The Faroe Islands is an archipelago of astounding beauty, where the weather can change in a heartbeat and no one is a stranger.
While scrolling in and out of Google maps it’s easy to think these islands are teeny tiny, but once you set out on foot you will find places that are not yet touched by humans; where there is no sound but the whistle of the wind and feet on damp grass, with an ever-changing landscape of green and white as fog blurs the lines between sea and land.
It’s easy to think you’ve seen it all just by driving from one end-of-the-road village to the next, but then you realise that the expansive cliff lines, waterfalls and mountains that lie between them mean there is always so much more left to explore.
We did drive down almost every road and tried to get out on foot as much as possible. We watched sunrises and sunsets and stayed up all night waiting for the northern lights that never came. We were utterly enchanted by the Faroe Islands and we think you will be too.
We have created this beginner’s guide, along with our other articles (here and here), to help fellow travellers prepare for their trip to this little-visited island nation and discover all those unmissable places along the way.
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Never heard of this tiny island group before? You’re not alone. In fact, it was only a year ago that we saw a photo of the waterfall of Gásadalur and realised these amazing islands in the middle of the Atlantic even existed.
With its dramatic sea cliffs, sweeping fjords and charming little grass-roofed villages, this group of untouched islands has become somewhat of a photographers playground, although it is only just being discovered by tourists. It is so little explored that we just happened to meet the first ever tourist to cycle around Suðuroy, the southernmost island where very few tourists venture.
The Faroes are made up of 18 islands and situated between Iceland, Scotland and Norway.
Sheep, which the islands are named after, can be found alongside (or in the middle of) every road and on the most precarious cliff edges, to the point that you will wonder how the hell they got down there in the first place. It also becomes the home to thousands of migrating puffins during the summer months.
As with many places in northern Europe, summer (May to August) is the best time to visit the Faroe Islands.
Not only is the weather warmer, but all the services available for tourists, such as buses, ferries and cafes, are in full operation.
Outside of these times, it’s still beautiful to visit the islands but be aware some amenities operate on reduced schedules or may shut down altogether.
Whenever you choose to visit, be aware that weather in the Faroe Islands is a fickle beast at any time of year so come prepared for all eventualities.
From basic seaside camping grounds to cosy guesthouses and luxury hotels, the Faroe Islands have accommodation options to suit any budget.
Most of the accommodation is concentrated around Tórshavn, but there are a few options around Klaksvík giving you a gateway to the Northern Isles.
Camping is the most budget-friendly accommodation option for visiting the Faroe Islands. Wild camping is not legal, but there are plenty of official camping grounds scattered around, although these are often for tents only, not campervans. See the full list of camping grounds here. As the weather tends to be a little more raging torrents than soothing sunshine, you may want to seriously consider what a camping trip here will involve.
Hostels are another great budget choice. There are just two hostels available in the Faroe Islands, each offering dormitories, private rooms and a much-needed guest kitchen.
Located in Sandavágur, Giljanes Hostel is basic and a little run down these days but it’s a firm favourite for those on a tight budget and offers a spacious living area, huge communal kitchen and beautiful views over the bay and Koltur. Camping on the grounds in tents or campervans with use of the facilities is also permitted and a bus stop is conveniently located just outside for those not renting a car. Check rates and availability here.
Bládýpi Guesthouse is another affordable option nestled right in the heart of Tórshavn. Facilities include a guest kitchen, shared and private rooms and free parking nearby the property. Check rates and availability here.
Airbnb is another excellent option for budget-conscious travellers and provides far better value than hostels, particularly if you’re travelling as a pair. New to Airbnb? Sign up here and receive $30 off when you make your first booking.
Perfectly located in the heart of Tórshavn’s old town, Hotel Hafnia is a great mid-range choice with harbour and city views, an excellent buffet breakfast and attached restaurant. Check rates and availability here.
Perched above the city, Hotel Føroyar with its traditional grass roof boasts spectacular views over Tórshavn and Nolsoy, particularly from the breakfast room where a sumptuous buffet is served each morning. Rooms, many of which have similarly delightful views, are modern, spacious and well laid out. Check rates and availability here.
On the island of Vagar, Bed & Breakfast Sandavágur is a homey option with a charming location overlooking the town and is perfect for exploring the best sights of the island. Both guest rooms have a shared bathroom and living area, parking is available on site as is a fuss-free car rental. Check rates and availability here.
For accommodation option further afield, you can check rates and availability in your specific destination here.
From expansive cliff lines and iridescent green fjords to flocks of puffins waddling into their burrows and nonchalantly munching sheep, if you’re a traveller who loves the outdoors and getting up close with nature, then the Faroe Islands will not disappoint.
There are some truly magical places to explore, such as the waterfall at Gásadalur that inspired us to visit in the first place, or the Kallur Lighthouse on Kalsoy that feels like you’ve stumbled upon the end of the world.
Give yourself enough time to explore the islands thoroughly, because once you’re there you’ll want to climb every mountain and fjord you come across, but bear in mind that the weather may have other plans for you and your itinerary.
START PLANNING: The Most Beautiful Places To Visit In The Faroe Islands!
There are two ways to get to the Faroe Islands – by air or sea.
Flights to the Faroe Islands operate from select hubs in Europe on particular weekdays (except Copenhagen which has daily flights). Many routes are only operational on a seasonal basis.
Atlantic Airways (the national carrier) offers direct flights from Vagar in the Faroe Islands to:
- Denmark (Copenhagen, Billund and Aalborg)
- Norway (Bergen)
- Iceland (Reykjavik)
- UK (Edinburgh)
- Spain (Barcelona)
- Portugal (Lisbon)
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) also operates a daily flight out of Copenhagen.
Smyril Line runs a weekly ferry service to the Faroe Islands for passengers and vehicles, originating in Denmark (Hirtshals) and ending its voyage in Iceland (Seyðisfjørður). The trip takes around 35 hours from Denmark and less than 20 hours to Iceland.
If you’re not in any hurry, travelling during the shoulder season can sometimes work out about the same price as flying.
Once you’re actually there, the best way to get around is with your own wheels. We had a great experience renting a vehicle with Unicar who have just opened a new office at the airport.
Otherwise, there is an extensive bus network interlinking most of the islands and several ferry routes connecting the more distant few.
You can read more of our transport tips in this post.