Five reasons to visit the Faroe Islands

29/04/2016 11:01

Written by Bradt Travel Guides

Faroe Islands the Bradt GuideFrom the sophisticated capital of Tórshavn to the mysterious isle of Mykines, the Faroe Islands offer natural splendour in abundance. It is still one of the few places in Europe where life moves at an enviably sedate pace and where the forces of nature and vagaries of the climate mean everything to the people who live here. Whether you explore this North Atlantic archipelago by ferry, road or helicopter, you’ll find a trip to the Faroes is a marvellously rewarding experience.

Soaring sea cliffs

Vestmanna bird cliffs Faroe Islands by © Eydfinnur, Shutterstock© Eydfinnur, Shutterstock

The Faroes are famous for their sea cliffs teeming with birdlife – an audio-visual delight of gannets, guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins in their hundreds of thousands. A boat tour to the spectacular bird cliffs at Vestmanna is something every visitor should embark on, and those with a little more time should venture to Enniberg in northern Viðoy and Beinisvørð in southern Suðuroy, with their record-setting heights.

Magical Mykines

Mykines Faroe Islands by Ólavur Fredriksen, VisitFaroeIslands© Ólavur Fredriksen, VisitFaroeIslands

The most remote and enigmatic of the Faroe Islands, Mykines can be cut off by bad weather for days, but the tussocky valleys and rich birdlife are worth the challenge. Its craggy cliffs and hills rise precipitously out of the sea in a wall of lush green, turquoise and steely grey, the winds hurrying the clouds across the sky, changing the island’s aspect as frequently as the light. It really is something special.

Thor’s harbour

Torshavn Faroe Islands by VisitFaroes© VisitFaroeIslands

Named after the Norse god of war, the beguiling Faroese capital of Tórshavn is dotted with brightly coloured wooden houses and bursting with local charm. It might be one of the smallest capitals in the world, but it’s packed with great bars, harbourside restaurants and fascinating museums and should be (literally) the first port of call on any Faroese itinerary.   

Picturesque villages

Funningur Faroe Islands by VisitFaroeIslandsA visit to the turf-roofed church of Funningur is a highlight of any trip © VisitFaroeIslands

Alongside the puffin, the iconic image of the Faroes is the turf-roofed house, of which there are plenty to explore in the dozens of tiny hamlets that dot the islands. Set in landscape of vast wilderness and domineering mountains, they provide an insight into life in a land of extremes.  

Helicopter hopping

Helicopter Faroe Islands by Eric Christensen© Erik Christensen

One of the best (and fastest) ways to see many of the more isolated corners of the Faroes is to travel by helicopter. Soar above the jagged coastlines for a bird’s-eye view of the stunning landscape – but be sure to check they are running in bad weather!

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