Why the tiny (if staggeringly scenic) nation of the Faroe Islands wasn’t overrun with tourists during my visit in early August is beyond me – especially considering that my flight from Stansted was hardly more than two hours long and that I had never seen anywhere on earth quite as extraordinary or been anywhere quite as distinctive. That this archipelago of 18 islands jutting from the juncture of the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea is such an accessible yet sparsely populated and utterly gorgeous destination should be reason enough for you to stop whatever it is you’re doing right this instant and start making plans to see the Faroes for yourself.
I’m going to take the next few days to recount the amazing time I had discovering the Faroe Islands. But really everything I’m gonna say boils down to this: if you can go there you should … and when you do spend as much time as possible in boats. Ancient culture, jaw dropper sights, exquisite food (mostly of the fresh seafood variety), and tranquility like I’ve found nowhere else on earth all added up to a wonderful sense of calm and a solid dose of adventure.
I flew to the Faroes with Atlantic Airways, the national airline of the Faroe Islands “operating domestic helicopter services and international passenger services as well as search and rescue responsibilities” from its base at Vágar Airport. At the moment, Atlantic services Stansted only the summer months, but there are year round flights to/from Copenhagen. Other airports where the airline currently operates include Billund, Aalborg, Reykjavik, and Bergan. Find out more at atlantic.fo.
My flight from Stansted was just over two hours long, and within minutes of my arrival, I was being blown away by the place. About 15 minutes’ drive from Vágar Airport is the ancient village of Bøur. With views of an unimaginably dramatic seascape, it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Thanks to local guide Sigurd Nordendal for showing me around Bøur by car and traditional Faroese wooden boat (!!!) and for sharing his love of his home with me.
About an hour’s drive from the airport is the captial city Torshavn (yep, that means “Thor’s Haven”) where 20,000 or of the nation’s 49,000 folks live. There I stayed at the four star and ultra chilled out Hotel Foroyar, and I’d happily do so again … particularly if it meant another meal at the hotel’s fine dining Koks restaurant! Visit the hotel online at hotelforoyar.com.
Hired car is the best way of getting around while visiting the Faroes. Mine was booked through 62ºN tour company. I can’t recommend them enough – especially after the speedy and friendly service I experienced when I got a flat tire! Find out more at 62n.fo/en.
As breathtaking as so many views were around the islands I was glad have had a pair of Swarovski Optik CL Pocket binoculars in my bag (although for much of the trip they were glued to my face). The lightweight and foldable compact binoculars with individually adjustable twist-in eyecups offered my eager eyes a large field of view (357ft/119m) of exceptional optical quality – which proved just the thing for birdwatching (puffins galore!). Read more about these fine binoculars at uk.swarovskioptik.com/travel.
I spent a good bit of my Faroese trip touring the islands with local chef Gutti Winther. He was a brilliant guide who seemed to know the islands’ many nooks, crannies, sea caves, cliffs, fjords et al like the back of his hand and to have a warm friendship with just about everybody from there. The man can cook too! My tour with him was arranged through Visit Faroe Islands. I would love to pass some more details about him your way, but when I asked for his contact details he said, “I don’t have an email address; it’s not my style.” However, if you Google his name you’ll get a few results (mostly in Faroese) which might lead you his way.
For loads more info to help plan your own Faroese adventure, go to visitfaroeislands.com.
Keep an eye out for more posts in my Faroes and Away miniseries.