When you think of the Faroe Islands, think of these things – the world’s cleanest air, the world’s freshest water, landscapes that are greener-than-green, and 18 timeless, mysterious otherworldly islands exploding with sheer drama. A place where nature gets intensely real.
Politically a part of Denmark, adrift in the North Atlantic, this group of 18 forgotten, ethereal volcanic lands, are etched away between Norway and Iceland. A destination where you don’t have to worry too much about crowds, the 18 islands together constitute a population of not more than 50,000 – a number unfathomably meager as compared to its tourist-heavy neighbours of Iceland, Norway, or Sweden. Believe it or not, there are more sheep on the Faroe Islands, as compared to humans!
Once inaccessible, these hamlets are now connected by ferries, road tunnels, bridges, and causeways. Studded with rocky coastlines that are a haven to thousands of seabirds, surreal waterfalls, unbelievable hiking routes, steep cliffs, and pretty, glass-roofed cottages, these islands beckon birders, hikers, photographers, and solitude seekers, who come from far and beyond, to get away from it all, to be one with nature in its purest, rawest form.
Top places to visit in Faroe Islands
1. Múlafossur waterfall and Gásadalur village
Gásadalur, one of the remotest villages in the Faroe Islands, is also one of its most photogenic landmarks. Till few years ago, the only way to reach this hidden village was via an arduous hike or by boat or helicopter, until a relatively recent tunnel that was blasted through one of the mountains, making way for automobile access. Nevertheless, the population of this village remains a meager dozen people or so!
However, there’s something more this village is famous for – the spectacular Múlafossur waterfall! A 5-min walk away from the village, this waterfall is one of the top attractions of the Faroe Islands. When you look at the waterfall and the picturesque village in the backdrop, it might take you a while to let the raw natural beauty of the frame to sink it – minus the crowds!
2. Streymoy Island
The top island in the group, Streymoy is the longest as well as the largest of all the Faroese islands, and is also home to Torshavn, the capital city of this great island nation. Besides Torshavn, the island houses towns like the picturesque village of Gjógv, the former ferry port of Vestmanna (this place is ideal for a boat ride to the popular Bird Cliffs), the charming towns of Saksun and Tjørnuvík (the northermost village in Streymoy).
3. Saksun village – Instagram paradise
There is something about Saksun, this ethereal, remote village of just 14 inhabitants, peppered with grass-roofed cottages and tons of sheep, sitting at the foot of towering fjords, and by the shores of a turquoise lagoon. Witness your mind and imagination undergo a creative renaissance as you drive to the village, passing by mind-blowing vistas. However, make sure temptation does not get the better of you and you don’t end up trespassing (which has become serious issue off late) through marked fields and the grass-roofed houses here, in a bid to get that perfect Instagram shot. Remember to leave the place better than you found it!
4. Torshavn – Underrated capital of the Faroes
Sitting proud on the main island of Streymoy, Tórshavn a city of 20,000 residents, is a modern, bustling hub thriving in the middle of the wild Atlantic.
This is a lively city pulsating with a delightful mix of museums, rows of colourful houses, 18th century churches, an array of hipster bars and restaurants, world-class cuisine, and not to miss, the Old Town of Tinganes, with its vivacious music, culture, sports, and art scene. Here, you can also have a closer look at some of the world’s oldest and most charming parliament buildings.
5. The island of Mykines
If bird-watching happens to be one of your hobbies, and if getting a closer look at one of the most adorable birds on the planet – the puffins, happens to be on your list, it can’t get better than Mykines island. Every summer, thousands of breeding puffins set base on Mykines. While the island houses just about 14 people in all, its rugged cliffs are quite a draw for not only the super adorable puffins, but also other seabirds like cormorants, guillemot, razorbills, and gannets.
6. The lake of Sørvágsvatn
The largest lake in the Faroe Islands is perhaps the prettiest lake you will ever see! Sprawling over an area of 3.4 square kilometres, this lake actually sits on the slope of a 100-metre-high cliff, amidst the North Atlantic. A relatively easy hike will get you to the edge of the cliff, from where you can let some otherworldly views sink into your being. The lake is located on the Island of Vagar, which is also home to the nation’s only airport.