Located between Iceland and Norway and consisting of 18 volcanic islands, the Faroe Islands are a hidden gem of Europe. With waterfalls galore, dramatic landscapes and an extreme feeling of remoteness, they certainly gave us an experience like nowhere else.
CAPITAL CITY: Tórshavn
Faroese Króna and the Danish Krone.
Both currencies have equal value and are accepted everywhere on the islands. You can withdraw money using ATMs and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
Air: There are now three airlines that fly into the Faroe Islands: Atlantic Airways, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and Flybe. When we visited only Atlantic Airways was operating so we flew in from Edinburgh, however there are flights from many different locations including England, Denmark, Iceland and Norway. The flight and airport is an experience in itself – everyone appears to know everyone – even the flight attendants and pilot were chatting to (and hugging!) everyone that boarded the plane! When you land you’ll go through an extremely lax passport check (the majority of locals just walk straight through) and you’ll then experience the frenzy that is duty-free shopping in the Faroes!
Sea: Arrival by sea is possible from Iceland and Denmark using Smyril Line. Frequency depends on the time of year.
Visa: The Faroe Islands are part of Europe and the Schengen zone so they come under the same rules as this area – find out what applies to the passport you hold.
We highly recommend hiring a car if you’re visiting the Faroes and want to explore independently. Nothing is too far apart but having the freedom to stop wherever and whenever you like is certainly the best way to see the islands. There are many hire car companies in Tórshavn or pick-up from the airport is also available. Be aware that there is a return charge of DKK100 for using the underwater tunnels that connect a few of the islands.DRIVING IN THE FAROE ISLANDS
Driving in the Faroe Islands is an experience in itself. The Faroese drive on the right hand side of the road and we didn’t see a single speed sign the entire time we were there. With one-lane tunnels, windy roads and unpredictable weather conditions, it’s definitely best to learn the road rules before you get behind the wheel. We’d highly suggest having a read through this guide before arriving.
There is a public bus system which operates over many of the islands however the time of year will determine how frequently these run. We would definitely recommend car hire so you aren’t restricted to these routes. The bus to/from the airport is great if you are hiring your car from Tórshavn.ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation in the Faroe Islands is certainly not too backpacker friendly. While there are hostels available in a few cities/towns, they aren’t open year-round and they can be upwards of AU$100. We would recommend Airbnb if you’re on a tighter budget. There are plenty of hotels and guest houses available which are best found through booking.com (if you book through here we receive a small commission to help us continue our travels – and it doesn’t cost you any extra!).
THE ISLANDS & WHAT TO SEE
There are 18 islands in total that make-up the Faroes and we certainly wouldn’t say no to visiting every single one! This is a snapshot of the highlights.
Vágar: Vágar is the island you will fly into and is home to a few of the most famous and impressive sites of the Faroes including Gásadalur Waterfall and Sørvágsvatn Lake. It would be quite a feat to get lost on Vágar as there is one main road that will lead you through all the beautiful little towns and to the major attractions.
Mykines: Your one stop shop for puffin sightings!
Streymoy: Streymoy is the main island and is just as stunning from the top to the bottom. Tjornuvik, Saksun, Fossá waterfall, Tórshavn and Kirkjubøu should all be on your list for this island.
Eysturoy: The drive through Eysturoy is stunning in itself, but you must visit Gjógv village, stopping in at Funningur on the way, and don’t forget Æðuvík in the south – a tiny village known as the ‘Christmas village’.
Borðoy: Klaksvík is the second largest town in the Faroes and is a must-see. We would recommend continuing on to visit both the island of Viðoy and Kunoy once you have spent some time in Klaksvík.Kalsoy: Kalsoy is only accessible by ferry and is dubbed the ‘flute’ island due to its thin shape and constant in-and-out of tunnels. It’s certainly not short of beautiful views with 13 peaks, 11 valleys and four villages.
The location of the Faroe Islands means that there is seafood galore and it’s GOOD! It will come at a price though; generally eating out is quite expensive. You can save your pennies by shopping at grocery stores – there’s a few ones around but we found Bonus to be good for price and in many towns we passed through.
The weather in the Faroes is much less extreme than one might expect. During winter it rarely drops below 0°C however the winds can be brutal so we highly recommend a wind resistant jacket (plus all of the below!). The summers average at around 13°C; there’s certainly not too much sun-baking to be done! The weather conditions can change within the space of a minute so our best advise is to always be prepared for anything. Those days that we forgot our gloves were rather unpleasant.
No matter what time of year you visit, your one essential in the Faroes is good hiking boots. There’s so many places to explore by foot that you’ll kick yourself (pardon the pun) if you haven’t got the right footwear. During the colder months we would recommend a warm coat, wind breaker, beanie, scarf and layers – it’s all about making sure the wind can’t get in anywhere! We came prepared with thermals but didn’t find we needed them in November.TOP PHOTO SPOTS & TIPS
– Gásadalur Waterfall
– Sørvágsvatn Lake: The spot to get the iconic photograph is terrifyingly close to the edge of a cliff. There are anchor points to tie yourself to which we’d highly recommend, if only we knew they were there before we arrived!
– Gjógv village: Make sure you walk through the town and then hike up towards the left so you get the view back towards the village.
– Fossá waterfall: This is the highest waterfall in the Faroes and you can see this waterfall from the road but we hiked right up to the bottom of the top falls which was a lot of fun and gave us a different perspective. Allow yourself an hour each way as although it doesn’t look like a long hike, the trick is deciding the safest route to take (especially when it’s icy!).
– Tórshavn city
– Klaksvík town
– Mykines island: Puffins!OTHER
Internet access: The Faroe Islands have fast Wi-Fi connection and you can also purchase a sim card if you need to. There are a few providers including Vodafone, however we used Føroya Tele. It’s best to visit a store in Tórshavn when you arrive.
Visit now: The Faroe Islands are becoming increasingly popular with travellers but we still had every ‘hot spot’ to ourselves – we can’t imagine this will last long. Take into consideration the time of year that you visit. We were there in winter which definitely contributed to the lack of visitors however did limit the islands we could visit. Summer may be busier but I still can’t imagine it would be inundated with travellers just yet. The increase of flights will definitely contribute to a growth in tourism so we certainly recommend visiting as soon as possible.
Any questions, feel free to send us an email via our contact form or comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
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