Faroe Islands travel guide: first timer’s tips for 2023
Heading to the Faroe Islands and not sure what to expect? Beautiful scenery, delicious food and stunning small towns are a few things that await. This Faroe Islands travel guide will help you with your trip planning.
Thinking of travelling to the Faroe Islands? It might be easier than you think.
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.
This Faroe Islands travel guide will help aid you in your trip planning, before you visit this stunning archipelago.
Here are a few factors that are worth knowing in advance. And for more, check out this list of amazing things to do in the Faroe Islands.
Faroe Islands travel guide
The Faroe Islands: some need know info
Here are some quick points of information about the Faroe Islands:
- the capital of the islands is Tórshavn. This little city is located on the main island of Streymoy
- you’ll fly into Vágar Airport, which is around 45 kilometres from Tórshavn
- the Faroes consist of 18 islands, which are all inhabited bar one and many islets and skerries. Alongside Streymoy, Eysturoy, Vágar and Suðuroy are the main islands
- while the Faroes are self-governing, they’re officially part of the Kingdom of Denmark
- the Faroes are around 320 kilometres (200 miles) northwest of Scotland, about halfway between Norway and Iceland
- the official languages of the islands are Faroese and Danish, but English is very common too
- around 54,000 people live on the islands
- the national currency is the Faroese króna.
And maybe good to address the elephant in the room, so to speak, before going any further.
The Faroes, especially over the last thousand years, have often been in the news for the wrong reasons – primarily for their whaling. Faroese people have hunted whales for meat for over a thousand years, in a practice known as the grindadráp or ‘grind’.
Some animal rights groups condemn the practice, although you can argue the point that the hunt is far more sustainable than a lot of the hunting that takes places in our seas (or take for example, salmon farms, that do untold damage to the environment around them), and an important part of the island’s history.
Personally, while I don’t support whaling, you’ll have to make up your mind about how you feel about travelling to the islands. Important I think, to remember that no country is perfect and no issue perfectly black and white.
And with the air cleared, let’s get on with this Faroe Islands travel guide.
Faroe Islands travel guide: Where to stay in the Faroe Islands
While you can stay on other islands, I’ve written this Faroe Islands travel guide for people who are visiting for the first time.
Tórshavn is a really cool city and the most ideal place to base yourself on your trip. There’s plenty of things to do here, too.
Check out these accommodation options:
Faroe Islands travel guide: How to get to the Faroe Islands
Vágar Airport is not the most well-connected airport in the world, but it’s still surprisingly easy to get to the Faroe Islands.
This airport is not on the main island of Streymoy, but it’s an easy drive to Tórshavn from here.
You can fly direct to the Faroes from quite a few places, like Copenhagen (Denmark), Paris (France), Reykjavik (Iceland), Edinburgh (Scotland), Oslo (Norway), and Bergen (Norway).
Three airlines service the Faroes:
You also have the option to travel to the Faroes by boat, on a route that travels between Iceland and Denmark.
This would be an experience for sure.
Faroe Islands travel guide: Do you need to hire a car for the Faroe Islands?
In a word? Yes.
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 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.
Faroe Islands travel guide: How many days do you need in the Faroe Islands?
4-7 days is a great amount of time to spend in the Faroe Islands. Definitely plan to visit for at least four days, so you can do the islands justice.
The Islands are small and very driveable. You can cover a lot of ground in a few days.
Of course, it does depend on what you want to do. If you’re travelling to the Faroes primarily for hiking, you might want to give yourself a few days to explore other parts of the island, or for different activities.
It does also depend on your budget. As a Nordic destination, the islands are not the cheapest place to visit.
Faroe Islands travel guide: Are the Faroe Islands expensive?
Which brings us to our next question.
Are the islands expensive to visit? Yes, they are.
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.
It would be possible to visit the Faroe Islands on a 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.
I recommend allocation at least xx a day to spend…
Faroe Islands travel guide: When is the best time to visit the Faroe Islands?
The best month is midsummer, in July, although this is peak travel season. On the upside, the weather is generally more pleasant in the summer months (although, this is not always a guarantee.
While it will be cheaper to visit in the off season, you may miss out on some stellar experiences if you choose to go at any other time of the year.
Some things you can only do in the Faroe Islands in summer include:
- ogling puffins on Mykines Island
- seeing seabirds on the Vestmanna bird cliffs
- visiting Kalsoy Island
- some ferry routes and helicopter tours.
Faroe Island travel guide: some other considerations
So what else do you need to know, before you head to the Faroe Islands?
Here are some other considerations.
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.
& do some hardcore shopping
If you’ve watched The Killing (the Danish version) you’ll have noticed the fabulous jumper Sarah Lund wears in the pilot episode.
It’s the work of Faroese brand Guðrun & Guðrun,
They exploded into popularity shortly after The Killing first aired, with fans coveting their very own Lund jumper.
As an aside, I don’t own that particularly jumper, but I do own one by the brand made out of the softest alpaca yarn. It’s one of my favourite travel souvenirs.
Definitely bring a set of hiking shoes
Keen hiker? Any Faroe Islands travel guide will tell you that this is a top thing to do on these islands. And ain’t this the truth!
They feature some of the most spectacular hikes you’ll ever come across, when travelling the world.
There are a range of hikes available, to suit 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 Faroes, until a tunnel connected it to the rest of the island in 2004.
It’s now one of the most famous sights in the country, due to the nearby waterfall that flows straight on into the sea.
Speaking of waterfalls…
You’ll be chasing waterfalls, no matter where you go
There are waterfalls just about everywhere in the Faroes. You don’t need to journey even that far out of Tórshavn to see them.
It’s just a little bit pretty.
Are the Faroe Islands worth visiting?
In a word, yes.
You may need to save for some time, and they can be a bit of a journey to get to. If you’re already in Europe, it’s not that far.
If you’re an Australian like myself, trying to get there, you’d have to fly to most probably the UK, get up to Edinburgh (perhaps by sleeper train?) and fly from there. But the landscape is unlike anywhere else I’ve been in the world and is well-worth experiencing for yourself.
And if you’re a hiker who loves being out in nature – well, you’re going to have yourself a ball.
Well, I’ve convinced myself that I’ll have to make as many return trips as possible.. Question is – have I convinced you?
I hope this Faroe Islands travel guide has been helpful for your trip planning. If you’ve found this article helpful and this kind of destination is right up your alley, check out my Iceland Westfjord’s road trip itinerary and these things to do in Svalbard.
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!
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!
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!
Not exactly “warm”! Thank you darling.
The average summer temp is 13°C, so colder than a Sydney winter!
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!
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 🙂
Thanks for the compliments! It’s a fantastic place.
Looks super peaceful & calming! I haven’t been to Scotland or Iceland before, but definitely putting Faroe on my list to see!
Well if you ever go to either, maybe you can drop in on the way!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Very informative and such beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing because I am adding Faroe to my bucket list of travels
You should! Hope you manage to get there.
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!
Summer is the time to go! I hope to return one day and see the darn puffins, hehe.
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!
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. 🙂
Truly wonderful place! 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.
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.
Let me know if you do get there, Russell 🙂
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??
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).
Another place I need to add to my travel to do list. Thanks for writing and the great pics.
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!
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!
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.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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!
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!
Glad you enjoyed it. ?
Ive always wanted to visit the Faroe islands! They look so beautiful!
They really are!
The Faroe Islands look like a place like no other. It looks so beautiful and also really peaceful. Thanks for your tips on planning a trip, you’ve just reminded me that it’s a place I should definitely visit.
It’s ethereally beautiful – I really loved it. Hope you make it there one day!
Hi Laura. Great article! I just found out about the islands earlier this year while scrolling across Google maps. Seeing the little dotted islands between Iceland and Norway peaked my curiosity and when I researched more, I was amazed. I have my flights booked to the islands for this August. 🙂 Would you say this is a good time of year to visit or do you think the weather will keep me from seeing a lot? Sounds like there is still plenty to do year-round.
Thanks for your insight!
I thought of a few more questions: Do you recommend booking your rental car ahead of time? Would you stay in different places throughout your stay, or book one Airbnb and just drive around?
Hello Allison. That’s funny – I do the exact same thing!
I think August should be a good time to go. I was there in mid-September and that was definitely the tail end of the summer season, so you’ve probably picked the perfect time. Definitely wrap up – it gets windy and cold there. I recommend booking a car in advance, that’s just something I like doing regardless of where I go, as it often ends up being cheaper. It’s extremely hard to get around the islands without your own transport, but the roads are great. I stayed in Tórshavn, the capital and just drove around each day. It never really took that long to get anywhere.
Two things I didn’t get to do that may be of interest to you: the ferry to Mykines, where you can see puffins at the right time of the year (they may still be there in August. Not sure). I also wish I’d been able to journey out to Mikladalur to see the selkie statue. If you like food, KOKS restaurant is the number two meal I’ve had anywhere in the world. I also bought a lovely jumper from Guðrun & Guðrun in Tórshavn (they made the sweater worn by Sarah Lund in the Danish version of The Killing) and it’s made for a darn good souvenir. Have an excellent time! I’m excited for you.