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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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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.