Complete Guide to the Faroe Islands (With Full Itinerary)
If you’ve been following along in our Faroe Islands series, then you know that we spent our Thanksgiving in the Faroe Islands and have been posting non-stop about it since. This is our third and final post on the Faroe Islands, and it also contains a full itinerary of our time there. We visited Iceland for Thanksgiving last year and were wondering whether we’d see some similarities between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, and we did. However, there were also many differences. Iceland was covered in snow when we arrived at the same time last year, and it was also a lot colder. The Faroe Islands were covered in tall grass, and many of the houses had grass roofs. It was also a lot warmer in the Faroe Islands. When I think about the character and ambience of the Faroes, I picture a cozy pasture filled with tall green grass and grazing sheep. The Faroe Islands are extremely safe, the people are incredibly hospitable, and overall it is a very relaxing and comfortable place to stay, without the hustle and bustle or stress of the big city. Even the largest city, Tórshavn, felt slow-moving and relaxed. All of the islands offer exciting hikes of all skill levels, with fluffy sheep welcoming you around every corner. With a population of less than 50,000, the Faroe Islands are not densely populated, and there are hardly any tourists. At times, we felt like we had the entire island to ourselves. Here is our complete guide to the Faroe Islands (with full itinerary).
day 1. Arrival
7:45 PM. Arrive at Vágar Airport in the Faroe Islands from Copenhagen. Even though the Faroe Islands are located in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, it is actually quite easily accessible from other parts of Europe. You can travel to the Faroe Islands by air or by sea. Currently, Atlantic Airways is the only airline operating flights to and from the Faroe Islands, however, starting on March 26, 2017, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) will be opening flights from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands as well. While the main route to the Faroe Islands is from Copenhagen, Atlantic Airways also offers direct flights from Scotland, Iceland, and Norway, with no flight lasting more than two hours. We were able to find roundtrip flights from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands for less than $100 USD.
If you choose to travel by sea, you can book a ticket aboard the M/S Norröna on the Smyril Line. The M/S Norröna has departures from Hirtshals in northern Denmark as well as from Seyðisfjørður in Iceland. The ferry is not as reliable as the plane in that its schedule changes from season to season and its operations are dependent on the weather. Traveling by sea is also much slower than flying, so you may prefer to travel by sea only if you have a lot of time to spare, are a big fan of slow travel, and are traveling during the summer season. Another perk of traveling via sea is that you can bring your car aboard the ferry, so you won’t have to worry about renting a car once you arrive in the Faroe Islands.
If you read our previous posts on our Faroe Islands adventure, you’ll remember that Hope did not arrive with us in the Faroe Islands. Even though the four of us were booked on the same flight from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands, Hope had a layover in Frankfurt before her flight to Copenhagen with Lufthansa. Due to the Lufthansa strikes that day, her flight was cancelled and she was unable to make it to Copenhagen in time for our flight to the Faroe Islands. She would ultimately arrive around 1:25 PM the next day.
Side note: We’ve already lamented about this on social media, but until Lufthansa resolves its internal labor issues, we have no interest in flying with them again. This is not the first time someone in our family has experienced a flight cancellation due to a Lufthansa strike, and since most of our trips are relatively short due to our limited vacation time, a flight cancellation can affect our entire trip.
8:00 PM. Pick up rental car. Because Vágar Airport is tiny, with only one terminal, we were able to deplane and exit the airport in only 15 minutes. Before we left the airport, we picked up our rental car from Hertz, which has a booth located inside the airport on your left right before you exit the airport.
8:15 PM. Shop for snacks at the Sørvágur grocery store. Before heading to our hotel, we decided to drive around the town of Sørvágur, which is located approximately two kilometers from the airport. In Sørvágur, we found a grocery store and decided to shop for some snacks for our trip, as we had heard that restaurants are few and far between in the Faroes, so it is recommended to stock up on snacks when possible just in case there are no restaurants to be found during meal hours. We found a good selection of snacks here at reasonable prices.
8:30 PM. Check into Hotel Vágar. After loading up our car with snacks, we headed over to our hotel and checked in a little after 8:30 PM. We found the rooms at Hotel Vágar to be cozy and clean. There was also a large dining room that served a complimentary breakfast buffet in the morning.
9:00 PM. Stroll outside. After settling into our hotel, we thought we’d take a walk outside and see if we could catch a glimpse of Lake Sørvágsvatn, where we were planning on hiking the next morning. However, what we saw instead was – nothing. There were a few lights from the airport in the distance, but other than that, there were no street lights anywhere. I used the flashlight on my phone to light the way, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a clue where we were walking. After a short time, we decided to head back to the hotel since we couldn’t see much anyway.
day 2. Vagar, Streymoy, Esturoy
8:00 AM. Have breakfast at our hotel. The breakfast was complimentary and set up buffet style. There was a good spread of cured meats, cheeses, breads, yogurt, cereal, and hot foods including eggs, sausages, and beans.
8:30 AM. Gásadalur Waterfall. Our stomachs were full, and we were ready to head out in search for the Gásadalur waterfall, located approximately 10 kilometers from our hotel. Unfortunately, the skies were overcast and extremely foggy that morning, and we ultimately weren’t able to see the waterfall. I’m sure if we had stayed and waited for a bit, the skies would have cleared up long enough for us to catch a glimpse of the waterfall, but we were running on a tight schedule and didn’t have the luxury of sitting around and waiting. Despite our misadventure in seeing the Gásadalur waterfall, we were able to catch some beautiful sights along the way and saw the iconic grass roofs on many of the houses in a small village called Bøur that we passed by along the way. Read more about our journey to Gásadalur here.
10:00 AM. Find Lake Sørvágsvatn. We arrived back at our hotel, packed up our bags, loaded them into the car, checked out of our hotel, and headed out in search of Lake Sørvágsvatn, where we planned to hike for a few hours that morning. It took us forever to find the unmarked start to this hike, and it was almost 11:00 AM by the time we finally started our hike. Read our full instructions on finding the path and tips for hiking Lake Sørvágsvatn here.
11:00 AM. Hike Lake Sørvágsvatn.
1:00 PM. Return to Vágar Airport to pick up Hope. Hope’s flight from Copenhagen was scheduled to arrive at 1:25 PM and ended up arriving a few minutes early. We had lunch at the airport cafe, which had a decent selection of tasty sandwiches and coffee, all at reasonable prices. My mom ordered the burger there, which ended up being large enough for her and Hope to share.
2:00 PM. Leave airport and head toward Streymoy, the largest and most populated island of the Faroe Islands. We had a packed schedule planned for Day 2 but had to cut out a big chunk of that as a result of the hiccup with Hope’s flight. We had originally planned to visit Vestmanna and Saksun on the island of Streymoy, but both of those were cut from our trip. Vestmanna is known for its bird cliffs, and in the summer there is a boat tour there that takes you through the mountains and caves of Vestmanna. The photos and videos we saw online looked absolutely stunning. We would love to return in the summer and take the boat tour through Vestmanna. Saksun was another village we wanted to visit, as we had heard that the village is very picturesque, as are the roads leading to the village. We ultimately decided to cut both of these places from our itinerary because we had a lot more planned for that day, and we wouldn’t be able to see much after the sun set around 3:00-3:30 PM.
Even though we did not get to see Vestmanna or Saksun, we were able to find the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands located between Hvalvík and Haldarsvík in Streymoy. From Route 10, if you drive north on Víkavegur Road toward Hvalvík and continue north onto Skorpisoyrarvegur Road toward Haldarsvík, you will see the waterfall on your left before you reach Haldarsvík. It is right off the side of the road, and you cannot miss it.
2:30 PM. Enter into Esturoy, the second largest island in size and population in the Faroe Islands. In Esturoy, we had our sights set on Gjogv, a village located on the northeast tip of Esturoy, but ultimately turned back at Funningur and continued along our way to Klaksvik on the nearby island of Borðoy, where we had booked an Airbnb for the night.
As soon as we entered Esturoy, we took Route 23 north toward Eiði, a large village located on the northwest tip of Esturoy. The road leading up to Eiði was picturesque but also took us on a steep incline to a higher elevation where the ground was covered in snow. This was the only time during our trip that we saw snow. Since there were few cars on the road, we had the liberty of snapping some photos in the middle of the street along the way.
3:00 PM. Continue on to Funningur. Once we passed Eiði, we veered off Route 23 and turned onto Gjáarvegur Road, which is approximately 12 kilometers long and consists of narrow, winding roads through the mountains all the way up to Gjogv. We followed the road to the village of Funningur, and rather than heading north toward Gjogv, we decided to turn onto Funningsvegur Road and head south. By that point, it was already dark outside, and we wouldn’t have been able to see much at Gjogv anyway. Additionally, the snowy roads were extremely winding and narrow, and without street lamps, it would’ve been quite a precarious drive up to Gjogv and back down. Thus, we decided to make a quick stop in Funningur, which is located on the east side of the tallest mountain in the Faroe Islands, Slættaratindur.
3:30 PM. Head to Klaksvik on the island of Borðoy. After leaving Funningur, we continued south on Funningsvegur Road until we reached Funningsfjørður, a fjord town located on the southern tip of a fjord by the same name. There, we turned right onto Gerðisvegur Road, which took us back onto Route 10. If you are trying to reach Borðoy, stay on Route 10 until you pass the village of Skipanes and reach Gøtuvegur Road. Turn left there and then right onto the Leirvikar Tunnel to continue on into Borðoy.
Once you enter into Borðoy, Klaksvik is not far. The best way to describe Klaksvik is that it is built in a spiral around a fjord, with layers of buildings starting from sea level and winding up into the mountains. Since we had forgotten to connect with our Airbnb host the day before and needed wifi to communicate with him, we decided to find a restaurant with wifi to have an early dinner and touch base with our Airbnb host.
4:00 PM. Eat dinner at Roykstovan Pub. We weren’t able to find many restaurants that looked open as we were driving around, but we were glad to have stumbled across this pub. We ordered tomato soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, and nachos with chicken, and all of it was delicious. The pub had a cozy ambience, with long picnic tables in a small space. The pub had free wifi, so I was able to connect with Kristian, our Airbnb host, and let him know that we had arrived in Klaksvik. Not only did he offer to meet up with us right away, but he even offered to drive to Roykstovan Pub and pick us up. This type of small town hospitality is something we were not accustomed to, coming from Chicago and Toronto, and we were pleasantly surprised by Kristian’s kindness.
6:00 PM. Check into Airbnb. After Kristian met us at Roykstovan Pub and led us to his Airbnb, we chatted with him for a while since we found we have a lot in common. Kristian’s apartment was clean, tidy, and offered a great view of the city from his balcony. We mentioned to Kristian that we were interested in hiking Klakkur the next morning but weren’t sure where to go to start the hike, and Kristian again surprised us with his hospitality by offering to meet us at the apartment the next morning and take us to the start of the hike.
7:00 PM. Grocery store run. We took a short walk outside to the nearby gas station and grocery store to buy breakfast for the next morning. We found some yogurt, cereal, fruit, and bread, again all at reasonable prices. We walked around the pier where many boats of all sizes were docked, but we weren’t able to see much as it was dark out and there were not many street lamps along the pier.
Day 3. Klaksvik, Northern Islands, Torshavn
9:00 AM. Depart for Klakkur. As promised, Kristian met us at the apartment promptly at 9:00 AM to take us to the start of the hike to Klakkur. See this post for detailed directions to Klakkur.
When we arrived at the base of Klakkur, it was raining pretty heavily, so we decided to drive around the Northern Islands first and come back to hike Klakkur later when the weather cleared up. We parted ways with Kristian and drove away from Klaksvik toward the Northern Islands.
9:30 AM. Explore the Northern Islands. As soon as we got out of the city center of Klaksvik, we saw some of the most beautiful views along the fjord looking out to the island of Kunoy. There are only two settlements on Kunoy: one on the west coast called Kunoy, and another on the southeast corner called Haraldssund. We drove to Haraldssund and turned back around to Borðoy so we could drive in the opposite direction to the island of Viðoy, the northernmost island in the Faroe Islands.
We took a series of tunnels until we reached Hvannasundsvegur Road, the road that leads from Borðoy to Viðoy. After crossing into Viðoy, we came to a fork in the road. There’s a road to the left that runs north along the water straight to Viðareiði, the northernmost town in the Faroe Islands, and there’s a tunnel to the right that serves as a detour to the easternmost side of Viðoy and eventually loops back up to Viðareiði. The road on the left offers more views of small waterfalls and plenty of sheep, whereas the road on the right offers breathtaking views of the islands of Svinoy and Fugloy across the water. Fugloy is the easternmost island in the Faroe Islands, and the name means “bird island,” which appropriately represents its many bird cliffs. Both Svinoy and Fugloy can only be accessed via ferry when the weather is not too harsh. For more detailed directions from Klaksvik to the Northern Islands, read our post on the northern islands here.
12:00 PM. Eat lunch at Jacqson Restaurant in Klaksvik. After touring the Northern Islands, we drove back to Klaksvik and had lunch at Jacqson Restaurant. The food here was a bit on the pricey end, but it was all very delicious, and I loved the cozy ambience.
1:30 PM. Hike Klakkur. With full stomachs, we headed back out to Klakkur. For full directions on how to get to Klakkur, see this post.
The rain had mostly stopped by this time, but the winds were extremely strong, even at the base of the hike. We hiked for less than 20 minutes before we were forced to turn back because we kept getting blown to the ground by the strong winds. We would not recommend doing this hike alone or in the winter months, as it can be quite dangerous. However, I can imagine that it would deliver beautiful views of the city and surrounding islands in the less windy summer months.
2:30 PM. Shop for new pants for dad. We left Klakkur and headed back into Klaksvik to find a clothing store because my dad had slipped on a pool of mud and fallen right on his bottom at the beginning of our hike and completely ruined his light colored pants. With an embarrassingly large brown spot on his bottom, we walked into an athletic apparel store and purchased some new pants for him so he could have a more comfortable drive to Tórshavn and would be able to walk around without an embarrassing brown spot on his bottom for the remainder of the day.
3:00 PM. Depart for Tórshavn. Once my dad was back in clean, dry, comfortable pants, we left Klaksvik and headed toward Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. The drive from Klaksvik to Tórshavn is approximately 75 kilometers and took us a little over an hour. Although the sun was starting to set already, we saw some beautiful views along the way. The road to Tórshavn is easy to find as there are signs pointing to Tórshavn along the entire route.
4:30 PM. Arrive at our hotel in Tórshavn. We stayed at Hotel Havn, which is located near Old Town and the main shopping centre. We had some trouble checking in, as there was a sign inside Hotel Havn directing us to an adjacent building to check in. We ended up having to phone the receptionist from the cafeteria since no one was at the reception area, and then we headed back to the reception area and waited about 10 minutes for the receptionist to arrive. It was a bit of a hassle and made us wonder if there’s a better set up that wouldn’t leave guests confused and waiting for so long to check in.
Once we got into our rooms, we had no complaints about its cleanliness or amenities. The rooms were small and cozy, but they were enough for our needs as we were only staying there one night.
5:00 PM. Explore Old Town. We had heard about a highly regarded seafood restaurant called Barbara Fish House that was a local gem, so we thought we’d go there for dinner. Barbara was located a short 10 minute walk from our hotel, but when we arrived, we were told that the restaurant does not open until 6:00 PM. Thus, we walked around Old Town some more, and Hope and I even found a cute gelato/dessert cafe nearby that we snuck into to get out of the cold and indulge in some pre-dinner dessert.
6:00 PM. Eat dinner at Barbara. We headed back to Barbara at 6:00 PM and indulged in some delicious seafood dishes, sides, and local beers for our last meal in the Faroe Islands. The restaurant had a nautical theme and felt very warm and cozy, similar to many of the restaurants and accommodations we encountered in the Faroe Islands. The service was exceptional, and we would definitely return again on our next visit to the Faroe Islands.
8:30 PM. Return to hotel. We returned to our hotel after dinner and spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our hotel. We were all pretty exhausted by this point, so we welcomed an early night’s sleep.
Day 4. Depart Faroe Islands
7:30 AM. Eat breakfast at our hotel. Hotel Havn provided a complimentary breakfast similar to the one we had at Hotel Vágar on our first night in the Faroe Islands. We stayed only for a short time as we were in a hurry to get back to the airport for our flight back to Copenhagen.
8:00 AM. Depart Tórshavn for Vágar Airport. The drive took around 45 minutes, and we were fortunate enough to see a beautiful sunrise on our drive to the airport. Of course, we had to stop alongside the road to snap some photos.
9:00 AM. Arrive at the airport. We returned our rental car, which was as easy as parking the car in the parking lot and dropping the key off in a wooden box at the Hertz check in counter. It really goes to show how safe the islands are and how trusting everyone is of one another. It took us no more than five minutes to go from the front door of the airport to our departure gate, and our passports were never even checked. This is by far the smallest airport I’ve flown out of.
Depending on which season you choose to visit the Faroe Islands, your packing list will be slightly different. However, there are a few essential items that I would recommend packing regardless of season.
Waterproof/windproof jacket. We experienced a lot of sporadic periods of rain while we were in the Faroe Islands. Even in the warmer, sunnier summer months, you will not regret having a light raincoat on you in case it starts to rain in the middle of your hike while you’re miles away from the closest shelter. I have the Bergans Lett Lady Jacket, which is currently out of stock on Amazon. However, North Face makes a similar jacket that is currently available on Amazon.
Waterproof/windproof pants. The last thing you want is to get rained on during a hike and be stuck wearing wet pants the rest of the day. For cooler months, I would recommend the Igneo Pants from Outdoor Research, which are waterproof, windproof, and provide warmth in cooler temperatures. I also like that these pants have zippered vent pockets on the insides of the legs for more breathability in warmer weather.
Water resistant daypack. A water resistant foldable daypack is a game changer when traveling to the Faroe Islands. Since it rains quite a bit depending on the season, having a waterproof backpack will ease your fears about having your camera and other valuables inside your backpack damaged from the rain. I love my NeatPack foldable backpack because it is water resistant, has many organizational compartments, is big enough to fit everything I need for a day, including my laptop, and folds up to a small pouch that I can easily pack inside my larger backpack. Best of all, the price is impossible to beat, and you can use my promo code ‘MVM10OFF’ for an additional 10% off your purchase.
Hiking shoes. Having a pair of proper hiking shoes will not only make your hikes easier and more enjoyable, but it will also help prevent against common injuries you may receive by hiking through uneven terrains in shoes that do not provide adequate support or traction. My favorite hiking shoes are the Salomon Ellipse 2 Aero, which has a low profile and looks similar to a regular running shoe, but provides much more support and traction than my regular running shoes. For even more traction, check out the Salomon Quest Prime GTX, which has a slightly bulkier profile but provides even better traction than the Salomon Ellipse 2 Aero.
Water bottle. Having a water bottle in the Faroe Islands is both economical and convenient. The tap water in the Faroe Islands is safe to drink, and it is not difficult to find freshwater streams on your hikes where you can fill up your water bottle. You will save a lot of money by not having to buy water everywhere you go. My long time favorite is the Camelbak because it easily clips onto my backpack with a carabiner, and its drinking spout makes it easy for me to drink water on the go without spilling all over myself.
Camera. The Faroe Islands are filled with natural beauty, and you are going to want to have a camera to capture its beauty. I brought my Nikon DSLR with a wide angle lens, perfect for capturing landscape shots, but you may also wish to bring a GoPro for your hikes and in case of inclement weather.
Merino wool clothing. Merino wool clothing is perfect for traveling and hiking because it is quick drying, breathable, and reduces bad odors. It also does a great job with maintaining your body temperature when outside temperatures fluctuate drastically. I would recommend bringing a few merino wool shirts, but at a minimum, I would recommend bringing a couple of pairs of merino wool socks. SmartWool makes a great hiking sock that you can find on Amazon.