Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn

Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn
Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn
Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn
Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn

The Faroe Islands are a group of 18 islands located between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and are particularly attractive to hikers and bird watchers. We had the opportunity to explore six out of the 18 islands during our three-day trip to the Faroes, starting with the island of Vágar, which is the westernmost “large” island and where the airport is located. Vágar has a population of around 875. In our first of three posts on the Faroe Islands, I will share with you our adventures exploring Vágar, including waterfalls, black sand beaches, and Lake Sørvágsvatn.

Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn

Our original plan was to hike around Lake Sørvágsvatn (also called Lake Leitisvatn), the largest lake in the Faroe Islands, in the morning of our first full day in the Faroes. However, Hope’s flight had been cancelled the night before due to the Lufthansa strike, and she was unable to fly into the Faroes until around 1:00 PM on our first full day there. Thus, we decided to drive around the island and embark on our hike without her, so that we could explore the other islands after she arrived.

8:00 AM. Have breakfast at our cozy hotel next to the airport, Hotel Vágar. You can see the airport from the hotel, and it is less than a ten minute walk from the airport to the hotel. The breakfast came complimentary with our stay and consisted of both hot and cold foods. There was also coffee, tea, milk, and juice. The dining area was large, and if you snag a seat by the window you can get a nice view of the mountains.

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8:30 AM. Head out of Hotel Vágar toward Gásadalur along Route 45. If you turn left onto the main road from the airport or Hotel Vágar, you’ll be on Route 45 heading in the right direction. We wanted to check out Gásadalur because there is a waterfall there that looks quite breathtaking. However, the weather that morning was overcast, rainy, and extremely foggy, and we weren’t able to see the waterfall when we arrived there. We would have stayed and waited a bit since the weather fluctuates so frequently, but we were on a tight schedule and needed to head back to Sørvágur, where our hike would begin. Nevertheless, we enjoyed a scenic drive full of waterfalls and the most beautiful gloomy views.

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Along the way, we also stopped in a village called Bøur. It’s a mere 4 km west of Sørvágur, where the airport is located, and has a population of 75. It was a cute little village with many houses sporting the characteristic Faroese grass roofs, and there was even a waterfall running through town.

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10:00 AM. Our drive from Sørvágur to Gásadalur and back took longer than we expected since we stopped so frequently for photos, and we didn’t arrive back at Hotel Vágar until almost 10:00 AM. We quickly packed our bags, loaded them into the car, checked out of the hotel, and headed toward our hike around Lake Sørvágsvatn. It took us a while to find the starting point of the hike because I wasn’t able to find much information on an exact starting location during my pre-trip research, so we drove almost all the way to Sandavágur before we decided to turn around and ask for directions at a local supermarket. The silver lining is that we discovered a beautiful black sand beach and some more breathtaking views along the way.

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There were hardly any cars on the road, so we were able to stop alongside the road frequently and take photos without worry. At certain parts, the road seems like a one lane road, but there are recessed areas at certain points along the road that allow passing of cars driving in the opposite direction.

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Finally, we got some directions from a kind lady at a local supermarket for how to reach the start of our hike. Here is a map that shows exactly where the hike begins and where you can park your car if you’re driving. The start of the hike is only about a 3 minute drive from the airport, or a 20-25 minute walk.

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11:00 AM. We finally start our hike. As you can see from the map above, the pin is set on Lake Sørvágsvatn. The starting point of the hike is where the white dot is, around the area where Route 11 curves south. There is no designated parking area or signs, but around that area, you will find some houses along the lake with grass roofs and lights along the roofs in the winter, and there is a small dirt/gravel road you can drive down and leave your car there while you hike. From there, you’ll be walking south along the lake. Ultimately, you want to end up at the southernmost tip of the lake where the land from both sides of the lake connects. Please take note that the weather can be extremely unpredictable in the Faroe Islands, especially in the winter months, so if it is particularly windy that day, it is ill-advised to attempt to reach the tip as it will be very easy for you to get blown into the water and sacrifice your life. As it was a particularly blustery day when we attempted this hike, we decided to turn back before we reached the end.

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After parking your car, walk east a bit where you will encounter the start of the hike. Although it appears that the trail is blocked off from the road by a barbed wire fence, there is a small wooden gate through which you can enter near the area where you’ll park your car. If you walk around a bit, you will find it.

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After you walk down the path a short time, you’ll come across a little house. We didn’t go inside or investigate too much since we didn’t know what was in there, but from a cursory glance through the windows, it appeared to have beds of some sort inside. The area seemed secluded, though, so I’m not sure our observations are correct.

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The trail runs along the lake and at times you’ll have to jump across some waterfalls or walk across some rocks, so hiking shoes are recommended. The hike is mainly flat, however, so it’s relatively easy. Depending how fast you walk, you may want to reserve one hour each way for this hike, plus another 30 minutes to one hour accounting for time spent taking photos. We only hiked for two hours total since we turned back before we reached the end.

Here are some more photos from our hike:

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1:00 PM. We arrive back at our car and head to the airport to await Hope’s arrival at 1:25 PM. We grab a quick bite to eat from the airport cafe, which has some tasty sandwiches and coffee. After Hope arrives, we head out of Vágar toward the neighboring island of Streymoy, where the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands is located.

That’s a wrap on how we explored Vágar, an island full of waterfalls, black sand beaches, and the largest lake in the Faroe Islands, Lake Sørvágsvatn. Stay tuned for more on our trip to the Faroe Islands!

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Recently left my job as an attorney to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life. I blog about traveling the world with a full time job, confronting your travel addiction, and pursuing your passions without going broke. Traveled to 21 countries on 4 continents since March 2017 and 48 countries total. Next big adventure is hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in February 2018.

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40 thoughts on “Exploring Vágar: Waterfalls, Black Sand Beaches, Lake Sørvágsvatn

    1. It was so peaceful there, Noemi! The photos do look kind of gloomy and dark since it was drizzling on and off the majority of our time there, but the Faroes are one of the safest places in the world! Our Airbnb host told us we didn’t even need to lock the apartment when we went out. We still locked it anyway out of habit but must be nice to live in that kind of environment!

    1. It was similar to Iceland, but also very different! The Faroes had a lot more greenery, and you could find tall grass on almost all the mountains. There was no snow when we went either, whereas it was much colder and snowier in Iceland when we went at the same time last year. It actually wasn’t that cold in the Faroes, just incredibly windy! Hope you make it there, Natasha!

  1. Bøur is so gorgeous! It looks like a postcard. To be honest, I did not know Faroe Islands existed (had to check google). Its amazing that you got the roads all to yourself and you were able to take good pictures. I’m curious though … how many people live on this island? It looks empty.

    1. Yes, Bøur was such a cute little town! There are a lot of small villages in the Faroes that look similar to this – very cozy and quaint. There are just under 50,000 people residing in the Faroe Islands (total of 18 islands), however that number is always increasing since the Faroes have one of the highest fertility rates in Europe! The capital city, Torshavn, has almost 18,000 residents, and the smallest “town” has only 1-2 residents, so you can see that many areas in the Faroes are extremely remote, hence why it looks empty to you. I’d recommend visiting now before it gets touristy!

    1. I would recommend it, Clare! If you can go in the summer, do that, but otherwise even in the winter it wasn’t that cold. Just super windy. The hike around the lake is great – it’s mainly flat so it’s pretty easy, but there are also a lot of small waterfalls and streams that you have to hop over, and the unique terrain makes it fun. Hope you get to visit! 🙂

  2. Did you girls have the entire island to yourself? It sure looks like it! It looks gorgeous even when the weather is gloomy, and I love that there are very few other people there. Can’t wait to see more of the Faroe Islands!

    1. Haha it sure looks like it, doesn’t it? There weren’t many people out, and especially no tourists. In fact we didn’t even manage to get a single photo of all four of us on the trip because there wasn’t anyone around to take the photo for us! I kind of liked how remote it was though – it felt very peaceful and serene. 🙂

  3. Wow wow wow wow wow! The views are simply stunning, breathtaking! And how cute are these little houses with grass roofs! It must have been really hard to only stay 3 days. I would love to spend a month there and sit by the fire reading and writing. And take long walks along the ocean.

  4. Amazing adventure! When I was browsing through your photos, I realized how similar they are to the Icelandic landscapes. This has just made it to my list. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. It does look similar to Icelandic landscapes! We noticed that the Faroes are a lot greener though, and you’ll find most of the mountains covered in tall grass, even in the winter, which we didn’t see in Iceland. The Faroes would be a great place to visit in the summer. 🙂

  5. Hiking here is something on my dream list! Such spectacular scenery you’ve captured, and such a draw for this region of the world. Nice you were able to experience such a lack of car and able to stop, I’ve heard stopping frequently for photo ops is kind of a major deal there! Cannot wait to visit someday.

    1. Yes, there were so many hikes there for all levels! The islands are covered in mountains, and you can pretty much hike any of them. We plan to go back in the summer and do some more hiking!

  6. The Faroe Islands are so beautiful, it reminds me of Iceland! I was wondering how easy it is to get there because I was thinking about heading over there from Northern Ireland next April to check them out.
    I love the pic of Bøur, what a beautiful village

    1. It reminded us of Iceland a bit too, Eric! It wasn’t hard to get out there at all. We flew from Copenhagen, which was less than a 2 hour flight, and we easily found a roundtrip flight for under $100. I know there are also flights from Bergen and Edinburgh, and in the summer there are ferries as well.

  7. You had me at black sand beaches – very cool! It looks like you had a great time exploring, even if the weather wasn’t that great and it was a bit gloomy! The scenery is spectacular – I could only imagine how impressive it would be with bright blue skies overhead. You’ll have to go back in better weather!

    1. We are already starting to plan a trip back in the summer, Vicki! The views really were spectacular, even though we were caught in mostly overcast weather. Would definitely love to see it with blue skies!

    1. I think you can find sunny weather in the summer months here, Punita. We saw some sun as well, but the weather fluctuated so quickly that one minute it would be raining, and the next it could be sunny. The sun just didn’t last very long when we were there.

    1. The scenery did look quite mysterious with the fog, Jing! The gloom really did add a lot to the mood of the photos, although we would still love to go back in the summer months and experience the Faroes with blue skies and sun 🙂

  8. The islands looked cold but even with the clouds looked nice. It was almost as if you had those places all to yourself! Love the Faroese grass roofs!

    1. It did feel like we had some of those places to ourselves, Nancy! The emptiness wasn’t eerie at all though – it more just felt peaceful. I loved the grass roofs too!

    1. Thanks, Gokul! At times it felt like we were the only people on the entire island. On the hike we did around the lake, we didn’t see a single person the whole time, just some sheep. 🙂

    1. It did feel a bit like Iceland! At times we felt like we were the only people on the island. We definitely saw more sheep than people in most towns. Would highly recommend a visit!

  9. I’ve never heard of Faroe Islands, but I’m going to Iceland in May and can possibly squeeze in a few days here. I’ve always wanted to see a beach with black sand! Nice photos!

    1. Great idea, Liv! I would highly recommend scheduling in a few days for the Faroe Islands while you’re in Iceland. Both breathtaking places with lots of fun hikes. Let me know if you make it there and how you like it!

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