Updated: Aug 9
The Faroe Islands are undoubtedly one of their kind. No wonder why many decide to go there on a trip from Iceland. If you have some spare time traveling around Iceland, you should not miss the chance to visit the Faroe Islands. This archipelago does not merely offer beautiful landscapes but also a type of society and customs that can surprise and amaze any visitor. This land, where sheep are more abundant than humans, provides an incredible view of wild nature.
Where are the Faroe Islands?
The Faroe Islands are an autonomous overseas province of Denmark. Their official languages are Danish and Faroese. This volcanic archipelago of 1399 square kilometers is located between Great Britain, Iceland, and Norway, on the Norwegian Sea. The archipelago consists of 18 main islands with a mountainous surface. The largest ones are Streymoy and Eysturoy. The Faroe Islands' coasts are rocky, and sometimes, they even take the form of fjords. On other parts, you can admire high cliffs from which the waterfalls fall into the ocean.
The Faroe Islands are located within the zone of cool climate with strong oceanic influences. You can expect high rainfall here but relatively warm winters and cool summers. Quite similar to Icelandic weather, the temperatures are not so low as you might have imagined due to the Gulf Stream. In January, the coldest month of the winter, the average temperature is around 3 degrees Celsius. In August, you can expect around 10-11 degrees Celsius. Strong winds, fogs, and cloudy skies are, however, prevalent here. This is due to the influence of the ocean. It is said that it rains in the Faroe Islands around 280 days a year. It makes it one of the rainiest places in the world. In winter you can expect some snow too. The wind is what causes frequent changes in the weather. No wonder why the Faroese island people have 350 words to describe the wind!
In the Faroe Islands, you can experience all kinds of weather in one single day. It can change dramatically, so do not be put off by the weather; wait a few more minutes.
Interesting facts about the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands' archipelago is said to be one of the most unique islands in terms of the natural beauty of its landscapes. There are around 50.000 inhabitants and twice as many sheep living here. Those help much in promoting the islands. Someone had a great idea to install camera equipment on the sheep's backs. The camera takes 360 degrees pictures. You can then see the final result on Google Maps, a whole different way to see the islands! It's like a street view, but instead, we can call it a sheep view. You can see the results of it here.
The Faroe Islands do not belong either to the European Union or the Schengen Area. Make sure you have a valid passport with you while traveling. The controls are not constant, though; no one may request your passport upon arrival. Nevertheless, you must have it on you.
The Faroese people have their own unique surface measure unit. It is a "mørk". One mørk is an area that can feed 32 sheep. It is not a constant unit, and it depends on the topography of the terrain and its soil fertility, the weight, fat, and wool of the sheep.
The archipelago consists of 18 islands, including some which are uninhabited, like Litla Dimun. Koltur island has the least number of inhabitants, which is two people.
The Faroe Islands is one of the safest places in the world. The crime rate is insignificant. It is very similar to Iceland. In the Faroe Islands, people even leave their houses open and do not need to worry about burglars or thieves. Where would they run anyway? All the criminals are sent to serve their sentence in Denmark as there is not a single prison in the Faroe Islands.
How to get to the Faroe Islands
While the Faroe Islands are undoubtedly an exciting tourist destination, it is very often omitted by many tourists. This happens mainly due to the difficulty in getting to the Faroe Islands. This is the biggest obstacle in visiting them; however, it should not stop you from heading there!
The most common way to get to the Faroe Islands is by plane. There are two airlines offering routes to the Faroe Islands, and those are SAS and Atlantic Airways. There are direct flights available from Reykjavik, Edinburgh, Copenhagen and Bergen. From other destinations, you will have to take connecting flights. The plane lands in the main Faroe Islands airport, Vagar.
Another way to get to the Faroe Islands is by ferry. You can take it from Denmark or Iceland if you are already visiting the country. Smyril Line, a ferry company, offers a convenient way of getting from Iceland to the Faroe Islands. If you travel from Iceland, the ferry commence its journey in a small town, Seyðisfjörður, on the east coast of Iceland and ends in Tórshavn, in the Faroe Islands. The journey lasts around 19 hours, and you can book a comfortable berth and meals for your trip. If you have a camper or car rental from Iceland, you can transport it with you on a ferry for an additional cost. You can check the prices o their website online.
This is the easiest way to calculate the price. You simply fill in the booking form, choose the destination, the dates, and choose the berth that fits you best. The price will be calculated automatically. This is also where you can complete your booking. Getting your tickets to Faroe Islands can be cheaper if booked online. The whole ferry tour is enjoyable, and it is, for sure, a fantastic way to complete your travel to Iceland!
Transportation on the Faroe Islands
While getting to the Faroe Islands might be quite a challenge, you also need to think about how you will get around the archipelago. The best way is to travel around in a rental vehicle. You can bring the car or a campervan you rented in Iceland if you choose the ferry option. With this option, you can start your trip to the Faroe Islands the same day you step outside the ferry.
Driving around the Faroe Islands is not difficult and should not give you too much trouble. Most of the roads, even those located in the archipelago mountain parts, are in good condition. However, it would help if you considered some aspects while planning your road trip to the Faroe Islands.
The sub-oceanic tunnels are common here. Vágatunnilin tunnel connects the Streymoy and Vagar island, Norðoyatunnilin will get you from Eysturoy to Bardoy. A new tunnel was opened in 2020, and it is called Eysturoyartunnilin. The last one is the longest one of around 11 kilometers. To pass through any of the tunnels, you must purchase the pass, and you can do it online.
Apart from those giant, long tunnels, you should also expect some small, narrow, mountainous tunnels. Only one car fits in is such a tunnel, and the other one has to let the other one pass to avoid collisions.
Speed limits in the Faroe Islands
The general driving safety rules are very similar to the Icelandic ones. These are the speed limits that apply in the built-in areas and outside them in the Faroe Islands. It is 50 km/h in the habited areas and 80 km/h outside them. Off-road driving in the Faroe Islands is forbidden. That is to make sure the tourists and their cars do not damage nature. Do use the designated places and parking lots to stop by or leave your rental vehicle.