This is Faroe Islands — made up of 18 mountainous islands and sits between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean. Faroe Islands is a self-governing nation of the Kingdom of Denmark with a small population of 52,000 people, famous for its majestic views and undisturbed wildlife. Its surprisingly connected islands by roads and sub-sea tunnels are home to some of the world’s most beautiful places. Stepping foot onto the Faroe Islands is like stepping onto a movie set, so be sure to have your monopods, cameras and phones ready!!
To me, an adventure at the Faroe Islands is like being in New Zealand, but with new sights and experiences of a new culture.
If you wish to avoid crowds or are looking for a less touristy destination for your next trip overseas, the Faroe Islands might be the place for you to visit! Here are eight wanderlust things you must experience at the Faroe Islands – I promise they’re worth it, for my trip down was truly mesmerising.
1. Stay in one of these beautiful Turf-roofed houses
Faroe is one of the rare places in the world where you can still get a chance to stay in stunning turf-roofed houses. These are traditional Scandinavian houses dating back to the 9th century — over a thousand years ago! Apart from just aesthetic reasons, these grass roofs have practical uses as they protect the houses from rain, provide thermal insulation and help to stabilise the structures from the strong and windy ocean breeze in the Islands as they are rather heavy.
If you are interested in staying in one, you will be able to search for their availability on major accommodation booking sites. However, you should try to reserve early as they tend to be fully booked due to the limited number of turf-roofed houses available for rent to travellers.
2. Hike up Kalsoy Island, the new James Bond Island
Kalsoy Island is situated at the northern part of Faroe islands and can only be accessed by ferry. It takes around 1.5 hours to hike up to the lighthouse and you will be rewarded with views of the epic backdrop, surrounded by mountains and the ocean, one of the world’s most beautiful places here in Denmark.
(James Bond movie spoiler ahead) You will also get a chance to check out the James Bond’s tombstone. The Kalsoy Islands was one of the filming locations for the latest James Bond movie, No Time To Die, in which breathtaking sceneries were featured. Locals have erected a tombstone in memory of the James Bond character, as it was the first time in the history of the movie franchise that the spy never returns home from near death. Yes, the Faroe Islands is the first ever place for James Bond to get killed off.
3. Take a scenic helicopter ride at just S$29 per pax
The helicopter is a form of public transport for the locals on the islands, something uncommon elsewhere in the world. The price for helicopter tickets to each island varies, but a ride from Vagar to Mykines (about 11 minutes) will cost around DKK145 (S$29). This is heavily subsidised by the government to make public transport accessible, as well as to enable the transport of goods to and from the island. There are limited flights per week. Tourists are allowed to book helicopter rides, but just for a one-way ticket per day to prevent any potential abuse. This means that if you take a helicopter ride to another island on the Faroe Islands, you will need to take the ferry back.
Book your helicopter ride: Atlantic Airways is the only helicopter ride provider in the Faroe Islands. They offer helicopter rides every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and can only be booked up to seven days before departure. Find out more information about flight schedules and bookings here.
4. Visit Torshavn, one of the smallest capital cities in the world
Torshavn (which also means Thor’s Harbour) is named after the Nordic God of Thunder. It is home to just 20,500 people and is one of the smallest capital cities in the world.
5. (Try to) Visit Mykines and get up close with Puffins
Mykines is one of the hardest places to visit in Faroe. It’s a small island and can only be accessed by either a ferry or helicopter. The ferry only sails during the four months of summer (May to August) and is subject to cancellations when the wind gets too strong. But the helicopter runs once a day, four times a week. During winter, the island may be inaccessible for a whole month. There is no food supply on the island and everything must be brought in from other islands. This also explains why there are more than 40 houses in the village, but only 14 permanent residents.
It is exactly because of this that Mykines is an extraordinary place to visit. Its unspoiled nature provides the perfect condition for rich and varied wildlife, especially the birds. Be sure to visit if you can, and you will be rewarded with sights of nature and be transported to Puffin heaven (with approximately 550,000 puffins to spot on the island).
Plan your trip to Mykines with information and updates here, as transport and guided tours are subject to change, depending on the weather conditions in the Faroe Islands.
6. Island “hop” like the locals
While the Faroe Islands are made up of many separate islands, they are well – connected by roads – yes, roads. If you love to enjoy different sights and driving experiences on road trips, this place is perfect for you.
You can drive through sub-sea tunnels that connect the islands on Faroe, including Eysturoyartunnilin that has the world’s first sub-sea roundabout. While you’re travelling through the tunnel, you can tune in to radio FM 97.00 and you will hear a piece of music playing. That’s no ordinary music playing. The ambient soundscape playing on loop was composed specially for commuters’ ride under the seabed. Sounds used in the piece are from recordings made during the construction of the tunnel – how cool is that?
7. Speed through the world’s largest sea cave, Klæmintsgjóv
Faroe Islands is also home to Klæmintsgjóv, one of the largest sea caves in the world. It has a volume of about 348,000 cubic metres (equivalent to almost 140 Olympic-sized swimming pools) and can only be accessed by boat. With countless birds chirping overhead, steep cliff faces and epic waves, sailing into the cave felt like we were heading into Jurassic World.
If you’re visiting during summer, you can consider attending the annual concert that takes place inside the cave. With spectators on boats and musicians playing their instruments at the end of the cave, it is an experience that you should not miss. The acoustics of the cave make it a perfect concert venue, making it a concert experience that you cannot find elsewhere. Find out more info about speedboat tours around the island.
8. Taste Faroe, the local way
Trying the local Nordic food is key to understanding the Faroese lifestyle. Many of these originate from how people used to live centuries ago – when they had to preserve food to make it last longer through winter. It’s common to see people in the Islands hanging their fish outside their house to air dry them.
I had the chance to try both the fermented mutton and fish when I was at Faroe. The mutton was quite manageable – just slightly more gamey. The fish, on the other hand, had a scent of ammonia, but went well with the bread and mash potatoes.
The Faroe Islands might not suit all travellers who are planning a visit to Europe as one needs to be fully prepared and adaptable to last-minute cancellations and changes. To enjoy and make the best of your experience in the Faroe Islands, always plan ahead, prepare back-up alternatives, and ensure that you are well-dressed and equipped for hiking.
That said, after reflecting on this trip and looking through all the photos that I’ve taken, it’s definitely a trip worthwhile! And I'd highly recommend this as a bucket list place to visit.
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Things to take note while travelling to Faroe Islands
While the Faroe Islands as with the Kingdom of Denmark have lifted all restrictions to travellers, there are a few key guidelines to follow:
All travellers visiting the Faroe Islands must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including children.
There may be requirements to provide proof of vaccination when on board planes.
You may require to wear face masks when entering homes for the elderly, social institutions and hospitals.
- Aside from COVID-19 vaccinations, travellers are advised to take vaccinations for other diseases for increased protection, such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles and Rabies.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines additional important steps for safe travel to the Faroe Islands.
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Best time to visit
The best time to visit the Faroe Islands is during summer as you'll get longer daytime for you to explore the picturesque islands. I was at the Faroe Islands in May and it was still pretty bright at 9:00pm in the evening which gave me more time to explore and drive around – something to note if you are planning to stay for only a few days. There are direct flights to Vágar Airport – the only airport in the Faroe Islands – from France, Spain, Portugal and the UK during summer.
Renting a car in the Faroe Islands as it brings greater convenience and flexibility when planning your trips. Hiking gear can get pretty heavy and having a car to transport what you need will make the trip so much more convenient and enjoyable. There are other public transportation via buses, ferries, and helicopters around the island but you’ll have to plan ahead.
They have an interesting arrangement in the Faroe Islands – where the government prints its own Faroese Krona notes and uses Danish coins. Both Faroese and Danish Kronas are acceptable, but be prepared to receive Faroese notes if you pay in Danish Koranas.
You will be able to travel freely in the Faroe Islands without using any cash at all, as card and mobile payments are widely accepted.
Get to the Faroe Islands from Singapore via a transit at Denmark, where multiple airlines fly directly to from Changi Airport.