The Faroe Islands – A Hidden Treasure of Unspoiled Landscapes

Funningur in the Faroe Islands

The small archipelago of the Faroe Islands is located between Scotland and Iceland.  And unlike Iceland, the Faroes still remain a hidden treasure. Comprised of 18 islands and owned by Denmark, the Faroes are a wonderland of unspoiled landscapes, soaring cliffs, roaring waterfalls and quiet villages.

Being somewhat remote many have not yet ventured out to explore these magnificent lands. However, I do not expect the raw beauty of the Faroes to be unnoticed much longer. It is becoming much more accessible, and with accessibility tourism will start to blossom.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads” – Henry David Thoreau Walden

 

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This past September, Shahbaz Majeed, a multi-award winning photographer based in Dundee, Scotland, and a small group of photographers and social media influencers including Kristy Ashton and Ian G Black, had the opportunity to visit the beautiful and remote Faroe Islands.

Over their 3 night/4 day stay they toured the Faroes by land and visited many of the remote islands to photograph its breathtaking scenery.  What they saw and experienced was nothing less than remarkable and I have the privilege to showcase it all.  To bring to you the beauty of the Faroes as seen through their eyes.

But be warned, the Faroes hold the power to make you fall in love and it will ignite an intense wanderlust that will only be cured if you visit.

“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse…” — Charlotte Bronte

 

How to Get To The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are still considered a remote destination.  However, it is not as difficult to get to as you may think. Vágar Airport is the only airport in the Faroe Islands and Atlantic Airways flies there from popular destinations such as Copenhagen, Reykjavík, Edinburgh, Bergen, Barcelona, and more. As its popularity is increasing so are the number of routes so check out the route map here and discover which destinations will get you to Vágar Airport.

Many of the cities which offer direct flights to Vágar are also perfect destinations for a stopover.  So if you are coming from a city/country that does not fly to the Faroes, I would recommend you combine your Faroes holiday with a destination like Edinburgh.  Not only does Edinburgh have short and direct flights to the Faroes, but it is also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with tons of things for you to do.

Read more: Edinburgh City Guide – things you can do during your Edinburgh stopover.

 

Sheep in The Faroes
Photo by Kristy Ashton – Sheep in the Faroes outnumber people 2:1

How to Get Around

Once you arrive in Vágar you will need a way to get to all the different Islands.  And the best way to get around is by renting a car. While there is public transport and a bus system, a car is the best way to explore the Faroes at your own pace.

Many roads are paved and underground tunnels were built to take you from Island to Island.  Keep in mind that some places are still remote and some islands are only accessible via ferry.

 

Points of Interest

In a wondrous land with unfathomable wild scenery there is much to see and experience.  You will find freedom in the mountains and inner peace near its lakes. Chasing waterfalls will become a new hobby. But best of all you will feel alive like never before as the energy of the land fills your soul.  The Faroes is a place that keenly reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my sense put in tune once more.” – John Burroughs

 

Gásadalur The Faroe Islands
Photo by Kristy Ashton – Gásadalur

Gásadalur

The tiny village of Gásadalur is on a remote Island on the western side of Vágar. Accessing it is easier than ever thanks to the newly constructed tunnel.

This enchanting village sits at the edge of a cliff surrounded by a surreal landscape with breathtaking views. It is the home of the otherworldly waterfall Múlafossur which drops dramatically into the ocean below.

The contrast between the waterfalls natural beauty and the simple construction of the village homes would have you believing that this is the world’s most beautiful village. Kristy’s favorite stop was Gásadalur and she described it as “EPIC”. It is certainly a magical place you won’t want to miss.

 

The Faroe Islands
Photo by Giorgia De Paoli -Kristy Ashton at Traelanipan

Trælanípan

Rugged and dramatic, Traelanipan has some of the best views in the Faroes. It is considered a point, which is defined as a tapering piece of land that projects into a body of water. The cliffs with their jagged and sharp edges protruding from the ocean, cradle a lake which depths sparkle under the sun above.

But Trælanípan is not only a beautiful landscape, it also has a strange and violent history. Its name, Trælanípan, translates to the slave cliff. And legend says that this is where the Vikings pushed their slaves over the cliffs and into the sea to meet their deaths.

 

Fossa waterfall in the Faroe Islands
Photo by Kristy Ashton – Ian G Black at Fossa waterfall

Fossa

The majestic Fossa waterfall is one of the biggest attractions in the Faroe Islands.  The name which translates to “river with waterfalls” is as accurate a description as they come.

Comprised of two cascades, the waterfall is fed by a lake and smaller streams which merge and plummet some 140 meters unto the rocks and sea below.  Fossa is considered the highest waterfall in the Faroes and is a must see when you visit.

The waterfalls at Fossa were Ian’s favorite spot:

” I seldom felt so alive throwing off the sweater and embracing the fierce spray of water coming off the falls.  It was Magnificent! I loved it.”  – Ian G Black

Norðradalur in the Faroe Islands
Photo by Kristy Ashton – Norðradalur

Norðradalur

This tiny village on the west coast of the Faroe Islands is in a valley and surrounded by mountains. However the most well-known characteristic in the area are the incredible basalt formations. And with climbing and rappelling a growing sport in the Faroes, these formations make for a perfect natural climbing wall.

But if scaling up a wall is not your idea of fun, there is still much beauty to take in at this location. And if luck is with you, you may even see the famous horses that roam the Island.

 

 

The Faroe Islands
Photo by Shahbaz Majeed – village of Tjørnuvík

Tjørnuvík

Tjørnuvík is the northernmost village in the Faroe Islands with homes clustered together and nestled in the valley at the edge of the sea. From its shores, you can see in the distance, the two rock formations of Risin og Kellingin (The Giant and the Witch). It is an idyllic sleepy village with stunning views and hospitable people. A must visit on any Faroes itinerary.

 

 

Funningur Faroe Islands
Photo by Shahbaz Majeed – Funningur

Funningur

Located on the Northwest coast of Eysturoy, Funningur is a small village nestled in a lush green valley and surrounded by mountain peaks.

This location and the peaks above it was a personal favorite for Shahbaz. He explains:

“The weather was not great when we visited, but the beauty of the place just resonated with me.  It is something you need to experience in person. Round every corner is a photo opportunity and we didn’t even scratch the surface. I felt strangely at home…with landscapes much like Scotland but compacted into a much smaller place.” 

Rumor has it that Funningur is the first place where the Vikings settled. I can imagine that much like Shahbaz they felt strangely at home.

 

 

The Faroe Islands
Photo by Kristy Ashton – Village of Gjógv with the natural harbor below.

Gjógv

The village of Gjógv is the most northern village in Eysturoy and it has one of the best natural harbors in the Faroes. Having subsisted primarily on its fishing industry it is a picture perfect village. Many of the colorful cottages have timber-walls and grass covered roofs.  Add in amazing hikes in the surrounding mountains with incredible views of the Atlantic and you can see why this is one of Faroes most charming and popular spots.

 

Tórshavn Faroes
Tórshavn

Tórshavn

Located on the southern part of the east coast of Streymoy, Tórshavn is the Capital city of the Faroe Islands.  As such it is one of its most populated and vibrant towns in the country.  It gives you access to cultural venues such as museums, music and theater, and even an aquarium. You will also find this is the seat of the government and other key institutions such as universities, banking, libraries and hospitals.  It makes for a perfect base from where you can venture out on day trips to discover the rest of the Islands.

 

 

Where to Eat and Where to Stay

Travel and food go hand in hand for me. I know when I research a location I spend time trying to find the best places to eat.  And Shahbaz has provided some great recommendations:   “I would recommend trying the multiple pizza places especially in Tórshavn. The meal we had in the brasserie at Hotel Tórshavn was also lovely. And the ice cream cones are something else, so definitely try those”

While there is some controversy regarding its whaling practices you can clearly see from visiting that the locals harvest what the sea and land provide. So it comes as no surprise that numerous restaurants offer local and freshly caught seafood as well as other farm fresh items on their menu.

As far as where to stay it seems everyone had a great experience at Hotel Tórshavn. A modern and centrally located hotel with easy access to shops and restaurants.  Every room has a view. Back rooms face the town hall square, while the front rooms show off the quaint harbor. So a thumbs up from all on this one.

 

The Faroes
Photo by Shabahz Majeed – Mykinesbygd, Faroe Islands

Weather in The Faroes and What to Pack

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

The weather in the Faroes is ever-changing and the seasons are mild. This does not mean it is sunny all the time or warm. It just means summers are not sweltering hot (the average summer temperature is 13°C) and winters are not bitterly cold (with an average winter temperature of 3°C).  And did I mention you can see the Northern Lights during the winter?

So no matter when you visit come prepared for wind, fog, rain, some sun and cool temperatures. Expect the unexpected and for the weather to change drastically between locations.  Simply put be prepared for everything because the weather is changeable and unpredictable.

 

 

The Faroes
Photo by Ian G Black

Final Thoughts on The Faroe Islands

At the moment the Faroe Islands still feels untouched. To quote Kristy “There is amazing scenery at every corner. It has a very Scandinavian feel where everything is neat and tidy. And people are friendly and helpful.”  

I love that you won’t need to worry about crowds (at least not yet); actually sheep outnumber people about 2:1.  There is no wrong time to visit. If you come during summer you will have the opportunity to see one of the cutest birds around – the Puffin. And if you come during the winter you may get to see the Northern lights.

So come for the views, the hikes, the wildlife or nature. Come visit and experience the beauty of the Faroes for yourself. I challenge you not fall in love with this otherworldly place.

 

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The Faroe Islands
Photo by Kristy Ashton – View of Traelanipan

A big thank you to Shahbaz Majeed, Kristy Ashton and Ian G Black for providing the beautiful images for this post.  For more amazing images from them please follow them on Instagram.  Accounts are linked with their names above.

I leave you with this video Kristy put together of the trip – Enjoy!!!

So tell me have you ever been to The Faroes? What is the most unique and pristine place you have ever visited? Leave a comment for me below or lets get social on Facebook or Instagram

 

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39 Comments

    1. Naomi – you must make it a priority before the rest of the world discovers how special this place is. You will love it.

  1. I’ve never been to the Faroe Islands and it’s actually a bit far away from South America but your article makes me want to visit these islands. Because of the waterfalls and cute villages but also because there are more sheep than people :-).

    1. Yes it is a bit far from South America but so many are visiting Iceland and this is just as far but much less crowded. I love that it is remote and pristine still and yes love all the sheep.

  2. I must admit, the Faroe Islands are one of my most desired places to visit. Two years ago we had to choose between visiting Iceland and Faro (decided for Iceland) and since then there is still this wish to also see this place once. The photo impressions here are amazing and somehow also remind me a lot to Iceland even. And I can truly agree to the words from Shahbaz – you must experience such places in person. I would love to see the Northern lights one day being on the Faroe Islands, I think this is an experience you never forget the rest of your life.

    1. Glad you got to see Iceland I hear it is an incredible country. Maybe next year you can get to see The Faroes as well. You won’t regret visiting.

  3. I never realised Faroe Islands was that close to Iceland! Looking at your photos I can see a lot of similarities. Those colourful houses and moody landscape looks like the kind of place I’d love.

    1. Some did not even know this place existed. It’s not as hard to get to as we think especially if you are coming from Europe or even some parts of North America. It’s a must and hope you get to experience it.

  4. This blog is just amazing. In love with the pics and the description. Can’t pronounce the names of a few places mentioned…but this is very inspiring!

  5. Faroe Islands looks like an absolute dream! And I had no idea that it is located between Scotland and Ireland, yet owned by Denmark. Good to know that the best way to get around is via renting your own car. I totally would love to visit even just to see the Northern Lights! But wow what a beautiful place.

  6. This is one of those places that look unreal until the moment you set your foot on their soil. Thanks for the useful guide and the beautiful photos. I still can’t believe this is a real, not photoshoped place 😉

    1. It is real and definitely worth a visit to see in person. Glad you love the photography they are amazing talented people.

  7. Views of the Faroe Island always leave me speachless. And this is the case again! It’s truly EPIC 🙂 And it’s so weird how it’s always moody. But it looks so good. Tjørnuvík is my favorite of all the spots. 🙂

    1. Some places look amazing even in moody weather. This is one of them. Glad you enjoyed all the incredible photography from these talented photographers.

  8. Talking of nature, this pops up. I love the qoutes, Thoreau’s transcendentalist view keeps running through my head as I read and get lost in the post and pictures. But nature in The Faroe Island is enchanting I must confess. I love the waterfall best.

  9. I have heard about Faroe Island once before and have forgotten about it. It’s a shame because I do think it deserves more attention that it is currently getting. The waterfall and the cliffs are so spectacular! It’s like something you only see in paintings and are not real.

  10. These guys were so lucky to have the opportunity to visit the Faroe Islands. I have been reading a lot about the Islands recently as I want to go for myself. I did meet a guy from there when I visited Denmark who claims it’s more beautiful than Scotland!

    1. Considering Scotland is my favorite country I don’t know how that claim is possible – haha. Well will have to check it out for myself one day as should you. Then we can compare.

  11. Faroe is high on my list of places to visit. But I always thought it’s too complicated. Sounds like it isn’t! So I’m thinking next August might be a good time to go there.

    And just from a geeky point of view: How cool is it that a country few have heard about they build sea tunnels? Can’t wait to see this!

    Thank you for sharing your insights!

    Happy continued travels!
    C

    1. August will be perfect. Hope you get to combine it with Scotland. Edinburgh will be in the midst of festival season so should be tons of fun.

  12. Oh I would love to visit the Faroe Islands! It’s been my plan for years to do as you said and combine a trip there with a long weekend in Edinburgh.
    It looks like such a beautiful place full of nature, and I just love those “untouched” places that are so rare in this age.
    Also, when I was younger I thought it was pronounced “faraway” like far-o-é because they were so far away from everything else!

    1. Haha that’s funny faraway indeed. But closer now thanks to airlines flying direct. Hope you can make the trip sooner rather than later I know you will love it.

    1. You should make plans to go before the rest of the world discovers it. Glad we were able to inspire you even more to go visit.

  13. I have never heard about Faroe Islands. This is hidden treasure which you have explored so beautifully. I loved the gorges, waterfalls and small towns in valleys. Torshavn is such a beautiful place as if a Toy City with all red houses. This place is on my wishlist for sure as I am a mountain lover.

    1. It is starting to become a bit more known now but glad I was able to introduce a new destination for you to explore one day. The Faroes are absolutely breathtaking and I hope you get to visit soon.

  14. Hi Jo I loved this!!!!So very beautiful,every photo was as beautiful as the next one and so nice to see you having so much fun

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