minute
• The average European uses about 500 bags every year
• 3.4 million tons of plastic bags are produced in the EU each year
• Single use plastic bags are made of crude oil, a non-renewable resource

HI Iceland gave their guests a reusable organic cotton bag to raise awareness on plastic pollution and to encourage our guests to travel in more sustainable manner.


Stay carbon neutral – Stay with us

The northern wind blows in my hair. Birds around me sing for their mate, having migrated over the ocean to lay their eggs and raise their young in the Icelandic nature.

I‘m carbon offsetting your stay in Iceland.

To celebrate World Environment Day, 1114 native birch trees (Betula pubescens ) are planted in Icelandic soil. For you, for us, for everyone.

I step on the planting stick, the earth is soft. I reach for the small but sturdy birch tree and place it in the ground. I hope that the tree will secure its roots, absorb the nutrients from the soil, synthesize and absorb the carbon dioxide we, the humans, emit to our atmosphere.

I‘m glad I can plant the tree for you. For our guests. For travellers. I am happy that I can contribute. I appreciate the willingness of HI Iceland to offset the carbon emissions from its operations.

Stay with us.

Life at the HI Hostels

We could say that Life at the HI Hostels is a documentary series, or a sitcom, or we could say that it’s an online music video channel – just like we could say it’s one of those inspirational follow-our-travels Instagram accounts, or an online resource for sustainable tourism.

The truth is you can’t quite define it, and there’s a reason why. The "life" part of the project’s name hints at its complexity. Most of us experience life in its most thrilling form when travelling, and when you set foot in one of our HI hostels you are entering an entire world of fond memories, where the walls contain the echo of a million stories.

And therein lies the purpose of this project. Our mission is to capture those moments, to save them for you and share them with the rest of the world. We want to witness the rapport of locals and travellers, coming together over a cup of coffee to hear each other out, then maybe enjoying live music together right here in one of our HI hostels.

The Icelandic nature – our dearest treasure

Our mission is to support sustainable and responsible tourism as well as cultural diversity and therefore we encourage you to become a responsible traveller.

We hope that you will take a pledge, offered now to our guests, to travel responsibly when visiting the country.

The Icelandic Pledge is an online agreement where tourists can sign, and promise to respect nature while travelling in Iceland.

On signing you get a certificate you can share on social media with the hashtag #IcelandicPledge.

Someone dropped by during the night at our HI hostel!

Last winter, in the run up to Christmas, we gave you the opportunity to experience the Icelandic tradition of the 13 Yule Lads. In the thirteen days before Christmas Eve the Yule Lads visit, one after the other, and bring gifts for those who have left out a shoe overnight.

Gáttaþefur the Yule Lad visited the HI hostels in Reykjavík and left a gift in your shoe. If you were naughty during the year you got a rotten potato, but if you were good (and we know you were!) he left you a promise on our behalf to plant a tree in your name.

Now we are pleased to tell you that your tree has been planted in Heiðmörk Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Reykjavík. On June 6, following World Environment Day, the HI Iceland team planted around 1400 trees in the area.

Not only have you paid a long-lasting tribute to Iceland – you have also participated in the ongoing fight against climate change. And for that we are very grateful.