10 things to do in Torshavn, colourful capital of the Faroe Islands

Looking for things to do in Torshavn? There’s plenty to get up to in this quirky capital of the remote Faroe Islands.

Brightly coloured buildings down the harbour of the Faroe Islands capital. Discover the best things to do in Torshavn.
Brightly coloured buildings in Tórshavn.

Move over Reykjavík – is Tórshavn northern Europe’s quirkiest city?

The Faroe Island’s capital may be small, but it also happens to be a completely delightful place to visit.

And while you will see the most epic scenery when exploring this remote archipelago, it’s worth taking the time to check out this fantastic town.

Here are a few things to do in Torshavn, which should convince you to make it part of your trip to the Faroe Islands.

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Best things to do in Torshavn

Two statues in Torshavn.
There’s a lot of cool art to be seen in Tórshavn.

Where is Torshavn?

Tórshavn is located on the largest of the Faroe Islands, Streymoy.

You’ll find it on the south-east coast of the Faroe Islands.

It’s pretty tiny, with a population of around 17,000 people. Yet, it’s one of the loveliest places I’ve visited.

And there’s plenty of things to do in Torshavn – good shopping, delicious food to sample, a bit of history and some epic adventures.

Where to stay in Torshavn

Statue of a man on a seat outside the visitor's centre in Torshavn, crossing his arms.
An obstinate statue in Torshavn.

Now, let’s discover what you can get up too in this town.

1. Learn a bit about local history at a museum or gallery

There’s plenty of places in Tórshavn where you can learn a little something about the history of these stunning islands:

  • The National Museum has a permanent exhibition which thoroughly covers the history of life on the Faroes
  • the National Gallery houses art inspired by the natural beauty of the islands. There’s works crafted with Faroese horsehair and a massive whale made of 32,000 plastic soldiers
  • the Nordic House holds all sorts of interesting exhibitions.

2. Take a tour on a traditional Faroese boat

Jump on a boat in the capital’s harbour and cruise out to Nólsoy Island, on a schooner built in the mid-20th century.

This stunning island is home to a vast array of wildlife. One for the #birdnerds, particularly.

A word of warning – the seas here can be rough. Dress warmly (even in summertime) and bring your wet weather gear.

The grass-roofed Parliament buildings in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, which are said to be the oldest in the world.
Parliament buildings in Tórshavn, which are said to be one of the oldest in the world.

3. Check out one of the oldest parliaments in the world

Although officially considered part of Denmark, the Faroes are self-governing.

The Løgting (Faroese Parliament, which translates delightfully to “law thing”) can be traced back 1000 years making it one of, if not the oldest parliament in the world.

One of the most interesting things to do in Torshavn is to have a poke around the buildings, which are built in traditional Faroese style.

4. Buy a souvenir jumper

Guðrun & Guðrun is a sustainable fashion company that shot to fame a few years ago, after designing the sweater that The Killing’s protagonist Sarah Lund wore in the Danish version of the show. You can buy a traditional Faroese jumper from here.

Be warned, prices are hefty, at hundreds of dollars. I did thought long and hard about buying my own jumper. In the end, I figured it is a souvenir I’ll get a lot of use out of and this has certainly proved to be true.

Other places for quality knits include Østrøm, Snældan and Ullvøruhúsið.

Plate of food from KOKS restaurant on the Faroe Islands. Eating here is one of the top things to do in the Faroe Islands.
One of the appetisers from KOKS, a fantastic restaurant in the Faroe Islands.

5. Eat the most delicious meals

If you’re looking for things to do in Torshavn that are food-based, you won’t be disappointed.

In traditional Nordic style, you can eat very well on the Faroe Islands.

Start each day with a baguette and giant hot chocolate at Kafé Kaspar. And definitely try to eat a meal at both Aarstova, which did a mean shoulder of lamb and KOKS restaurant.

The latter has two Michelin stars and is within the top three meals of my entire life (I’m a big fan of food, so that’s high praise indeed).

KOKS is where I tried sea urchin for the first time and let me tell you, it was worth travelling to the Faroe Islands just for that.

So if you love food, this should definitely be top of your list of things to do in the Faroe Islands.

Note: KOKS has temporarily relocated to Greenland… worth a trip, perhaps?

6. Check out the views

The Faroe Islands have no shortage of vantage points for epic views.

There’s a basalt obelisk erected to commemorate Danish King Christian IX’s visit to the Faroe Islands in 1874, which offers decent views over town. You’ll find it at 19 Hoyvíksvegur.

There’s also a large park in Torshavn, known as Viðarlundin and also Plantasjan, located at 9 Gundadalsvegur. Here you’ll find some lovely sculptures and some fallen trees, which toppled in a storm in late 1988 and form a natural playground for big and little kids.

A Faroese horse.
A horse is a horse, of course, of course.

7.Go horse riding

Like the Shetland Islands and Iceland, the Faroese have their own special breed of horse, which nearly died out.

In the 1960s there was only one stallion and four mares left.

A breeding program saved the horses. Around 4000 roam the islands, although some are not pure Faroese.

So if you’re looking for unique things to do in Torshavn, take the opportunity to ride a rare horse. Contact Fjallaross to meet one of these incredibly cute horses for yourself.

8. Hang ten in Torshavn

The North Atlantic is surfable, although it should only be attempted by experienced and/or local surfers.

If you’re keen to hang ten in the Faroe Islands, get in touch with Faroe Islands Surf Guide. You’ll go surfing with local experts and if there’s no swell, SUPing, snorkelling and cliff jumping are also options.

Plus, you can add on a soak in a hot tub afterwards. Why wouldn’t you?

Of all the things to do in Torshavn, surfing may not have come first to mind. It just shows how diverse this quirky capital really is.

Holiday houses in the Faroes.
Seeing any part of the Faroes from the water is a real treat.

9. See Torshavn from the water, by kayak

Take in the colourful houses of Torshavn from a different perspective – from the sea.

Follow an experienced kayak guide along the coastline of Streymoy, on a half-day expedition.

10. Explore Gamla Hoyvíkin (Old Hoyvík)

Head to Hoyvík for a kayak tour, or just to poke around.

It’s a district of Tórshavn (the two used to be separated), but there’s an old settlement by the peninsula.

The church here is particularly gorgeous.

Faroese sheep graze outside Vágar Airport.
Even Vágar Airport feels pretty rural.

How to get to Torshavn

While the Faroe Islands seems so remote and far-flung, getting there is actually easier than you may realise.

Vágar 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 London (UK), Copenhagen (Denmark), Paris (France), Reykjavik (Iceland), Edinburgh (Scotland), Oslo (Norway), and Bergen (Norway).

Three airlines service the Faroes:

You can also get to the Faroes by ferry! There’s a route that travels between Iceland and Denmark, stopping at the islands on the way. Amazing.

Things to do in Torshavn: in conclusion

So, there’s definitely plenty to get up to in Torshavn. Don’t discount the capital on your trip to the Faroe Islands.

There’s plenty of things to do here and at the very least, it’s an excellent place to base yourself, while you’re exploring these stunning islands.

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.

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Discover the best things to do in Tórshavn, the quirky little capital of the Faroe Islands. Here's information on where to eat, where to stay, where to shop and how to have some epic adventures.

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