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Women You Can Support When Traveling to Iceland

Travel is more than just an opportunity to have a transformative experience for yourself. Your tourism dollars can also leave a mark on the places you visit and the people you meet. Our mission at Cherish is to support women in business through intentional spending.

Directing your dollars towards women-led businesses during your travels makes a real difference and empowers amazing female entrepreneurs. It's one way to support womankind and be a part of a community that transcends borders, language barriers and cultures.

There's no shortage of amazing destinations full of women-owned businesses to support. But in this blog, we're focusing on one of our favorite destinations - Iceland.

Iceland is a breathtaking Nordic country with abundant mountains, volcanoes, glaciers and more to explore. The country's natural terrain, rich history, and welcoming locals make it a much-loved travel destination at Cherish.

women in iceland

The Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland is a Nordic island nation in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, directly below the Arctic Circle. While it doesn't receive full polar nights like locations within the Circle, it is one of the most popular places to see a stunning display of Aurora Borealis between late August and early April.

Many regard Iceland as one of the best places to experience untouched nature at its finest. The population is less than 400,000, and the nation's commitment to nature is evident everywhere you look. It's one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world, providing the perfect backdrop for wilderness hikes, glacier spotting, cave exploration and more.

But even with its untouched beauty, Iceland also has a fascinating history. It has one of the oldest democracies in the world, and the country's Viking ancestry is on full display.

A Leader in Gender Equality

Another reason why we love Iceland is its gender equality. The country consistently ranks high on World Economic Forum (WEF) rankings on pay equity. As of 2023, estimates show that Iceland's gender pay gap is 91.2 percent closed.

But that's not all. Gender equality has been enshrined in law since 2000. Women have equal rights and opportunities, and the nation has many women in government leadership positions.

Iceland is a great example of what gender equality should look like, but there's still a way to go. Despite being one of the most gender-equal countries, female entrepreneurs still face an uphill battle.

Gender bias is alive and well in Icelandic businesses. Many men still believe that women are less growth-oriented. As a result, women entrepreneurs often struggle to obtain external financing. It's a problem that persists today.

While Icelandic women continue to prove men wrong, there's still a long way to achieve full gender equality in business.

Icelandic Women-Led Businesses You Can Support

If you're planning a trip to Iceland, there are several great women-led businesses to support. Here are a handful we want to highlight.

Viking Women

Viking Women is a women's travel group owned and operated by local Icelandic women. Like Cherish, Viking Women aims to empower women through immersive travel experiences while providing the opportunity for self-transformation and connection with others. Viking Women offers female-led excursions throughout Iceland. Viking Women does everything from indulgent visits to hot springs to thrilling hikes on scenic trails.

viking women in iceland

The company's CEO, Saga Líf Friðriksdóttir, is passionate about travel and hopes to share it with women who visit Iceland. When asked how travel has impacted her life, she had this to say:

"Travel has impacted my life in many ways. I love a minimalist lifestyle, and when you travel, you are living that kind of lifestyle. It also broadens your vision of the world and mankind. When I travel, I feel very content, and I am very much living in the moment."

If you tag along on Cherish's Nordic Getaway trip, you will get the opportunity to meet some of the amazing women of Viking Women as they show you the beauty of Iceland.

Blue House

Blue House is another women-led business Cherish will partner with during the Icelandic leg of our Nordic Getaway trip. It is a stunning bed and breakfast on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula, just outside the nation's capital, Reykjavík.

bed and breakfast iceland

Owner and manager Zeno Keilhacker renovated Blue House in 2009 after visiting and falling in love with the area. Blue House offers convenience with classic Icelandic comforts. It's a short drive to downtown Reykjavík and within walking distance to Grótta Island Lighthouse, a popular spot for viewing the Northern Lights.

Roughly 60 percent of Blue House's staff is women, so you can enjoy the scenery and comforts of B&B living while supporting local women.

Hjá höllu

When you're ready to indulge in healthy but authentic Icelandic cuisine, you can stop by Hjá höllu. The welcoming cafe is in the town of Grindavík, just minutes from the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

women owned restaurants in iceland
Halla María Svansdóttir. Photos courtesy of Promote Iceland/Food Organisation of Denmark.

Hjá höllu was founded by owner Halla María Svansdóttir in 2012 and has since become one of the most popular eateries in the area. Initially, Halla María Svansdóttir's business started as a home-based nutrition class. However, her focus on fresh, nutritious, and organic ingredients led to a small catering operation. Shortly after that, Halla María Svansdóttir opened a brick-and-mortar

cafe in an old Grindavík bank, and the rest is history.

The unique thing about Hjá höllu is that it's largely a family affair. Halla María Svansdóttir and her mother work hard in the kitchen. Meanwhile, her brother, father and husband help with deliveries, online orders and more.

Farmers Market

Farmers Market is a woman-owned design company and clothing brand based in Reykjavik. Launched in 2005 by couple Bergthora Gudnadottir and musician Jóel Pálsson, the brand marries Icelandic tradition and heritage with chic modern aesthetics to create garments and accessories that are unmistakably Icelandic.

clothing store in iceland
Photo courtesy of

The company uses high-quality materials, and each piece contains mostly all-natural materials. It leans heavily into sustainable fashion, sticking true to Icelandic values.

The Farmer Market store is in the Grandi area of Reykjavik, a trendy and creative neighborhood full of art galleries and museums. The store operates out of a former fish factory and is in a prime location to explore Iceland's past and future.

Kirsuberjatréð (The Cherry Tree)

Kirsuberjatréð (The Cherry Tree) is a design store in Reykjavik run entirely by ten local female artists. It's a great place to pick up locally made art and handcrafted goods. The women artists come from various backgrounds and artistic disciplines, resulting in a stunning, ever-changing collection of authentic Iceland souvenirs.

You'll find everything from clothing and jewelry to artwork and decorative home items. Everything is handmade; you can see the country's heritage and natural inspirations in every piece. The best part is that your money goes directly to women artists and entrepreneurs.

Empower Women in Business While Traveling to Iceland

These are just a handful of the countless women-led businesses you can support in Iceland. Cherish is working with Blue House and Viking Women during the Icelandic portion of our upcoming Nordic Getaway trip, but there are plenty more you can support if you plan on joining us.

Iceland is one of many Nordic destinations worth visiting, and there are even more women in business we empower on Cherish trips that you can support when visiting these locales. Your tourism dollar matters more than you realize. Spend intentionally and travel with a purpose. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but you can also leave a lasting impact on the female entrepreneurs you encounter.

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