The Faroe Islands, located north of Scotland between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic, is a Denmark-owned province famed for Viking folklore and puffins. This archipelago made up of 18 islands connected by tunnels, with ferries and helicopters also serving as public transportation, is an ideal destination for travelers who like to get off the beaten path. You’ll feel as if you’ve entered some type of fantasy land, with scenes that look as if they’ve been taken straight from the pages of a fairy-tale.
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Relax and Enjoy the Silence and the Scenery (Nearby Hotels)
The best part of visiting the Faroe Islands is the incredibly awe-inspiring scenery, which means one of the top things to do on your list should be to do nothing but relax and take it all in. A visually stunning place with its lush green mountains dotted with shaggy sheep, fjords, cascading waterfalls and colorful villages – the views are absolutely to-die-for. This archipelago conjures up all the cliches of beauty and nature you’ve ever heard and then some.
Take a Hike (Nearby Hotels)
Other than kicking back and marveling at those striking scenes, getting out and exploring on foot is a great way to discover more fabulous views around every corner. Just a short trek can bring you to vantage points that overlook jaw-dropping peaks in one direction and the dazzling expanse of the sea in the other. The three-hour hike to Trælanípa, or ”Slave’s Rock,” where the lake and ocean meet, is absolutely epic, with dramatic cliffs, a waterfall, and a lake that looks as if it’s floating above the sea.
Go Bird Watching in the Mykines (Nearby Hotels)
Just a few of the bird species that arrive to the Faroes to breed every year include puffins, gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes, fulmars and storm petrels. The adorable puffin is the star in the summer, and the reason to go from early May to early September. There may be no better spot to see multiple bird species than on Mykines, the westernmost island of the archipelago with steep cliffs that are ideal for nesting sea birds. Take the hike from the village to the lighthouse, about three hours each way, for amazing ocean views as well as incredible bird watching.
Horse Riding (Nearby Hotels)
Another great way to see the scenery of the Faroe Islands is on horseback. A variety of horseback riding tours are offered, allowing one to be immersed in nature while getting to know the Faroese horse. The Faroese have their own special breed of horse that was nearly extinct. In the 1960s there was just one stallion and four mares left, but a breeding program put into place by locals has increased that number since to 74, although there are 400 horses in total that roam the island, some of which have Faroese blood, but have been bred with horses imported from other nations. While Berg Hestar offers riding tours with Icelandic horses, Davidsen Hestar Horse Riding provides tours that use the rare Faroese horse.
Take In Faroese Folk Music (Nearby Hotels)
Most visitors to the Faroe Islands arrive in the summer, and this season not only brings milder weather, but the chance to enjoy daily music events, with some of the most popular hosted for the St. Olav’s Day celebration in late July. This is your opportunity to take in some of the Faroese folk music that’s been making a comeback as of late, with contemporary artists integrating the sounds of the past into their music. If you’d like an especially unique music experience, book a seat to attend a grotto concert, which includes a trip on a schooner to a sea cave on the island of Nólsoy, with the evening of acoustic tunes performed in an entirely nature-made auditorium.
Wander Through Gjogv (Nearby Hotels)
The most northern village on the island of Eysturoy, Gjógv was named after the long, over 650-foot, sea-filled gorge that runs from the village into the Atlantic – in Faroese, ”gjógv” literally translates to gorge. With a population of less than 50, this beautifully tranquil village with spectacular views of the sea, and mountains on nearly all sides, is dotted with old turf-roofed and timber-walled cottages.
While Gjogv is home to a charming tea shop, the most popular thing to do here is to walk. When you see the gorge, you can one of either two paths that stretch to the sea, for photos from different angles – the path to the right will bring you to Mary’s Bench, named after Danish Crown Princess Mary who visited the village with Crown Prince Frederik in 2006. Set in the perfect spot, from here you can sit and marvel at the breathtaking view of the gorge and the North Atlantic.
Picnic in the Village of Saksun (Nearby Hotels)
The village of Saksun lies on the northwest coast of Streymoy and offers a postcard-perfect setting for a picnic. Stop at one of the local supermarkets to put together a nice lunch and then find an idyllic, grassy spot just above town to take in the view of the black sand lagoon and the turf-roofed houses. If it’s low tide, you can even walk across the lagoon.
Take a Boat Tour (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re into birds, and beautiful scenery, be sure to take a boat trip out to the Vestmanna bird cliffs and grottoes. One of the most popular excursions in the islands, via boat you’ll get the best perspective of the narrow straits, deep grottoes and nearly 2,300-foot-high cliffs that rise straight up from the sea. The cliffs and caves serve as a safe nesting place for the thousands of sea birds that are here during the summer months. The bird eggs have long-been considered a delicacy by the Faroese, with locals climbing down the cliffs to collect them, though it’s not as common now as it was in years past.
Watch the Northern Lights (Nearby Hotels)
This land with rugged mountain tops that are often enshrouded in fog similar to the British Isles, is far enough north that visitors may be able to see the dazzling lights of the aurora borealis, if the weather cooperates. Everything depends on that fog clearing up, along with a few other factors, but with a bit of luck on your side you may be able to witness this remarkable phenomenon. The best odds are generally from November to February, though the climate and temperature in general during this time is a lot more moderate than you would expect for its high latitude.