Breathtaking scenery – charming small capital
TORSHAVN: Unfolding The Faroe Islands is quite simple; Green and impressive landscape, rough scenery, vibrant culture, nice people, sheep all over, lots of fish in the sea and mainly no tourists on the roads. There is plenty of space and the best way to visit some of the 18 islands with 100 villages and the capital city of Torshavn is to take on the road and tunnels blasted through mountains the last 50 years. Wherever you are in the archipelago, there is no distance to the unspoiled nature and the breathtaking natural scenery is to be seen all over.
Connecting people. Most of the roads on The Faroe Islands are excellent with bridges and sub-sea tunnels connecting people. Two additional sub-sea tunnels are being planned to shorten travel time between the islands. I suggest starting an adventure by visiting Klaksvik and watch settlement of the Vikings in nearby Leirvik. On these northernmost nearby islands you will experience steep mountain slopes that rise vertically out of the sea and have perfect views to Fugloy, Svinoya, Bordoy and Kunoy. Klaksvik is the archipelago’s second largest city with 5,000 inhabitants.
Gjogv. The trip to Gjogv runs over a winding mountain road passing The Faroese highest mountain Slættaratindur north of Eysturoy, with a flat top 880 meters above sea level. It is possible to walk to the top. In the fishing village of Gjógv the family-run guesthouse Gjaargardur reminds of a Swiss chalet with majestic peaks and spectacular sea cliffs rising up. If you come here on a Wednesday in the period from June to August you will experience a cultural evening with local musicians, dancers and actors. The place is known for its distinctive natural harbour, hence the name Gjogv meaning “ravine”. The name Gjogv is actually pronounced, “check” – that is why the local language is not easy to learn – and impossible to understand.
Tjørnuvík. The only thing you can do here is to eat waffles, drinking coffee and buy some local souvenir or stroll the sandy beach The village is surrounded by high mountains and is considered one of the oldest on the islands.
“I’ve lived here all my life and don’t want to leave. I take care of my sheep and the slaughtering takes place in October. The meat hung to dry and thus have family lamb and meat sauce for an entire year. I don’t know of any better life”, the hobby farmer Suni Olsen admits. He is one of 40 residents living in Tjørnuvík. Olsen works as carpenter in the capital Torshavn and find it exciting to chat with visitors who pop up at the end of the road.
Mykines. The two western islands, Vagar known for dramatic scenery and Mykines a paradise for bird watchers. On Mykines thousands of migrant birds breed every summer. Puffins are one of the main attractions and provide great photo opportunities for any upcoming ornithologist. Here are plenty of adventures and hiking makes Mykines the destination of choice for many visitors to explore the area for some days – for sailing, horse riding or simply taste Faroese food at Eddie’s guesthouse.
The only airport is located on the island of Vagar and there are few airports in the world, which offer such impressive view to the arriving visitors. The airport is 45 minutes drive from Torshavn.
Torshavn. Walking the planet’s smallest capital with only 19,000 inhabitants is like visiting a mini version of a modern city. Here are narrow alleys between architect-designed new buildings side by side with old wooden houses with colourful facades and traditional grass on the roofs. All in a charming and concentrated version of a modern city with a mix of cultural, hip shops and a large choice of bars and restaurants serving freshly caught fish. One of the best locations in Torshavn is the harbor front.
Faroese fashion. Designer duo Gudrun & Gudrun has placed Faroese sheep-fashion on the world map with hand knitted garments that cost between 250 and 300 Euros. More than 100 women in Jordan, Peru and the Faroe Islands are sitting at home knitting based on the Faroese nature and tradition, created by designer Gudrun Ludvig
“Our philosophy is simple – always hand knitted, no China-production and you will never find our products on sale. A sweater from us will always have the same value,” Gudrun says. Her shop is located in a walking street in Torshavn, just as they do in the fashionable high-street shops in New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Eat at home. The people are proud of their culture; so proud they invite you home for dinner. On a small farm nearby Torshavn, the couple Anna and Ola was the closest we got a traditional meal of products made by organic fish and meat. This is a great way to experience contact with the locals – with horses looking into the dining room. Faroes lamb is a valuable source of protein on the islands and is highly prized for its flavour.
Anna and Ola served the following menu: bread with sheep sausage and rhubarb juice, fermented fish soup, lamb liver with mashed Swede, fermented cod with sheep fat, lamb meat fried in beer and ice-cream and rhubarb on a sponge cake served as dessert. Just ask for “Heimablidni”, an offer found in many places and can be translated into “home hospitality”. Here is the link to real local food at The Farm
Festivals. Music, festivals, exhibitions and concerts are other reasons to head off to the Faroe Islands in the summer. Late June the Faroese National Day take place with great party over two days in Torshavn. It seems that every village organizes its own festival, and there are 100 of them dotted all over the islands. The music draws the crowds, the atmosphere is unique and part of the scene is the ever-changing weather from sunshine to extreme rain.
The locals. The Faroese love its wildlife and know how to survive in the green but harsh landscape. They are tough but friendly, realistic but cheerful. I´m not referring to the local aquavit, but I can tell they welcome guests with a strong small shot called Snaps, the world´s strongest produced on Iceland of water transported from the Faroe Islands.
Summer islands. Summer is the best time to explore the Faroe Islands – such a unique destination without equals in Europe. In autumn the storms arrive with such a power that the sea rises, particularly in the western and northern coast and it is as the bad boy bump into Faroe Islands and the sea fighting an endless battle through long winters. In spring the noise disappear and the long and bright summer days return to the green, green landscape – to the silence and sounds of nature – and new festivals.
Link to the tourist site Visit Faroe Islands