A Complete Guide to Visiting the Faroe Islands

If you’ve ever thought about visiting the Faroe Islands, but don’t know where to start in your planning, read on! Here’s everything we learned during our recent trip, from how to get a good flight deal to the best hikes and scenic spots.

We recently returned from a 10-day trip to the Faroe Islands and we had the loveliest time, full of stunning hikes, beautiful drives and long, cozy nights. Lots of you have mentioned that the Faroes are on your list, and we hope this guide will be helpful in making your plans!

Ideal for:

Anyone who loves taking pictures; outdoor enthusiasts; those with an interest in history; birders

The Faroe Islands has considerably more sheep than people, and they are as cute as it gets.

Family-friendly?

Definitely! For the first time in a very long time, we left the kids behind for this trip, however we’d LOVE to come back with them as soon as we can. Any kid who loves being outside will love the Faroe Islands, as there are so many gorgeous spots to discover and explore

When to go: 

The weather in the Faroes is very changeable at any time of year—it’s famous for showing off all 4 seasons in the course of a few minutes and we definitely experienced a range. You’re more likely to hit clear weather in July and August, but you’re also certain to have rainy days and fog.

Visiting in the off-season:

For our November trip, we had a few sunny/clear days, several rainy days, and a lot of fog; the temperature stayed consistently in the 40s and 50s and we were more than comfortable in layers. We encountered 6 people total on the trails in all the days we were there, and while I don’t think the Faroes are ever super busy, it was very pleasant feeling like we had so many sights utterly to ourselves.

Another advantage to an off-season visit was that the light was amazing—the sun stayed low in the sky the entire time it was up, giving us sunrise/sunset vibes even at midday. And while the short days meant we were ending our adventures by 5 or so each day, that was actually an advantage to us; we loved having long, cozy evenings to read and relax in our hotel.

If you’re interested in sea birds, you’ll definitely want to go in the summer while they’re around. You also might be able to catch some whales in summertime! And summer sees increased ferry sailings and outings to places like Mykines, which weren’t accessible during our November visit.

Getting there:

Flights to the Faroe Islands usually connect through Copenhagen, Reykjavik, or Scotland. Atlantic Airways is the national airline of the Faroes. We flew through Copenhagen with SAS and paid about ~$425 roundtrip per person from NYC. We subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights newsletter for flight deals, which is where we found this fare, but we see inexpensive flights to Scandinavia really often; keep your eye on deals for flights into a city that connects to the Faroe Islands and you’ll save a lot on your overall fare.

Getting around:

Most of the islands in the Faroe grouping are linked by under-sea tunnels or bridges; otherwise, you can take a ferry anywhere you need to go. We rented a car for our trip and would highly recommend doing the same; while there’s a good bus system, it’s not a very populous country and the bus schedule reflects this—routes don’t run very often and you’ll have an easier time getting where you want to go (and being able to follow good weather) if you have your own wheels. Car rentals are reasonably priced, too, especially for Scandinavia.

Driving is straightforward, though you should brush up on your stick shift skills before coming—your rental car will most likely have a manual transmission.

Getting to the southern islands of Sandoy and Suduroy, and to many of the smaller islands means taking a ferry. The ferries are inexpensive and comfortable; check online for schedules and plan in advance when you want to sail—the schedules are not very consistent and sailing times can seem a bit random.

Helicopters are another great way to see the smaller islands and they’re surprisingly affordable. The caveat: weather can turn at a moment’s notice and change plans; also, many helicopters won’t let you schedule a return flight on the same day, which means you’ll need to stay overnight on whichever island you’re helicoptering to. Plan ahead.

Where to stay:

The capitol city of Torshavn makes a great base for exploring the islands. It’s the only town of notable size in the Faroes and has by far the most options for food and provisions. There are several hotels in Torshavn and usually one hotel in each major town on each island. There are also a range of charming houses, available to rent from AirBNB and similar services.

We used credit card points for everything on this trip, which narrowed our options for where we could book; we ended up staying the whole time at the Hotel Foroyar, a beautiful sod-roofed hotel on the hill above Torshavn. It was clean and pleasant and had an awesome breakfast included.

How long to stay:

We always advocate for longer, slower trips, but realize that’s not always possible. Still, we’d definitely say to plan at least 5 days for the Faroe Islands—not only is there plenty to do, but the weather will probably require you to be flexible and we don’t think you’ll regret building a little breathing room into your trip so you can adjust for rain/wind/fog.

Keep in mind, too, that flights to the Faroes are cancelled fairly frequently due to high winds—on our flight there, we circled for an hour waiting for the wind to calm down, attempted landing 3 times (during one of those, we bounced around so much that everyone’s stuff was flying around the plane!), and finally returned to Copenhagen. SAS put us up in a hotel and got us on a flight the next day, for which the weather was perfectly sunny and clear. We had enough days scheduled in the islands that missing one wasn’t a big blow, but if we’d only had a few days to spend out there, we’d have been very sad to miss one.

Food:

Considering its size, there’s actually a pretty good range of restaurants in Torshavn, but eating out can get very expensive. We self-catered from the grocery store, got some cheap eats from pizza places and sandwich shops in town, and splurged on sushi at the terrific Etika twice.

For day trips around the islands, it’s worth stalking up on some on-the-go foods while you’re in town; while you’ll probably never be very far from a gas station or shop of some sort, hours and selection are limited, especially outside of Torshavn.

If you’re looking for a super fancy dining experience, KOKS is a restaurant outside of Torshavn that was rated the best in Scandinavia—and this in a region renowned for its cuisine. Don’t go if you’re not up for lots of lamb-based dishes and fermented foods, or if you’re not willing to spend $300-$400 per person on a meal, but if you’re into that, KOKS sounds like a fantastic experience. Book as far in advance as possible.

What to bring:

Layers and rain gear, no matter the time of year. If you’ll be hiking at all, bring boots, not tennis shoes. We found the trails to be very muddy and quite slippery in places, and were glad we had high-top boots with good traction. Hiking poles would’ve been helpful on several hikes (I don’t care if that makes us sound elderly ;).)

Two things we found very difficult to locate: laundry facilities and Tylenol/Ibuprofen. If there’s a self-service laundry place anywhere in the Faroes, no one we talked to has heard of it and it has no Internet presence. We packed light and planned to do some laundry while we were there, but other than the dry-cleaning service at our hotel (one of those 15 Euros per t-shirt affairs), there was nothing available so we hand-washed in the sink.

For some reason, painkillers also proved difficult to locate. We had to go to an actual pharmacy to get some after David dislocated his shoulder—there was nothing available at gas stations, grocery stores, etc.—and even then, had to have it fetched by the pharmacist. It would have been far easier to bring a little bottle of our own (and usually I do but I wasn’t on my packing game this trip!)

Language:

Everyone we encountered in the Faroe Islands spoke English very well, which is really nice because Faroese pronunciation is VERY unintuitive and I found the language to be a lot more difficult than Danish. Still, knowing a few words—greetings and thanks—is never amiss.

Phones, Wifi & Communication:

You can pick up a local SIM card at the airport’s help desk after you land. We got one but never got it to work, and we did just fine without it. Wifi is fast and easy to find, and if you’ll be driving, you can download the Google map of the islands so that you can navigate without service. 

Our favorite places:

Múlafossur

This breathtaking waterfall tumbling straight into the sea was our first stop in the Faroe Islands. Park in the little town of Gásadalur and take a short walk down the path to the falls.

Sørvágsvatn

An easy walk of about an hour will get you out to these dizzy-inducing cliffs; walk all the way up the mountain for the best views, then make your way around to the south to see the Bosdalafossur waterfall spilling over the edge of Vatnio lake into the churning ocean.

Gjógv

The gorge here is stunning, and since you can get close, it’s a good option for a foggy day when you won’t be able to take in more expansive views. You can take a little hike around the cliff too and get great views over the charming village.

Saksun

The farm museum and beautiful church are in-village attractions here. We visited at low tide so we could walk out along the sandy tidal flat to the ocean. It was incredibly beautiful, even in pouring rain.

Hvannhagi

This was probably our favorite hike during our trip to the Faroe Islands. A few km into the hills behind the city of Tvoroyri is a beautiful circular lake surrounded by black cliffs and verdant hillsides, with views out to Koltur and Vágar islands and stretches of surf-pounded cliffs.

Vidareidi

A steep 1-2 hour walk will get you high above the town of Vidareidi, where you have great views over the Northern Islands, the sea cliffs of Vidoy and the village below, with its quaint church and streaming waterfalls.

Torshavn

Downtown Torshavn has great little shops with beautiful examples of Danish home design and Faroese handicrafts. The sod-roofed houses are immeasurably charming and walking around is a great way to get a feel for local life.


Places on our list for next time:

Kalsoy: The hike out to the Trolannes lighthouse sounds incredible and we’re determined to fit it into our next visit!

Nolsoy: We missed catching the ferry to this tiny island just off the coast from Torshavn. Looking forward to visiting it next time for its hiking, lighthouse, and views of the capitol city across the water.

Vestmanna: The sea cliffs here are famous for their seabird life; we’d love to come in the summer when the birds are here and see them nesting!

Mykines: We couldn’t get there this time of year, but we’ve heard Mykines is a highlight of the Faroes and we’d love to go there for close-up seabird viewing and Northern island scenery.

We loved everything about these peaceful, stunning islands and hope you get a chance to visit them! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer!

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