The Faroe Islands are simply overflowing with fairytale landscapes and rugged cliffs rising straight from the windswept seas. Driving any road between the charming end-of-the-line villages of grass roofs and red window frames will have you diving for your camera and stopping at every possible moment.
The hard part is deciding where exactly deserves your attention.
With three weeks in the Faroe Islands across two separate trips, we drove down almost every road we could find, through dimly lit tunnels, across mountain passes and along the tiniest of sheep trails to discover these islands piece by piece, and we still didn’t see it all.
While virtually every corner of this beautiful archipelago is a pleasure to explore, these were our favourite things to do in the Faroe Islands, and the places we think you shouldn’t miss out on either.
Mykines (pronounced mee-chin-ness) is perhaps the most affecting of all the islands and a visit here is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible things to do in the Faroe Islands.
This remote western isle is home to some of the archipelago’s most striking landscapes, but its biggest draw is the thousands of puffins that nest here during the summer months.
Departing on the ferry from Sørvágur, you’ll glide past rocky archways, lonely sea stacks and the impressive spire of Tindhólmur fending off bursts of ocean spray and by the time you reach the soaring cliffs of Mykines and pull into the tiny harbour where puffins whirl overhead in their thousands, you’ll be well and truly hooked.
From the village, be sure to complete the 3-hour return hike to Mykineshólmur and its lighthouse that stands proudly on the westernmost tip of the archipelago. The walk takes you past some spectacular viewpoints, through vast meadows, over a small bridge that links the islands and, best of all, amongst a maze of puffin burrows.
The area is a fascinating hum of activity with birds constantly coming and going, flouncing through the air and returning with beaks full of glassy sand eels for their pufflings hidden safely within their nests.
It’s easy to lose hours here sitting, watching and photographing these beautiful creatures, but please, please be sure to stay on the path and do not disturb the birds or their burrows. Lingering too long or too close to their nests will make them more reluctant to return so try to be mindful of your surroundings at all times and don’t be a nuisance for the sake of a photo.
Get There |
From May through August, there are two daily ferries departing from Sørvágur at 10:45am and 4:20pm, returning from Mykines at 11:30am and 5:05pm. Tickets are 60 DKK (€8) each way and should be purchased in advance as crossings regularly fill up. Check the timetable here and buy your tickets online here.
Alternatively, you can arrive by helicopter which makes the trip just four days a week. However, as this is used as a form of public transport for locals, tourists are only able to book tickets one way meaning you will still need to either arrive or depart by ferry which will generally require you to stay overnight on the island. Check the schedule here.
Things To Know |
As a protected area, all visitors to Mykines intending to explore beyond the village are required to pay a hiking fee of 100 DKK (€13) that contributes to the maintenance of the island and conservation of the fragile nesting habitats. This hiking fee must be paid online before arriving to the island here.
Join A Tour |
Though not essential, day visitors can also be accompanied by local hiking guides who are a wealth of knowledge about Mykines and the Faroe Islands. For those planning to stay overnight and explore the island outside of the designated visiting hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.), a guide is required.
It is also important to note that many of the organised tours to Mykines include the ferry ticket and/or hiking fee so be sure to check what is covered before booking.
Set beside a remote village in the far west of Vágar, the dreamlike waterfall of Múlafossur is one of the most iconic places to visit in the Faroe Islands.
Essentially, this is the spot that put this tiny archipelago anchored in the Atlantic Ocean on the map.
With an imposing wall of craggy mountains and the charming grass-roofed village of Gásadalur nestled at its base, the majestic falls tumble from the cliff top into the inky black sea creating a scene straight out of a fairytale.
The falls are best experienced from the viewing platform on the opposite side of the river but be sure to visit the village itself and take in the stunning views from further up the hill.
Get There |
Gásadalur is an easy hour-long drive from Tórshavn, ending with a stunning coastal road that extends out beyond Sørvágur before disappearing into the eerie mountain tunnel.
Alternatively if you’re not travelling by car, you can arrive to Sørvágur on the #300 bus from Tórshavn (see timetable here). Making the final leg of the journey is slightly more challenging but there are a few different options to choose from. There’s a very infrequent bus (just 4 times per day) that continues onto Gásadalur, you can hitchhike or, for the more adventurous, follow the scenic Postman’s Trail over the mountain into the village beyond.
A visit to the alluring lake of Sørvágsvatn is one of the best things to do in the Faroe Islands, and despite its popularity, we didn’t bump into another soul during our visit.
Nestled in a vibrant green basin surrounded by razor-sharp sea cliffs, Sørvágsvatn, the largest lake in the Faroe Islands, appears to float precariously above the crashing ocean, an optical illusion that has led to its well deserved popularity.
The relatively straightforward hike along the lake is fantastic. Climb to the edge of the perpendicular cliffs of Trælanípan for the classic view, watch Bøsdalafossur spill from the lake into the ocean and clamber up the sweeping hillsides to experience this beautiful spot from every perspective.
Get There |
You’ll find the trailhead for the Sørvágsvatn hike here, just a short way outside of Miðvágur. The hiking trail is about 3km to the furthest point which can be easily reached in less than an hour but you’ll definitely want to spend a whole lot more time enjoying the scenery. Given the large sprawl of the lake, the area is also notoriously foggy so take care when hiking and don’t stray from the path.
Visitors are able to complete the hike independently, but you must pay the hiking fee of 200 DKK (€27) at the entrance gate. Sørvágsvatn is one of the most visited areas in the Faroe Islands and these measures have been put in place to help preserve the fragile natural environment and curb the strain from increasing foot traffic.
On our first visit to the Faroe Islands, Saksun was a little village we returned to over and over again.
For starters, the drive here is ridiculously picturesque following the coastal road out of Tórshavn, where the verdant green walls of the fjords cast a perfect reflection on the calm bay, before turning onto the meandering buttercup road that winds through the countryside.
Marked by a tiny cluster of traditional grass-roofed houses and a white church and backed by steep mountains, Saksun has a lovely setting. But it is when the ethereal bay below fills with turquoise water on the incoming tide and the entire valley is bathed in soft golden light that the real magic happens.
Wander between the grass-roofed cottages, stroll around the bay to the beach beyond (just watch out for the tide), or hike over the hillside to Tjørnuvík for some spectacular views (more on that below).
Get There |
Tucked away in the north of Streymoy, Saksun lies just 50 minutes from Tórshavn. Follow the scenic coastal road to the north of the island and turn off just beyond Hvalvik.
There is no public transport directly to Saksun, however, bus #400 travels between Tórshavn and Klaksvik via Oyrarbakki and can drop you at the turnoff to Saksun from where you’d have to hitch a ride. Don’t confuse this with the express bus to Klaksvik (#401) as this travels via the sea tunnel to Runavik rather than directly north on Streymoy.
Kalsoy is perhaps the most famous of the northern isles and is home to the iconic Kallur Lighthouse that sits perched on the very tip of the peninsula offset by a wildly impressive backdrop (if you haven’t seen it on Instagram, you may have peeped it in the latest James Bond film).
Catch one of the morning ferries across from Klaksvik to Syðradalur and continue driving north to the village of Trøllanes. Prepare for plenty of spooky tunnels that cut through the island’s mountains and epic views as you zoom along the narrow fjord.
To reach the lighthouse, set off from the village through the little red gate and follow the rambling sheep trails across the countryside to the far end of the island. This area is known for its violent winds and torrents of mist that roll across the escarpment at a moment’s notice so be sure to bring warm clothing and keep a close eye on the trails if the fog descends.
Trust me, it’s far too easy to get funnelled off on the wrong tiny trail and end up way off course.
At the end of the 45-minute walk, step into the lighthouse to warm up and read the little logbook which has entries dating back to 1966 when the lighthouse first opened.
For the iconic view of the sheer cliffs behind the tiny red and white lighthouse, you’ll need to scuttle along an even tinier trail with steep drops on either side to the very tip of the peninsula. If you dare, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most epic views in the Faroe Islands.
On your way back to catch the ferry, stop off at Mikladalur and wander down to Kópakanon on the rocky outcrop fronting the village.
From the roadside, this tarnished copper woman might look like just another statue, but in this land of myth and legend, that would hardly be the Faroese way. Rising from the wave-soaked rock platform, learn about the harrowing tale of the seal woman and the curse still believed to haunt the men of the island.
Get There |
To reach Kalsoy, you’ll first need to make your way to the marina in Klaksvik which lies on Bordoy, 45 minutes from Tórshavn. Ferries depart most hours to Syðradalur on Kalsoy, from where it’s a 20-minute drive to Trøllanes.
Ferries are most frequent before 10:30am and after 2:30pm, with reduced schedules on Tuesday, Thursday, weekends and during winter. See the timetable here.
By public transport, take bus #400 or #401 from Tórshavn to Klaksvik and walk the 600m to the ferry terminal. Once on Kalsoy, bus #506 travels between Syðradalur and Trøllanes but keep in mind that this schedule is fairly limited so you may be forced to walk a fair way (not recommended within the tunnels) or hitch a ride.
Things To Know |
If you’re spending more than a couple of days in the Faroe Islands, I’d also highly recommend choosing a base in the northern isles for a few days to cut down on travel time as there is plenty to see up this way.
Set in the far north of Eysturoy, Gjógv is a colourful little village set deep in a valley of green. Although it’s frequently foggy up here, the winding drive is simply gorgeous, following either the famous zigzag road above Funningur or the highland road that swings out from Eiði and funnels between the Faroe Island’s tallest mountains.
Be sure to stop at Gjógv’s pretty marina and marvel at the impressive rippled mounds of the northern isles before clambering up the grassy path to the left of the village.
This tiny trail will guide you to another puffin nesting area on the cliff face. Although numbers are far fewer here than you’ll find on Mykines, if you’re unable to make it out to the western isle, Gjógv is the next best option to view these wonderfully clumsy birds up close.
Get There |
Gjógv sits about an hour from Tórshavn and can be reached via several different routes depending on your plan for the day.
Either follow the coastal road along the west of Streymoy and then cross over to Eysturoy at Oyrarbakki (this route pairs perfectly with visits to Saksun and Tjørnuvík) or take the newest sea tunnel north of Tórshavn and travel up the centre of Eysturoy.
Whichever route you choose, the northern tip of Eysturoy is among the archipelago’s most mountainous with some spectacular viewpoints and roads so be sure to stop often as you make your way north.
Things To Know |
Gjógv is one of few places in the Faroe Islands outside of Tórshavn where you’ll find a cafe so if you’re in need of some warmth and a hot drink before or after your walk, stop in at Gjaargardur Guesthouse.
Of all the villages in the Faroe Islands, Tjørnuvík may be the most picturesque. A tight cluster of brightly-coloured houses caught between a dramatic patchwork of iridescent green and a bay of clear, turquoise water.
It’s an impossibly pretty setting but things only get better as you head into the mountains beyond.
Climbing up behind town, through frosted clumps of grass and streams laced in ice, tiny meandering sheep trails lead you up to the saddle overlooking the rugged northwest coast of Streymoy. The rarely seen cliff formations here are some of the most epic you’ll find anywhere in the Faroe Islands.
While the views here certainly won’t disappoint, keen hikers can continue all the way across the island to the wide glimmering bay of Saksun.
Get There |
Tjørnuvík sits in a secluded horseshoe bay on the northern tip of Streymoy and is easily reached from Tórshavn via a one-hour drive along the island’s east coast.
The hiking trail is marked by a combination of wooden posts and rocky cairns and takes about 6 hours in total or, like us, you can simply go halfway to the ridgeline and return back down to Tjørnuvík from there.
Anchored just off the southern peninsula of Vágar, these stark rock formations of Drangarnir and Tindhólmur are likely ones you’ve seen on the ‘gram. While you’ll get a pretty decent look at both as you shuttle past on the ferry to Mykines, as is so often the case in the Faroe Islands, if the weather is behaving, you’ll always have a better experience by exploring on foot.
The hike departs from Sørvágur, just beyond the marina and ferry terminal. The 6km route more or less hugs the coastline, with some steep and challenging sections, until you reach the tip of the peninsula where you’ll find the colossal rocks rising from the ocean before you – the perfectly carved archway of Drangarnir and the dragon-like ridge of Tindhólmur.
Unfortunately the weather has never cooperated enough for me to do this hike, but it’s certainly on my list for a future trip.
Get There |
Sørvágur is easily reached from Tórshavn or Vágar by car or the #300 bus and you’ll find ample parking near the marina.
Join A Tour |
As this trail passes through private farmland, it is now essential that you be accompanied by a guide. The 5-hour guided hike to Drangarnir departs at 11am three times a week from the Esso Petrol Station in Sørvágur. For bookings and details, see here.
Alternatively, you can also explore the area on a combination of boat and hiking tour. This option includes a brief boat trip through the fjord before landing on the peninsula and hiking out towards the viewpoint. Here, you’ll have several hours to enjoy the scenery before returning to Sørvágur by boat. See here for details and bookings.
Wild and desolate, little-visited Suðuroy is one of the Faroe Island’s best kept secrets.
Along with spectacular drives between coast and mountain, you’ll find some fantastic hiking on the southern isle as well.
Sandvík in the north acts as the gateway to the chiselled cliffs and dramatic folds of the island’s west coast where you’ll find the wave-battered sea stack of Ásmundarstakkur anchored against the cliffs, the treacherous bridge that hovers precariously over a chasm and a flurry of birdlife to keep the twitchers entertained.
Another option is the hike to Hvannhagi, a protected lake cradled beneath a sheer wall of rock, which begins near the hospital in Tvøroyri. There’s a good description of the route here, otherwise, the trail looks to be marked on my go-to hiking app, Maps.Me.
Get There |
First, you’ll need to take the 2-hour ferry crossing from Tórshavn to Suðuroy to begin your visit to the island. From the large town of Trongisvágur, it’s just a 20-minute drive to Sandvík in the north or a 40-minute drive to Sumba, the southern point of the island. Of course, there are several slower, more scenic detours to choose from as you traverse the island which I’d certainly recommend you taking as well.
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Alright, I get it, virtually everywhere in the Faroe Islands is a ‘stunning viewpoint’ but this one is well worth a visit and you’re most likely going to drive right past it about a dozen times anyway so you may as well stop to enjoy it.
As one of the highest points on Streymoy and located more or less in the centre of the island, you’ll be rewarded with a sublime vantage point that overlooks the neighbouring isles – the dramatic ripples of the fjords soaring above the glistening sea in all directions. On a clear evening, it’s an incredible place to catch the sunset when the horizon blushes orange and vibrant copper tones wash across the landscapes. I can imagine the uninterrupted outlook would also make this a fantastic spot to catch the northern lights.
Get There |
Follow the mountain pass, Oyggjarvegur, out of Tórshavn for about 15 minutes and turn onto Mjørkadalur. About 3km along this tiny mountain road, you’ll reach the Sornfelli parking area.
While there are stopping bays to allow cars to pass each other, this little drive isn’t for the fainthearted and if you time it incorrectly, it can definitely be a stressful, hair-raising road to have to reverse down to allow someone to pass.
This road can also get exceptionally icy during the colder months so consider giving it a miss if the way hasn’t been properly cleared.