Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Faroe Islands

Penny for your thoughts, sheep?

There are some places you visit that you hope to goodness you will get the chance to return to… one day. For me, the Faroe Islands falls firmly into this category.

The tiny archipelago, located in-between Iceland and Scotland only receives 40 odd-thousand visitors a year (compared to neighbouring Iceland, which continues to surge in popularity). This is a number that’s set to rise, as the world becomes smaller and the remotest of places become more and more accessible.

Are you planning a trip to the Faroe Islands? Here's a few factors that you should consider before visiting the tiny archipelago.

I left with many thoughts and emotions. One thing was for certain. Four days wasn’t enough time to spend in the Faroe Islands.

We based ourselves in Tórshavn (tor-shawn), the teeny tiny capital, in an AirBnB run by a very lovely local couple. We were even invited into their house for a glass of wine – that’s the first time that’s ever happened to me, in the entire time I’ve used the service!

torshavn

Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.

If you’re considering a trip to the Faroe Islands, here’s a few factors that are worth knowing in advance.

Getting there is not impossible

Vágar Airport is not the most well-connected airport in the world, but it’s not the worst to get to.

You can fly directly there via Atlantic Airways from both Edinburgh, Scotland and Copenhagen, Denmark. I’d advise spending a few days chilling in either city before or after your visit because… why not? They’re both excellent cities in their own right.

Even Vágar Airport feels pretty rural.

My original plan was to spend three days in Edinburgh before flying on, travelling up there on the train from London. This plan got upended by a last minute trip to Kyrgyzstan. It made for a tiring trip onto the Faroes but… stuff happens.

You also have the option to travel to the Faroes by boat, on a route that travels between Iceland and Denmark. That would be an experience for sure.

Getting around the Faroes is fairly easy, so long as you have a car.

You’re going to need a set of wheels

The population of entire archipelago in 2016 was only 48,000, with some villages numbering into only the double digits. This place is about as remote as you can get. So, it makes sense that public transport is not really readily available. Most people get to and fro in the country via car, which is the option you’re probably going to have to take as well.

Unless, of course, you really like walking super long distances. The islands are known for their great hikes, after all!

You can catch a taxi or the airport shuttle from Vágar to Tórshavn (more information on bookings can be found here) but you’re probably better off renting a car from the airport. Use it for your adventures around the islands and drop it back at the airport when you’re done. Easy.

Gearing up for a sight-seeing tour in Vestmanna

It’s not a destination for budget travellers

I’m sure you could visit the Faroe Islands whilst on a very tight budget. You could eat food only from supermarkets, stay in the cheapest hotels, try your hand at hitching rides and cap your activities at hiking and not much else.

The one question I ask is – why on earth would you want to do that?

Like most Nordic countries, the Faroes are not necessarily what you’d describe as being cheap. You can spend a bit of money, or you can spend a lot.

I chose to not hold back. I did all the activities I wanted (and was able) to do. I ate where I wished and my tastebuds were grateful for the experience (the food in this country is good).

I may have returned to London a few hundred quid poorer, but I was richer for the experience. Clichéd, but true!

So many lighthouses, so little time.

Time your visit accordingly

Peak season for visiting the Faroe Islands is during the summer months and I implore you to go during this season, if you’re at all able to.

Why is this? Simply due to the fact that you’ll miss out on some stellar experiences if you choose to go at any other point in the year.

This includes, in no specific order (joking, I’ve ordered them depending on how disappointed I was over missing out on doing these things).

Seeing puffins on Mykines Island

I’ve wanted to see puffins my entire life but APPARENTLY NOT ENOUGH as I keep going to countries like the Faroes and Iceland, shortly after these weird and whacky seabirds have departed for the season.

Mykines is completely inundated with the seabirds in the summer months, so you’ll be hard-pressed to miss them. Think of me, please.

On the upside, the picturesque village of Gásadular is accessible all year round.

Seeing seabirds on the Vestmanna bird cliffs & panorama view

There’s a bit of a bird theme going on here (well, look at the name of this blog and you’ll understand why).

We did actually go on this boat tour, but the seas were wild (to the point where I was fearful for my life) and the birds, essentially gone. It consisted mostly of our guide saying:

“Well, this is where the puffins and fulmer would be… and oh, look, some sheep!”

Visiting Kalsoy Island

We didn’t get to do this even in September. I was rather gutted as it is home to the very cute Kallur Lighthouse, as well as the Seal Woman statue, which is supposedly quite beautiful to look at.

Reduced helicopter and ferry services

There are far less chances to book helicopter and ferry rides around the island. Plus, they’re subject to cancel at bad weather, which usually comes part and parcel with winter.

koks restaurant

Dinner is served at Kok’s Restaurant.

Be prepared to eat the most amazing food of your life

I could rave on about the food in the Faroes, until I was blue in the face.

We didn’t hold back when it came to dinner time, even taking in a meal at the acclaimed Koks restaurant just outside of Tórshavn. Watching the sunset over the ocean was almost as good as eating the food. Almost, but not quite, believe it or not.

Related: Why We Chose Tali Wiru For Our Outback Dining Experience

And do some hardcore shopping

I had to make a difficult decision during my time in the Faroes – whether I should or shouldn’t invest in a jumper from Guðrun & Guðrun.

If you’ve watched The Killing (the Danish version) you’ll know what I’m talking about. The fabulous jumper Sarah Lund wears in the pilot episode? That’s made by Guðrun & Guðrun.

The Faroese brand exploded into popularity shortly after The Killing first aired, with fans coveting their very own Lund jumper. After much deliberation, I ended up buying a very lovely and very pricey jumper made out of alpaca wool. Wearing it is like wearing a cloud.

Risin og Kellingin stacks look out towards Iceland.

Bring a set of hiking shoes

The Faroe Islands feature some of the most spectacular hikes you’ll ever come across, when travelling the world.

We didn’t do much hiking – it was raining pretty much our entire time there and I’m not exactly at peak physical fitness these days.

There are a range of hikes available from beginners to the more experienced.

If you have a tendency to get worn out fairly quickly, I’d recommend at least journeying out to Slættaratindur. It’s the highest peak in the Faroe Islands and it’s said that you can see all the way to Iceland on a clear day.

For a more challenging hike, you could opt to do the old route of Bøur to the small village of Gásadalur. It was one of the most isolated villages in the island, until a tunnel connected it to the rest of the island in 2004. It’s now one of the most famous sights on the Faroes, due to the nearby waterfall that flows straight on into the sea.

Speaking of waterfalls…

How’s that for a backyard water feature?

You’ll be chasing waterfalls, no matter where you go

I thought Iceland had amazing waterfalls. Not that it doesn’t. Yet there were waterfalls in the Faroes everywhere I looked.

It was just a little bit pretty.

Well, I’ve convinced myself that I’ll have to go back, someday. Question is – have I convinced you?

Have you been to the Faroe Islands? Were you as enamoured with the place as I was?

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40 Responses to Everything You Need to Know About Visiting the Faroe Islands

  1. Doro December 19, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

    I just found out that the Faroe Islands exist this year…a little bit embarassing – I know! I think I’m not the only one who doesn’t know about them though 😀
    Ever since then the idea of visiting stuck to my mind, I’m already imagining taking the ferry from Copenhagen 🙂 The only thing that is holding me back at the moment are the costs. While I’m pretty sure that I somehow could turn the whole thing into a budget trip, it would of course be much nicer not having to track every penny you spend!

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:08 am #

      You’re definitely not the only one. When I told people I was going there they’d either be like “oh!” or “where?!”. I would honestly go when you’re a little more flush with cash. The Nordics aren’t cheap and it would be a shame to miss out on things!

  2. Si December 19, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Sounds and looks amazing, what is the weather like in the summer? Seems like the winter wind and rain is just adding to the magic of the place in your pictures!

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:12 am #

      Not exactly “warm”! Thank you darling.

      • Si December 20, 2016 at 11:24 am #

        So “cold”?

        • Laura Céline December 21, 2016 at 1:17 am #

          The average summer temp is 13°C, so colder than a Sydney winter!

          • Si December 21, 2016 at 11:08 am #

            How much rain is there in summer compared to when you were there? I’d hate to miss out on the waterfalls at their best, or the beautifull fields at their greenest!

  3. Aisha December 19, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

    I’ll admit I did not know about Faroe until I read this post but this place is stunning! Your photos certainly do it justice but the activities you described sound so amazing. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see and do all the things you wanted to, but such is the nature of travel, no matter how meticulously we plan. Very informative post and again, absolutely beautiful photos! Going to do some more research on Faroe now 🙂

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks for the compliments! It’s a fantastic place.

  4. Eric December 20, 2016 at 2:26 am #

    Looks super peaceful & calming! I haven’t been to Scotland or Iceland before, but definitely putting Faroe on my list to see!

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:25 am #

      Well if you ever go to either, maybe you can drop in on the way!

  5. Ticker Eats The World December 20, 2016 at 3:37 am #

    WHAT A FIND! Sadly had no clue whatsoever about the islands and the good thing is I got the chance to read your blog and found out about it. The place look breathtakingly beautiful and yes I expect it to be on the expensive side but then as you said you’ve got to spend a little to enjoy. I’m a big foodie and glad to know that the food didn’t disappoint. Definitely a place I would love to visit.

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:24 am #

      Oh my goodness, the food is amazing! That’s okay, I think a lot of people haven’t heard about them. They are worth a visit.

  6. Eric || The Bucket LIst Project December 20, 2016 at 3:44 am #

    how beautiful. I went to Iceland and felt the same way you feel about the Faroes but someone recently told me that if I wanted even more of a “remote” pure feel then I should go to the Faroe’s. So it is definitely on my list to hit up when I visit Ireland/Scotland next year.
    I am glad you loved the food because I was wondering how good it was. I was rather disappointed in Iceland’s overall fair!
    Eric || The Bucket LIst Project recently posted…My First Year in the Woods – A Bucket List AdventureMy Profile

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      I am crazy about Iceland, but the Faroes are somewhere special. Reminded me a lot of the Westfjords (not sure if you’ve been there, but it’s magical!). And it’s so conveniently accessible from Scotland. And yeah, all the food was amazing.

  7. Leslie Walker December 20, 2016 at 5:39 am #

    Very informative and such beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing because I am adding Faroe to my bucket list of travels

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      You should! Hope you manage to get there.

  8. Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel December 20, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    What a wonderful hidden gem! I hadn’t ever considered visiting Faroe Islands but I might just add it to my bucket list now. Traveling there by boat must be incredible, and will definitely aim to visit in the summer months!

    • Laura Céline December 20, 2016 at 11:15 am #

      Summer is the time to go! I hope to return one day and see the darn puffins, hehe.

  9. Patricia - Ze Wandering Frogs December 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    I can’t believe we never went tough I lived in Scotland for 2 years! It’s one of these things you think you can do anytime because it’s “right there” but you end up not doing. But would love to go for sure! HIking, camping, history, culture, traditions, landscape – it has it all! One of these days!
    Patricia – Ze Wandering Frogs recently posted…An Exploration of Prambanan Temple, A Hindu Jewel on Java IslandMy Profile

    • Laura Céline December 21, 2016 at 1:18 am #

      I know what you mean! There were many things I wanted to do in the UK (and London in particular) that I just “never got around to”! Luckily, the islands aren’t going anywhere. 🙂

  10. Amruta Telang December 21, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    Truly wonderful place Laura! I have never been thought of this place and never been to any island 🙁 We are planning a family trip in Feb 2017. But how would be the weather there? I just want to that place where I can relax & wish to experience real beauty of nature. This is the perfect place for me. I hope will visit soon. Thanks for sharing.
    Amruta Telang recently posted…Head to the Magnificent Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve and Get Memories of a LifetimeMy Profile

  11. Russell December 22, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    Great article, Laura 😃 I’ve anyways wanted to visit the Faroe Islands after learning about them and reading your post just made me want to visit even more, hopefully in the new year! I’ll definitely be coming back to your tips when we make it there! Thanks again for a great read.

    • Laura Céline December 23, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Let me know if you do get there, Russell 🙂

  12. Sudipto De December 23, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

    Faroe Islands looks so beautiful that we are adding it to our list for the next year. I fell in love with the cute lighthouse against the shoreline. Are there many castles around??

    • Laura Céline December 23, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

      I didn’t see any castles, but the parliament buildings in Tórshavn are some of the oldest in the world (date back to the 800s).

  13. Chuck December 24, 2016 at 5:58 am #

    Another place I need to add to my travel to do list. Thanks for writing and the great pics.

  14. Candace Boggan December 25, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    What an informative post with great pics! Thank you! I will definitely be adding this locale to my list now. It looks and sounds amazing!

  15. Vicky @ A Backpack Full of Adventures December 26, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

    I’m the same as Doro, I haven’t heard about the Faroe Islands until a year or two ago – but I’ve wanted to go there ever since! Just like Iceland, it must be GORGEOUS – so both of them are at the top of my bucket list now. 🙂 Thanks for all the tips, Laura!
    Vicky @ A Backpack Full of Adventures recently posted…How to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle from MunichMy Profile

    • Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      Iceland’s one of my favourite countries in the world and the Faroes reminded me so much of the Westfjords. Hope you make it to both someday soon.

  16. Sheena December 28, 2016 at 4:29 am #

    I’ve been seeing a lot about the Faroe Islands lately! I’m a budget traveller… it’s not how I would prefer to travel but it’s a necessity, especially as I’ve been on the road for over a year so far. But if you’re only going away for the weekend, for sure go crazy. But the Faroe Islands actually looks perfect for budget travellers, what I love about the outdoors & hiking is that nature is free & for everyone 🙂
    Sheena recently posted…Climbing Volcan San Pedro Without a Guide & For FreeMy Profile

    • Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 9:02 am #

      I think you could easily budget for it if you’re super into outdoor activities. I would at least splurge on one meal, even if it’s not at KOKS. The food is amazing.

  17. Anna December 28, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    The Faroes have been on my bucket list for a really long time so I’m hoping to finally visit the islands next year. Really glad to have come across your post – pinned for a future reference! Your point about not sticking to a tight budget while there makes sense, it’s not a destination where you just randomly end up and it surely is a place you plan to visit… And yes, I’ll be buying that Lund jumper as well! 😀 Thanks for the post!

    • Laura-Céline December 28, 2016 at 9:05 am #

      Glad the post was helpful – I hope you make it there! I don’t regret my jumper at all. I had to take an extra shift at work to pay it off, but it was totally worth it!

  18. Aldrick Agpaoa December 29, 2016 at 2:20 am #

    Wow! Didn’t think Faroe Islands could be a great destination to go! If I really have the opportunity to go, why not! The place is well-justified based on your pictures, Laura! I was just in awe while reading about The Faroes!

    • LC January 2, 2017 at 11:55 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it. 😊

  19. Krista December 31, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    Ive always wanted to visit the Faroe islands! They look so beautiful!
    Krista recently posted…Letter to Future SelfMy Profile

    • LC January 2, 2017 at 11:52 am #

      They really are!

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