Many people have asked me what driving in the Faroe Islands is like. Being on the road at such a place was one of my strongest experiences so far, and I have prepared a series of posts about it.
Sheep on the road on the way to the old historic village Kirkjubøur.
Before coming, I was warned about several things – narrow single-track roads, one-lane tunnels, weather conditions and the most entertaining part of the Faroese driving – ANIMALS ON THE ROAD. There's more than 70 000 sheep on the islands and they wander freely wherever they want.
When you're on the larger roads, you will usually see the sheep on the verge of the road. They walk around, scrath their backs with the road barrier or just lay there. The worse is the weather, the more sheep will come closer to the roads, because the asphalt is warmer. Contrary to popular belief, an adult sheep never ran across the road in front of my car.
Driving inbetween fog and skies.
However, it's totally different with lambs! If a lamb is grazing on the opposite side of the road from his mother-sheep, he will almost certainly get scared of the approaching car and start running to his mom in front of you! The sheep are super cute, but not very smart. After it happened to me 5 times, I started paying more attention to lonely lambs and was always decreasing speed if I saw them separated.
In smaller villages with not so much traffic it's quite common to see the sheep walk freely on the roads. No need to worry though, you'd be going slower and see them well enough, they are super cute and run away anyway.
By the way, if you hit a sheep, you have to call the police. Fortunately, I never found out what's the punishment for that.
Driving in the beautiful village Gásadalur with the world famous Múlafossur Waterfall.
Apart from the countless sheep, I had a lot funny encounters on the road. Once I had to stop on the mountain road because of a party of geese who were trying hard to cross. They must have had some business to do on the other side, but those cars just kept coming!
On my final drive to Vagar airport, I spotted something huge and black on the road. It was so big, it couldn't have been a sheep. I slowed down and passed.. a cow! Cows don't usually roam freely, so the wind must have destroyed the fence and one of them escaped. Faroese roads are full of surpises :)
The sights that you will experience when you rent a car in the Faroe Islands!
The quality of roads in the Faroes is AMAZING. Even the smallest remote villages have a quality paved road. I read a lot about driving there, and almost all posts mentioned narrow one-lane rural roads, where two cars can't pass one another. I opted for a smaller car and oh how many times I regretted this decision.
It's true that the picturesque touristy villages like Saksun and Tjornuvik are connected to civilization only by these narrow single-track roads where you have to dive into passing “pockets” every time another car is going your way. However, there's almost no traffic on these roads and driving to your destination doesn't usually take longer than 20 minutes. Here the advantages of my small car were over.
Entering the picturesque village Saksun on the island Streymoy.
Most of the main roads connecting larger towns are actually quite wide and have two lanes. These roads usually stretch along the coasts of fjords and Faroese conditions make them almost always wet and windy. With large trucks coming my way and 85 km/h side winds, I was literally being blown off the road in my small car. There were days when I would dive out of a cloud of fog at my hotel's parking, finally breathing out and not believing I had actually survived.
It's amazing how the city people always think about the driving culture of the locals, traffic jams, ease of parking and how much fuel the car is going to eat you... and then you arrive to hang around near the arctic circle and realize you should've though about the fact you'd be spending 90% of your time on the road fighting with nature forces.
The snake-shaped road leading to Norðradalur.
Driving through sub-sea tunnels in the Faroe Islands is on one hand no different from ordinary driving in the city tunnels, but on the other hand it can't really leave you emotionless. Going underground and undersea, beneath the waves of the Atlantic it's hard not to imagine apocalyptic scenarios with special effects where tons of water from the bowels of the Earth burst into the tunnel and you're flooring the gas pedal... Add a sea monster or a Loch Ness beast, or whatever you'd like depending on how sick is your imagination and when was the last time you watched Jurassic Park.
The road leading to Fossá Waterfall just before you get to the vilage Vík on the islands Streymoy.