6 Reasons to Add the Faroe Islands to Your Bucket List

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When you travel the world for a living, the reality is that sometimes destinations start to blur into one another. Big cities start to feel the same; this beautiful beach looks just like the last beautiful beach; and grand churches and cathedrals start to lose their awe factor.

But then, every once in a while, you travel to a new place that's so unique and so breathtaking that you know there will be no chance of it feeling like “just another” destination.

The Faroe Islands were like that for me.

Mulafossur Waterfall near the village of Gásadalur
Mulafossur Waterfall near the village of Gásadalur

Located roughly halfway between Norway and Iceland, the Faroe Islands are made up of 18 rocky, volcanic islands in the wild North Atlantic. They technically are an autonomous part of Denmark – meaning they use the Danish Krone and are officially “part” of Denmark according to the UN – but they feel worlds away from the bustling streets of Copenhagen.

In fact, the total population of the Faroe Islands is only about 50,000.

Village of Gjógv in the Faroe Islands
It's not uncommon for villages in the Faroes to be this tiny.

The speak Faroese (which is close to Icelandic, meaning good luck pronouncing some of the place names) and have their own government. They even issue their own passports.

And, as the locals would probably tell you, there's absolutely no chance of confusing the Faroe Islands with Denmark – or any other Scandinavian country, for that matter. It truly is a place that stands out all on its own.

Traditional Faroese fishing cabin

Not that I didn't *try* to compare it to other places I've been, of course. On my first day on the island of Vagar, I exclaimed on Snapchat that the Faroes are “like Iceland on crack.” You have the steep green mountains and craggy coastlines that resemble parts of Iceland – except that's pretty much ALL you have in the Faroe Islands.

Breathtaking view after breathtaking view.

Hiking Trælanípa in the Faroe Islands
Hiking Trælanípa

Sunset in the Faroe Islands

After spending a week in the Faroes, they still reminded me a bit of Iceland (and parts of Northern Norway, too). But the Faroe Islands are so much more than just a “mini Iceland;” they are unique in so many ways – and definitely deserve a spot on your travel bucket list.

6 reasons to visit the Faroe Islands right now

I have a lot to share with you about my time in the Faroes, but for now I thought I would lay out all the reasons why I think you should visit.

Drangarnir rock formations

I'm well aware that these islands get bad press every single year (and if you don't know why, just do a quick Google search and you'll soon find out). But I think it's extremely unfair to judge a place on one thing that people don't like. I mean, do we paint all of Thailand with the same brush because of elephant riding, or say all of the United States is awful because of Donald Trump? (Some people probably do, but that's not really fair.)

So we're not going to talk about that right now. Instead, I want to show you all the things that are really spectacular about the Faroe Islands.

1. The scenery

There are no arguments anyone can make that will convince me that the Faroe Islands don't have some of the most stunning scenery in the world. It's just a visually striking place, with green mountains and shaggy sheep; crashing waterfalls and colorful little villages.

Village of Funningur in the Faroe Islands
Village of Funningur
Shaggy sheep in the Faroe Islands
I can't decide if this shaggy sheep is cute or creepy…
The village of Tjørnuvík in the Faroe Islands
The village of Tjørnuvík

You could use all the cliche travel writing phrases to describe the Faroes: quaint villages nestled at the foot of breathtaking mountains and fjords… a hidden gem of a place… But the thing is that you wouldn't be lying.

Gorge in Gjógv

The village of Gjógv in the Faroe Islands
The village of Gjógv

The Faroes also have some fantastic hiking opportunities – with even better views, of course. I didn't do anything crazy, but even the easy 3-hour hike up to Trælanípa was epic. There are sea cliffs, a waterfall, and a lake that looks like it's floating above the sea. Not bad for less than half a day of walking!

Chilling by the "floating lake"
Doesn't it look like the lake is floating??
Bøsdalafossur in the Faroe Islands
Can you spot the Bøsdalafossur waterfall?

2. Ease of travel

Despite the fact that most people probably can't find the Faroe Islands on a map (if they even appear on your map – on some maps they don't!), they're not actually as remote as you might assume. Yes, the Faroes are in the middle of the ocean, but you can get easy flight connections these days from places like Copenhagen, Bergen, Reykjavik, and more. (I flew from Bergen in less than 1.5 hours.)

Once you get there, it's incredibly easy to get around with a rental car. Signs are easy to read, tunnels and bridges connect the main islands and make travel times short, and roads are all paved and well-maintained. (Some roads are admittedly very narrow and winding, but the quality of them is still very good.)

Road tripping in the Faroe Islands

Road tripping to Tjørnuvík in the Faroe Islands
This road was the most terrifying because it was so narrow and wrapped around a mountain – but still not bad!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by just how easy it was to get around in the Faroes. You do need a rental car to truly explore all the best nooks and crannies, but the actual act of traveling is super easy.

RELATED: Road Tripping in the Faroe Islands: Where to Go and What to Know

3. Incredibly welcoming people

Maybe it's because they haven't been inundated with tourists yet, but I found Faroese people very welcoming to me as a tourist. These people are hardy (you have to be when you live in a place with such changeable weather!) and hard-working, but also love good food and drink. They also are very passionate about their home.

Dinner with farmers in the Faroe Islands
Anna and Oli's dining room.

I got to chat for an evening with Anna and Oli from Velbastaður, who host travelers for dinners in their beautiful seaside home. They served up things grown right on their farm, and chatted about everything from sheep dogs to whether they think that craft beer will take off in Tórshavn or not.

(You can book a similar dinner with locals here.)

Home in Tórshavn

I also met local musicians, local hiking guides, and even a politician in Tórshavn – all of whom were lovely.

4. Cool festivals

I happened to be in the Faroe Islands during one of its biggest summer festivals: the G! Festival, which is a music festival held on the beach each July in the village of Gøta. Yes, you read that correctly: a music festival on the beach!

G! Festival in Gøta
G! Festival in Gøta

“Summer” in the Faroes is subjective, of course, and I spent most of the festival wearing multiple layers and a knitted hat, but it was nonetheless one of the most beautiful festival settings I've ever seen. (And there are totally wood-fired hot tubs available if you really want to keep warm.)

G! Festival on the beach in Gøta
Everyone taking advantage of the one hour of sun we got!

The G! Festival also had a nice mix of international and local Faroese acts performing, meaning I was introduced to a lot of new artists! If you need a specific reason to visit the Faroe Islands, this would be a good one.

G! Festival main stage in Gøta

Some other popular annual festivals include the Ólavsøka festival (around the Faroese national holiday in late July) and Summer Festival (another music fest in August).

5. PUFFINS

The island of Mykines is only a 45-minute ferry ride from the island of Vagar, and in the summer the entire island is covered in birds – including thousands of puffins!

Birds on Mykines
The island of Mykines.
Atlantic puffins in the Faroe Islands
PUFFINS!
Hiking Mykines in the Faroe Islands
Mykines does require some hiking, but it's so worth it.

(And really, do you need any other reason to visit??)

Mykines puffins

RELATED: Hiking to See Puffins on Mykines

6. The fact that Instagram hasn't ruined it

Yes, I use Instagram myself to share and look at pretty travel photos. But it's impossible to ignore the fact that social networks like Instagram are contributing to certain destinations becoming congested with tourists trying to take the perfect selfie.

Iceland, for example, became Insta-famous because of its incredible landscapes, and now the country is struggling to figure out what to do with more tourists than it can handle.

The Faroe Islands don't currently have that problem. Even though the landscapes are incredible, the fact that the Faroes remain relatively obscure means that there aren't really a ton of tourists there. I visited the most-photographed waterfall in the Faroe Islands on two separate occasions in July (high season in the islands), and only shared the view with a couple of other people.

Gásadalur on a cloudy day
Me and my travel buddy were seriously the only ones here.

If you want to visit a place that social media attention hasn't ruined, head to the Faroe Islands. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Faroe Islands rock formations

Kayaking in the Faroe Islands
Drone shot taken by Steve of Back-packer.org.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that the Faroe Islands are one of the most wild and beautiful places I've ever been. This tiny little island group zoomed up very high on my “favorite places” list, and I have no doubt I'll be recommending it to people from here on out.

So are you convinced? Who wants to go to the Faroe Islands now?

 

Pin it for later!

 

Note: This post was brought to you as a result of the #MyFaroeIslandsHome campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Visit Faroe Islands. As always, though, all opinions are 100% my own.

 

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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59 Comments on “6 Reasons to Add the Faroe Islands to Your Bucket List

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  1. Yes, I would love to visit the Faroe Islands! I’m based in Europe right now but unfortunately only have so many vacation days and so much money 🙁 But sometime in the future for sure!

      They are definitely worth it! (But also not cheap, so it’s certainly a destination to save up for.)

    That sheep is definitely creepy, but the puffins improve the cute factor of your post 🙂 I would love to visit the Faroe Islands! How does it compare to the prices in Iceland? I found Iceland to be quite an expensive destination & I wonder if the Faroe Islands are the same.

      Hahaha creepy sheep. Yes, the prices are similar to what you’ll find in Iceland – the Faroes are also an isolated island group and have to import a lot of things!

    This place looks awesome and these are the best reasons for putting this place on the bucket list, and last but foremost for me, that sheep is creepy. Thanks a lot for telling us about this place.

      Haha I’m glad people agree the sheep is creepy! I thought so too, but I still liked the photo.

    Faroe Islands look simply awesome! Wild and beautiful. I love the little, yellow flowers on the grass everywhere… and the Puffins look so cute. 🙂 I am glad that you added the point that it’s easy to travel to. I think that’s important.

      Yes! I think most people assume the Faroes are really remote, but they’re not really that far from other places in Europe!

    Clearly adding another destination to my “must see” travel list… So stunning! Also curious how it compares to Iceland, since I was just there (though I managed to keep that fairly low-budget by doing mostly free stuff – hiking and sight-seeing – and staying in hostels).

      Prices are similar to what you’ll find in Iceland and Norway – but there are far fewer options for sleeping and eating in the Faroes. You won’t find many hostels, and outside of the capital restaurants can even be difficult to come by!

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Faroe Islands. One day, I’ll get my stuff together and go there!

      Oh I’ve heard plenty of bad things (just check out my current Twitter feed), but they’re all from people who have never been and who get really upset about the fact that they still kill whales there. But after going myself, I can confidently say it’s a beautiful place and I would highly recommend a visit!

    I love this post. We have been eyeing up the Faroe Islands for a few years now, but you just bumped it higher on our list of places to visit. It would be wonderful to see the Faroe Islands while they’re still an off-the-beaten path destination. Can’t wait to hear more!

      The Faroes would be right up your alley, Julie! And yes, it’s still very much off-the-beaten path, which makes it even more exciting.

    This place has always been high on my list, especially after my trip to Iceland a few years back. I kick myself for not making my Iceland trip longer so I could have fit in a trip here, but ah, next time for sure! This is my ideal travel destination. I just love the greens and bright pops of color on the houses. Thanks for sharing!

      It’s a beautiful place – sounds like you’ll have to make another trip to this part of the world! 🙂

    I have been dreaming of the Faroe Islands for years. It looks like a place unlike any other. I’m so glad you got to experience it!

      It’s been on my list for a long time, too, and I’m so happy I got the chance to spend time there. It was even better than I expected it to be!

    Wow, this was a great read and you’ve totally convinced me to visit. As someone fond of hiking, it looks like a great place to explore. Such views! I also love that everyone was stripping down to their beach wear as soon as the sun came out. Gotta take what you can get! Haha

      If you love hiking, this is definitely a place you need to visit! The views are just insane.

    So beautiful. This is definitely high up on my list of places I want to go. And, I love how as you mentioned, it hasn’t been ruined by over-tourism/over-Instagrammed.

      I’m not sure it will remain so under-touristed for long (we travelers seem to over-discover everywhere these days), but for now it’s still quite empty compared to similar countries!

    How about the annual slaughter of dolphins and whales that turn the water around the islands red with blood? That’s cool too…thanks but no thanks.

      I don’t think that would be considered a reason “to go.” But, as I mentioned in the post (because I DO actually do my research), I wanted to focus on things about the Faroe Islands that most people don’t know about. Do I like the fact that they still hunt and eat whales? No. But it’s also not my culture, and I also don’t think that one negative thing should be the ONLY thing people know about this destination.

      Every country I visit has something “bad” to it if you look closely enough. I’ve been to Thailand even though I do not support elephant riding. I’ve been to Spain even though I don’t like bull fighting. I’ve been to Cambodia even though I definitely do not support child sex trafficking. I promote travel in the US all the time, despite the fact that we have issues with gun violence, drugs, and even child trafficking right here.

      If you want to boycott the Faroe Islands because of whaling, that’s fine – but I personally don’t regret going.

    These photos will certainly put it on the Instagram map if you share them! I’m totally saving Faroe Islands, looks like a place that I would love. THE PUFFINS – they’re so cute they don’t even look real, your photos of them are amazing! The more I travel, the more I’m discovering that I enjoy scenery far more than cities and I love love love scenery that isn’t famous. Great post!

      Haha so true – I’m not sure this place will stay “secret” forever! The scenery really is incredible. And I loved not having to share most places with any other tourists.

    I have visited Faroe Islands 2 years ago. It’s the best place to spend here 1 or 2 month in summer. Amazing place.

      I would have loved to spend more time – I didn’t get to know Torshavn much at all, and there were plenty more views I didn’t get to see!

    The Faroe islands are truly awe-inspiring, Amanda! This is an awesome guide. How would you recommend exploring the scenery, on foot or by car?

      Definitely by car – and I’ll be writing a road trip guide for the Faroes later this month!

    It looks like an amazing destination! Great photos!

      It was super easy to take photos here – around every bend was another stunning vista!

    These photos remind me a lot of my trip through Northern Scotland, especially Orkney!! I’d love to be able to get to the Faroe Islands and do a trip like this. Your photos are seriously incredible!!!!

      Yes the Faroes reminded of of a cross between Iceland and parts of northern Scotland for sure! (I haven’t been to Orkney, but I’ve been to a couple islands in the Hebrides and the landscapes are definitely similar!)

    Absolutely amazing. I haven’t made it to Iceland yet (hopefully soon!), but I will have to try to make it out there when I’m already so close. The only scenery I can compare this to is what I’ve seen in Scotland. Even then, it doesn’t even look the same. So green and pretty! Plus puffins!!!!

      It does remind me a bit of the Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides, but it’s definitely greener and more mountainous!

    Never heard of these beautiful islands before reading your post! Certainly get the Icelandic vibes with the scenery… Which is captured amazingly by your photos!

    But I totally get what you mean about not being spoilt, the little villages look adorable… And puffins and so cute 🙂

      The villages were all so photogenic – I could have spent a whole extra week just taking photos!

    I’d heard of the Faroe Islands because it was briefly featured on the show departures. It looked so awesome and I wanted to go, but then I looked up flight prices. When I last looked, it was a little too much for our budget. It isn’t out of the question in a few years, though!

    Your pictures do put it back up into my “I really want to go there” category!

      I think the Faroes are best to tack on to a trip to Iceland or Norway (or Denmark since there are daily flights from Copenhagen). Though it might be worth it to check again; with more flights to the Faroes, and more affordable flights to connecting cities like Reykjavik and Copenhagen, it might be more affordable now!

    I visited Faroe islands some years ago and I fully agrre with all your comments! It is a lovely place!

      I’m already ready for another trip!

    I personally find that sheep adorable, but I find “creepy” things cute. Also puffins! This definitely has me interested in adding this onto a trip to Iceland or Norway some time.

      I highly recommend it! (And I kind of get the creepy-yet-cute thing about this sheep. Maybe it’s just its eyes that are creepy?)

    I already wanted to go. You have not helped. 🙂

    I need to do a Faroes and Iceland trip soon.

      Haha I would say sorry, except I’m not! I loved the Faroes.

    Thanks for this great post. I’ve wanted to visit here for a long time after visiting Iceland in ’05 and ’06. How many days did you visit? About how much would budget for that length of trip? Thanks!

      I was there for just under a week, though part of my time was spent at a music festival. The Faroes aren’t really cheap, I’m afraid! Rental cars are pricey, but I do think you need one to really see everything. If you rent from a company like 62N, you’re looking at $600+ for 4-5 days. Hotels run at least $100-$150 per night. You can save money by grocery shopping and preparing some meals for yourself if you can, otherwise restaurant meals are pricey ($20-$30 per person for dinner at a not-fancy restaurant). But it’s such an awesome country! Check out my road trip guide, too: https://www.dangerous-business.com/2017/08/faroe-islands-road-trip/

    It looks incredible and I’m very interested in going….except for that whale slaughter!! Is there a certain time of year that it happens so we can avoid that? I don’t want to google it because I don’t want to even see one more photo of that ‘horrificness’!

      Hunting whales in the Faroe Islands is done whenever the opportunity presents itself to a specific community. So unfortunately there’s not a specific time of year to go to “avoid” it. But when a hunt is happening most of the local people know, so you could still avoiding seeing it fairly easily.

    Hi Amanda 🙂 I want to ask you – how many days did you stay on Faroe Island? 🙂 Btw, I heard that july is the best time as there is not that rainy weather. Did you encounter with rain during your stay? If so, was it big rain? Im asking because I want to go there this summer (also july) and we want to sleep in our tents.

      I was in the Faroes just under a week (6 days). And yes, even in July we ran into rain and cool weather – about half the time I was there it was rainy.

    I would love to visit the Faroe Islands but have friends who won’t go because of the annual whale kill.
    Since you are one of the bloggers I respect the most what is your feeling about advocating for a visit here?
    I would love to visit but am conflicted.
    Thank you

      I did a LOT of reading about whaling in the Faroe Island before I visited. It’s not actually an “annual” hunt – the hunt can happen at any time when there’s an opportunity. The communities still eat the whale meat/use all the whale parts, and never kill more whales than what they need – the whales are distributed among anyone who wants them for free. While many call the hunts barbaric, the whales are killed in a traditional way that’s way more humane than how we kill the cows and pigs we eat. AND, for those who say they will boycott the Faroe Islands because of whaling, I hope they are also boycotting countries like Iceland and Norway and Japan, too, which still have legal commercial whaling operations.

      There are many aspects of many countries that are considered controversial. But rarely do I write an entire country off because of one practice I don’t agree with. (If I did that, I probably wouldn’t advocate people visiting the United States! 😉 )

    Thanks Amanda. That makes a lot of sense and is a very balanced opinion. I appreciate that!
    I just returned from the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye and was mesmorized.
    I will definitely add this to my ‘bucket list’ now.
    Thank you so much!!!

      If you loved Scotland, I think you’d definitely love the Faroe Islands, too!

    Thank you! I thought the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye were unreal. A friend actually planned the trip and I hadn’t done any research. I was expecting nice rolling hills and sheep but was just stunned when I arrived!!!
    Do you feel that Faroe and Iceland are much different in terms of scenery? I travel on a budget and I understand Iceland is very expensive…just wondering if I am duplicating the scenery I experienced in Scotland.
    Thank you!!!

      Hey Lisa! While Scotland is indeed beautiful, I think the landscapes in both Iceland and the Faroe Islands are very different – they’re even more wild and remote. The Faroes are just mountains and cliffs and coastline; Iceland has more volcanoes and moon-like landscapes. They’re both expensive, yes, but definitely worth visiting if you can!

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