A secret string of tiny islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, with stunning landscapes and breathtaking scenery unfamiliar to every newcomers eye. The best part though- is the extremely kind locals who call this place home. With only 50,000 people dispersed amongst 18 major islands, towns can be very small (with as little as 1 resident) with homes found on some of the most obscure cliff sides. The Faroese love visitors, since its still a widely unknown destination. For humorous comparison, there’s more sheep than people, 70,000 to be exact, that graze freely on the fjords and feed into a huge wool economy. This place amazed us, considering people get to wake up to views like these every morning, right outside their kitchen window.
The first stop - right outside the biggest city of Torshavn (but also considered the smallest capital city in the world), is Nordradalur. A beautiful curvy road leading the eye to a gorgeous island off the coastline. Many visitors stop on the pull out at the top of the hill, and take a short walk to this grassy hillside on the right for views of the fjord road. The best views though, are found walking further down, and don’t worry- very few cars actually drive this scenic route since only a few farmers inhabit the land.
2. Kvivik Igloos
One thing the local economy has recently thrived from is Airbnb tourism, which also gives visitors some of the coolest places to stay in the world. Our favorite gem is the Kvivik Igloo, an isolated eco-hut hardly visible from the roadside and truly unique. To complement its rare infrastructure, it has a grass roof which is a common practice among rooftops in every town, and a backyard waterfall a short walk from its doorstep.
The land of the fjords is truly mesmerizing and still widely unexplored. The tiny town of Gjogv, also translated to the english meaning of ‘gorge’, is ironically named after a 650 foot long sea-filled gorge that runs north to the sea from the village [pictured below]. The town is also highly regarded for its beautiful green church, overlooking the sea and known to be the first Faroese church on the islands. The gorge is also considered to be one of the best boat harbours in all of Faroe.
The last documented number of residents in the town of Saksun was 37, yet is still believed to be one of the most worthwhile destinations for its serene atmosphere. It’s a simple place to be honest. Think high mountains surrounding an inlet of water that used to be a deep harbour, until a storm blocked the entrance with sand- and all that’s left is a gorgeous, isolated fjord. On the shoreline lies some of the most unbelievable housing structures. From an old grass roof church standing alone in its glory, to an old farm (also covered in grass and pictured below) and lastly, a private rental home sitting alone overlooking the inlet. But, access to the home is entirely private and prohibited. And that’s Saksun, in its simple, secluded perfection.
5. Gasadalur & The Mulafossur Waterfall
How often do you get to experience a waterfall running directly into the ocean? It’s a natural masterpiece and immediate bucket list destination if it wasn’t already. Up to 2004, residents were forced to hike 400-700 meters over mountains just to get in and out of town. Fortunately in 2012, they blew a huge hole in the mountain rock that now allows cars to come and go as they please. Ironically, the town population still only has 18 people with empty houses sitting on the hillside. One of the few airports on the islands is a mere 15 minutes away.
6. Kalsoy (northern tip)
If you think the remote, isolated, unspoiled places we’ve discussed so far are crazy to inhabit, check out Kalsoy. ONLY accessible by a ferry that goes to and from the southern tip of the island randomly throughout the day- there is a single, one-lane road that goes from one end to the other when you arrive. When you reach Trollanes- the last of the 4 villages on Kalsoy, try to seek permission from a local farmer to open his gate in search of the famous lighthouse. It sits lonely on a cliffside, that incurs fast-changing weather of extreme winds and intermittent rain. Honestly, it’s scary to roam this indescribably huge hillside with weather the way it is. Hope for a clear day is all we can recommend.
7. The Statue of Selkie - Kalsoy
In another village on Kalsoy, you’ll come across the mythical statue of the Seal Woman. Rumor has it, when the selkies (or seal women, also former humans) who voluntarily sought death in the ocean, come to land to shed their skin for one night to dance under the cover of darkness. A young man fell in love, stole the skin of one and hid it in his chest- forcing her to marry him and have children after several years. Until one day, she found the key to reclaim her skin allowing her to return to the ocean and her seal-husband and young pups. The statue on the shores of Mikladalur serve as a reminder of the destiny set forth on the people of Kalsoy by the selkie- who promised to kill many as revenge for a seal hunt of her family.
This small cluster of homes is bordered by the tallest mountain on the islands at 880m, known as Slaettaratindur. For us, Funningur is the perfect representation of what the remote Faroe Islands are all about. Randomly placed in the middle of nowhere in the Atlantic Ocean, you stumble upon a group of untouched mountains, cradling tiny towns in all their nooks and crannies. Across from the town lies more huge mountains, large fjords and the constant traffic flow of boats coming in and out of the sea. Hike to a peak and enjoy some of the most incredible views available on the islands, as seen below.