Where are the Faroe Islands? When I mentioned my plans to travel to the Faroe Islands in August 2022, most people asked this question. I had a vague idea they were in the Atlantic Ocean, but had to look at a map to see the exact location. They are volcanic islands located between Iceland and Scotland. It doesn’t look too far, but there are no direct flights from London. Therefore, I opted to travel via Copenhagen since I like visiting that city. I met other people who had come via Reykjavik, Edinburgh and various Norwegian cities.
The scenery in the Faroe islands is out of this world! Waterfalls and rivulets all over the place. Green hills, unusual rock formations, and lots of ocean views. One of the most impressive sights was the waterfall from the Lake above the Ocean. The water falls from the lake over rocks into the sea. Stunning! If you like hiking and nature, then this is a great place to visit before it becomes too touristy. The peace and quiet while experiencing the natural surroundings was an amazing experience. If you get the chance, book tours with locals as it supports the island community and you get to learn a lot!
- Streymoy Island
- Tórshavn, the capital
- Cute village of Tjørnuvík with a beach and view of Risin og Kellingin rock formations
- Beautiful Saksun Village with its hidden water inlet and cascades down the hills
- Haldorsvíkar octagonal Church
- Fossá waterfall
- Vestmanna Sea Cliffs- best seen by boat where you can go into some of the caves
- Faer Isles distillery for gin, aquavit, etc
- Kirkjubømúrurin- beautiful stone church ruins by the sea
- Vágar Island
- Gongutúrur hike from Vatnsoyrar to Midvágur over the hill. Great views in all directions!!
- Klovningur- witch’s finger rock formation
- Sandavágs kirkja
- Slave Cliff (Lake Above the Ocean)
- The Nix – horse sculpture jumping out of lake
- Bøur panoramic viewpoint- look at Dragarnir rock formation and Tindhólmur islet
- Múlafossur Waterfall
- Watch the sunset behind Mykines from the beach at Sørvágur
- Cute village with friendly locals
- Hike uphill to see puffins and other birds
- Lighthouse- the hike was closed due to a mud slide but there are huge binoculars to view 5 minutes away from the village
- Kalsoy Island
- Trøllanes village- view of the northern islands
- Kallur Lighthouse hike – in the ending scenery in James Bond No Time to Die
- Experience narrow tunnels that feel like they should be one-way but are actually two-way
- Eysturoy Island
Viewpoints at Vesturdalsá and Funningur
- Gjógv Natural Harbor and view across to Kalsoy
- Risin og Kellingin sea stacks
- Nolsoy Island
- Boat ride with Rib 62 around and into some caves- we saw lots of seals, a few puffins and lots of other birds
Before you go
- UK and US citizens do not need a visa to visit
- The flight between Copenhagen and Vágar is considered a domestic flight so there is no passport check upon arrival
- The official language is Faroese which is similar to Icelandic. However, most people also speak Danish and English. The pronunciation of some words is difficult but I found that the locals did their best to understand me
- Faroe Islands in Faroese is Føroyar
- All four seasons in a day! In fact, you can even have all four seasons in the same short time period on different parts of the islands!
- Bring a raincoat and also a hat and gloves
- The wind can be very strong
- Alcohol is very expensive so many people stop at the duty-free shop on the way in. Also, alcohol is sold only in a few national stores called Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins. They have limited hours and are closed on Sunday
- The main puffin season is June until mid-August. I arrived late August so there were only a few stragglers around
- Guide to Faroe Islands was a great tour company that helped direct me to the tours and transport run by locals
- There are few petrol stations and supermarkets outside of the big towns. Even by the airport, I needed to walk 25 minutes to the nearest supermarket or cafe
- Supermarket chains are Á Handil, Bonus, PE
- Most shops are closed on Sundays
- When going on hikes, pack your own food as there may not be places to buy any
- Interestingly, a lot of the old small school houses have been converted to public toilets so there are plenty of toilets around the villages
- If you like beer, then try one of the local microbreweries who use Faroese water!
- Most cafes and hotels will have wi-fi. However, sometimes there are not any around so you may consider a local sim card. I hired a portable wi-fi device with the car, which was very useful for driving and walking
- Many people are religious and there are churches in almost every town and village
- Cash machines are only available in the larger towns, so if you need cash then find one when you are passing by a large town
- Most places accept credit card
- Tipping is appreciated but not expected
- There are direct flights to Vágar airport from Copenhagen, Reykjavik/Keflavik, Oslo, Bergen, Stockholm, Aalborg, Billund, Sumburgh, Barcelona, Paris, and Edinburgh. However, all except for Copenhagen run infrequently during the week so you should plan your schedule accordingly. Also, some flights only operate during the summer. I took SAS via Copenhagen since they operate the most flights during the week.
- To get around the islands on a budget there is a public bus network. This does not run very frequently but was usually on time. You can buy a ticket with credit card on the bus. There is also an unlimited pass for 4 or 7 days. The website to find the bus and ferry schedules is Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL)
- If your budget allows, then hiring a car is an easier and quicker way to get around the islands. I recommend you get comprehensive insurance just in case. The distances are actually quite short. There are tunnels and bridges connecting six of the islands. The sub-sea tunnels have a toll charge. The other islands are reached by ferry or helicopter. When going to Kalsoy I recommend parking your car in Klaksvik and walking onto the ferry. Either join a tour or get the bus to the start of the lighthouse hike.
- Taxis are also available but sometimes there is a wait, depending on where they are coming from. Also the price is very high. For a 10-minute ride, I paid about £25.
- Another lesser known, yet affordable, mode of transport is to take a helicopter between cities on Atlantic Airways. You can book scheduled flights between towns online.
- The “See it all” tour with Elsa Maria of Getaround.fo was great fun! She told us a lot about life here while driving us to many beautiful sights across three different islands
- If you plan to go to the Faroe Islands, then book your accommodation in advance. During the summer, some places can get booked up completely. Even in late August, I had difficulty finding any B&B type accommodation in Sørvágur. One girl I met said that she found a place via AirB&B so that may be another option.
- In the end, I stayed for four nights at the Hotel Vágar, next to the airport. The room was spacious with two beds, a desk and a bathroom. The wi-fi connection was also good, which was important for me to work for a few days. It is a reception-free hotel which means you use a call box to enter the building. The check-in time of 14:00 is not flexible and you check in via a computer terminal in the entrance area. That all worked smoothly and I was emailed a code to open both the front door, and my room door.
- People are usually only passing through for a day either on the way to or from the airport. The breakfast was surprisingly good with bread, bacon, eggs, sausage, cheese, yoghurt and fruit. And the staff who are there for breakfast and cleaning between around 7:00-15:00 are very friendly and helpful. An added bonus is that they have a small fridge and microwave in the entry area for all guests to use.
- In Tórshavn, I stayed at the beautiful and comfortable four-star Hotel Brandan. More details about this in the next post.
- One guy who I met on a tour was camping in Tórshavn. He said it was affordable and close to the town centre. However, with the cold evenings and wind, I am not sure I would have braved it!
The official currency of the Faroe Islands is the Danish Kroner. As of August 2022, one British pound was equal to 8.6 DKK. There are some bills that are specific to the Faroe Islands and they are marked with Føroyar
I recommend to check the currency conversion just before you leave as this fluctuates
The weather in the Faroe islands makes it difficult to grow many fruits and vegetables. They can grow crops such as potatoes, crowberries, other root vegetables and rhubarb. Others are imported. In contrast, seafood is plentiful, as is lamb. There are sheep visible all around the islands. And the big circles in the ocean are salmon farms. Of course, the Faroe islands have also come under scrutiny by some for hunting and eating whales and dolphins. Whether one agrees or not, this was a way of life and survival in the islands in the past so it is part of the Faorese culture.
I had the opportunity to have some wonderful meals at restaurants and cafes during my visit. And for some quick meals, I just made sandwiches and salads, or had snacks. This was useful when going out hiking and also while staying near the airport, far from supermarkets and restaurants. I tried looking for bakeries and the only one I found was in Tórshavn. Unfortunately, I never got to try it since they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
During the “See it all” tour, we stopped for lunch at Fiskastykkið in Sandavágur. Before our meal, our guide let us try some sliced potato topped with whale blubber and dried whale meat. It was okay but intensely fishy so it is not my favourite flavour. For my main lunch, I had the most delicious fish soup. It seemed to be flavoured with chives, parsley, cream, and a special herb oil. And it was filled with tender salmon, cod, potatoes and carrots. On the side we had homemade bread which was tasty and had a spongey texture.
In Tórshavn, I tried a few different places and I will review this in detail in the next post. The highlight was definitely the tasting menu at ROKS, the sister restaurant to the famous 2-Michelin star KOKS.
The places to eat on Vágar were much more limited than in the capital. One evening, I decided to hike from my hotel near the airport over the hill to Miðvágur. My aim was to hopefully find a Fish and Chips van that I saw on GoogleMaps. It is next to 2 Jatnavegur, Miðvágur 370. I was happy it was there and open, which made it worth the 1.5 hour hike. The owner is very friendly. He lives on another island and drives his van over in the evenings. Besides fish and chips, he also sells burgers and some other foods. The fish and chips were delicious! And he added extra onion rings and fried shrimp in the takeaway box. The batter reminds me of thinner fried chicken batter rather than British beer batter. Very crispy and tasty!
The nearest place to eat near the airport is in the village down near the port, Sørvágur. There are a few cafes there and also a supermarket. My first meal was at Cafe Zorva. I had the fish and chips, and the chef told me it was made with sole fillets. Very tasty and crispy, with thin batter. The chips were chunky and there was a side of cole slaw. I also tried a local dark beer, which went well with the meal. The atmosphere feels a bit like a bar and some people seemed to mainly be having beers. I enjoyed a Föroya Bjór dark classic with my meal. The view out the window of the harbour is beautiful.
While I was driving around the Vestmanna area, I passed the Faer Isle Distillery. They make gin, aquavit and other liquors there. The distillery was closed, but luckily I found the bottles at both the national liquor stores and the airport.
My last meal in Sørvágur was at Cafe Pollastova. It is a quaint restaurant with friendly service. I had the salmon fillet with new potatoes and vegetables. The salmon fillet was large and deliciously fresh. I was stuffed at the end so took a piece of carrot cake to go. The carrot cake is made freshly by the chef and is also worth trying if you have space!
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: You don’t need one but I highly recommend you take some tours with local guides. Firstly, it supports the people here on the islands. And secondly, you get an enriched experience to hear about life and history from the locals. You will learn a lot and be entertained!
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes almost everyone speaks at least some English so you don’t really need a translation app. However, if you do use an app that does not have Faroese, then try Icelandic for a close translation…. usually
Q: Can I travel solo?
A: Yes, definitely. It is very safe on the islands. I would just recommend that you let someone know if you are planning to go on a long hike. There are often not many people around on the less touristy hiking trails.
Q: How easy is it to send postcards?
A: It was possible to find postcards at the tourist shops in Torshavn and at the information booth at the airport. Other than that, I didn’t see many around. As for stamps, the opening hours for the few post offices were very short. Luckily, the airport information booth also sold stamps at the normal cost. See Sending Postcards from Abroad for details on cost and the time it took to reach the USA.
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