Wild, handsome, rugged – these are the words that spring to mind when one thinks of the Faroe Islands. The archipelago, nestled between Norway, Iceland, and Scotland, isn’t on the tourist radar just yet. This ensures unspoilt panoramas, dramatic fjords without a soul in sight, scenic cliff-top villages with less than a dozen houses, and solitude in glacial valleys. Put this one on your itinerary if you are planning an offbeat road trip this year and enjoy driving or outdoorsy activities such as hiking, bird watching, and fishing.
Getting Into Faroe Islands to kick off your roadtrip
Atlantic Airways and SAS offer convenient flights to Faroe Islands from cities such as Copenhagen and Edinburgh. You will fly into Vágar Airport, from where you can pick up your rental car for your roadtrip. As always we suggest comparing prices of cars on Economy Bookings and opting for the most cost-effective provider. Roads are in great shape all over the Faroe Islands, so you needn’t opt for a 4X4 in summer. But do choose a 4X4 with snow tyres during winter months.
Driving in Faroe Islands is relatively easy as there isn’t much traffic (lots of sheep though, so be careful when you’re driving). The islands of Vágar, Streymoy, Eysturoy, Borðoy, and Viðoy are connected with either sub-sea tunnels or over-water bridges. To drive through the 2 sub-sea tunnels, one has to pay a toll of 100 DKK (approx €15). If you wish to drive on the island of Kalsoy, you can take the car ferry there from Klaksvík (Borðoy).
Most roads on the big islands are wide and two-laned but can be narrow, winding, and single-laned when driving to tiny and remote villages. There are quite a few single-laned tunnels with plenty of passing bays for one to allow oncoming traffic to pass. This video has some excellent tips.
When to go on a road trip in Faroe Islands
Summer months (May-September) are best if you intend to spot puffins, drive around a lot, or explore lots of different islands. This is because summer months mean long hours of day light, perfect for a road trip. However do beware that it rains frequently even during summer months. Winter months (November-March) are ideal if you want to spot the Northern Lights or enjoy some local cultural festivals. Make sure you rent a car equipped with snow tyres if you visit Faroe Islands during winter months. Do keep in mind that it can be very windy during the winter months 🙂
Visas For Faroe Islands
If you are a US, UK, or EU national then you do not need a visa to visit Faroe Islands. However citizens of most other countries need a visa to enter Faroe Islands. Despite being a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, Faroe Islands is not part of the Schengen Agreement. Consequently Schengen Visas are not valid here. You need to visit the Consulate/Embassy of Denmark in your city to obtain a visa to visit Faroe Islands
Packing for your road trip in Faroe Islands
Irrespective of when you visit the Faroe Islands, do beware that weather is really unpredictable here. Go prepared for rain, cold, and sunshine. Don’t forget to pack waterproof outer layers, a warm down jacket, and hiking boots even during summer months. Check out our article on packing for an Icelandic summer for some suggestions If you’re visiting during the freezing winter months, add some snow boots, full body thermals, and insulated trousers to the list. Check out our article on packing for the Arctic for some suggestions
Itinerary and suggestions for a roadtrip in Faroe Islands
Day 1: Arrive at Vágar Airport and start your roadtrip
All flights to Faroe Islands land at the cute airport on the island of Vágar. The airport might be small but it is well-equipped. Pick up your rental car and start driving towards your accommodation for the length of this road trip. Along the way, stop at a supermarket and stock up on some essentials for your road trip – snacks, groceries, and other such.
Tórshavn in Streymoy Island is the capital city of Faroe islands and is an ideal base to explore the islands. The drive from Vagar Airport to Tórshavan takes less than an hour. There are numerous B&Bs and hotels which you could choose but we would suggest renting a quaint apartment or house on Air B&B to truly experience the islands like a local. I’d suggest booking a traditional Faroese house, but one that offers free parking and internet, on the outskirts of Torshavn. You can use this link to sign up on Air B&B and get $40 off your first Air B&B booking if you want 🙂
Day 2 Drive to Saksun and Tjørnuvík and explore Tórshavn
You will be well rested and ready to start exploring the islands. Kick off your road trip by driving to some gorgeous places in the island of Streymoy
Start your exploration of Streymoy Island by visiting the quaint village of Saksun, comprising of beautiful grass-thatched cottages, surrounded by mountains on all sides.Where else will you find a village with just 14 inhabitants? 🙂 While the village, set amidst a circular amphitheatre is spectacular, it is the drive to the village that steals the show. If you’re travelling with young kids, make sure you stop at Dúvugarðar, a sheep farm in Saksun.
Continue your road trip with a visit to the picturesque village of Tjørnuvík – the tiny village is perched on a cliff and famous for being the northernmost village of Streymoy. The car goes all the way to village, so you needn’t hike to the top. While you’re there, drink in the views that surround you. If it’s not a windy day, you could also find yourself a quiet picnic spot and spend a couple of hours there.
On your way back from Tjørnuvík to Tórshavn, stop at Fossá waterfalls – one of the highest in Faroe Islands. The water drops a whooping 140 metres over 2 stages. You could hike to the upper part of the waterfall but be extremely careful as the path can be very slippery. It’s a great pit-stop on your drive back.
Spend your evening exploring Tórshavn, the smallest capital in the world. Walk past the harbour and savour the colourful houses lining the streets. Explore the Torshavn Cathedral and make sure you stop for a coffee at Østrøm – it’s an interesting space with a cafe housed in an industrial building. If you’re after truly warm Scandinavian knitwear, stop by the iconic Guðrun & Guðrun store. I got a traditional jumper and wore it relentlessly in Iceland, France, and even Switzerland. Wrap up the day with dinner at Áarstova Restaurant, a traditional Faroese restaurant. Sample the smoked haddock or the shoulder of lamb – it’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted. Yummy!
Day 3 Explore the island of Eysturoy
Surreal panoramas and incredible scenery continues at the island of Eysturoy. This is where Mother nature at her very best. It is home to the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands – Slættaratindur and some truly breathtaking drives. At the village of Gjógv, a gorge runs from the village into the ocean offering majestic views of the surroundings.
Next stop by the viking village of Funningur, that offers a peek into the unique history of the region. If you enjoy outdoorsy activities, then the Funningur Hike, that overlooks an impressive fjord, should definitely be on your itinerary – it was one of my favourite things to do and a definite highlight of our road trip in the Faroe Islands.
Göta in the island of Eysturoy also plays host to the amazing Hoyma Music Festival, where locals open their houses to Faroese musicians and travellers alike (Hoyma means “Home” :-)). All performances are unplugged – no light or sound systems. This gives travellers a rare and unique chance to mingle with locals, kick back, and enjoy some music with them. It’s an easy way to make friends and have a fun evening out. Hoyma Music Festival takes place in November each year.
Day 4 Hike to Krosstindur
This hike will take you to three mountains – Krosstindur, Húsafelli, and Malinstindur – and it lasts 7 hours. You can also opt for a shorter hike by visiting just Krosstindur. Irrespective of whether you choose the short hike or the longer one, make sure you wear good hiking boots and a thoroughly waterproof jacket. You will see some spectacular panoramas on this hike, so don’t forget to take your camera along.
Day 5 Go Birdwatching in Mykines
On the fifth day of your road trip in Faroe Islands, choose something that tickles your fancy. You could go shopping in Tórshavn, rest after all the hikes and walks, or drive to yet another Faroese Island. Mykines is one of the most popular islands for birdwatching in Faroe Islands. If you go during summer months, you could chance of hundreds of puffins in Mykines, a sight like no other. There are several walks and hikes in Mykines, which amplify the puffin viewing experience to a whole new level. But that’s not all. Faroe Islands house over 305 species of birds, which make for a pretty picture when you combine them with sweeping views of the ocean, rugged cliffs, and a clear blue sky. You could read about the experience here.
Day 6 Hikes and drives in Vágar
On your last day in Faroe Islands, it is time to explore the island of Vágar. Vágar is home to numerous attractions but I would definitely suggest driving to Gasadalur and hiking at Leitisvatn /Trælanípa. At Gasadalur, a cliff-top village with a population of just 18 people, there are scenic panoramas on all sides. The Mulafossur waterfall frames the village and you can see the island of Mykines stretched out in front of you. This is also an amazing place to catch rainbows (if you’re lucky!).
At Leitisvatn, the largest lake in Faroe Islands, you can hike for 45 minutes or so along the lake to reach a unique point before venturing to the top of Trælanípa – a vertical and 142 metre steep cliff. Legend has it that in the Viking age slaves were pushed off this cliff hence giving it the name “Slave Rock”. Be very careful as you venture to the edge as it can be really windy and slippery. From one point on this cliff, it appears that the lake is hovering over the ocean. This is the result of a natural optical illusion and results in some really cool photographs.
Walk back down and right to the edge of the ocean where you can see the ferocious Bøsdalafossur waterfall falling right into the ocean with immense force. The wrestle between the waterfall and high waves gives visitors a sight to behold.
Wrap up the day with a meal in Torshavn. If you’ve had your fair share of Faroese food, then check out Etika Sushi. Thanks to the abundance of fish, sushi is really popular in the Faroe Islands and Etika Sushi serves up a delectable spread for fans of this iconic Japanese dish.
Day 7 Drop your rental car and depart from Vágar Airport
And just like that, your road trip in Faroe Islands is over. Well, if you have some time in the morning before your flight, I’d suggest taking the old mountain road (highway no. 10) instead of the coastal highway (highway no. 52) from Tórshavn towards Vágar and taking a short detour to visit the beautiful village Norðradalur. As you take the turn off the main highway and start descending towards the village, the image of the serpentine road leading to the village at the edge of the ocean is as beautiful a landscape shot as it gets. On a clear day, you can have a clear view of the tiny island of Koltur too.
On this road trip in the Faroe Islands, I was left with everlasting visions of handsome panoramas, friendly people, and the quaintest of villages after my road trip in the Faroe Islands. Can’t wait to be back in a different season soon and explore the other islands too 🙂
If you want to plan a longer trip, there is plenty more to do on the islands and one can easily spend weeks in Faroe Islands. Hope you guys get to Faroe Islands soon 🙂