Four incredible days in the Faroe Islands! Words really can’t describe how beautiful it is, so I thought I’d let the photos speak for themselves!
As I mentioned in my post last week, as part of my interview with the Director General of Visit Faroe Islands, the Faroe Islands are located in the North Atlantic, north of Scotland and east of Iceland. With only 50,000 residents, but 80,000 sheep, the biggest problem you’ll have is watching out for sheep (yep, they were even wandering around the airport parking). It’s no wonder that in Danish the old Norse for the Faroe Islands is “Sheep Islands”!
Weather Note: One really important thing to know about the Faroe Islands is that there’s LOTS of weather! So be prepared! It changes constantly from sun, to clouds, to fog, to rain, and back to sun. In fact, the Faroe Islands are frequently described as the weather god’s playground!
We visited in September, so the temperatures were roughly 55-60 degrees during the day and between 45 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Throughout the year, the weather tends to be windy, cloudy and cool, but, one thing that might surprise you is that throughout the year, there’s very little temperature variation. The biggest change you’ll see is the amount of daylight – up to nearly 20 hours on June 21, and as little as 5 hours during the winter.
Since we had only had four days to soak in the views, we had to be strategic in what we did and where we went. We were staying in the capital of Torshavn, on the island of Streymoy, but we also explored the islands of Nólsoy and Vagar. While three islands may seem like a lot of island hopping, the Faroe Islands are comprised of 18 islands, so we saw only a small portion.
Day 1: Faroe Islands Arrival! Yay!
Afternoon arrival at the airport and the welcoming committee of sheep!
Tindhólmur: Not far from the airport is some of the well-known, dramatic Faroese scenery. We headed northwest from the airport to view the islet of Tindhólmur. The jagged point looks like a shard of broken glass with a natural arch just in front of it. Notice the boat in the foreground? It’s even more breathtaking in person. And, if the fog has rolled in, it’s also mysterious.
Torshavn: Since it was getting late in the afternoon and the airport was about an hour from the capital city of Torshavn where we were staying, we drove back past the airport, making our way southeast.
Torshavn (named after the Norse god Thor) is like being in a nostalgic little village. Everything is close by, including the views. With a population of 12,000, Torshavn has roughly 25% of the population of the entire Faroe Islands!
Day 2: Nólsoy Island
While this photo of Nólsoy is from the ferry, you can actually see the island from Torshavn since it’s only 4 km away. With a population of less than 265, it makes Torshavn seem like a metropolis! We walked five minutes from our hotel to the harbor to take the 20- minute ferry ride to the island of Nólsoy to do some exploring and hiking.
Nólsoy Tip: We visited Nólsoy midweek in September. Just about everything was closed except the village market (and even though that closed between 2pm and 4pm), so make sure you pack snacks and water (thankfully we were prepared). Oh, and take your rain gear – ya never know what surprises the Faroese weather holds!
Day 3: Streymoy Island (Kirkjubøur, Norðradalur) and Vágar Islands (Lake Sørvágsvatn)
Streymoy is the most populated of the Faroe Islands, about 22,400, about 40% of the total population.
The village of Kirkjubøur, was our first stop of the day: We drove about 25 minutes northwest from Torshavn to Kirkjubøur. The village of about 75 residents, contains the country's most important historical site - the ruins of the Magnus Cathedral from around 1300 and the Saint Olav's Church (Mary’s Church) from 12th century (the only medieval church still in use).
Continuing north to the village of Norðradalur, with a population of less than 20, it might be easy to miss... except for the view!
Next, Vagar Island, to hike Lake Sørvágsvatn: Lake Sørvágsvatn is probably one of the best known sights in the Faroe Islands. Located on the island of Vagar, it’s about an hour from Torshavn and only three miles from the airport. The largest lake in the Faroe Islands, Lake Sørvágsvatn covers an area of 3.4 km. Since it was a particularly beautiful day, we hiked most of it (again, take your waterproof gear and make sure that your shoes are waterproof too, as you’ll have to cross small streams). The lake is very close to the ocean, but actually situated about 40 meters above the level of sea. It’s surrounded by a higher cliff, and that cliff prevents the lake from emptying fully into the ocean. If you’re on the side of the Bøsdalafossur waterfall, you might get the illusion that the lake is higher above sea level than it is. Unfortunately, from whee we hiked that vantage point wasn’t visible, but the views were still crazy. See for yourself….
Day 4: Last Day, Vestmanna and Off to the Airport
After a leisurely last morning in Torshavn, we set off to the north end of the island of Streymoy to the village of Vestamanna, about an hour north of Torshavn, on the south end of Streymoy. Vestmanna was formerly a ferry port until a tunnel was built connecting the various islands. Even though Vestmanna has 1,200 residents, it’s really more scenic than anything else.
After leaving Vestmanna, we make our way back to the airport for our departure flight!
One disappointment: The Faroe Islands are known for their puffin population, mostly on the western island of Mykines. We didn't make it out to Mykines during our short stay, but we still kept an eye out for the pelagic seabirds. Unfortunately, the only puffins we saw were the ones in the artwork at our hotel! I think their pretty cute all the same!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photo tour of the Faroe Islands. If you’re looking for something “Unspoiled. Unexplored. Unbelievable.” Then head to the Faroes Islands!
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