Hidden far north of mainland Europe is a small Archipelago known as the Faroe Islands. One of the top things to do in Denmark is an excursion to the exotic Faroe Islands. Beaming with culture, this country has remained one of the world’s greatest secrets and wonders throughout centuries. As you are standing on the banks of the North Atlantic Ocean – your gaze shifts toward the towering waterfall cascading from the cliff, pounding the ocean below. As streams of water rush through the green valleys of Faroe Islands’ mountains, you see infamously fluffy Faroese sheep stealing a drink of some of the freshest, coldest mountain water you will ever find. The Faroe Islands may not be the most frequented country in Europe, but it should certainly be considered one of the top things to do in Denmark.
There’s even more to the Faroe Islands than its pure beauty and majestic landscapes. A land that Vikings terrorized and called home more than ten centuries ago; an archipelago country so unexplored there are still infinite secrets to be found; a land whose people are some of the nicest of any country in the world and willing to share their culture with you; a land where gruesome rituals and traditions still take place proudly; There’s so much mystery to be explored on these semi-lost and forgotten islands.
I’ve backpacked around over half of Europe in the span of three years, and I still believe the stunning landscape, the untouched culture, and its calming ease of travel makes the Faroe Islands one of the top European backpacking destinations. The best advice I can give is to make the Faroe Islands one of your top things to do in Denmark while you’re there. The hiking is unmatched anywhere else in Europe.
Where are the Faroe Islands?
The Faroe Islands is an archipelago country consisting of 18 islands with jagged, volcanic mountains. Where are the Faroe Islands, though? Situated in between Denmark and Iceland about 450 miles south of the Arctic Circle with only 50,000 residents, it’s one of the scarcely populated countries in Europe and you can feel that as soon as you arrive.
As the plane touches down and parks right in the middle of the runway – you know another plane isn’t landing for hours and you’re one of the few travelers who adventures as far into nowhere as the Faroe Islands. It’s one of the best places to visit in Denmark and there are more than enough things to do in Faroe Islands to make it a part of your Europe travel itinerary.
Things to do in Denmark: Make an Excursion to one of the best places to visit in Denmark!
If you’re planning an excursion away from things to do in Denmark, there are so many things to do in Faroe Islands! I spent one month in the Faroe Islands and it wasn’t even the best time to visit Faroe Islands (September is very rainy), but I never ran out of things to do in Faroe Islands.
Whether it’s taking a Faroe Islands tour, doing some of the best Faroe Islands hiking, or witnessing the majesty of a Faroe Islands lighthouse turn on; all of these deserve to be on your Faroe Islands itinerary. One of the best things to do in Denmark is getting to the Faroe Islands!
Check out an example of itinerary of Things to do in Faroe Islands
Torshavn – Located on the main island of Streymoy is the capital city of the Faroe Islands, Torshavn. It’s known for its tiny old town, Tinganes, which is packed with wooden, grass-roofed houses on a small peninsula of the city. Free buses around the city make it easy to get around.
Mulafossur Waterfall – One of the top things to do in Faroe Islands and a part of every Faroe Islands tour and Faroe Islands itinerary. It is located on the island of Vagar – about a forty five-minute drive from Torshavn – in the tiny, tiny village of Gasadalur. A mountain tunnel to Gasadalur was built in the 1990’s exclusively for Gasadalur – a village of less than 50 people. Before, it could only be accessed by helicopter.
The Nordic House – This house is the most important cultural institution of the Faroe Islands and one of the top things to do in Faroe Islands. Its aim is to educate and support Faroese and Nordic culture. There is a lot to learn here and it’s located in Torshavn, so it’s convenient.
Torshavn Cathedral – The second oldest church of the Faroe Islands located just outside of Tinganes in the country’s capital. Painted bright white, it’s hard to miss this church at the top of Torshavn. In 1788, when the church was built, the population of Torshavn was around 600 people. Now, the city is pushing 22,000.
Saksun Church – Saksun is a village situated in the northwest region of the country’s main island, Streymoy. Its church, a beautifully white-painted one-room church with a vibrant grass roof, is the focal point of the village. The entire village is surrounded by some of Faroe Islands’ tallest mountains.
Mykines Holmur Lighthouse – Mykines is an island that can be accessed only by way of ferry or helicopter. It’s a nice day trip, but I wouldn’t plan to stay more than one night. The hike to the infamous Holmur Lighthouse is the best hike, but the puffins are the highlight of this place. Ask locals if puffins are still around before going.
Kirkjubour Cathedral – The southernmost village of the island of Streymoy and the country’s most important historical site with the ruins of Magnus Cathedral from around 1300. The stones date back to around the Viking ages.
Lake Sorvagsvatn – (Leitisvatn) known as “hanging lake”, it creates an optical illusion in this scene that mixes towering cliffs, the Atlantic Ocean, and the largest lake in the Faroe Islands. Add a few Faroese sheep and infamous Faroe puffins to that scene and it creates a fairytale view. If visiting Denmark, you must go as it’s one of the best places to visit in Denmark is getting to Faroe Islands.
Bour – One of the Faroe Islands’ most stunning villages that features a traditional look with new age architecture. Across the fjord, beautiful views of one of the craziest mountains you’ll ever see. Stick around for sunset, you won’t be disappointed.
Best places to visit in Denmark: Lost in the fog in Gasadalur
My fondest memory in the Faroe Islands comes from a day hike in Gasadalur. I made up my mind to hike around the entire island of Vagar. There, some of the best things to do in Faroe Islands and Faroe Islands hiking is the best.
It was an early morning. I was awake and on one of the best hiking trails Europe has to offer by dawn. I started the hike on the wrong path but eventually found my way in the right direction toward an abandoned village at the north of the island.
By mid-morning, I had made it to the peak of one of the highest places to visit in Faroe Islands. The locals had warned me about the dense fog that I would possibly experience and, sure enough, it had started to roll in.
The fog was so dense that I couldn’t find my way using the trail markers. I was stuck atop the mountain in Gasadalur for the better part of two hours and I slowly felt my body temperature decreasing.
Luckily, I was able to navigate my way out of the fog using my compass and continue to hike one of the best Faroe Islands hiking trails I experienced. However, it was initially a bit frightening. It’s a smart idea to have a compass with you for times like these on Faroe Islands hiking trails.
Faroe Islands Hiking: The best hiking trails Europe has to offer
If you want to see the best of Faroe Islands hiking, your best opportunity is on the island of Vagar where there are the most things to do in Faroe Islands.
Many trails are marked all over the archipelago, but Vagar has the most to see. Faroe Islands hiking trails are marked with cairns (or large piles of rocks placed there by other hikers). The oldest cairns still lay there from the Viking age when Vikings would use the cairns as a way to mark the quickest paths to nearby towns and villages.
It is best to come prepared with proper hiking shoes, clothes that keep you warm, and it would be a good idea to invest in a rain jacket. While you’re on Faroe Island hiking trails, you’re usually far away from any towns or shops – So, plan accordingly and bring the right amount of food, water, and gear.
Where to stay in the Faroe Islands
Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, is located on the main island of Streymoy. While I’m sure it’d be all right to stay there, I’m glad I didn’t.
I recommend staying on the island of Vagar. If you’re going to the Faroe Islands for a vacation, you’re probably an outdoor enthusiast. And for outdoor enthusiasts and beautiful landscapes, Vagar is the island to be on. Not to mention, it is more affordable than staying in the capital city.
Specifically, Giljanes Hostel, is an excellent place to stay run by fine management. It’s a very homey stay with everything you need to see within walking distance. It’s also very easy to hitch a ride to Torshavn from here.
There’s not much – in terms of other accommodation options (even AirBnB is limited). I consider myself fortunate to have run into an affordable and comfortable hostel that met all my needs.
How to get to Faroe Islands: Ferry to Faroe Islands
As one of the top things to do in Denmark, it’s easy to arrive by ferry to Faroe Islands. Depending on the season, there are different lines that will bring you on a ferry to the Faroe Islands from Denmark and Iceland. If you’re not coming by ferry to Faroe Islands, then you will have to come by plane.
Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll have to take a taxi to your accommodation. A taxi to Torshavn is about a 45-minute ride and it will cost you around $34 one-way. That is quite expensive and there is no alternative public transport.
However, if you don’t have too much luggage, you can try to hitchhike right outside of the airport. As over 40% of the Faroe Islands’ population lives in the capital, it is never too difficult to find a ride.
Faroe Islands car rental is also available from the airport for those who plan to rent a car while on the islands anyway. The ease of getting to Faroe Islands makes it one of the top things to do in Denmark.
American Survival Guide
A Night Out
To be honest, there really is nowhere interesting to grab a beer in the Faroe Islands. There are a few bars in Torshavn, but I think you’d be better off with a beer on the mountainside at sunset.
Fast food, even in Torshavn, is fairly limited in terms of your options. However, don’t expect a “budget” meal from fast food places. The Faroe Islands is a very expensive country. Expect to pay at least $10 for a fast food meal in the capital.
Bus or Train
Public transport is fairly expensive in the Faroe Islands when compared to other cities more regularly frequented on a backpacking itinerary. It costs around $16 for a one-way ticket from Vagar to Torshavn. However, once you arrive in Torshavn, the city bus route is free.
The best part about transportation in the Faroe Islands is the ease of hitchhiking. I had never hitched a ride from a stranger until I ended up in Faroe with expensive bus fares. That’s when a local told me to try hitchhiking.
I hitched over twenty rides in the month I was in Faroe and I never tried to flag someone down for more than ten minutes. It was very convenient and also gave me an excellent opportunity to talk to locals and immerse myself in real culture.
Faroe Islands car rental is another option for about $45 per day – but hitchhiking is a much more reasonable idea, in my opinion.
Faroe Islands official language is Faroese which has heavy Danish and Icelandic influence. However, everyone can also speak Danish and you’d be hard-pressed to find a person that can’t, at least, answer your question in English. Overall, the English in the Faroe Islands is one of the best I’ve heard throughout an entire country of non-native speakers.
If you want cell service, it’s important to check with your provider about international charges. In addition, it’s always a good idea to alert your provider (and your bank) that you’ll be traveling internationally.
Credit Card Transaction Fees
It’s important to check your credit company’s policy on international transactions before using it abroad. There are plenty of credit cards available that advertise “No International Transaction Fees”. If you want to get a new card before leaving, find one like this.
A local informed me that Faroese don’t pay for gas with credit cards and instantly pegged me as an American. Other than that, I had no problem using my credit card all over the island.
Things to have before you arrive
It’s not imperative; however, I’ve always found travel much more relaxing when you arrive without a dire need of any essentials. Here are a few of them:
- Electrical Adaptors
- Power Bank
- Offline Map (app)
- Directions to your accommodation
The Faroe Islands is a country a part of the European Union – which means Americans are granted 90-days in a 180-day period to travel freely throughout the E.U. This means if you plan to be in Europe for longer than three months, you should take a look at this.
In the Faroe Islands, tipping is not common. There is a service charge on top of every bill; however, if you can’t leave the American habit at home, you can give a minimal tip. A 5% tip in the Faroe Islands is more than acceptable.
Discover the top things to do in Denmark and things to do in Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are one of the well-hidden gems in Europe and Faroe Islands travel has yet to be explored. A short plane ride or ferry to Faroe Islands makes it one of the top things to do in Denmark. Its fairytale landscapes and raw tradition and cultures are rarities that make Faroe Islands travel one of the most unique to experience in Europe.
Most Americans don’t even know where are the Faroe Islands or how to get to Faroe Islands much less about the Faroe Islands hiking and things to do in Faroe Islands. Getting to Faroe Islands is simple which makes it one of the top things to do in Denmark. This Faroe Islands travel guide is only one part of a series of Europe destination guides on Flying and Travel’s Europe travel blog.
If you want to find out more about the cost of backpacking Europe and how to plan a trip to Europe on a budget, and all that it has to offer, click on over to our Europe travel blog page dedicated to tips for backpacking Europe! You will find these to be informative, giving you excellent insight into planning a trip through this multi-cultural continent.