Your Faroe Islands Itinerary - A Photographic Travel Guide
When I turned 30 I had this moment where I said, "I want to escape and go somewhere where I feel like I'm the only person in the world". I envisioned a far away place, that was foggy, green and exotic. All of that led me to The Faroe Islands.
The Faroe Islands translates to "islands of sheep", which is ultimately what made me book my tickets because what better way to celebrate 30 years of life than surrounded by sheep?! Fog and rain roll in and off the islands frequently and suddenly, giving you bursts of light and changing colours. Because of this no two photographs are ever the same. It's a photographer's dream.
Jump to my map, complete with itinerary to plan one week in the Faroe Islands.
GO IF YOU LIKE:
HIKING | SOLITUDE | UNIQUE LANDSCAPES | NORDIC FOODS | GREY SKIES | LIVE MUSIC | SHEEP
Expand the Legend on my map for my one-week Faroe Islands itinerary
What are the best sights in the Faroe Islands? That's a great question, and very difficult to answer since around every hill is another pictuesque town and crazy landscape.
But if I'm being forced to chose for the purpose of this article...
Spend a day on the island of Kalsoy
Kalsoy is one of the islands that you need to take a ferry to visit. It's a quick ride (30 mins), plan for the earlier ferry because the last one comes back around 4pm and you don't want to get left on Kalsoy.
Once you're on the island, drive to the end (there's only one road). Along the way stop to see the beautiful red-top church, and the Seal Woman statue. The Seal Woman is a tragic Faroese folk tale. You can read about her when you visit, or listen to her story below.
Once you get to the last village, park your car and hike up the side of the hill. Just keep going until you hit the lighthouse. You'll pass green hills, cliff sides, views of the ocean and tons of sheep. You won't be disappointed, it was one of the best hikes in the Faroe Islands. Bring a snack with you and take in the surreal views.
Listen to the legend of the Seal Woman of Kalsoy (Kópakonan).
Eat a local heimablidni
The most memorable meal was our heimablidni (a meal cooked in someone's home). We had ours at Lena and Jakup's house. It was a spread filled with cured meats, fish and Lena's homemade fish soup.
If you're looking for local food it doesn't get better than this. I'm talking eggs from their chickens in the garden, local.
To build up our appetite we went on a hike with Jakup. He told us about the Faroese way of life and how hard it was for him growing up on the islands. He had to battle no electricity and was away for months at a time in Greenland to earn a living as a fisherman.
We walked over some beautiful hills. Jakup showed us what looked like a pile of old rocks but what was the remains of an old stone building, used to keep moss and peat dry for fires when there was no electricity.
We also saw, you guessed it, lots of sheep.
Explore the village of Saksun
The little white church, grass-covered houses and black sand beach made Saksun my favourite place to photograph.
Walk out onto the black sand beach but be careful of the tide. It comes in quickly and it's possible to get stranded. There is a tide chart at the entrance, so give it a read before venturing out onto the beach.
See puffins on Mykines
Mykines is another island which you need to take a ferry ride to visit (about 45 minutes). This is a much smaller island so once you arrive you can explore it by foot.
The main hike is to the lighthouse and I'll tell you now it's not for the faint of heart. Not sure what your adrenaline tolerance is but I will also confess we didn't make it all the way. We were facing rain and strong winds and were basically too chicken to cross the bridge for fear of getting blown into the abyss. Everyone who did it though said it was a spectacular hike and I've seen pictures of kids doing it, so I highly encourage you to push yourself to the end. The great part is you don't have to hike very far to see the puffins up close. They were pretty fearless, true Faroese animals.
Once you're done there's a café that serves hot drinks and cake. There's no restaurant on the island so bring a packed lunch. If you're lucky, like we were, you may be able to catch a free concert at the church.
The ferry ride itself is not the smoothest. A few people got sick while I dealt with fighting back my my biggest fear of capsizing, again into the abyss. But all that to say, the Faroese are extremely competent in the water and I trust them to get me from point A to B safely. So I just closed my eyes and did some yoga breathing. The rough part only lasts about 20 minutes before you're back in the calm harbour. Pretty proud of myself for keeping it together actually.
No trip to the Faroe Islands is complete without the hike to Lake Sørvágsvatn. Park your car and walk around the side of the lake, and up the hill. To get the best photo keep on walking until it looks like Lake Sørvágsvatn is floating above the ocean.
Photography Tip: My most disappointing photograph from the trip was Lake Sørvágsvatn. I simply didn't capture the full scale. Consider creating your own panorama instead of using the camera panorama feature. You'll have more flexibility to get the depth required. Also, keep going up the hill until you REALLY can't for risk of falling off the edge.
Music Concerts in the Faroe Islands
If you visit the Faroe Islands in mid-July you'll be able to check out the G! Music Festival. The Islands have a slew of talented singers, musicians and songwriters so there's always a concert to catch. Head over to Tutl Records in Tórshavn and listen to some Faroese music. Then find out what concerts are on nearby. If you're lucky to catch a grotto concert do it and let me know how it is. I can only imagine how cool the acoustics would be.
To get a taste of Faroese music, check out my Faroe Island road trip playlist. I mixed some of my favourite Faroese and English driving songs.
Getting Around The Faroe Islands
Getting to the Faroe Islands isn't as tricky as I thought. Flights from Copenhagen run several times a day. So if you can get to Copenhagen, then you can get to The Faroe Islands. The flight is short and the views during landing are unreal.
I have read there are some ferries that run, I personally didn't look into it because of time constraints and due to the fact that I hate being on boats.
The islands are best accessed by car and unfortunately the airport car rental agencies are the most convenient so their rentals sell out quickly and are expensive. Bite the bullet and reserve one early. We used SIXT car rentals.
There are tunnels and ferries that connect the islands. Because some of the tunnels are one way there is a driving etiquette, so review this video before driving in The Faroe Islands.
Since there is so much driving feel free to check out my Spotify playlist I made for the road trip. It's a collection of Faroese songs I heard on the island and some English songs that put me in a driving mood.
If you're on a budget there is public transport and you can read all about it on the official Faroe Islands tourism site.
Safety on the Faroe Islands
A+, never felt unsafe on the islands. The locals know each other well, and have a really close community. It's a great destination for solo female travellers.
The hiking can be challenging, as many paths are not developed for people. Make sure to bring proper hiking boots as the conditions are often slippery.
There aren't a ton of signs either so if you're not an experienced hiker try to let your hosts know where you are and always keep an eye out for oncoming weather, it changes very quickly on the islands.
Take your time on the roads, while there isn't much traffic, the tunnels can be nerve wracking the first time you use them. Also, respect the islands and don't do any off roading and tresspassing which will disrupt the natural environment.
Faroe Islands Photography TIPS
Wide-angles are great for the unique landscapes. A zoom is helpful when visiting Mykines and Vestmanna Cliffs to see the puffins and for the sheep since they are a little skittish.
Lens hoods and wipes are important to protect against the frequent spitting rain. Good weather resistant gear is essential.
This place is a dream for drones, I don't have one but if you do, bring it.
The wind can be intense so you'll have to be weary of your drone and tripod in certain instances.
Fill that Belly
Because of climate, most of the food is imported, making it an expensive destination to eat. If you're tight on a budget, or simply want to save on lunch in order to splurge on fine dining, consider stocking up at grocery stores. To put things in context we had a pizza one night and it cost us $40.
Expect to eat lots of smoked fish, fish soups, cured meats and potatoes. If you're feeling brave you can try raest (which translates to "fermented") which is dried mutton or cured whale. Wasn't a fan of either one but hey, I tried.
A few standout restaurants are in Torshavn:
Visit Áarstova for lamb that falls off the bone. It's slow roasted with nothing but salt. Simple and delicious.
For fresh seafood and delicious fish soups visit Barbara Fish House.
If you have the urge to splurge visit Koks restaurant - the island's first Michelin star restaurant. Learn from my mistake, book early or you won't be going.
There are a few bakeries in the Faroe Islands. My favourite was Frida Kaffihus in Klaksvik. Walk in and see endless amounts of cake, yum!
Try a heimablidni (a home cooked meal) at Lena and Jakup's house. Enjoy a spread of local products, a lot of which are from their own farm. See photo and more details in my highlights section.
Where to stay in the Faroe Islands
The islands themselves are very small so many people stay in the capital of Tórshavn and spend the day travelling throughout the islands. I opted to pack-up and sleep on different parts of the island, to try and minimize unnecessary driving time and meet new people. I recommend this option.
My AirBnBs and hotels are in my above map. While they were all good, the two standouts were:
Airbnb in Vagar - the hosts Edith and Jakup were incredibly friendly and welcoming. The guest room has a lovely view, and they have a friendly dog. It was a great place to start our journey.
Airbnb in Klaksvik - it offered a private balcony on a lake. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying the long summer evenings.
Language on the Faroe Islands
While Faroese and Danish are the most common languages, almost everyone we met had a good grasp of English, especially the younger generations.