Faroe Islands travel guide
Pretty much any road trip in the Faroe Islands, is a pretty road trip, but there are sections which are of exceptional beauty. The inland road from Torshavn over the mountains offers amazing views; first over Torshavn and then birdview of Kaldbak fjord.
Another spectacularly road trip is the one-lane road to Saksun, named Hvalviksvegur. It's a narrow sealed road in perfect condition, which rolls through a valley with smaller waterfalls and ends at Saksun, where an old church with turf roof overlooks a cove, where more waterfalls tumbles down the sides.
The main islands are connected by tunnels, but to reach some of the smaller islands, you need to take the ferry. The picture is from Kalsoy Island, which is only reached by ferry. There is one road on the island and it only has one lane - so watch for on-coming traffic... and sheep. Always watch out for sheep!
Faroe Islands are spectacular in general, but there are places which are extremely spectacular, Saksun is one of them. Just the road leading to Saksun is well worth the journey. It's a rolling one-lane road (with on-coming traffic) down a valley with grassing sheep and smaller waterfalls. At the end of the road lies the tiny settlement of Saksun high above a cove with more waterfalls tumbling down the steep mountain walls. On a outcrop stands a picture-perfect old church with turf roof from where there are panoramic views over the cove. On the opposite side of the church, a trail leads down to the shore of the cove and further out to the Atlantic Sea. The walk takes about an hour return and is best done during low tide.
In the middle of nowhere, on the top of a Mount Sornfelli, is a defunct NATO radar station. The station is a leftover of the NATO early warning system from the Cold War. Just 20 km from Tórshavn, a road has been paved all the way to the radar station due to its former importance, securing radar communication between Europe and North America. The road has been open to the public since the station closed down, makes Sornfelli one of the most assessable peaks on the Faroe Islands, offering brilliant views of Streymoy’s rugged landscape and many the other Faroese Islands.
Tjørnuvik is another small village with a beautiful setting. It sits at the end of a bay with steep mountain sides at one of the few sandy beach in the Faroe Islands (others are Sandur and Hvalba). There are a fine church and a handful of traditional houses with grass roofs.
With a population of less than 20,000, Torshavn is one of the smallest capitals in the world - and you can easily sense that. The old quarter with the traditional wooden houses with turf roofs, are just a few short streets (but manage to house the embassy of Iceland). The "lively" harbour area consists of a handful of bars and cafes and the shopping street, Niels Finsens gøta, ends after just a few shops. But that just makes Tórshavn even more charming. For panoramic views over the town, head up to Hotel Føroyar. Most tourists use Tórshavn as a base as there are hotels and restaurants here, but Klaksvik and even Gjogv are other options, so you don’t have to backtrack every evening.
The Faroe Islands are made up of 18 major islands, where the main ones are connected by either tunnels or bridges. At the moment, there are 20 tunnels in total, where the oldest one is from 1963. The newer ones has two lanes, but some of the older ones only has one lane despite the traffic is two-way. So either you check for oncoming traffic before you enter or use the strategically placed shoulders in the tunnel for passing. Most of the tunnels are free, but Vágatunnilin (connects Streymoy and Vágar) and Norðoyatunnilin (connects Eysturoy and Borðoy, pictured) are tolled.
Set out on the rough Atlantic in a boat that seems way too small for the task, the captain steers skillfully out of the tiny Vestmanna Harbour and into the fjords. It's a short ride to the open ocean and one of the highlights of any trip to the Faroe Islands: The Bird Cliffs of Vestmanna, spectacularly towering almost 700 m above the small boat. Thousands of seabirds use the cliff as their breeding ground – and it's nearly as spectacular as the cliffs when a large flock sets off. Depending on the tour, the captain and the weather, the sail might include visiting free-standing rock formations, grotto explorations and fjord adventures. A few outfits even do grotto concerts on the boat during the less windy summer months.
On the north-side of the Faroes northernmost island lies Vidareidi below a towering mountain. More a road with a few houses than an actual village, this is the end of the road. Getting further away from Tórshavn is difficult. Besides the majestic cliffs, Vidareidi's big draw is its food. The village is one of the few places with a restaurant, Matstova, that serves puffins. It's usually necessary to arrange the meal the day before as a hunter has to be hired to walk out into the cliffs to catch the birds. Puffins or Sea Parrots, as they are called locally, lives on Vidareidi's cliffs in their tens of thousands and are a cute mix between parrots and penguins – come to think of it, we wouldn't recommend looking up pictures of these adorable creatures anytime around ordering or eating the meal.