Faroe Islands Travel Guide

The Faroe Islands is a group of islands in the Northern region of the globe, bordered by the Iceland to the south and the Norwegian Sea to the west. It is a unique multi-ethnic, self-governing, arctic archipelago, an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It consists of 18 rocky, volcanically active islands between Iceland and Norway on the North Atlantic Ocean, bordered on one side by the Skagerrak and Kattegat in the North, by the Gulf of Flanders to the south-west and the Belgian Congo to the northwest Faroe is known for its woods, cliffs and gorges, but is also well famous for its unique culture and interesting geology.

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About Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean is an archipelago of 18 small islands created as a result of volcanic activity in the area. Territorially, the islands belong to Denmark but have their own government. The islands are connected by bridges, tunnels and roads, creating a real paradise for lovers of flora and fauna.

Where Are The Faroe Islands?

To be more precise, the islands are located in the latitudes between Iceland and Norway and 320 kilometers from Scotland. They are an autonomous region within the territory of the Kingdom of Denmark (since 1948) and occupy a total area of 1,400 square kilometers. The archipelago has its own trade policy, different from that of Denmark, and the right to sign its own trade agreements with other countries.

Faroe Islands map

Due to their formation by volcanic activity, the map of the Faroe Islands is mostly rocky and dotted with hills. The peaks are not very high as the highest point is Slættaratindur with a height of 882 meters.
The main islands of all 18 in the archipelago are:

  • Streymoy Island where the capital Tórshavn is located;
  • Eysturoy is the second largest in area and population.
  • Sandoy and Sandur islands have a relatively flat relief and sandy strips
  • Vágar is home to the only airport on the Faroe Islands – Vágar Airport. It is also famous for its shape which reminds of a dog head.
  • Borðoy is the largest in the northern part of the archipelago.
  • Suðuroy s located in the most southern part of the islands.

Faroe Islands Population

The total population is just over 50 thousand people. The main religion practiced by over 95% of the population is Christianity. Demographically, there are far fewer women than men on the island, leading to mixed marriages with women from nearby islands. The birth rate is high – more than two children per woman.

Faroe Islands Weather

The climate is expected to be humid and cool. In the higher areas the typical climate for the tundra is observed. Winters are mild with average temperatures between 3.0 to 4.0 ° C.

In summer, temperatures are in the range of 12-15 degrees Celsius, but not much more. Of course, there are temperature records of 26 degrees, but they are out of the norm. The weather is often windy and foggy regardless of the season.

Languages & Culture

The language spoken by the locals is called Faroese. It is part of the Indo-European group of languages and is very similar to Icelandic and some Norwegian dialects. Faroese is also the first official language and Danish is the second.

The Faroese language has been among the languages since the Viking Age. For more than 300 years after its inception, the language has not been recorded, which means that all literary works such as stories and poems have been passed on by word of mouth, and literature as we know it has developed over the last 100-200 years.
Interestingly, due to the lack of contact with the rest of the world (until before the construction of sea lanes and bridges), Faroe Islands were quite isolated. This in turn leads to the preservation of their ancient customs and culture and makes them interesting for lovers of historical heritage. As already mentioned, the roots of Faroese culture come from Nordic habits.

Traditional music is almost vocal, without the use of musical instruments.

The national sport of the islands is a boat race. The traditions in this sport date back to the 1930s. The competitions are usually in June or July and are part of a larger organized festival. Another popular sport is swimming as the Faroese Pál Joensen is known worldwide for his achievements in various championships.

Direct Flights to the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands can be reached by two airlines – Atlantic Airways and Scandinavian Airlines. There are regular flights from Copenhagen (Denmark)- 2 hours long flight, Paris (France)- 2 hours and 45 minutes long flight, Reykjavik (Iceland) – one-hour long flight, Edinburgh (Scotland), and Bergen (Norway). Seasonal flights are also organized from some parts of the world – for example, Barcelona, the Gran Canary Islands, Mallorca, Crete and Malta.

Things to Do in the Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands Whaling

Whaling has been a tradition in the Faroe Islands since the 9th century. The method by which this is done is as several boats form a semicircle and surround the whale – the object of hunting. With slow movements, they push it to the chosen beach. This only happens on certified beaches and not on randomly selected ones. According to the locals, whale meat is especially tasty and is part of their customs and culture.

As expected, this type of hunting causes a lot of attacks and negative attitudes. With the change in the law, only licensed persons have the right to hunt whales after passing a certain course.

There is no set season for this type of activity, but it traditionally takes place in the spring and summer from May to October.

During the hunt, some of the main arteries of the animal are cut, which leads to great blood loss. As a result, the surrounding waters turn red. In many places you can find photos of this view. Under the new laws, the whale must be killed with a special weapon and as quickly as possible, without undue torture.
Despite constant criticism, whaling remains an important part of the Faroe Islands’ culture and historical heritage. Motives from it can be found both in literature and in the ancient art of the islands.

National Museum of the Faroe Islands

The museum is located in the capital of the places Faroe Islands Tórshavn. Here you can find cultural and historical remains from the Vikings and the Middle Ages. In the exhibition halls, you will find many birds, plants, fish and household items of the original settler

Faroe islands hiking

Last but not least, in the rocky areas of Faroe Islands there are a number of hiking trails ideal for any adventurer and nature lover. After a short walk in front of you will discover amazing views of rocky peaks and vast expanses of sea.

Some of the most popular routes are: Villingardalsfjal, which starts from the ancient village of Vidareidi and is probably the most beautiful of all. Once you climb to the top you will witness one of the most impressive views of the island; Kallur lighthouse on Kalsoy Island; Mikinesholmur on the Mykines Island where you will see some of the most spectacular views in your life; Saksun on the Streymoy Island which is not the most famous on the islands, but is definitely lighter and at the same time you will get to know the nature and culture in the environment.

Be sure to prepare yourself during the transition with appropriate clothing for the changing weather. It is best to have several layers on you that you can take off or put on depending on the temperature and humidity. Some terrains are quite rocky, so be prepared with suitable shoes. Always research the route in advance and take a map with you. Do not start the transition if the weather is too foggy. In many places, there are steep rocky slopes that can be dangerous.

With its rich historical heritage, impressive nature and interesting specific culture, Faroe Islands is a place you must visit at least once.