The Faroe Islands is an archipelago of 18 islands located about halfway between Iceland and the Shetland Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. To get there you'll either need to travel by boat or plane – there are daily and weekly flights to the Faroes from various cities in Europe, or you can take a ferry from Denmark or Iceland with Smyril Line. The Faroes feel like an entire world of their own and getting there is half the fun with some incredible scenery to marvel at as you make the journey there.
Getting to the Faroe Islands by plane
Flying is the most convenient and efficient way to get to the Faroes. There's only one commercial airport in the Faroe Islands – Vágar Airport – which is located on the island of Vágar. Atlantic Airways and Scandinavian Airlines are currently the only airlines that operate flights here. You can fly direct to Vágar throughout the year from major cities in Scandanavia and other European countries including Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Bergen, Paris and Edinburgh. If you're travelling from further afield you'll need to fly via one of these destinations. There are more flights in the summer months (June-August) from other European destinations like the Canary Islands, Barcelona, Crete, Malta and Mallorca.
Vágar Airport is located just outside the village of Sørvagur. A sea tunnel connects Vágar Island and the main island of Streymoy where the capital city of Tórshavn is located. You can either rent a car at the airport, take a public bus or shuttle, or jump in a taxi. The drive to Tórshavn takes around 40 minutes.
Getting to the Faroe Islands by boat
Travelling to the Faroes by boat might not be a great option if you're on a tight schedule (or if you’re prone to seasickness) as the journey takes around 35 hours. You can take a ferry to Tórshavn on Smyril Line's M/S Norröna. The service travels between Hirtshals in Denmark and Seyðisfjørður in Iceland via Vágar. There’s one crossing per week in the low and mid-season, and two weekly departures in the high season (July-August).
You can travel as a foot passenger or bring your car, caravan or camper. You’ll have access to a cafeteria serving up Scandanavian specialities, a gourmet restaurant, a cinema, a shop, and even a swimming poot and hot tubs. Despite the considerably longer journey time compared to flying, taking the ferry is a truly unique way to travel to the Faroes and the scenery is amazing, especially as you approach the islands. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot a whale from the outdoor decks.
Getting around the Faroe Islands
The main islands are connected by tunnels and bridges so you can travel around easily if you have a car. If you want to go to the other islands you’ll need to take a public ferry which is relatively easy and cheap to do.
There are three subsea tunnels that connect the seven largest islands (Streymoy, Eysturoy, Vágar, Suduroy, Sandoy, Bordoy and Svínoy):
- Vágatunnilin – connects the western island of Vágar (Airport) to the island of Streymoy
- Norðoyartunnilin – connects the northern island of Borðoy (Klaksvík) to the island of Eysturoy (Leirvík)
- Eysturoyartunnilin – connects the island of Streymoy with the island of Eysturoy.
All main highways are paved, but some roads in the smaller, more remote villages are gravel so make sure you take extra care when driving. The speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas and 80 km/h on gravel roads, and driving is on the right side of the road. You will need to pay a toll to use the subsea tunnels. There are no toll pay stations at the tunnel entrances, so you'll need to pay at one of the following petrol stations within three days of the journey:
- Effo – Kollafjørður
- Effo – Gundadalur
- Effo – Klaksvík
- Magn – Klaksvík
- Magn – Gøtudalur
- Effo - Leirvík
- Magn – Miðvágur
If you’re not taking a car, it’s still easy to get around thanks to the islands' great public transport network. Ferries connect most islands, and buses connect most of the main villages once you’re on land. One of the great things about travelling by bus in Tórshavn is that it's free. One of the downsides of relying on public transport is that you’ll need to work around departure times, which might not be ideal if you’re pushed for time or battling the rain (which is very common as it rains a lot here). There are also several villages which are only accessible by car.
It's not your typical public transport, but there's also a helicopter that services the Faroe Islands. It's used mainly by locals to get around or to deliver goods, but you might be able to do a single trip if it's not too busy and there's a spare seat. Tickets are cheap, but there are only 12 seats so make sure you book in advance.
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