The Faroe Islands is an archipelago of amazing beauty, where the weather can turn in the blink of an eye.
When you check out Google maps it’s quite clear that the islands are really small, but once you set out on foot you might locate places that haven’t yet been touched by human footprints.
With expansive cliff faces, spectacular waterfalls and breath taking mountains there is so lot much left to explore.
I didn’t know that
- It is said the first recognised settlers within the Faroe Islands were the Irish monks, who during the sixth century AD coined the phrase the “Islands of the Sheep and the Paradise of Birds”
- Viking age settlers arrived in the country during the 9th Century and named the islands Faroe, as we know it today.
- The name Føroyar (Faroe Islands) is derived from old age Norse language and means Sheep Islands. Once established the Vikings created a parliament, later named Løgting, at Tinganes in Tórshavn. Tórshavn still is the capital city of the Islands, and it claims to have the world’s oldest parliament and democracy
- 95% of the total income of the Island comes from the exporting of high quality fish caught in the crisp and clear northern seas.
- The population of the FAROE Islands Is just 50,000, this is compared to 70,000 sheep
- There are approximately 100,000 different species of birds.
- The national prime ministers telephone number is in the telephone directory should you wish to call him.
- Over 97% of the population have access to WIFI.
Where are the Faroe Islands?
You may have been mistaken for not hearing about these islands before, and you’re not alone, being so small it can be missed on most maps and atlases, it lies just over 400 miles of the coast of Northern Europe and consists of 18 large islands, this is split into a further group of 779 smaller islands. The archipelago sits in between Iceland, Scotland and Norway.
With its dramatic sea cliffs, sweeping fjords and captivating little grass-roofed villages, this area of outstanding natural beauty has become a prime holiday location for photographers around the world. It has also become increasingly popular with tourists, this includes being a stop off point for cruise liners.
The best time to visit the islands
As with many locations in northern Europe, summer (May to August) is a nice time to go to the Faroe Islands. Not only is the climate a little warmer, all of the services for tourists are open, this includes buses, ferries and cafes, There average temperature during the summer months is around 12 degrees, so don’t expect to go sunbathing or wearing a short sleeve shirt, but it is comfortable. You can visit outside of the summer months. However, it will be colder and considerably more wet due to the rainfall. It is nevertheless stunning to visit the islands any time of the year, but be aware some of the tourist amenities may be on reduced schedules or can also close down altogether.
Whenever you choose to visit , be conscious that climate in the Faroe Islands is a fickle beast , and at any time it can change.
Where to stay on the Faroe Islands
From basic seaside camping grounds to cosy guesthouses and luxury hotels, the Faroe Islands have lodging alternatives to healthy any budget.
Most of the accommodation is concentrated around the capital Tórshavn, but there are a few options round Klaksvík providing you with a gateway to the Northern Isles.
Hostels are another excellent option . There are a good selection of hostels to be had in the Faroe Islands, each presenting dormitories, personal rooms and a visitors kitchen. So you could embrace the true back packer that has been hidden inside you if you wish.
What to do when you get there
#1 Explore the island of Mykines and see the puffin colony
Mykines is the most westerly island in the Faroes archipelago, it is a breeding ground for a huge number of migrating seabirds, including the incredibly cute Puffin. The western-most section of the island is covered with Puffin nests, transforming it into a hive of colour and sound during summer months.
The walk to the lighthouse at the tip of the island is an absolute must, ebne though it is a bit of a trek. This walk will provide you with the most incredible views of the island. It’s a 3-4 hour return hike and you will pass through the Puffin nests as you go.
If you are left with any time then explore the local village, this once had population of 180, but has now dwindled to around eight . One of those former residents is Heini, whose father was the last lighthouse keeper on the island, Heini is one of the tour guides on the island and has a vast array of knowledge and information she can impart to you.
To get to Mykines, you need to take a local ferry from Størvágur, which, weather permitting, crosses two times a day. However, be warned, it’s a pretty rough journey! The ferry’s also only crosses between May and August the 31st. So plan your itinerary accordingly, especially if you are a puffin fan.
#2 Eat at Michelin-starred restaurant
If you want to sample true Faroe island cuisine then look no further than Koks restaurant. Take a bumpy landrover trip across a hash and Barron wilderness and you will come to a humble looking cabin. You will be mistaken for thinking that you have stumbled across the wrong place, but when you step inside you will be presented with some of the best food the Islands have to offer.
When you read the menu, you will see that you can order the standard and expected food such as lobster or clams. But what Koks is famous for is the traditional Faroese dishes of wind dried and air salted fermented lamb along with a sausage made of fermented lamb fat.
To book at Koks, visit their website here
#3 Take a hike to the lake of SØRVÁGSVATN, SUDOROY
When you visit the lake Sørvágsvatn nothing really prepares you for the beauty and awe you are presented with
Located on the island of Vágar, Sørvágsvatn, the lake can be thought of as an optical illusion in which the lake appears hang over the ocean below. The walk to the viewpoint takes about an hour to get to the main point of interest. The climate can be very changeable, so please ensure that you wear warm clothes and a rain jacket, you will probably get wet.
The location is also well-known for Trælanípa, a rock wall that sits 142m above the ocean that supposedly saw Vikings drive their slaves off. These days, it is just a hot spot for tourists and photographers from around the world
#4 GÁSADALUR and the spectacular MÚLAFOSSUR falls
Probably the most famous of the Faroe Isles tourist sights is the spectacular Múlafossur waterfall, situated just south of the Gasadalur village. Falling straight into the cold North Atlantic sea the waterfall has to be seen to believe
The small and tranquil village of Gásadalur sits in the middle of this picturesque scene. There are towering mountains and grass blanketed fields, all of which are the perfect photographic backdrop to the world renowned waterfall. The town itself is typically Faroese, with small, grass-topped houses and a scene that wouldn’t look out of place in middle earth. Until 2004, this spot was only accessible via hike or helicopter.
How to get to the Faroe Islands
There are two conventional ways to get to the Faroe Islands, and that is by aeroplane or by ferry
Flights to the Faroe Islands take place from pick hubs in Europe on set days (apart from Copenhagen which has daily flights). It is worth Noting that many routes are operational on a seasonal basis.
Atlantic Airways (the countrywide carrier) gives direct flights from Vagar in the Faroe Islands to:
Denmark (Copenhagen, Billund and Aalborg)
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) also operates a day by day flight out of Copenhagen.
Smyril Line runs a weekly ferry carrier to the Faroe Islands for passengers and vehicles, originating in Denmark (Hirtshals) and ending its voyage in Iceland (Seyðisfjørður). The experience takes around 35 hours from Denmark and much less than 20 hours to Iceland.