22 Amazing Things to Do In the Faroe Islands
Denmark certainly has its fair share of breathtaking scenic spots, and one of the best-kept secret spots that is fast-becoming a must-visit are the Faroe Islands. Majestic and surreal, the only way to describe this amazing location is that it is like being in an actual fairytale setting.
Should you find yourself lucky enough to have an opportunity to visit the Faroe Islands, here’s a list of all the best things to do in the Faroe Islands that will make your stay an utterly memorable one.
The 411 on the Faroe Islands
The small islands that collectively make the Faroe Islands are self-governing while still falling under the Kingdom of Denmark’s external sovereignty. Rocky and volcanic, these islands are actually a bit far away from Denmark and are actually much closer to Norway, Iceland, and Scotland.
As a bit of trivia, the Faroe Islands are not a member of the European Union even though Denmark is! Spoken by all Faroese, their own Faroese language is considered to be one of the older North Germanic languages that can be traced back to the extinct Old Norse Language, therefore being most similar to Icelandic. The English language is, however, also widely spoken, especially by the younger generations.
When visiting the Faroe Islands, you will definitely note the low population of 50,000 people… as well as the 70,000 sheep that also inhabit it!
Attractions and Things to Do in the Faroe Islands
If you want to make the most out of your visit, these suggestions and Faroe Islands points of interest will help make that happen:
1. Visit Lake Sorvagsvatn
Lake Sorvagsvatn is popular for being nature’s version of an optical illusion. Why? When you go up to this lake at a certain angle, the view before you will look like there is a lake right above the ocean – as if it was floating right above it! Lake Sorvagsvatn also boasts of an amazing waterfall called Bosdalafossur, which is definitely something that you need take a remembrance photo of.
The trek to Lake Sorvagsvatn takes about an hour, which begins from a church in Miðvágur where you will likely park before setting off. To witness the said optical illusion, you need to make your way to its southern tip (different from the lake’s southwest end) and find the angle from there. If you see a very steep hill there, you’re in the right place!
2. Catch a glimpse of the Mulafossur Waterfall
The Faroe Islands scenery are centered around nature, and this iconic landscape should be part of your itinerary. The Mulafossur Waterfall is less than twenty minutes away from the Vagar Airport by car, so you don’t waste a lot of time to get there if you prioritize it as soon as you land.
This majestic sight is located in the heart of the cozy village called Gasadalur. Since Gasadalur is one of the more isolated locations in the Faroe Islands, a car tunnel was built to gain access to town. Spotting the Mulafossur Waterfall can be accomplished by taking this tunnel and doing a short walk to the scenic spot, or you can take the old-fashioned route by way of a long hike.
See also: Faroe Islands, only 90 minutes flights from Edinburgh – Fantastic Faroe Islands
3. Bask in the serenity of the Saksun village
Located hillside, this remote village is the epitome of a peaceful atmosphere. Its layout mimics the style of an amphitheater, which contributes to its natural beauty. This spot used to be a fjord, which translates to the sea’s deep inlet. When it is low tide, you can enjoy a relaxing stroll around the lagoon. You should also visit the Dúvugarðar, which is a farm that is known for housing 300 ewes and also operating as a museum of sorts.
4. Go on a boat tour of the Vestmanna bird cliffs
When it comes to things to do in Faroe Islands, many happy tourists will enthusiastically recommend a visit to the Vestmanna bird cliffs. When the weather is great, you can sail along Streymoy’s west coast to see the towering cliffs as well as the sea stacks that are home to guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and, if you’re lucky enough, puffins.
5. Drop by the Foroya Fornminnissavn museum in Torshavn
Get your Viking Age history lesson in the most interesting ways with a visit to this museum, where Faroese artefacts straight out of the Viking Age all the way to 19th Century Denmark await you. The museum is very tourist-friendly with its illustrative photos and helpful notes to guide your tour.
6. Check out the Fossa waterfall
Visiting the Faroe islands will not be complete without a trip to see the largest waterfall, which goes up a height of around 140 meters. The Fossa waterfall is found near Haldarsvik village and is known for its twin cascades that fall directly to the sea. In Faroese, the term Fossa translates to ‘river with waterfalls’ – and the best time to see it in its most spectacular glory is right after heavy rainfall.
7. Have a meal at Barbara Fish House in Torshavn
Visiting the Faroe Islands is also a culinary adventure, and one of your must-dine-ins is Barbara Fish House. While you’re there to sample traditionally scrumptious Faroese seafood dishes, you will also be charmed at the actual restaurant itself because it is built right into the rocks!
8. Ride the ferry to Kalsoy island
A ferry trip to Kalsoy island should be part and parcel of anyone’s Things to Do in Faroe Islands’ list. Its flute-like shape is because it is quite thin, and the great thing about this tourist spot is that it is a single highway with numerous tunnels that won’t require a map.
When there, find time to visit the Kallur lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the place. A comfortable pair of hiking shoes will surely help make the trek a lot manageable, though the most you have to contend with is the steepness of the way to the lighthouse.
9. Take a photo with the Seal Woman
No, this isn’t an old village lady that you hope to be granted an audience with – it’s a metal embodiment of one of the more popular folktales in the Faroe Islands. After your exploration of Kalsoy island, make a stop at Mikladalur village to see the Seal Woman. Also called Kopakonan, it is fashioned out of stainless steel and bronze and proudly stands atop a rock beside a waterfall.
A photo with the Seal Woman is made even prettier with the bonus of a mountain and sea backdrop! A tip? Bring your own lunch because it can be hard to find a restaurant in Kalsoy, save for a small canteen located in Mikladalur that only served snacks.
10. Splurge for a great meal at the fine dining restaurant Aarstova
While there’s so many great gastronomic discoveries to be made while visiting the Faroe islands without going broke, a meal at a fine dining restaurant is special experience in itself. Save up for it and enjoy a fantastic meal of the best Faroese lamb in the posh yet cozy wooden interiors of this Torshavn restaurant. What used to be an old family home has now become a high class culinary pit stop for foodies who make their way to Torshavn.
11. Spend a day in the Mykines island
When you visit Faroe Islands, you should definitely allot one whole day for a Mykines island trip – it’s definitely worth it! You can reach it by boat, but those who want to take things to another level may do so via helicopters (which are subsidized by the Faroe Islands government). Make your way to the cliffs to see the super puffins that live alongside it, which are mostly out and about during the summer time.
As Mykines is also known as a bird lover’s paradise, you can also spend some time bird hunting for exciting and interesting avian creatures that you probably only see in books. For your downtime exploration, wander around the small village and bask in its charm before you make your back to Torshavn via ferry or helicopter.
12. Take a peek at Kirkjubour
From Mykines, a quick stopover to Kirkjubour will reward you with a site that is known for being the oldest inhabited wood house in the entire world. Found in Kirkjubøargarður, it is a big black building found right in the center of this village and is home to 17 generations (and counting!) of the same family. Because of its long-standing nature, some parts have been converted into a museum for public viewing as it is already considered as a village cultural treasure.
While you are there, you can also check out some old churches like Saint Olav and Magnus Cathedral that are also worth the visit.
a full-day tour to the mythical island of Sandoy & Kirkjubour
13. Have a meal at KOKS
Your list of things to do in Faroe Islands should have room for this, because it is the lone Michelin star restaurant in the entire Faroe Islands. It also won the Nordic Prize award for being the best restaurant among all Nordic countries back in 2015. It is known for using only local ingredients for its dishes and is ensconced in a private house that was converted to a guest room. The dining experience at KOKS is definitely one for the books!
14. Wander around Tinganes in the main capital of Torshavn
While visiting the Faroe islands is a nature trip, you can also have your fair share of city highlights when you go around Tinganes. ‘Charming’ is the only word to describe this picture-perfect location, thanks to the cluster of red wooden houses that you are not likely to see anywhere else. It is also home to precious history, as these used to be a prominent meeting place for the Vikings once upon a time.
In present history, it is used as the office of their prime minister as it is near the Logting, or the Law assembly of the Faroese parliament. Wandering around by yourself will be an easy history lesson because the town is thoughtful enough to post numerous plaques and signs that help explain the history behind the different areas and aspects of the place.
15. Go souvenir shopping at Ostrom
Paying for transportation and dining in fantastic restaurants aren’t the only places where you budget should go to. Make sure you set aside a bit of money for souvenirs, which are best sourced at Ostrom. Make your way to the waterfront and check out a neat store located right inside an old factory. The store sells locally made items like traditional clothing, cozy wool sweaters, charming postcards and posters, as well as other knickknacks and design products.
Whether you want one item or found enough to fill up an entire suitcase to take back home, you will definitely observe how beautifully and thoughtfully made each item is.
16. Go horseback riding around Torshavn
In a place which looks like you are right smack in the middle of a Lord of the Rings set, it makes sense to live the magic by going on a horse-riding experience. A tour can be arranged for this, so you can have a one of a kind trot around town on a genuine Icelandic horse.
17. Conquer Slaettaratindur
If you’re up for a serious hike, you might want to check out this 800 meter flat summit – which is the highest mountain you will ever find in the entire Faroe Islands. It even has a mention in the Guinness World Records as it is the longest sight line in the world because of the atmosphere’s light bending effects.
On a beautifully clear day, you can even spot the Vatnajokull, which is Iceland’s largest glacier. While it isn’t something that will require you to be a hiking professional, it will require some effort – so if you’re ready to do something physically exhausting yet rewarding, reaching the summit is a big achievement in itself.
18. Challenge yourself with a hike on Mt. Villingardalsfjall
The hike on this mountain may be some of the most challenging in all of the Faroe Islands, but is definitely some of the most rewarding as well. It takes an average of three to four hours to get to the summit, which is a 6 kilometer distance spread over 841 meters. The challenge is not in the distance but in the nature of the incline, which is very steep.
19. Take a “no hike” trip to the top of the Sornfelli Mountain
Not a fan of heights? No problem. There’s still a way to get a mountain conquering experience without going on a hike, and that is by setting your sights on conquering Sornfelli Mountain. You can reach the mountain plateau’s top by car if you want the most relaxing way to get to it. There is an amazing view from the top, which only requires you to take a very manageable 30-meter walk!
20. Catch a live performance in Norðurlandahúsið
When you are not in the mood to go exploring or you simply want to have a laidback night or afternoon, make sure to catch any of the live performances that constantly happen in Norðurlandahúsið in Torshavn. This cultural center is modern and boasts of fancy architecture that you will immediately marvel at, complete with a turf roof and a miniature Stonehenge right in the carpark.
This venue is the place for all the best plays, concerts, conferences and exhibitions happening all year round in Torshavn. If you’re hungry, you also only need to make your way to a small cafeteria that serves snacks in the area.
21. Bask in the calmness of Nolsoy Island in Torshavn
When you feel like you need a bit of a breather from the hustle and bustle of busy Torshavn, the best place to head off to is Nolsoy Island. While some people will say that Nolsoy village is somewhat not as picturesque compared to other locations in the Faroe Islands, (like the Tinganes peninsula, for example) it is hard to ignore the tranquil atmosphere of its environment.
The best way to describe the feeling of actually being there is the same one you’ll probably have when you check-in a remote bed and breakfast for the weekend. When this type of feeling is something you want to experience, Nolsoy is the best place to find it!
22. Get yourself on a kayak
The cool thing about visiting the Faroe Islands is that no matter where you are in the Faroe Islands it only takes about five kilometers to find yourself by the sea. Because of this, there’s absolutely no reason for you to partake in ocean activities – and one of the most recommended ones is kayaking! Kayaking is also a great way to get around the clutch of islands: you get to become physically active while still being moderately relaxed at the same time.
There are different kinds of kayaking opportunities to be had in the Faroe Islands such as kayaking the fjords or saltwater waterways if you want to feel a little more active than usual. There’s also kayaking on Sorvagsvatn, the largest freshwater lake in the Faroe islands, which is a usually a calmly pleasant experience. You can either rent a kayak by yourself or choose to be part of a guided tour for this kind of activity.
A Trip of a Lifetime
When you visit Faroe Islands, you are definitely making an investment in your life’s memory bank. There is so much to do in this part of the world, and this list only tackles one part of it. The great mix of physically active and relaxing activities will definitely make for a balanced vacation, and these tips will help make your itinerary run smoother:
- Map out your days to maximize them. Study the travel times from one place to another, and be sure to plot out your days per area so you cover more ground. Look for activities that might require more time than others, so you know what else can be done instead or what other workaround can be applied so you maximize the wait.
- Balance a high-low blend of activities. If you are going to schedule a physically taxing activity in the morning (such as a hike, for example), try to follow it up with a more laidback activity next so you can regain your strength and take a rest while tucking in yet another important activity. You can schedule a lunch at a must-visit restaurant that’s closest to the hike, for example, so you can have a great meal to go while you rest your legs. It’s great to always be on the go, but you also need to be conscious of how much rest you need to power through the rest of the day’s activities.
- Make it a habit to have food in your pack. There will be places in the Faroe Islands where restaurants are hard to come by. If you happen to find yourself in such a destination, going hungry should be the least of your concern. Always have a snack or a sandwich with you as well as a bottle of water – enough to tide you over until your next meal back in the city or in the nearest town.
- Ask the locals for what else is nice to see in the area. There are so many listicles of things to do in Faroe Islands on the internet, but you never know of a local citizen can point you in the direction of a great experience that is not yet within the radar of blogging or vlogging tourists.
Visiting the Faroe Islands should definitely be on any traveler’s list. It is a dream destination that will leave you breathless at the sight of nature, while sparking in you the desire to explore, discover, and delight in all that it has to offer. This list of things to do in Faroe islands will guarantee that this magical place will leave a permanent imprint on you! Scan through the list, highlight activities that you really want to do, and ask your travel mates which ones they would especially like to experience – then come up with a fantastic itinerary that all of you won’t forget!