Faroe Islands travel guide
The places below will prove, every village in the Faroes has its church. Even the smallest collection of buildings will probably have a church amongst them. A very traditional and deeply religious society, religion still play a far larger role, both politically and socially, here than anywhere else in Northern Europe. The islands are therefore full of small, adorable and whitewashed churches. Faroese churches' interiors are decorated in extremely humble and minimalistic designs. Usually, with simple wooden benches, a simple altar with a painting rather than a crucifix, and sometimes a wooden ship or two hanging from the ceiling. Even the Catholic church in Tórshavn is without many of the adornments associated with Catholic churches. While many churches stay locked outside prayer times, the small and close-knit nature of life on the Faroes means that it's often possible to find the responsible priest or responsible caretaker.
Traditional cuisine on the Faroe Islands consists almost entirely of fish and mutton, combines potatoes and – controversially – whale meat and puffins. In the rough climate and rocky shores that are the Faroe Islands, it was tough to store one's provisions, so families resorted to salt, pickle, and dry their meat and fish. Most celebrated today is the dried fish and two types of mutton; dried skerpikjøt and fermented ræstkjøt (literary "leftover meat"). There's a distinct difference between fermented and rotten – or so say the Faroese. Fermenting is basically controlled rotting where only specific bacteria is allowed to break down certain parts of the meat – most often turning sugar into alcohol. Thus, making the meat long-lasting, as well as uneatable for a lot of outsiders. Better wash it down with some locally distilled snaps.
On an island far, far away, stunning Gásadalur village used to be completely isolated from the rest of the Faroes. Situated in a valley, with tall mountains to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean raging 79 meters below the cliffs to the south and west, Gásadalur was hopelessly alone on its dramatic location. That was until a 1.500 m tunnel was drilled through the mountains, connecting the settlement with the rest of the country in 2006. At that point, only 14 people still lived here. Everybody can now marvel at this astonishing location thanks to that lifesaving tunnel, which have completely revived Gásadalur. As if the site wasn't already sublime enough does the village have fantastic enough are there also wonderful views to the rugged splendour of Mykines – the country's least populated island, with just ten inhabitants left.
Named after the sea-filled gorge, this little village is particularly known for the great views of the dramatic coastline. There is a bench at the lookout, which was placed when the Danish crown prince and princess visited in 2005. There is also a guesthouse (with great views) if you want to stay for a day or two or just having lunch.
Likely the most important historical place in the Faroe Islands. From 1111 and throughout the High and Late Middle Ages Kirkjubøur was the home of the Faroese bishopric. The village itself dates back to the Viking Age and today around 80 villagers call Kirkjubøur home. Despite its limited size, here's an impressive historical presence. The biggest sight is the never-finished Magnus Cathedral. Construction started around the year 1300, but as it was never roofed, it was never finished. Nevertheless, is it still the largest medieval building in the Faroe Islands. Kirkjubøur is also noteworthy for holding the oldest, still-serving church anywhere in the country. Olav Church dates back to the 13th century. Lastly, one of the world's oldest log houses – the old bishop's presbytery – is also open to visitors. It's the largest farm on the islands and the current inhabitants the Patursson Family, who have lived here for 17 generations, have kept both the wooden interior and the grass covered roofs mostly intact.
Being the second largest town in Faroe Islands doesn't mean that much. Klaksvik is built around the harbour and surrounded by pretty pyramids mountains. It has what a town needs in terms schools, churches, and hospital, but most tourists will probable find it a bit dull. Before 2006, you had to sail to Klaksvik, but today you can drive all the way from Torshavn to Klaksvik (75 km) by going through the 6 kilometres long Norðoyatunnilin (The Northern Isles Tunnel).
It seems that every nation needs a famous statue - the Faroe Islands have Kopakonan. It's a statue of a naked woman, who steps out of her seal skin. According to legend, seals are humans who took their own life by drowning in the sea. Once a year they come ashore, shed their seal skins and become humans, and dance the night away. The Kopakonan statue is placed in Miklardalur on Kalsoy Island right at the waterfront with Kunoy's majestic mountains as background. In combination with the hike to Kallur lighthouse (from Trøllanes), they make the short ferry ride to Kalsoy (20 min from Klaksvik) well-worth .
The small settlement of Kunoy (population 64), on the island of Kunoy, sits dramatically on cliffs above the sea on a backdrop of a vertical mountain wall. There are beautiful views of the neighbouring island, Kalsoy, but there are beautiful views everywhere on the Faroe Islands. Kunoy even has a fine white church, which stands right at the edge of the cliffs, above a small colony of seabirds. You can drive to Kunoy from Klaksvik over the narrow causeway.
Right at the northern tip of Kalsoy Island stands this small unmanned lighthouse. You can only reach it by hiking a hour from Trøllanes through sloping grass land with grassing sheep (of course). The views along the way, and particularly at the top at the lighthouse, are stunning. Far below crashes the sea against the rocks, while the vertical cliff walls are home to bird colonies. There is a outcrop even further out with even more fantastic panoramic views, but be careful for the trail is narrow with steep slopes on both sides.
Only a twenty-minute ferry-ride from Tórshavn, Nólsoy feels like a world away from the cosmopolitan capital (everything is relative). For anyone with too little time on their hands, this is a comfortable and convenient getaway into the more traditional Faroese culture. The car-free island only has a single village on it, and it's from here walks around the Island is arranged. Most of the island is dominated by the 372 m high Eggjarklettur Mountain, wish is a challenging climb. Others opt for the walk to the lighthouse on the island's southern tip, 8 km from the settlement. For the less fit, plenty of smaller and shorter walks a possible. Notice the whale jawbones standing as an entrance gate at the harbour.