Exploring the Enchanting Faroe Islands: Discoveries from My Adventure

Nestled in the heart of the North Atlantic, surrounded by windswept cliffs, misty fjords, and rolling hills, the Faroe Islands are a travel lover’s dream destination. With a population of just over 50,000 people spread across 18 tiny islands, the Faroe Islands is a place where nature and culture collide in a truly unforgettable way. From Viking history to cutting-edge cuisine, and dramatic landscapes to colourful fishing villages, there’s no shortage of experiences waiting for you in this hidden gem of the Atlantic. During a recent visit to the Faroe Islands, I was fortunate enough to experience the true magic of this place, despite the short duration of my trip. In this blog post, I will share some of the insights and lessons I learned during my visit to this incredible archipelago. So, keep reading to discover the wonders of the Faroe Islands!

The Faroese are incredibly welcoming

While the Faroe Islands may be remote and isolated, the people are far from insular! Known for their warm and friendly nature, visitors to the islands often remark on the welcoming atmosphere they encounter with many taking pride in sharing their culture and traditions with those who come to the islands. Hospitality is an incredibly important part of Faroese culture with the Faroese phrase “heimablídni” directly translating to “home hospitality”, and all across the islands you can enjoy authentic and intimate dining experiences in people’s homes. In addition to being served traditional homemade Faroese food, you will also hear interesting stories that relate to that particular part of the country or village. Anna and Óli offer authentic and intimate dining experiences in their own dining room, serving traditional homemade Faroese food mostly grown on their own farm. Faroese people are also known for their strong sense of community, and there are many opportunities to get involved in local events and activities during your stay.

The scenery is truly breathtaking

We’ve all seen pictures online of unimaginably steep mountainous terrain, often shrouded in mist and fog, giving the landscape an ethereal, otherworldly quality but nothing compares to seeing it firsthand. The towering cliffs that line the coastline are particularly impressive, with sheer drop-offs that plummet into the sea below. Some of the most iconic cliffs in the Faroe Islands include the bird cliffs of Vestmanna, which rise up to 600 meters above the sea and are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. The islands’ abundant waterfalls are another highlight of the Faroese landscape. Some of the most stunning waterfalls include Múlafossur, which tumbles over the edge of a cliff into the ocean below, and Fossá, which is the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands, cascading down a series of terraced rock formations. The rolling hills and valleys of the Faroe Islands are also home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, with lush grasslands, wildflowers, and mosses covering the landscape. Visitors to the islands can expect to encounter a wide variety of wildlife, including seabirds such as puffins and guillemots, as well as seals, whales, and porpoises in the surrounding waters. I recommend taking a boat ride out into the sea to truly experience just how wild and rugged this country is.

Seafood is BIG business

The Faroe Islands are surrounded by some of the cleanest and coldest waters in the world, making them a prime location for fishing so it’s no surprise that fish and seafood are a staple of Faroese cuisine. Some of the most popular seafood dishes in the Faroe Islands include ræstur fiskur, which is a fermented fish dish, and skerpikjøt, which is a cured and wind-dried lamb that is served alongside seafood. In addition to its role in the local cuisine, the seafood industry is also a major driver of the Faroese economy. Fishing and aquaculture account for a significant portion of the islands’ exports, with Faroese salmon in particular, prized for its exceptional quality and flavour, and is sought after by chefs and seafood lovers around the world. Head to the capital, Tórshavn and visit Etika Sushi which offers up some of the best fresh salmon rolls I’ve ever tasted, or to the old fishing town of Sandavágur and dine at Fiskastykkið, here you can learn all about the history of drying fish while sampling some of it yourself. I had the salted cod soup and it was hands down the best soup I’ve ever tasted!

There’s an emerging craft beer scene

While beer has a relatively short history in the Faroe Islands, with the first brewery only opening in the mid-20th century, the islands’ rugged and pristine natural environment has inspired a growing number of local brewers to experiment with unique and innovative flavours and ingredients. One of the most well-known craft breweries in the Faroe Islands is Okkara Brewery, which was founded in 2014 and is located in the town of Fuglafjørður. Okkara Brewery is known for its small-batch, hand-crafted beers, which often incorporate local ingredients like heather, juniper, and even seaweed! Some of their most popular brews include the Fugloygg, a Belgian-style blonde ale, and the Grót, a dark ale made with heather and juniper. Other local breweries in the Faroe Islands include Varðin Brewery, OY Brewery, and Mikkeller Faroe Islands, which is a collaboration between Danish brewer Mikkeller and local beer enthusiasts! Despite its small size, the Faroese craft beer scene is growing and thriving, with new breweries and beers emerging all the time. Cheers to that!

You’ll find picturesque villages all over the islands

The cluster of 18 small islands in the North Atlantic, is home to many picturesque villages that are popular among tourists for their unique charm and natural beauty. From historic landmarks to stunning coastal landscapes, each village offers something different to visitors. During my trip, I got the chance to visit the charming capital, Tórshavn which is one of the smallest capital cities in the world! The town is home to a quaint Old Town area with traditional turf-roofed houses, a bustling harbour, and a range of museums and galleries to keep you busy. Visitors can explore the town’s narrow streets, visit the historic fort, or enjoy a meal in one of the many highly-rated restaurants and cafes. We also stopped by the tiny town of Gjógv. This picturesque village is located on the northeastern tip of the island of Eysturoy and really feels like you’re at the end of the world. The village is named after a 200-meter-long sea-filled gorge that runs out to the ocean. Visitors can hike along the cliffs, take a dip in the natural seawater pool, or enjoy a meal in the village’s cozy guesthouse. With the blend of Nordic and Faroese traditions, each village offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this stunning archipelago and is sure to be a highlight for anyone visiting.

Getting around the islands can be unique and fun!

While we’re stuck getting stuffy underground trains or waiting in the rain for a bus that never turns up here in the UK, the Faroese are catching public helicopters and driving under the sea! The helicopter service is operated by Atlantic Airways, the national airline of the Faroe Islands, and provides an essential lifeline for the local population. The helicopters are also popular among tourists who wish to explore the more remote areas of the islands, such as the uninhabited island of Mykines or the stunning sea cliffs of Vestmanna. A flight for locals is as cheap as 15 Euros and while it’s a little more expensive for tourists, it offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the rugged beauty of the Faroe Islands from above. If taking to the sky isn’t your thing then why not head under the sea! The first sub-sea tunnel, the Vágatunnilin, was completed in 2002 and connects the islands of Streymoy and Vágar. Since then, several other tunnels have been constructed, including the Norðoyatunnilin, which connects the islands of Borðoy and Kunoy, and the Eysturoyartunnilin, which connects the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy. They also boast the world’s first undersea roundabout! These tunnels have significantly improved transportation between the islands and have made it easier for people and goods to move around the archipelago. It’s worth noting that while the tunnels have made travel more convenient, they have not diminished the stunning natural beauty of the Faroe Islands. In fact, driving through the tunnels can be an exciting experience, as you emerge into the breathtaking landscapes and scenic views that the Faroe Islands are famous for.

My time in the Faroe Islands was short and sweet but in that short space of time, the sheer beauty of this place managed to capture my heart. We love saying a destination has something for everyone, but with the Faroe Islands, nothing sums it up better in my eyes. Whether you’re an adventure seeker looking to explore the rugged landscapes or a culture enthusiast interested in learning about the traditions and history of this remote archipelago, or just fancy a really tasty beer, the Faroe Islands is a destination not to be missed.

For any inquiries about the Faroe Island or any other destinations please contact info@untravelledpaths.com.

Written by Lucy Kaufmann