Why did we go to the Faroe Islands? Just to do it.
Flying to the Faroes
We flew to the Faroe Islands direct from Edinburgh on the great airline, Atlantic Airways. Easy portable oxygen concentrator approval process and check-in. Relatively big seats. Free food and drinks (yes, plural). The descent featured some stunning views. It seemed like the side to be on was the right because the pilot announced something and everyone had their faces stuck to the windows. But the left side wasn’t too shabby. We flew really really really close to a mountain. It was exciting until we hit turbulence and thought we might fly into the mountain. But the pilot was a pro.
Getting to Tórshavn
We had been told the bus to Tórshavn (the capital of the Faroe Islands and where we would be staying) meets the plane, but it left without us (we may have taken some time in the airport duty free) so we had to take a taxi. While it was a bit more expensive, it was a beautiful ride and it was nice to have it all to ourselves.
Tip: taxis, the airport bus #300, and most everywhere in Tórshavn take credit cards. If you do get cash, you’ll either get Faroese kroner or Danish kroner (the Faroes being a self-governing territory of Denmark). Be sure to use all the Faroese money before you leave though as it isn’t taken most places in Denmark.
A lively town
Tórshavn is a lively port town. It’s small and easy to walk around but there are also free town buses. The natural scenery is beautiful – whether it’s a bright sunny day or blanketed by fog. All around you there are small colorful buildings with grass (sod) roofs and boats.
Our favorite thing in Tórshavn was Skansin – the fort. It was very close to our hotel (the well-situated and comfortable and highly recommended Hotel Streym), so we got to see it every time we walked into the center of town. It’s on a hill overlooking the port and the town – and also has a good view of the island of Nólsoy. The lighthouse was the first thing we saw when we got to Tórshavn at 10pm and it was so atmospheric and lovely, it made the day of travel to get there worth it.
Other things to do and see around town include:
Day trip to Vestmanna
We took one day trip to see the Vestmanna Bird Cliffs. The bus from Tórshavn to Vestmanna was a 45-minute trip with stunning views. Vestmanna itself is another pretty town with colorful houses and a port (seems like most towns in the Faroes are like this).
We boarded the boat with ~20 others and were led on the tour by an informative, if matter of fact, guide. We made our way along the coast, looking at the sheep seemingly hanging onto vertical cliffs. The people who live there build small houses on the cliffs for the sheep to shelter in. The sheep like to go down to the waterline to eat seaweed, but that’s dangerous because they can get swept away by the strong current.
Eats and drinks
Food (as with everything) in the Faroe Islands is pretty expensive. And, not gonna lie, most of it wasn’t that great. But two things really stood out…
- We ate the single best thing we’ve eaten on this trip so far in Tórshavn: the lamb at Áarstova. It was part of a 3-course meal, the first being langoustine soup, the last being dessert (we had the rhubarb compot and the chocolate cake). But the standout was the gargantuan lamb shoulder which had been cooked in beer for 12 hours. It was just perfect. While the meat was falling off the bone, the skin was still deliciously crispy. It was served with root veg, potatoes, and 2 sauces (not that any of those things were truly necessary).
- Our first night in Tórshavn, we arrived pretty late, and all of the restaurants were closed or had stopped serving food. But we had done our research prior to landing and knew there was a pizza place with great reviews open until 1am. Number One Pizza didn’t disappoint. The owner, Murat, was a gregarious man from Turkey who took great pride in his pizza, ordering the sauce from Italy. He made our pizza from scratch and we devoured it sitting outside with a view of the port.
We are so happy we made the decision to come to these remote islands where the air was fresh and clean, the people were friendly, and the green mountains and waterfalls met you at every turn. We will probably never be back, but who knows… there is a ferry from Iceland…