10 Travel Tips for the Faroe Islands
Last week we talked about Iceland, everyone’s new favorite vacation spot. This week we are talking about the Faroe Islands. The lesser known group of islands located in the North Atlantic. When we visited Iceland, we gave ourselves two options. Since we were so close and the Faroe Islands and Greenland were both on our list of places to travel we wanted to also make a stop in at least one of those two places. First, we looked at Greenland, but the more we looked the more we realized we would need a couple of weeks to discover what Greenland had to offer. From the enormous size to getting around, everything there would take longer than we had. We turned our attention to the Faroe Islands and are sure glad we did. The Faroe Islands, a territory of Denmark, are a group of Islands located between the United Kingdom and Iceland. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect since there isn’t a lot of information online about hiking in the Faroe Islands, so here is our helpful advice if you do want to visit this beautiful country.
1.) Be Prepared for all Types of Weather – Very similar to Iceland, and I’m sure most places in the North Atlantic, the weather is fickle. It changes very often so be flexible with your plans. The weather went from cloudy to sunny to cloudy and rainy all in the span of about 15 minutes.
2.) Don’t Expect to Tent Camp – There are some spots listed around the Islands that are marked for tent camping, however, we stopped at several of these locations and did not see a single spot that would be good to tent camp. We also did not see a single person tent camping. Everyone we saw was in a camper.
3.) Restaurants and Cafes are Sparse – Except for a few of the larger cities (Torshavn and Klaksvik), most of the cities in the Faroe Islands only have one or two places (many have none) to eat so plan your meals accordingly.
4.) Short Drives – Driving from city to city doesn’t take long. You will quickly find out that the Faroes are not very big. You can drive from one side of the connected islands in about 60-90 minutes. Don’t feel rushed taking in the sights and hikes.
5.) No Short Hikes – Don’t expect hikes in the Faroes to be quick and short. Most are between 2-4 hours because of the landscape. Because of the quick changes in weather, you will want to make sure to take your packed back pack each time you go for a hike.
6.) Ask the Locals – We ended up talking to a lot of locals about what to see and where to hike. It is always a great way to see spots you might not find otherwise, and often you will learn you can skip the more touristy spots.
7.) If You Fly In – The airport we flew into from Iceland had a lot of helpful guides and maps that were free. Make sure you grab what you can. They had a great list of events around the islands as well as very helpful maps that we didn’t see anywhere else.
8.) Be Courteous – Many of the hiking paths in the Faroe Islands are on private land. Often, there are gates on hikes between farms or to keep the sheep herds separate. Please make sure you are closing gates behind you. Some do have signs, but if there aren’t just make sure to leave the area like you found it.
9.) Rent A Small Car – the Roads in the Faroe Islands are very narrow so you will want to make sure to rent a smaller car if you plan to drive from place to place. A larger SUV or camper van would be tough to navigate through the tunnels and winding roads.
10.) Plan Ahead for Certain Islands – Some islands are only accessible by boat (Mykines) and the boats only run at certain times and are weather dependent. Make sure you plan in advance for these to ensure it fits your schedule and you have a backup plan in case of bad weather.
A few other things to keep in mind when visiting the Faroe Islands
There is no currency exchange at the airport. You will have to either visit a bank or exchange cash before you go. Although most places will take credit cards, it is always handy to have some cash on hand.
Visit Torshavn on a Friday or Saturday. Many places are closed in the Faroe Islands on Sundays so to get more out of your visit, especially to the capital city, make sure you go on a Friday or Saturday to truly experience the atmosphere.
As we mentioned above, often you will be on private land when hiking and you also get very close to people’s houses and farms so be respectful, because this is where people live. We found that while we were taking pictures of really cool grass roofed houses, there would be people making dinner in the kitchen.