You know those places that are almost too beautiful to be real? Well, the Faroe Islands is one of them.
Sandwiched between the Shetland Islands and Iceland, the Faroe Islands feel like an entire world of their own. Walking up to the top of the islands’ clifftops and looking out to the wild North Atlantic swirling below you is the closest thing you’ll get to feeling like you’re standing on the edge of the earth.
Although the Faroes are under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, the islands are self-governing and have a unique history and culture of their own. From soul-stirring waterfalls to giant sea stacks, rich Viking history and some of the quaintest villages you’ll ever see, here are some of the reasons why the Faroe Islands deserve a spot on your bucket list.
1. It’s unbelievably beautiful
The Faroes might only consist of 18 tiny islands, but they certainly pack a punch. Exploring these remote islands will have you hiking up smooth, undulating mountains or plunging sea cliffs, marvelling at ‘floating’ lakes and dramatic waterfalls, or kayaking through deep, inky fjords. There’s natural beauty everywhere and you’re only ever a short drive, walk or head turn away from breathtaking views.
2. Marvel at waterfalls
From watching the water tumble down the black basalt wall at Fossá waterfall to seeing the majestic Múlafossur waterfall plummet down a giant sea cliff in the village of Gásadalur, majestic waterfalls are simply part of the furniture in the Faroes. One of the good things about the reliably wet weather here is that you’ll discover heaps of temporary waterfalls that appear during a huge downpour.
3. You can see puffins
Puffins have to be one of the cutest birds ever. Hundreds of thousands of Atlantic puffins flock to the tiny island of Mykines every year to breed and nest in cosy burrows along the clifftops. You can get up close to the local puffin residents on a boat tour between April and September. You might also see gannets, razorbills, cormorants, storm petrels, kittiwakes and fulmars while you’re exploring other islands.
4. The air is super fresh
There’s nothing quite like hiking up to the top of a mountain and taking a huge inhale to fill your lungs with fresh sea air. It hits differently. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, a trip to the Faroes could literally be a breath of fresh air.
5. See traditional Faroese homes
There’s cute, and then there’s I think this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen kinda cute. Well, traditional dwellings in the Faroe Islands are like that. These colourful wooden dwellings have turf roofs to protect homes from all the rain and they straight up look like they belong in a fairy tale.
6. Embrace the elements
When you’re in a remote archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic, it comes as no surprise that the weather is wild, windy and wet. It rains a lot in the Faroes – for an average of 300 days per year – so you should always be prepared with waterproof gear. But here’s the thing: you actually want the skies to be dark and moody and for the heavens to open as it makes the landscapes even more mysterious.
7. Meet native sheep
If you’re looking to escape from everyday life and reconnect with Mother Nature, you’ll be happy to hear there are more sheep than people in the Faroes. The name Føroyar (Faroe Islands) comes from the old Norse word, ‘Færeyjar’ which literally means Sheep Islands – a name that was given to these lands by early settlers during the Viking Age. You’ll encounter plenty of these shaggy, four-legged creatures while you’re driving or walking around.
8. It’s a paradise for photographers
Need we say more when the landscapes are this gorgeous? There’s so much beauty that you won’t be able to put your camera down. The Faroes are still a bit of a hidden travel gem, but it won’t stay like that for too much longer so now’s your chance to get in quick and capture the unspoilt beauty of these isolated islands.
9. Try the local food
There are no native trees in the Faroes. Add this to the harsh weather conditions and the odds might appear to be against the nation when it comes to food. But this isn’t the case. Traditional Faroese cuisine consists of fermented and smoked meat and seafood, and seasonal root vegetables – mostly potatoes, turnips, kohlrabi and rhubarb. The preservation technique of salting food naturally with the sea breeze dates back to the Viking era.
Traditional dishes to try include skerpikjøt (semi-fermented mutton meat) on toasted sourdough, dried cod and herring (ræst), and Seyðahøvd (boiled sheep brain served with mashed potatoes and root veggies).
If you want to treat yourself, book a table at Koks, the islands’ first Michelin Star restaurant for a lavish 17-course tasting menu. Think sea urchin with pickled parsley stems, langoustine roll, and fermented lamb intestines topped with cheese. You’ll also find plenty of Danish food and international cuisines in the capital city of Tórshavn.
10. It has a thriving music scene
Good things come in small packages in the Faroes. You might be surprised at how such a remote place can have such a thriving music and arts scene, but every summer thousands of festival-goers head to the islands from all over Europe for music festivals like G! (July), Summartónar (June-August), and the Summer Festival (August) to watch local and international artists.
Curious to discover this Scandanavian gem for yourself? Check out our Faroe Islands tours.