11 tips for travellers who have decided to visit the Faroe Islands

We have summed up all our experience from both trips to the Islands. The basic traveller info will hopefully be of great use to all those, who aim to see this beautiful country anytime in the future.

Popularity of the Faroe Islands has been increasing amongst the tourists. The amount of people, who set their foot on the Islands, is not small, but still, if you compare it to the Iceland, it is not that bad yet. Only recently, the Vágar airport has released their numbers, which show exactly what the future of tourism in this country holds. It is obvious that every year the number of visitors goes up rapidly. Record was held in 2017. There is a report from November, saying that the increase of incomers was 17%. 300 469 visitors walked through the airport gates, which is about 43000 more than the year before.

So, who is it that seeks this kind of destination? Mostly travellers, photographers, bloggers, or just tourists who prefer a special something extra for their holiday, who come seeking the genuine countryside, amazing sceneries, touristic trails or other outdoor activities. What drives them into this land can vary. In case you are still hesitating whether to go or not, check out my Instagram. Maybe the pictures we took there, with spectacular sceneries, will help you make up your mind.

When to go

May – August. Less rainy, less foggy, and the weather can be relatively stable. These summer months are considered to be the best to get to know the Islands better. Temperatures are higher, days are longer, and everything is green. But I have to say, the white snowy peaks in contrast with the blue ocean were pretty epic too.

Weather

The climate is classified as sub polar oceanic, with areas with tundra climate. What matters and helps in fact, is the Gulf Stream. It makes sure that the harbours don’t freeze in winter and the temperature stays between 3 degrees in winter and 11 degrees in summer. Many sources state that the Faroe Islands have over 200 rainy days a year. They are situated in a very stormy zone of the Atlantic Ocean, which naturally brings clouds, wind, and constant rain showers. What we recommend, is to wear good water and windproof shoes and clothes. The weather here is very unstable. What worked for us was (even more than in Iceland) the strategy of “Let’s wait and see, it might pass soon”, or the other strategy, “Let’s move it to another island”. The differences between the islands are really remarkable.

Forecast: www.yr.no/place/faroe_islands

Flight tickets

The Faroe Islands have become more accessible than ever before. Prices for flight tickets have dropped noticeably, and there is a good regular flight connection with Copenhagen. Apart from the local Atlantic Airways, you can use the services of SAS. A flight ticket from Copenhagen will cost you about 200-250 euro. There are also regular flights to Norway, Iceland, and in summer season to Scotland too.

You can find out more about best fare tickets in our blog “Planning comes first!”: https://palaicrew.com/?p=1338&lang=en

The Vágar airport on the island of the same name was built by Englishmen during the WWII. Now it is being worked on and renovated. The parking lots are being expanded and the services are under a process of a change too. In the airport area, you can find a café, shop, information desk and a car rent. Taking offs and landings are still an adventure here though. Because of the wild weather conditions, it happens that you get stranded at the airport for days. Fortunately, that was not our case. Planes can fly in from two directions. Either from the side of the lake, or from the side where the Gásadalur village is situated. The flight path stretches out towards the lake which has not one, nor two, but three names. Apart from “Vatnið“, the locals call it also “Leitisvatn“, or “Sørvágsvatn“, depending on which part they come from. The runway for planes is pretty short. When flying in for the second time, the pilot informed us very kindly about that fact, and also warned us that we were going to descend sharply. Some more interesting information that pilots like sharing with you is e.g. why your arrival is going to be late, that you have a ton of salmon on board, or why you had to manoeuvre so sharply to the side at the beginning of your journey.

Accommodation

There are not many hotels to choose from. You will find most of them in the capital – Tórshavn. However, they are pretty pricey. One night will cost you from 200 to 400 euro. The best choice for you is Airbnb. They offer lodgings in all parts of the Island, with reasonable prices too. One house for 6 to 8 people cost us 140 euro per night. Or you could go for B&B which offers a room for about 100 euro. You can bring your tent, but camping is allowed only in specific places designated for it. To sleep in your car in pull-ins or way stations is not allowed. Some camps are meant for tents only, and some are also for caravans. That is why I advise you to check it in advance: www.visitfaroeislands.com.

Car rental

In our opinion, car is the best and most convenient way how to travel around the Islands. Of course, there are buses and helicopters, but from our point of view, there are limitations. Car hires are to be found at the airport, but also in Miðvágur (Unicar) and Tórshavn. You can use the services of Avis, Hertz or local N62. It is always a better idea to rent in advance, as they might not be able to offer the size of the car you have planned at the last possible moment. You’ll get a small car for about 80-100 euro per day.

For more info: https://www.62n.fo/en/car-rental/

The speed limits are 50km per hour and 80km per hour. Daytime headlights and wearing seatbelts are obligatory here. Watch out for the sheep on the road. They are everywhere and walk freely all the time. In case you hit a sheep, you must call the police. It is very probable you would have to compensate the farmer for his losses, so keep an eye on the road.

Transportation

The infrastructure here is highly advanced. Roads are safe, intersected with many tunnels. Many of the tunnels are one way, with lay-bys. Each tunnel has a road sign in front of it, which tells you who has the right of way. There are 18 tunnels altogether, of which 2 are undersea (6km long). The third undersea tunnel is still under construction. It is planned to be finished in 2019. Its length will be 11km, and it is going to connect the capital on the Streymoy Island with Eysturoy Island. Many will breathe a sigh of relief, as it will surely save a lot of time. It is planned for more tunnels to be built. These will take you to the Sandoy and Suduroy Islands. To go there and back through the tunnel will cost you 100DKK. Rented cars already have a memory chip in them. In case you are driving a car of your own, you will pay at the nearest petrol station. Car rentals also offer a deal for 300DKK, which will let you use all the tunnels with unlimited access.

Helicopters

Helicopters are a common means of transportation here. They are run by the local Atlantic Airways co. Prices are reasonable, plus, they offer a regular transport to outlying places, and places which are not easily accessible. Helicopters are a good way to get to know the Islands better. One ride will cost you (depends on how far you fly) from 85DKK to 360DKK. That is nothing if you compare it to prices in other destinations. The problem is that they are meant for the locals mainly. That is why you cannot buy a return ticket for the same day. Last season, one ride to Mykines Island was 145DKK. Days which the helicopters operate are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Routes and timetables are on this website: https://www.atlantic.fo/en/book-and-plan/helicopter/timetable/.

Ferry

We used this means of transport when going to Suduroy and Kalsoy Islands. It is not possible to book a ticket in advance, so you simply have to come early. Some ferries offer also beverages. For more info about timetables go to www.ssl.fo . You’ll pay for a return ticket, except when going to Mykines.

You also can buy a Travel Card. You’ll get it at the airport, or in Thórshavn. A 4/7 day card will cost you 500/700DKK. It allows you to use the services of all buses and ferries with unlimited access. As always, everywhere, except Mykines!

Ferry no.36 to Mykines, from Sørvágur, operates only from May1 to August 31. You will have to buy a ticket in advance for 120DKK.

Ferry no.56 to Kalsoy Island. Leaving from the centre of Klaksvik, it takes you (car + driver) to Kalsoy and back for 160DKK in 45 minutes.

Ferry to Suduroy leaves from the harbour in the capital.

Prices

Danish krone and Faroese króna are on a par. However, we did not even have to bring any money, as it was possible to pay with your card, practically anywhere we went. Groceries are quite expensive, as they are in all the Nordic countries. In restaurants, alcohol is everything but cheap. If you are a wine person it will cost you 200DKK and if a beer one, it is about 60DKK for a pint.

Tipping or negotiations are out of place.

Faroese Quisine

Definitely meat oriented. Lamb is the base of many Faroese meals. Skerpikjøt (wind-dried mutton) is one of the favourite ones. Except lamb, you can enjoy many kinds of fish meals. A drying shed, known as “hjallur”, is a common feature in many Faroese homes, especially in small towns or villages. Ræstur fiskur is very popular too – matured fish, then meals made of Pilot whale, sea birds Puffins, or their eggs. Alcohol is no longer prohibited since 1992. However, you can’t buy it in any supermarket or a grocery store. As in most Nordic countries, you would have to visit a special store which, here in The Faroe Islands, is called Rúsan. It may come as a surprise, but there are only 6 of these here. It no longer seems odd, why all the inhabitants coming back to the country buy so much liquor at the airport. Áarstova and Barbara, are the best rated restaurants in the old town. If you want to dine there, you have to book a table in advance. There is also one restaurant with a Michelin star on the Faroe Islands. It may come as a surprise, but the restaurant Koks is not situated in the capital, as one would have expected. It is relatively isolated in a remote place,  not far from Leynar village at the Leynavatn Lake. If you are interested in a gastronomic delight, be ready to pay. A tasting menu with wine will cost you 2500DKK which makes approximately 340 euro.

Security

This is one of the safest countries with no prison. Criminality rate is really low, which you can see everywhere around. (Just couple of examples: unlocked cars at the airport rental, cars with engine on at petrol stations, while the driver is shopping inside.) Of course, there are exceptions here, as anywhere else. And in case someone is sentenced to serve for more than a year and a half, he or she is sent to jail in Denmark.

Language

Faroese is one of the Germanic languages, which is spoken by a very small amount of people. Its closest extant relative is Icelandic language. Faroese language is spoken as a first language on the Islands, but Danish is the official one here. If you speak English however, you will have no problem to be understood. Even in the remotest corners of the Islands.

What to buy

Knitting is a popular activity here. It cannot go unnoticed. Faroese inhabitants knit everywhere. Knitted products became one of the most typical and precious objects and souvenirs. Prices move from as low as 750DKK up to 1000DKK for the more trendy and stylish ones. You can support the local economy by purchasing their knitted goods in Heimavikri store. The best one is said to be situated in Klaksvík. Local women sell their products which are tax free. It makes them cheaper and more authentic than the mass production items from Snaeldan or Sirri.

Other nice souvenirs which you can take into consideration are stamps which have been printed here since 1975.

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