Guide to the Faroe Islands - In search of serenity

Travel Blogger

Lake above the ocean

Living and working in New York, moments of silence and solitude are few and far between. Through the beauty of instagram, I’ve had my eyes on the Faroes for quite some time, and this summer I finally pulled the trigger.

I was working 7 days a week as a film producer, and my escape needed to remove quite a few layers of stress, and that is why I decided to travel with minimal planning and minimal expectations. There were a bunch of places that I had on my wish list, and I decided to take each day as it came and see whatever my time permitted me.

Arriving on a Sunday proved to offer up a few challenges. I wouldn’t have access to my rental car until Monday, and I couldn’t check into my hotel in Tórshavn until the afternoon. Since most shops were closed I decided to explore the harbor and beautiful old town in the picturesque capital.

Faroese boatTraditional Faroese boat. Found this one in the harbour in Tórshavn.

I’m a sucker for architecture, and I did not get disappointed. I found it especially fascinating that newly built buildings really embraced the traditional building techniques and aesthetics.

There are many traditional houses in the capital Tórshavn. These houses can be found everywhere. Most of the houses with grass roof are nestled in the old district á Reyni in the city centre.

Á ReyniThe old town in Tórshavn. This is where you will find plenty of turf roofed houses. 

Having still quite some time to kill, I decided to venture on a trek to Kirkjubøur, a 2.5 hour adventure one way. I’m certainly not a trekker, and several times along the gorgeous trail I had to remind myself to slow down, I didn’t have a place or time to be, and if I wanted to spend 3 hours just sitting on a rock enjoying the view I could.

Once I reached Kirkjubøur, I was instantly greeted by an older gentleman who seemed very impressed that I had walked all the way from Tórshavn, and to my surprise welcomed me in for a cup of tea. Being Swedish, communicating was easy, as both I and whomever I met would adjust to as neutral of ‘Scandinavian’ as we could produce.

Having my eyes set on the little church and cathedral by the water, I decided to let my minutes pass down by the water, I also had blisters that needed bandaging, and I’ve never had a better view to do so. Kirkjubøur was certainly the first of many places at the Faroes to steal my heart.

KirkjubøurSaint Olav's Church in Kirkjubøur. The church dates back to the 12th century. They still do services and all that stuff in this nice building in the historic village on the island Streymoy.

Day 2 meant a bus ride back to the airport to pick up my tiny car - my white Italian stallion for my remaining days on the islands. After a few unwarranted worrisome moments regarding the one lane tunnels, I drove to my first destination; Gasadalur and the insta famous Múlafossur waterfall. Again, I was greeted by the loveliest locals - shocking to me as a New Yorker where we avoid eye contact at all cost.

Even though a few other tourists had found their way to the waterfall this morning, we all enjoyed the view as a new secret family. I think we were perhaps five people there, all in awe of the view, the air and a newfound sense of community.

GásadalurThe famous Múalafossur waterfall. The scenery is set in the little village Gásadalur.

Gasadalur itself offered up lovely tea to warm the soul, before I continued to Bøur - my second love on the islands. The view was postcard like, with the lone boat, the black sand, the islands and the boat houses lining the shore.

Next on the plan was Sørvágsvatn and the tromp-delquey that the large lake on the edge of the cliff provides when it hovers over the sea level. I had an incredible luck with the weather, and the few drops of rain all fell when I was driving between my destinations.

House in the Faroe IslandsA newly built house in Gásadalur. Even though the house is brand new, the architectural style is traditional for the Faroe islands.

Even though the end view was my goal of the day, I found myself mesmerised by the lone house on the edge of the lake, seemingly only reachable by boat. Coming from a city of millions, it seemed like a perfect hideaway.

As the day came to an end, I spent the night at Giljanes, a place to recommend to any and all backpackers visiting the islands. Giljanes is situated between the villages Miðvágur and Sandavágur.

TindhólmurThe picturesque view from Bøur. Here you can enjoy the beautiful Tindhólmur islet and the sea stacks Drangarnir.

Day 3 meant a long day trip together with some fellow backpackers I met at the hostel. The first stop of the day was the northern point of Vidoy, where we all made friends with a bottle lamb.

Since I was there to really recharge my batteries, we all agreed on mandatory moments of silence for us all to be ale to take in the sights undisturbed. From there we drove to Klaksvik to take the ferry to Kalsoy.

We wanted to trek to the lighthouse a couple of kilometres away from Trøllanes, but when visiting the tourist office we found out that the trail was closed. We were disappointed, but with plenty other scenic places to see there, we decided to take the trip as planned.

Just as we were about to drive onto the ferry, the wonderful young woman whom we had spoked to at the tourist office knocked on our car window. She had reached out to the farmer who owns the land, and he had agreed to open the trail for us. We couldn’t have been luckier. Standing in awe of the view, we were blessed with a gorgeous rainbow, immediately followed by a double rainbow. Truly an incredible sight and experience, and something I will never forget.

Kallur LighthouseKallur Lighthouse is stunning. You will hike for one hour from Trøllanes to reach the scenery.  

Day 4 marked my last full day at the Faroes. I had saved quite a few favorites for this, and the first stop of the day was the magical Saksun. I was a little sad that the trail down to the small cottage was closed, but I have also seen inconsiderate tourists acting entitled to whatever country they are visiting, so I understand and respect the landowner’s decision to keep the visitors to a restricted area.

Saksun is a fairytale like village, and working in the film industry, I instantly wanted to get a crew and a camera over and film whatever story would make sense in this environment. Being a little hyped, I was worried that Saksun would disappoint, but it certainly did now - I was moved to tears by the sheer beauty of it.

SaksunSaksun is simply amazing. Check out the tidal lagoon and the waterfall.

A hard one to follow, indeed, but my next stop Gjogv stood by my expectations. Gjogv treated me not only to its natural beauty, but also to puffins and an almost rainforest like environment when I went to explore the natural harbor.

I drove the winding and scenic route all the way back to Tórshavn, where I would spend the night at Berg Hestar, allowing me to stop and take in the views for as long as I wanted and needed to along the way. The welcoming at Berg Hestar was as warm as every other place I visited, and my stay exceeded my expectations.

GjógvMake sure to visit the gorge in Gjógv. The village is also beautiful. 

Day 5 started with a 2.5 hour riding tour outside of Tórshavn - an experience that was incredible rejuvenating to a New Yorker who's only daily animal interaction is counting the subway rats on the tracks. The owner of the farm shared her immense knowledge and invited me for a cup of tea before my last drive that would slowly take me back to the airport.

I stopped by all the places I had driven by the previous days, trying to get the photos that I had already taken in my head, and when failing at that, relaxing into that I would have the perfect picture in my mind anyway.

Sheep Faroe IslandsThere are thousand of sheep in the Faroe Islands. This is a young male sheep.

I drove to Sandavágur to take in the beautiful church, which architecture stands out in the green landscape. In pictures it looks almost toy-like, and I wanted to see if I could capture it myself.

I ended up at the airport a little early, and as the workaholic I am brought up my laptop and wrote down a list of the things I need to see when I return to the Faroes.

SandavágurThe iconic church in the village Sandavágur. The architecture is unique.

I truly hope that all of you that are thinking of taking the leap and visit this outer-worldly place, just go with your guts - you will not regret it.

This is my list of things to see and do for next time:

  • I need to try snorkeling 
  • Mykines 
  • Fossa Waterfall
  • Suðuroy
  • Funningur
  • To travel by helicopter 
  • Sandoy

Those things are on my bucket list for my next adventure in the Faroe Islands. Which sights in the Faroe Islands are you planning to explore?