Faroe Islands, often called Europe’s best kept secret looks like a place taken straight from the sets of Avatar. Drifting along on the North Atlantic Sea, visitors are greeted with a heavenly sight as they arrive at the Vágar Airport, the only airport in what is an archipelago of 18 islands, between Iceland and Norway.
With a population of less than 50,000 the island is feast for the senses. Offering a myriad of experiences for everyone, ranging from the photographer to the adventurer in you, Faroe Islands is the place to be if you want to witness the beauty of Denmark without the bustling tourists or the crowded hubs.
Where to go/What to do
Windswept mountains, picturesque landscapes and waterfalls that seem to vanish into nothingness are some of the wonders you might encounter. Since the islands are well connected, it's easy to navigate to different locations, either by cars, campervans or by motorcycles. Few of the must-visit places are
1) Capital City, Torshavn
Torshavn is one of the smallest capitals in the world. Nevertheless, it accounts for over a third of the Faroese population. Charming, turf- roofed houses make for aesthetic Instagram posts, while cosy harbourside cafes offer the perfect view to the comings-and-goings of hundreds of yachts and ferries. A lazy afternoon walk through the main shopping street, Niels Finsens gøta followed by good coffee and a slice of cake and topped with dinner at a traditional Faroese restaurant can mark the end of a perfect day.
2) Birdwatching in Mykines ólmur
Mykines is the perfect haven for solitary retreat. The home of thousands of migratory seabirds during the summer months, Mykines is considered to be the mysterious “paradise of birds” as described by the seafaring Irish monk, St. Brendan, in the middle of the sixth century. West of the island Mykines you will find the islet Mykineshólmur, a much loved tourist attraction. The eventful journey to the islet will take you through steep climbs, a walk through an area highly populated with a large number of puffins, gannets and other birds. Armed with a pair of binoculars, a lunch box and mud boots, standing on this tiny islet of Mykines, is the closest you can get to the fragile and sacred wildlife and nature – an ethereal experience.
Transport: There are two options of travel to Mykines - by helicopter or boat. And since the weather on the islands is very unpredictable, it is possible that visitor might be stuck on Mykines for a while.
3) Hiking in Kalsoy Island
The Kalsoy Island, situated between Kunoy and Esturoy (Fun fact: Kalsoy means “man” island and Kunoy is “woman” island) is mainly known for its rugged terrain and the famous Kallur Lighthouse.
- Main Attractions: Kalsoy has 13 major peaks, of which two - Nestindar and Botnstidur are the largest and while Mykines boasts of its puffin colony, large bird settlements can be spotted at Kalsoy as well.
- Transportation: Kalsoy Island can be reached by a ferry or boat since it isn't connected by bridges or tunnels to the other islands. On reaching the island, there is a single road that leads to Trøllanes, where the real fun begins.
- The Trek: That image of the Faroe Islands where the lighthouse sits majestically on a rugged mountainside that plunges into the ocean dramatically on both sides, we've all seen it. The beginning of the trek is marked by a little red gate, in stark contrast with its lush, green background. Following the footsteps of previous trekkers, a small hike should lead to The Sheep Shack. About an hour later, the hiker is rewarded by the view of a scenic lighthouse perched on the edge of the hill, accompanied by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing onto its sides.
Although the trek is not very challenging, first timers are advised to carry a hiker's pole.
We advise a brief stop at Mikladalur, one of the four villages in Kalsoy, in order to visit the statue of Kópakonan (the Seal Woman), one of the best-known folktales in the Faroe Islands.
4) Festivals and Music