15 Wild & Wonderful Things to Do in Faroe Islands (Don’t Miss #6!)

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Faroe Islands Things to Do

Inside: Blissfully off the tourist radar, the Faroe Islands feel like an undiscovered paradise. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your trip.

I’m often alerted to fabulous little-known travel destinations thanks to a little help from my well-traveled friends. And that’s exactly how the Faroe Islands first crossed my radar.

A fellow TV-industry colleague visited the Faroe Islands several years ago after working Wimbledon in the UK. Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I was privy to all his glorious photos of dramatic plunging waterfalls and endless grassy countryside.

Not to mention the turf-roofed houses, cuddly sheep, and other assorted wondrous things.

I was spellbound.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will undoubtedly blow on more flights (it’s a vicious cycle).  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

Where is this magical place called the Faroe Islands?” I wondered.

And it’s been on my travel Bucket List ever since.

Faroe Islands Things to Do
Green, gorgeous, and undiscovered – the Faroe Islands

So, where ARE the Faroe Islands?

Situated about halfway between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 main islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Just 200 miles north-northwest of Scotland, the Faroes occupy a geographical area of about 540 square miles and are home to a population of just over 50,000.

What are the Faroe Islands famous for?

The beauty of the Faroe Islands is that they’re not famous, which is all part of the island nation’s charm. If you have heard of the Faroe Islands, it’s most likely because of their unrivaled natural beauty like stunning waterfalls.

Or perhaps for the famous seasonal residents, the puffins.

The Faroes are, in fact, well-known for producing outstanding wool products including some pretty stylish knit sweater designs. (Because if there’s one thing the Faroe Islands have in abundance it’s sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.)

Are the Faroe Islands a country?

Yes, the Faroe Islands are a self-governing nation. Though they are one of three constituent countries within the Kingdom of Denmark (in addition to Denmark and Greenland), the island nation enjoys extensive autonomous powers.

The Bottom Line: If you like to keep track of the number of countries you’ve visited, the Faroe Islands counts as a new one (according to the Traveler’s Century Club Country List). And that makes it country #178 for me!

How to get to the Faroe Islands

Though there is one ferry option serving the Faroe Islands, by far, the easiest way to reach the islands is to fly.

Flights to the Faroe Islands

Established in 1988, Atlantic Airways is the national carrier of the Faroe Islands. The most frequent direct flights to the islands originate in Copenhagen and Edinburgh. But there are also direct flights from Reykjavik, Oslo, Aalborg, Billund, Paris, Mallorca, Gran Canaria and Barcelona.

Atlantic Airways flights to the Faroe Islands
Atlantic Airways flights to the Faroe Islands

Atlantic operates 3 roomy Airbus 320 aircraft and 2 helicopters, each named after a well-known Faroese artist. The A320’s are Ingalvur (first Faroese abstract painter), Tita (innovative wool artist) and William (Nordic author).

The two helicopters, Ruth and Samal, offer aerial tours of the islands and also serve as part of the government’s emergency preparedness team.

Do I need a rental car in the Faroe Islands?

Yes. If you want to be able to get out and explore many of the islands, you’ll need your own wheels.

I highly recommend booking with one of the local Faroese rental car companies and reserving your car well in advance.

Renting a car and driving in the Faroe Islands is a subject worthy of its own post, so I wrote one! If you’re planning to drive in the Faroe Islands (and you should) be sure to read this first:

The Essential Guide to Driving & Car Rentals in the Faroe Islands

Here’s the short version: After a thorough comparison of costs and reviews, we rented with RentYourCar.fo and we had a painless rental experience.

Driving the Faroe Islands
The beauty of having your own wheels!

However, if you read that post and the rest of this one and decide that driving in the Faroe Islands just isn’t for you, don’t worry. Several great guided tours around the islands will do the driving for you and, as a bonus, you get the benefit of a knowledgeable local guide.

Here are my favorite Faroe Islands tours:

  • Faroe Islands Highlights Tour – The small group, 6-hour tour is an easy way to visit many of the top sights around the Faroe Islands (including most of the main sights on my list below).
  • Sightseeing Around Nólsoy to see Puffins – On our visit, we took the ferry to Nolsoy to explore and had a great day, but we didn’t see any puffins. If I had it to do over again, I would book this 2-hour boat tour even though we did have a car.
  • Exclusive 1.5 Hour Drangarnir Boat Tour – This excellent boat trip is a great way to see the stunning Drangarnir sea stacks and view the world’s most Instagrammable waterfall (Mulafossur) from the sea.

Driving in the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands have a well-maintained network of roadways so it’s not terribly difficult to drive there. Let’s just say it was far less stressful than our road trip around Ireland a few years ago!

I go much deeper into the ins and outs of driving in the Faroe Islands (including essential road etiquette!) in my Faroe Islands rental cars post here.

Reaching some of the smaller villages like Saksun requires a good distance on mostly single-lane roads with two-way traffic. While that can be a bit nerve-wracking, there are lay-bys spaced frequently along single-lane roads.

Driving in the Faroe Islands
An example of a lay-by

The best hotels in the Faroe Islands

  1. Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands – This was our hotel choice in the islands (mainly because I wanted to use Hilton points!) and it was a terrific hotel (more on that below!).
  2. Havgrim Seaside Hotel 1948 – If you’re looking for something right on the sea, this boutique hotel is the ideal choice for a bit of waterfront luxury.
  3. Gotugjogv Log House – For a terrific budget option, this charming guest house on Eysturoy island is tough to beat. Note: This one is a shared bathroom situation.
  4. Hotel Brandan – Opened in 2021, outdoor hot tub, popular restaurant Husgardur focuses on Faroese ingredients
  5. Hotel Foroyar – Eco-focused hotel with 200 rooms. Ruts restaurant is all vegetarian, outdoor wellness area with hot tubs, swimming pool, sauna, and steam (all heated by a heat pump)

The Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands

We loved our stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands. Rooms are modern and plush and the staff were friendly and helpful.

Tip: It’s worth the extra money for a “view” room, our 4th-floor room had a gorgeous view of the sea and town.

The 15 Best Things to Do in the Faroe Islands

From awe-inspiring waterfalls and world-class hiking to hi-tech Subsea tunnels and turf-roofed villages, the Faroe Islands are a brilliant destination to explore. So, what to do in the Faroe Islands?

Let’s get started!

The Buttercup Route

Grab a handy island map at the airport and take a road trip along the “Buttercup Route.” Buttercups are the national flower of the Faroe Islands and this route (marked on the map and on local road signs) is a surefire way to discover all the best places to see around the islands.

Here are 15 of my favorite things to see and do:

1. Explore Tórshavn

One of the world’s smallest capital cities, the quirky town of Tórshavn is a visitor’s delight. Don’t miss the bright red Tinganes buildings jutting out into the sea with their lush sod rooftops.

Once a gathering place for local Viking chiefs, today Tinganes is home to the Faroese government offices including the Prime Minister’s office.

Tórshavn Faroe Islands capital
Tórshavn, capital of the Faroe Islands

2. Mulafossur Waterfall & Gasadalur

Located on Vagar island, Mulafossur is without a doubt the most iconic waterfall in the Faroes. And since it’s just a 15-minute drive from the airport, it’s the perfect place to kick off your exploration of the islands.

Perched at the cliff’s edge, this spectacular waterfall cascades straight into the North Atlantic Ocean with dramatic flair. Adding to its epic beauty, Mulafossur is also framed by steep emerald mountains and the tiny fairy tale village of Gasadalur. The entire scene is pure poetry.

Gasadalur itself makes a terrific day trip with a café, hike, and even puffins if you’re lucky.

From the parking area along the road, getting to the waterfall requires just a 2-minute walk down a level path. So it’s not just one of the most impressive sights in the Faroes, it’s also one of the easiest to visit.

If you only have time for one waterfall on your visit to the Faroe Islands, make sure it’s this one.

Mulafossur Waterfall Faroe Islands
Mulafossur Waterfall and Gasadalur Village

3. The Island of Kalsoy

The island of Kalsoy is no doubt one of the Faroes’ most scenic. And the hike to Kalsoy’s dramatic Kallur lighthouse is filled with jaw-dropping panoramic views. There’s no tunnel to Kalsoy so getting there requires a 20-minute ferry from Klaksvik to Syðradalur (Kalsoy).

The guided hike, led by local farmer and part-time tour guide Johannus Kallsgard, to the island’s picturesque Kallur lighthouse came highly recommended by a friend of mine who visited the Faroe Islands a few years ago.

But these days, the little-known island also has a new tourist draw.

When Johannus was contacted several years ago by an Icelandic producer looking for information and a few shots of the local area, he happily agreed. Little did he know, he would soon be hosting an entire movie crew for the filming of the 25th film in the popular secret agent James Bond series, “No Time to Die.

The filming was top secret and Johannus assisted with everything from monitoring weather forecasts to coordinating ferry crossings for the crew and equipment. His starring behind-the-scenes role in the film’s production earned him the endearing nickname, the “King of Kalsoy” from the production team.

Rumors abounded during filming of 007’s possible demise and, sure enough, that dramatic scene unfolded right there on Kalsoy. (Of course, in the film, it’s an imaginary island and neither Kalsoy nor the Faroes are mentioned.) Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic delayed the release of No Time to Die from 2019 until late 2021.

After the film’s eventual release, Johannus had the idea to erect a gravestone in the spot where 007 fell. Created in cooperation with the tourism company “Guide to Faroe Islands,” it was an effort to draw more tourists to Kalsoy and it certainly seems to be working.

James Bond Memorial Kalsoy Island Faroes
007 Memorial, Kalsoy Island

In fact, when we inquired at our hotel about the ferry to the island, we were advised to arrive at least 2 hours before departure to ensure a spot for our car. Unfortunately, with our limited time, that meant we had to skip a visit to Kalsoy.

But my friend who visited the island a few years ago and did the lighthouse hike with Johannus said it was the best part of the entire trip. So, if you do decide to visit during the popular summer months, it’s best to book with Johannus in advance. And don’t forget to queue early for the ferry.

4. The Village of Gjogv

Nestled between a dramatic gorge and verdant mountain peaks, the seaside village of Gjorv is a great place to get a look at a traditional Faroese village.

Located in the northern part of Eysturoy island, the narrow winding road to reach the village is worth the effort. Puffins nest here from late May to August (though we didn’t spot any, darn it!)

Gjogv Village Faroe Islands

5. Visit the Puffins on Mykines

Puffins are one of the most numerous bird species here and more than a million breed on the islands’ grassy slopes during the summer months. 

The island of Mykines is one of the most beautiful spots in all of the Faroe Islands. With only 10 year-round inhabitants, it’s also the best spot for puffin viewing. The island’s rich bird life is truly a bird watcher’s paradise.

The 45-minute ferry to the island runs from Sorvagur and leaves at 10:20am and returns at 5:05pm. Get there at least an hour early if you want to get a spot for your car. The popular hike to the lighthouse is 5-6 miles round-trip and takes 3-4 hours.

Between May 1st and August 31st there is a DKK 500 fee per person (in addition to the ferry ticket) to visit Mykines. Also, in order to protect the puffins, you MUST be accompanied by a guide.

Note: The path to the lighthouse remains closed due to a landslide in Mykines in October 2021. Hiking trails to other areas on the island are still open.

6. Drive the incredible Eysturoy Subsea Tunnel

The 3 subsea tunnels that connect the Faroe Islands are a true marvel of engineering. But the new Eysturoy Tunnel will completely blow your mind. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere in the world.

It’s not just a tunnel, it boasts the world’s first undersea roundabout, nicknamed the “jellyfish.” It also features a pretty impressive underwater art installation.

I mean, how can you not take a drive through this engineering wonder? At 11km (7 miles) long, the tunnel opened in 2020 and connects the two most populous islands – Eysturoy and Streymoy.

Bonus: The roundabout means you can keep circling until you’ve seen enough (we were not the only tourists who made more than a few loops around taking pictures!).

Eysturoy Sub Sea Tunnel Roundabout Faroe Islands
Eysturoy Sub Sea Tunnel Roundabout

7. Visit Kirkjubour

Hike the historic route from Torshavn (or just make the 10-minute drive like we did!) to the Faroe Islands’ most important historic site. Located on the island of Streymoy, the tranquil sod-roofed village of Kirkjubour is home to the ruins of the Magnus Cathedral.

Magnus Cathedral Kirkjubour Faroe Islands
Magnus Cathedral, Kirkjubour

8. Tjornuvik

Located at the northern tip of Streymoy island, the isolated village of Tjornuvik is one of the Faroes most unique sights. The steep road to reach the village can be quite an adventure, especially in the busy summer months.

Luckily, shuttles now operate in the summer from nearby Haldorsvik. Park your car, board the shuttle, and let the experienced Faroese driver take the stress out of this potentially harrowing drive.

9. Fossa Waterfall

The Faroese word for waterfall, Fossa is the easiest of all hikes in the Faroes. In fact, there’s no hike at all, you can literally just drive right up to it.

To get there, plug “Haldarsvik” into Google Maps.

If you’re making the drive up to Tjornuvik, it’s hard to miss this spectacular 2-tiered waterfall on your left as you head north. Luckily there are plenty of places to pull off the road and appreciate its beauty for a while. At 140 meters high, it’s the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands.

Fossa Waterfall Faroes
Fossa Waterfall

10. Hike to Lake Sorvagsvatn

Make the 1-hour hike to the viewpoint for the islands’ most dramatic lake. Located on Vagar Island, Lake Sorvagsvatn seems suspended over the sea below. It’s an optical illusion you won’t want to miss. And like Mulafossur, it’s just a short hop from the airport. It’s also possible to kayak on the lake.

11. Take a Day Trip to Suderoy Island

The most southerly of the Faroe Islands, it takes a little more time to reach Suderoy island. But if you have the time, it makes a terrific day trip. The island is a 2-hour ferry ride from Torshavn so it’s best to get an early start if you want to have plenty of time to explore. 

12. The Island of Nolsoy

Accessed by a scenic 20-minute ferry ride from Torshavn, the island of Nolsoy is another fun day trip. Don’t miss a stop in the island’s info center which doubles as a café. Here, you can arrange a hiking tour to the Nolsoy lighthouse.

On the day of our visit we stumbled upon a music festival taking place on the island.

What else could we do? We bought tickets and enjoyed a fabulous afternoon of local music without another tourist to be seen. It was a lovely day and we even had the opportunity to chat with several Faroese families about the simple joys of life on the islands.

Nolsoy Island Faroe Islands
Nolsoy Island

13. Saksun

This tiny, remote village occupies one of the most serenely peaceful spots in all of the Faroe Islands. Home to just 11 residents, the village rests on the banks of a gorgeous lagoon, surrounded in every direction by stunning waterfalls.

Saksun Village Waterfall Faroe Islands

With a pristine white church and just a handful of turf-roofed cabins, it’s truly like something out of a Hollywood fairy tale.

14. Try the local Faroese Cuisine

Here are a few foods & drinks you have to try:

  • Faroe Salmon – World-renowned for its superior quality, Faroe salmon features prominently on the menus of many top-notch restaurants around the world.
  • Rhubarb – One of the few hearty crops that grows successfully in the rugged Faroese climate, rhubarb is featured in lots of Faroese dishes, desserts, and beverages.

  • Nykur Vodka – Made from Faroese spring water and named for a mythical beast of the Faroes’ lakes, this small batch vodka is certified EU organic and a real treat for evening refreshment.
  • Slupp Beer – This local brew is the beer of the Faroe Islands.

Best places to sample Faroese cuisine:

  • Aarstova – Authentic Faroe Islands cuisine in a traditional house with fish drying outside. Expensive but worth it. Reservations in the summer months are a must.
  • Paname Café – Favorite place for a quick stop. Connected to a bookstore and gift shop. Freshly baked cookies and croissants and excellent coffee. They also serve wine.
  • KOKS – This two star Michelin restaurant was once named the world’s most remote foodie destination by the New York Times. It’s true fine dining in the Faroes with a price tag to match. If you’re visiting in the summer months, make reservations by March. Note: KOKS has currently relocated to Greenland for the 2024 summer season but is expected to return.
  • ROKS – Sister restaurant to KOKS, ROKS will help fill the culinary void while KOKS is in Greenland. Also in the Michelin guide, ROKS serves up a laid-back atmosphere with a focus on high-quality Faroese seafood.
  • The TARV Grillhouse – Excellent grilled salmon and espresso martinis to write home about. Tip: Order the mushrooms as a side.

15. Meet the local wildlife

From abundant bird life to curious sheep, you’ll find it all in the Faroe Islands. The sheep are literally everywhere (including in the middle of the road, so watch out!). And they are the absolute cutest.

I mean, seriously. Just look at these two characters right here…

Faroe Islands Sheep
Sheep in the Faroe Islands

Keep an eye out for Highland Cattle. These cinnamon-hued shaggy beasts are a Faroese attraction in their own right and can be spotted all over the island.

I spied these on the way from the airport to Mulafossur but they can also be found in Kirkjubour, Gasadalur, and near other villages.

Highland Cattle Faroe Islands
Highland Cattle, Faroe Islands

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Faroe Islands

And just in case I missed anything above, here are a few more commonly asked questions about the Faroe Islands.

When is the best time of year to visit the Faroe Islands?

May to August is considered the high season for visitors. We visited the first week of July and experienced temperatures in the 50’s (F) and quite a bit of rain, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the islands.

Early July sunlight hours in Torshavn

How many hours of daylight in the Faroe Islands?

Expect long days in the summer months with very little actual darkness. Yes, the sun sets eventually, but we discovered it rarely gets totally dark before the sun rises again. Very similar to when I visited Antarctica on Round the World #8.

June has the most hours of daylight with almost 20 hours at its peak. On the contrary, if you visit outside of June-August, the days get progressively shorter. One of the many perks of visiting in the summer months is the abundance of extra daylight hours to explore.

Is there a ferry to the Faroe Islands?

Yes, but just one. Symril Lines operates one ferry route to the Faroe Islands via Denmark and Iceland aboard the MS Norrona. In the summer months, the ferry runs twice weekly but the rest of the year it’s just once a week.

What is the Faroe Islands currency?

There are two currencies of equal value used in the Faroe Islands, the Faroese krona and the Danish krone. Bank notes are printed in the Faroese currency, however, only Danish coins are used.

You may find a few places in the main towns willing to accept euros or British pounds but the exchange rate is likely to be very unfavorable.

Are credit cards widely accepted in the Faroe Islands?

Yes, most places on the main islands accept credit cards. Visa is the most widely accepted but many shops, restaurants, and hotels will also accept MasterCard, Eurocard, Maestro, and JCB. Aside from the major hotels, most places do not accept American Express.  

Our experience with cash versus credit card

In researching the Faroe Islands, I read that while most places on the larger islands do accept credit cards, in the smaller towns and shops, we would likely need cash.

So, we took out the equivalent of $100 US in Danish krone before boarding our flight in Copenhagen, just in case. But we ended up putting it toward our hotel bill at the end of our stay. We just never needed it!

Everywhere we went, we used contactless payment from our phones (like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Wallet). From the tiny (phone-booth-size) coffee shop at Saksun to the info center café on Nolsoy island, everyone utilized “tap to pay” as the preferred payment option. We never even had to take a card from our wallets.

So, from our experience, if you’re not already using one of these contactless forms of payment directly from your phone, it pays to load it before your trip. It’s by far the easiest way to pay for things as you travel in the Faroe Islands (and most of Europe these days).

What language do they speak in the Faroe Islands?

Faroese is the primary language. However, Danish and English are both taught in schools and are widely spoken in most towns.

Sadly, Google didn’t think Faroese was important enough to add to Google Translate. Luckily, the folks at Visit Faroe Islands have come to the rescue with their own handy translator for Faroese.

Faroese translator

How many days do you need in the Faroe Islands?

That depends on just how much you want to see! We had 3 nights (two full days and two half days thanks to the long hours of daylight). I would say that’s the minimum to get around and explore more than a few islands.

But 4 to 7 days is much better, especially if you plan to explore some of the islands’ many incredible hiking trails.

Can you see the Northern Lights from the Faroe Islands?

Yes! Weather permitting, the Faroe Islands are a terrific place to experience the Northern Lights between the months of September and March. Located on the northern tip of Eysturoy island, the village of Gjógv is one of several great places to view the lights.

Why do houses in the Faroe Islands have grass roofs?

Aside from its many spectacular waterfalls, the turf-roofed buildings are perhaps the Faroe Islands’ most recognizable sight.

Common on homes, office buildings, restaurants, and even hotels, the sod roofs are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. These lush green rooftops are not exclusive to the Faroe Islands. In fact, sod roofs are historically common throughout Scandinavia (especially in Iceland and Norway).

The traditional Viking sod roofs are actually made of birch bark which is then covered with sod cut from good pasture land, something that is plentiful in the Faroes.

Tinganes Torshavn Turf Roofs
Turf roofs on the Tinganes government buildings in Torshavn

With up to 300 days of rainfall a year, the turf roofs provide protection from the elements as well as additional insulation in the long winter months.

Plus, let’s be honest, they just look really cool. Am I right?

Wrapping up a fantastic visit to the Faroe Islands!

And there you have it, 15 wildly wonderful Faroe Islands things to do when you visit. And everything else you could ever want to know about planning a trip to the Faroe Islands.

My advice? Hurry up and get there before the rest of the world discovers the magical beauty of these remote islands.

Faroe Islands Things to Do

Looking for more awesome destinations in this part of the world? Start here:

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