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The Faroe Islands are a group of beautiful islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean that belong to Denmark. It is extremely safe there, the people are incredibly hospitable, and overall it is a very relaxing and comfortable place to stay, without the hustle and bustle of the big city. Even the Faroe Islands’ capital, 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. In fact, there were many times when we felt like we had the entire island to ourselves. Here is our complete guide to 3 days in the Faroe Islands.
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 certain parts of Europe. You can travel to the Faroe Islands by air or by sea. There are currently two airlines that fly to the Faroe Islands: Atlantic Airways and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). The majority of flights depart from Copenhagen, but you can also fly from various cities in Scotland, Iceland, and Norway. All flights are under two hours long, and it’s very possible to find roundtrip flights from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands for less than $100 USD.
If, instead, 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 might not want to travel by sea unless you have a lot of time to spare, are a big fan of slow travel, or are traveling during the summer season.
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 leaving the airport, you’ll probably want to pick up a rental car from the airport. Hertz has a booth located inside on your lefthand side just before leaving the airport.
8:15 PM. Shop for snacks at the Sørvágur grocery store. Restaurants in the Faroe Islands can be sparsely located, so it’s not a bad idea to drive to the town of Sørvágur, about two kilometers from the airport, to load up on snacks before continuing your journey. You can find a grocery store there that has a good selection of snacks at fair prices.
8:30 PM. Check into your hotel. After loading with snacks, head over to your hotel for the night. We stayed at Hotel Vágar and found it to be cozy and clean, so we would recommend it. The hotel also offers a complimentary breakfast buffet in the morning in its large dining room. After checking in, you can go outside for some stargazing, or simply turn in for the night.
Day 2: Vagar, Streymoy, Esturoy
8:00 AM. Have breakfast at the hotel. If you opt to stay at Hotel Vágar, you can fill up on breakfast at the hotel before heading out for your first full day of exploring the Faroe Islands. The buffet-style breakfast includes a solid selection of hot and cold breakfast items, such as cured meats, cheeses, breads, yogurt, cereal, eggs, sausages, and beans.
8:30 AM. Gásadalur Waterfall. With a full stomach, you’re ready to go out in search of your first waterfall – Gásadalur waterfall. Located about 10 km from Hotel Vágar, Gásadalur waterfall shouldn’t be too hard to spot on a clear day but can be easy to miss on an overcast day. The weather in the Faroe Islands is quick to change, so if you run into some unfortunate weather but have time to spare, you might want to admire the grassy-roofed houses in nearby Bøur while waiting it out. You can read more about Gásadalur waterfall and how to get there here.
10:00 AM. Hike Lake Sørvágsvatn. From Gásadalur, drive to the starting point of the hike to Lake Sørvágsvatn. It took us forever to find the unmarked start of this hike, and we wasted nearly an hour in the process. You can read our detailed, step by step instructions for finding the trail here so you don’t end up as lost or confused as we did!
I would recommend reserving 2-3 hours for this hike. If you’re unsure whether it’s safe to complete the hike under the weather conditions you’re experiencing that day, try to seek out the opinions of some locals at your hotel or at a nearby grocery store. Chances are, at least some of them hike out to the lake regularly and will have a good idea of whether you’ll have a safe and fun experience hiking out there that day.
1:00 PM. Drive toward Streymoy, the largest and most populated island in the Faroe Islands. Depending on which season it is when you visit the Faroe Islands, you might want to take a boat tour through the mountains and caves of Vestmanna, which is known for its bird cliffs. The boat tour is only offered in the summer months, however, so if you’re visiting in the off-season, you might want to aim for Saksun instead. The village itself, as well as the roads leading into the village, are both quite picturesque.
On the way to Saksun, you’ll drive past the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands. From Route 10, drive north on Víkavegur Road toward Hvalvík, and continue north onto Skorpisoyrarvegur Road toward Haldarsvík. Between these two towns, you’ll see the waterfall on your left right off the side of the road. You cannot miss it.
The drive from Lake Sørvágsvatn to Saksun takes approximately one hour. If you’re visiting in the winter, when daylight hours are short, you might decide to skip Saksun if you’re running out of time and turn back toward Esturoy after seeing the Faroe Islands’ tallest waterfall.
2:30 PM. Enter into Esturoy, the second largest island in the Faroe Islands. If you’re visiting in the winter when darkness sets in around 3:00-3:30pm, you’ll want to aim to be entering into Esturoy by around 2:30pm. Take Route 62 north toward Eiði, which should take about 15-20 minutes to reach. Eiði is a large village located on the northwest tip of Esturoy, and the drive there offers beautiful views. The winding roads leading to Eiði will take you up a pretty steep incline, so if you start seeing snow and feel unsafe driving up windy, snowy roads, feel free to turn back to the main road and continue making the loop down to Funningur.
3:00 PM. Continue on to Funningur. From Eiði, take Gjáarvegur Road, a 12 km long road that consists of narrow, winding roads through the mountains, all the way up to Gjogv. If you’re visiting in the winter months and it’s already dark outside, you might want to consider skipping Gjogv at this point and turning south onto Funningsvegur Road toward the village of Funningur. If it’s dark outside, you won’t be able to see anything in Gjogv, and you’ll be happier to spending your evening in Klaksvik, where you’ll be spending the night.
3:30-4:00 PM. Head to Klaksvik on the island of Borðoy. After leaving Funningur, continue south on Funningsvegur Road until you reach Funningsfjørður, a fjord town located on the southern tip of a fjord. From there, turn right onto Gerðisvegur Road, which will take you back to Route 10. Stay on Route 10 until you pass the village of Skipanes and reach Gøtuvegur Road. Turn left onto Gøtuvegur Road, and then right onto the Leirvikar Tunnel, to enter into Borðoy.
Once you reach 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. Check into your hotel or Airbnb and drop off your belongings before heading out to dinner. Our Airbnb host, Kristian, was extremely generous, patiently chatting with us and even offering to drive us to the start of our hike the next morning so that we wouldn’t get lost. This type of small town hospitality was something we were not accustomed to, coming from Chicago and Toronto, and we were pleasantly surprised by Kristian’s kindness.
5:30-6:00 PM. Eat dinner at Roykstovan Klaksvík. Even though Klaksvik is the second largest city in the Faroe Islands, there aren’t as many restaurants here as you might expect. Luckily, we stumbled upon Roykstovan, a pub with a cozy ambience and delicious food. We ordered tomato soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, and chicken nachos, and all of it was delicious. In fact, the chicken nachos I had here were probably some of the best chicken nachos I’ve ever had (I know, I was super surprised, too)!
After dinner, have a relaxing evening by staying at Roykstovan for some more drinks or taking a stroll around town. You might want to head over to the grocery store and stock up on some breakfast items for the next morning.
Day 3. Klaksvik, Northern Islands, Torshavn
9:00 AM. Depart for Klakkur. Start your day with a hike to Klakkur before continuing to drive around the northern islands. You can find detailed directions from Klaksvik to Klakkur here.
Klakkur is completely exposed to the elements, so if you’re visiting on a rainy, windy winter day, I would recommend skipping the hike or coming back later in the day if the weather clears up.
If you do make it to the top, however, the views are amazing. You’ll be able to see Klaksvik, as well as some of the surrounding islands.
11:30 AM. Eat lunch at Jacqson Restaurant in Klaksvik. After hiking Klakkur, drive back to Klaksvik for a quick lunch. Jacqson Restaurant is an excellent lunch option, although the prices are on the higher end.
12:30 PM. Explore the Northern Islands. With full stomachs, you’re ready to explore the northern islands, which has some of the most unique and breathtaking views we have ever seen. As soon as you leave the city center of Klaksvik, you’ll see 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, which has 64 residents, and another on the southeastern coast called Haraldssund. Drive toward Haraldssund and loop back around to Borðoy so that you can make your way to Viðoy, the northernmost island in the Faroe Islands.
Along the way, you’ll end up taking a series of tunnels until you get to Hvannasundsvegur Road, the road that leads from Borðoy to Viðoy. After crossing into Viðoy, you’ll arrive at 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 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 is fitting for an island with many bird cliffs. Both Svinoy and Fugloy can only be accessed via ferry when the weather is not too harsh. If you’re looking for more detailed directions from Klaksvik to the northern islands, check out this post on the northern islands.
3:00 PM. Leave the northern islands for Tórshavn. You’ll want to leave the northern islands by around 3:00PM to start heading toward Tórshavn, the Faroe Islands’ capital. The drive from Klaksvik to Tórshavn takes a little over one hour, and there is plenty of signage along the way, so it should be an easy drive.
4:30 PM. Arrive at your hotel in Tórshavn and explore Old Town. Like most “cities” in the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn was not very big, even though it is the capital of the Faroe Islands and the largest city there. You’ll have the best time if you stay as close to the city centre (Old Town) as possible. Hotel Havn was a great choice in terms of location, although the checkin process was a bit flawed when we stayed there in late 2016. Otherwise, the hotel was clean and served all of our needs.
6:00 PM. Eat dinner at Barbara Fish House. If you’re looking for a local gem where you can try some local specialties, look no further than Barbara Fish House. This nautical-themed and highly-regarded seafood restaurant is warm, cozy, and the perfect place to indulge in some delicious seafood dishes.
After dinner, continue exploring Old Town Tórshavn, or turn in for an early night’s sleep after an action packed three days in the Faroe Islands.
Day 4. Depart Faroe Islands
8:00 AM. Depart Tórshavn for Vágar Airport. The drive from Tórshavn to Vágar Airport takes around 45 minutes, so depending on what time your flight is, you’ll want to have an early breakfast and head to the airport. We inadvertently timed our drive with the sunrise, so of course we had to stop on the side of the road to snap some photos.
If you rented your car through Hertz, returning it is 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 took us no more than five minutes to get to our departure gate from the entrance to the airport, and our passports were never even checked – a true testament to how safe the Faroe Islands are.
Your packing list will look a little different depending on the season in which you choose to visit, but there are a few essential items that you should pack regardless of what time of year you visit:
Waterproof/windproof jacket. Even in the warmer, sunnier summer months, you will not regret having a light raincoat in case it suddenly starts to rain in the middle of your hike while you’re miles away from the closest shelter. I love Patagonia’s Torrentshell Jacket, which is extremely lightweight and waterproof, yet breathable.
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 these pants from REI, which are waterproof and windproof (and super warm).
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. By far my two favorite hiking boots are the Salomon Quest and the Scarpa Zodiac Plus. You can read more about them here.
Water bottle. Having a water bottle in the Faroe Islands is both economical and environmentally-friendly. 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. I’m a big fan of Nalgenes.
Camera. The Faroe Islands are filled with natural beauty, and you are going to want to have a camera to capture its beauty. I used a Nikon DSLR with a wide angle lens for most of these photos. It might also be a good idea to bring a GoPro to use 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 and a couple of pairs of merino wool socks. SmartWool makes some excellent hiking socks.
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