THE FAROE ISLANDS
DAY 1 - TÓRSHAVN
We arrived during the afternoon at Vágar Airport and one of my favourite moments of this whole week was stepping outside the small airport, breathing in the fresh air and seeing the amazing landscape already starting right outside the parking lot. It only took a few minutes until we had to stop at the side of the road for the first time and get the camera out. We couldn't resist driving around the islands for a bit after we had left our luggage at the Airbnb. We needed to go grocery shopping for the week anyways, so we made the short drive to the Faroese capital Tórshavn. Even the short trip there provided us with some nice views in the moody conditions.
DAY 2 – GÁSADALUR
The famous waterfall near the village of Gásadalur is an absolute must-see for anyone that visits the Faroe Islands. Since our house wasn't too far away from this amazing place, we went here too unwind from the stressful travelling of the day before. The great thing is that you won't even meet too many people here. It's very different from the Icelandic waterfalls, where you have to fight your way through the masses. We didn't see more than ten other people in the many hours we spent here, which was a nice surprise. Hiking along the edge of these cliffs was definitely a preview of what was to come in the next few days, in we would end up on the edge of a 100+ meter drop more often than not. Needless to say we had a great time here and we even returned twice to this place during the week.
DAY 3 – SAKSUN & GÁSADALUR
After our rather short outing the day before, we drove a bit further north on day three to explore the island of Streymoy. The first part of the day led us to Tjørnuvík, passing by the highest waterfall in the Faroe Islands while also getting an amazing view over the cliffs near Eiði opposite us. After this, we took the narrow road down the long valley to Saksun and the weather started changing drastically. It was raining heavily and the strong winds made it hard to stand, so we decided to stay in the car for a couple hours before hiking along the beach out of the natural harbour. As we arrived at the end of the beach, the skies cleared up. I didn't want to waste this good weather and started sprinting up the mountain behind the beach which gave me one of my favourite view of this week. Standing up there, looking down at the waves crashing onto the beach, whilst still fighting against some of the strongest winds I've ever experienced is a moment I'll never forget.
But that's not where the day ended. After we had dinner, the sunset started looking very promising and we hopped in the car in the hope that we would see Gásadalur in this light. We got there a little late but there was no disappointment, because the stormy conditions meant that the waterfall was putting on a spectacular show, completely being flipped upside down at times. I took some of my favourite photos that evening.
DAY 4 – SØRVÁGSVATN
As if the last day hadn't been eventful enough, day 4 ended up being one of my favourite days, not only of that week, but of my entire life. It started out quite disappointing actually, because the boat to Mykines (which we eventually took on day 6) couldn't go out on the open sea because of the stormy conditions. Luckily the small port wasn't too far from another place we had considered visiting: Sørvágvatn. This lake is situated just above the sea and you've probably seen one or two photo of this place on Instagram before. After the hike along the lake you reach Trælanípa, which is this incredible cliff sticking out from the coastline that allows you to look back over the lake and the sea 148m (485ft) below you. As beautiful as it is up there, I was very happy when we left it to go further along the coast because taking photos from the edge of this cliff was probably one of the most dangerous things I've ever done. While descending, you get an amazing view over the waterfall that goes directly from the end of the lake into the sea. The backdrop is nothing short of incredible as well and it felt a little like we had reached the edge of the world. Such a surreal place.
Since we had gotten up pretty early in the morning there was still a lot of time left in the day and we decided to drive north to Eysturoy, where we wanted to look for a place to enjoy the sunset at. But the destination didn't really matter because driving around these islands in the golden light of the evening sun is already a great experience. But we did eventually park the car by the side of the road to hike across some random fields towards the coast where we wanted to watch the sunset from. It felt amazing to just sit down and watch the sun slowly disappear after this eventful day. We got home that night (sunset is very late up here during summer) incredibly tired but very happy and it didn't take long for us to fall asleep.
Click through the photos and you'll soon find out why this day was so special to me.
DAY 5 – KALSOY
The adventure never stops when you're in the Faroe Islands and this day was no exception. Another early start meant that we caught the ferry to Kalsoy which delivered us from the foggy conditions into much better weather. There was a lot of anticipation built up before the hike because I was unsure about quite a few things concerning our destination. We were headed towards Kallur Lighthouse (pictured below). Nowadays, there's a bit more information about this short hike on the internet, but back in last summer I had literally found nothing but two GPS trails that showed roughly where you had to go to reach the northernmost point of Kalsoy.
But getting there was only half of my concerns. If you look flick through the photos, you'll realise that the island extends a bit further out than the lighthouse. The only way to get on that last part is a super sketchy path that is very narrow and has a drop to certain death either side of it. Even crawling along it on all fours was terrifying but the view you get when you reach the end is overwhelming. I'll never forget the first time looking back at the lighthouse and the island, which is the view you see in the first picture. A photo can't even closely portray the actual size and atmosphere of this place. Hard to believe that the massive wall in the middle sticks more than 500m (1700ft) directly out of the ocean when you're looking at the photo. I couldn't even get the whole thing in frame with my 24mm lens. You just have to see it for yourself.
This spot will forever remain as one of my favourite places on earth.
DAY 6 – MYKINES
We eventually were able to take the boat across an open bit of the North Atlantic Ocean, heading over to the island of Mykines. The boat ride was an adventure itself as it was only a small passenger boat that moved up and down each individual wave. We arrived in the dense fog on Mykines, knowing that the only boat to take us back wouldn’t come until late in the afternoon. Now, this might be hard to imagine considering we were there in august, but we had to wear winter coats, gloves, scarfs and hats to withstand the cold. It was freezing, meaning we started the hike we had come here to do immediately. It lead us from the small village we had arrived at to the lighthouse at one end of the island. I’d love to tell you about all the incredible sights but we spent most of the time trying not to get lost in the fog, which we only managed to escape a couple times when we got low enough to get under it. Luckily we didn’t really come here for the landscape. Mykines is famous for its puffins, funny little birds that hang out on the cliffs here during summer. We saw – and smelt – plenty of them alongside with a few sheep as well.
The lighthouse wasn’t really that spectacular because of the low visibility and you could only hear the waves crashing onto the shore very far below you. This meant that we returned quite quickly to the village, where we had to wait a few hours for the boat. We were completely soaked by this point which made the waiting part not very enjoyable. But the boat did eventually come and after the drive home I thoroughly enjoyed a hot shower.
DAY 7 – FUNNINGSFJØRÐUR
I only ever saw this place in a YouTube video and had no idea what it was called. Luckily, the Faroe Islands aren’t too big and with a bit of research on Google Maps I soon found a fjord that resembled the shape I had I seen in the video. When we finally went here on our final full day, we just parked the car by the side of the road that got closest to this spot and started walking. To get there, you can either go over the top of a mountain or go around it, with the top route giving you a great panorama pretty much everywhere you look.
The short hike is rewarded with almost a bird’s-eye view of the incredible landscape. It was the perfect way to end our stay in the Faroe Islands and we just sat down for a while to soak it all in. I took plenty of photos as well, the first one in the slideshow below being one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken. Enjoying this peaceful moment, looking over the fjord and reflecting on the insane week we’d had is up there with the highlights of last year.
DAY 8 - GÁSADALUR, AGAIN
Our flight back was due to leave around midday which meant that we still had half a day to do something. Since our Airbnb, the airport and Gásadalur were all on the same island (Vágar), we really didn’t have to think very hard about what we were going to do that day. We had already been there twice, but the first time the mountains were covered in fog and the second time it was already getting dark. No complaints this time around.
It was really hard to say goodbye and board our flight; the week had flown by and it didn’t seem to long since we had arrived here just seven days ago. But after over a month of constantly travelling (I had been in Norway for three weeks before) I couldn’t wait to get home and sit down to edit the massive amount of photos I had taken this summer. What an incredible adventure.
If you want to see a short recap of my time in the Faroe Islands, you can have a look at this video. It also contains some of my other highlights of last year, including a road trip in Norway and many great memories we made in the Alps.
If you enjoyed this video, you can find more of them on my videography page.
I'm no travel expert but I'll write down some of the things I think are good to know before visiting the Faroe Islands:
The currency of the Faroe Islands is the Faroese Krona which is closely related to the Danish Krone (DKK). Both currencies share the same coins but have different bills. They're worth the same but when we tried to pay for something with a 200 Faroese Krona bill (about $30) at Copenhagen Airport during our layover they didn't accept it.
The language is Faroese which is actually closer to Norwegian than Danish (the Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark). Don't expect to find too many sings or things like that in English since tourism isn't that big here yet. But, as it is the case with all Scandinavian countries, most people do speak English. Think about what you want (or don't want) to buy at the supermarket and note down what it would be called in Faroese.
The weather can vary a lot from freezing, stormy and foggy to nice and sunny. Basically bring a lot of clothes and you'll be fine. Also keep in mind that it can be raining at one end of the islands and be sunny on the other. Look at local forecasts and make your plans accordingly.
If you're planning to bring a DSLR (which you definitely should), I'd recommend bringing an ultra-wide angle lens (e.g. a 12-24mm), because you simply won't be able to fit some of these locations in the frame otherwise.
I did most of my research on the internet, whether that was by looking at Instagram photos (the Faroe Island's official account @visitfaroeislands for example posts a lot of great content), watching some YouTube videos or googling some locations I was interested to see.
My favourite places (that I saw) were Gásadalur, Sørvágsvatn, Funningsfjørður and that lighthouse on the northern end of Kalsoy (not necessarily in that order). There are plenty of other epic places in the Faroe Islands but I'd say these are the must-see locations.
Most importantly though, be careful because most of these places include huge cliffs and there are no railings or caution signs anywhere. Don't push the limit too far and be safe.
If you still have any questions, feel free to contact me.