NorðoyggjarThe breathtaking scenery is captivating. Dramatic high mountains with steep falls to the sea and scattered small villages. Norðoyggjar is the northern most part of the Faroe Islands. The name – The Northern Isles – represents six islands where you in one single day can experience the blinding contrast between the bustling fishing industry in the Faroe Islands’ second largest town, Klaksvík and the silence and tranquility in the smaller villages.
You can drive from the mainland straight to Klaksvík through a subsea tunnel from Leirvík on Eysturoy. Three of the islands, Borðoy, Kunoy and Viðoy are connected with each other by roads, while the other three, Kalsoy, Fugloy and Svínoy are reachable by boat.
Klaksvík, which is situated on Borðoy, takes pride of being the fishing capital of the Faroe Islands. Large high tech fishing ships, weather beaten trawlers and small family boats operate out of Klaksvík to supply the fillet factories with fresh fish. But at the same time, with 5000 inhabitants, Klaksvík is a busy, energetic melting pot of music, arts, sports and classic Faroese culture. It is the natural point of departure for visitors to the other Norðoyggjar.
From Klaksvík there is daily access to some of the most harsh and spectacular places in the Faroe Islands. The majestic defiance of the relentless North Atlantic is what makes a visit to Norðoyggjar so special.
For further information see www.visitnordoy.fo
Sandoy, Skúvoy and Stóra DímunSandoy is the different island. The hillsides seem greener and the mountains do not climb as high as they do in the rest of the Faroe Islands. Located only 20 minutes with ferry south of Streymoy, Sandoy is easily visited and well worth the trip.
This mild mannered island offers something to both the adrenaline seekers as well as those looking for good hikes and fishing trips. Here you can experience the exceptional feeling when hanging in mid air 300 meters above the sea. The Faroe Islanders have in generations taken birds and birds’ eggs from the nests and now tourists can get the unique experience of feeling what it is like rapelling down a steep mountain side.
A large and beautiful sandy beach defines the village of Sandur, named after the beach. The big sand dunes are the perfect spot for an evening picnic after a good hike or fishing trip around the island. In the village, the art gallery is one of the main attractions. Sands Listasavn as the gallery is named, was given to the village from a private art collector and the collection includes many of the best Faroese artists, including Mykines, William Heinesen and Ingálvur av Reyni.
From Sandur the boat can be taken to the nearby island Skúvoy and if the weather permits a trip to the secluded and inaccessible island Stóra Dímun where only one family lives is possible. Visiting these two islands will take you on a journey back in time to life lived in the Faroe Islands centuries ago.
On the eastern side of Sandoy, the villages Skálavík, Húsavík and Dalur offer great scenery and an open view out to the harsh sea.
For further information see www.visitsandoy.fo
EysturoySlættaratindur is the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands. From the top, 882 meter above sea level, there is a grand view of the Faroese archipelago. From here you get a good look at the towering neighbours, Gráfelli (857 m) and Vaðhorn (720 m) but also of Eysturoy – the eastern island.
Eysturoy is the second largest island in the Faroe Islands and offers more than it’s fair share of sights, excursions and experiences. On of the most popular places for tourists lies at the northern end. Both in and out of season the guesthouse, Gjáargarður, in the small village Gjógv is well visited. For centuries the villagers’ only acces to the sea has been through the gorge, from which the village has taken its name. Here you can experience man’s ingeniuity and nature’s power and beauty all in one spectacular place. The two imposing rock stacks nearby, named Risin og Kellingin, are also a must see for visitors.
Eysturoy has many small villages where one still can feel that rugged way of life, that the Faroe Islanders have lived in earlier times. Elduvík, Funningur and Hellur among other villages are well worth a visit.
Eysturoy also is where the Faroe Islands’ international football team has had their best results. Svangaskarð is one of the worlds most unfriendly football stadiums. Although the grass is good and the hospitality great, the scenery, wind and the long drive has, in its time, made several international legs shiver. Ask any Scotsman, if he likes to play against the Faroe Islands on Svangaskarð.
The islands largest fjord, Skálafjørður, has also gathered the most inhabitants in Eysturoy and here you find Runavík, which is Eysturoy’s largest town (3,500 inhabitants). Fishery and fishing industry is the main provider for the people of Eysturoy and one of the worlds largest salmon farmers, Bakkafrost, has its headquarters in Eysturoy.
The Faroe Islanders are very fond of music and the village Gøta every year hosts the G-festival, which has been nominated as the second best music festival in Europe.
For further information see www.visiteysturoy.fo
SuðuroyAfter two hours sailing from Tórshavn with the splendid state of the art ferry Smyril, one can see Suðuroy rise from the sea. Suðuroy is a world apart from the rest of the Faroes. The language has a special tone, and the people of Suðuroy are well known for talking straight to the point, with humour and bite. From Sumba in the south to Sandvík in the north you find that special tone of voice, that is Suðuroy.
Suðuroy as most of the Faroe Islands is tilted to the east. Open, friendly, accesible on the eastern side, beaten, beautiful, rugged, unspoiled at the western side. In Suðuroy, though there is easy access to many of the spellbinding unbelievably steep bird cliffs from the top. You can practically drive all the way up the edge and look in to the abyss. Always a strong experience, when nature rules it is terrifying.
The two main towns Tvøroyri and Vágur represent north and south of the island. The two towns are of course rivals and the not always so friendly competition lies underneath at all times. Once Tvøroyri was the main trading town in the Faroe Islands and it has sights to prove it, but now the warehouses are transformed into a beautiful pub and restaurant. Tvøroyri has expanded and includes the two neighbouring villages Trongisvágur and Froðba, where the special basalt of Suðuroy is visible.
One highly recommended trip is to walk to Hvannhagi, which is about an hour’s walk from Tvøroyri. It is a steep and narrow path, but comes highly recommended because of the breathtaking scenery with Lítla Dímun in the middle of the picture.
In the southern part the hike up on Rávuna is recommended. It is an easy hike, but not for those afraid of heights, since it is along the western edge. Suðuroy has a lot to offer to anyone. Towering heights, breathtaking scenes, deep fjords, warm and welcoming people and good accommodation. Stay for a while, you will not regret it.
For further information see www.visitsuduroy.fo
Vágar and Mykines13 or 31. Either number welcomes every visitor coming to the Faroe Islands by air. The newly improved runway at Vágar Airport is 1799 meters long and 13 represents the approach from the west, while 31 means the approach from the east.
The British Military built the airport during World War 2, and today it is a modern airport that greets the visitors. December 3rd 2011 the contructions to lengthen the runway from 1250 m up to 1799 meters were completed which means larger planes are able to land here too. Later on the terminal will also be extended.
Vágar is however much more than an airport. Right next to the airport is the largest lake on the island and either by foot or onboard a boat you can reach the fantastic cascade Bøsdalafossur, that falls from the lake in to the ocean.
The three main villages, Sørvágur, Miðvágur and Sandavágur hava given the island its name and are home to most of the people on Vágar. The small and picturesque villages Bøur and Gásadalur offer an unparalelled view of the fjord and the islet Tindhólmur. Until recently the only way to get to charming Gásadalur was on foot from Bøur and over the mountain. Although there now is a tunnel to Gásadalur, the old post route is still recommended for those with the stamina.
It is however fair to say that the main attraction in this area is not Vágar, but neighbouring island Mykines. A birds’ paradise exemplified by the thousands of puffins, that can be seen everywhere with fish hanging from their beaks for their youngs. Mykines offers fantastic hiking opportunities, bird watching possibilities and tranquility. You should however check the weather forecast as changes in the weather may prevent transport to Mykines. From the island of Vágar it is easy to travel to the mainland thanks to a 4,900 meter long subsea tunnel under Vestmannasund and to Streymoy.
Forget the numbers mentioned initially and focus on the fantastic scenery outside your window on the approach as well as on departure. Welcome to the Faroe Islands and come back.
For further information see www.visitvagar.fo
Streymoy, Nólsoy, Hestur and KolturStreymoy is the largest as well as the longest of the Faroe Islands. The main attraction on Streymoy, of course, is the capital Tórshavn, but also Kirkjubøur, Saksun, Vestmanna and Tjørnuvík are on the must see list.
Tórshavn is home to the majority of the people in the Faroe Islands with its 20,000 inhabitants, it is also home to one of the oldest parliaments in the world, Føroya Løgting which dates back to around 825. Tórshavn is a small city, but one that has a lot to offer. Once a small trading port, now grown in to a modern and lively city in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The old city located on Tinganes is surrounded by a town bustling with business, culture, music, restaurants, art and sports.
The magnificent Nordic House with its music, art and performing arts is recommended to any vistitor, as well as a visit to the Faroe National Gallery of Art, where the past and present of Faroese culture come together, is time well spent.
Food and drink come in plenty in Tórshavn, where the visitor can choose between many different typs of bars and restaurants. The greatest Faroese writer William Heinesen named Tórshavn the world’s navel and from the capital you hava good access to both the world and the rest of islands. From Tórshavn the ferries to the southern islands, Sandoy and Suðuroy depart as well to Tórshavns guardian angel, the island of Nólsoy which shelters the capital from the North Atlantic. Although only 20 minutes away Nólsoy is a completely different world and a good example of the contrasts of the various parts of the Faroe Islands.
To the visitor who wants cultural experiences, the village Kirkjubøur at the southern end of Streymoy is a good place to start. There you can walk inside the Magnus Cathedral, built around the year 1300, but never finished. It is a fascinating building, but also a testament of untimely grandeur. In Kirkjubø there is also Roykstovan where the 17th generation of the farmers Patursson resides.
The Faroe Islands have two subsea tunnels. One connects Streymoy with Vágoy, where the airport is located. Before the subsea tunnel, the village Vestmanna was mostly seen as a ferry port, but now the ferries are gone and Vestmanna has emerged as an important tourist attraction. Primarily because of the boat trips, to the amazing bird cliffs Vestmannabjørgini, where the steep mountain side towers hundreds of feet in to the air. Vestmanna also offers some fantastic hiking possibilites in the surrounding mountains.
While you are at the nature excursion, go for Saksun as well. The light, water, peace and quiet is like nowhere else. Saksun has this rare quality, where the weather does not matter. It is spectacular anyway.
One important link in NATO’s early warning system, was at the top of the mountain Sornfelli, but even though the radars are dismantled the view remains splendid. Especially at midsummer, when people flock to the top to stay the night to watch the midnight sun.29th of July is the Faroese national day and both the 28th and 29th are greatly celebrated in Tórshavn, with an abundance of cultural events, shows, concerts, parties and sport events. At midnight between 15 and 20,000 people gather downtown to sing traditonal songs together. It is an experience of a lifetime.
For further information see www.visittorshavn.fo