Touch down in Vagar airport and find yourself suddenly immersed in the sheer vastness and tranquil silence that shrouds this isolated part of the world. Impressive mountain ranges make up the the backdrop to this small airport and give you a first glimpse into the natural splendour that you will discover on your journey. Disembark the plane and make your way through immigration and to baggage claim – few flights come in and out of the Faroese airport so you’ll find the process quick, easy and stress free. We’d suggest purchasing a SIM card with 2GB of data as data roaming here incurs heavy costs and you’ll need Maps to navigate your way to and from the various islands and villages - unless of course you’d prefer to go about it the old-fashioned way and use a road map for directions!
Once you’ve picked up your rental car, you’ll head for Sørvágsvatn Lake, only a short six minute drive from the airport. The body of water sits 90 feet above sea level and as you’ll see from certain angles, the steep cliff face in front of the lake makes it appear as though it is hovering hundreds of feet above, an optical illusion which has earned Sørvágsvatn the nickname, ‘The Lake Over the Ocean’. A glorious sight, the lake is the largest in the Faroe Islands and from here you will also be able to see your first waterfall of the journey - Bøsdalafossur. While you’re taking in the majestic sights, take in a deep breath of the Faroese air. Although the harsh arctic winds mean trees are a scarcity here, the air is so fresh and crisp that one deep inhale is enough to shake off any post-flight lethargy.
It’s time to get to know about local life on the islands so hop back in the car and head for the tiny town of Boúr. As you enter Boúr, the thoughts of bustling city life will feel a million miles away and you'll get the sense that you’ve entered into a time warp. Dating as far back as 1350 AD, this ancient village feels rustic and is home to only a few inhabitants (75 in total). Indulge in a moment of stillness as you gaze over views of the sea and the rocky islet Tindhólmur - a mystic scene of inspiration for countless artists and photographers. Like all of the Faroe Islands, the pace here is slow and thoughtful, so take your time wandering through the narrow lanes of the village weaving between the old houses. You’ll notice the signature grass roofs, called Sod roofs, a motif you’ll see much more of throughout your time here. Head west until you reach a quaint church which was built in 1865 and embodies the character and history of this tranquil part of the region.
Travelling further north, you will come to the next charming Faroese town on your itinerary. Gasadular is slightly more populated than Bøur but still possesses the peace and quiet that you will come to love over the next few days. Keep an eye out for any wildlife in the surrounding fields – with grazing sheep outnumbering the people ten to one, you are sure to see plenty of the wooly creatures. Horses, cows, ducks and chickens also roam these lush rolling fields owned by farmers. Pop into a small café in the town (of which there are only very few!) and pick up a coffee to accompany you on your stroll. While you’re here, we suggest picking up some provisions for a small breakfast tomorrow morning.
As well as being home to lush green fields and towering cragged mountainscapes, Gasadalur village is best known for Mulafossur Waterfall, a natural masterpiece that is as surreal as it is breathtaking. The waterfall is inaccessible by vehicle so park your car and take a two minute walk towards the coast where you will find a viewing platform which offers the best views of this natural wonder. The waterfall is striking in its beauty, surrounded by rugged mountains and sitting in front of the town - you will feel as if you have been plucked from reality and transported into a dramatic scene of a romance novel. If the forecast is predicted to be foggy, don’t fret. The fog rolling over the mountains just adds another dimension to this dramatic setting.
Only a ten minute drive from Gasadular is your first dwelling in the Faroe Islands, The View. With a name that only hints to the splendorous sights that the lodging has to offer, The View is a simply beautiful two-bedroom guesthouse where you can’t help but lose yourself in the nature that surrounds you. Perched on the edge of the lake, the house is a seamless extension of its natural landscape. It is homely, clean and comfortable yet humble in its design with its grass Sod roof staying true to the traditional architecture of the region. After checking in, step out onto the front of property that overlooks the deep expanse of water stretching out in front of you and lose yourself for a moment in the majesty of these enchanting surroundings.
Your first dinner on the Faroe Islands is one that you will remember for a long time to come. The drive to Koks is thirty minutes but we would recommend that you order a taxi as you’ll definitely want to experience this Michelin star meal with the expert wine pairing. Koks itself is situated in a secluded region of the hills inaccessible by vehicle, so the taxi will drop you by the edge of the lake and from there it’s a short walk to the restaurant - a pleasant stroll which adds a level of anticipation for the meal ahead. Step into a small Scandinavian smokehouse where drying meats hang from the ceiling. Here you will be greeted by the hostess and head-chef who will introduce you to Koks before opening a small door in the middle of the cabin to reveal a beautiful area overlooking the lake. You will be served the two opening dishes and a drink - we recommend a Koks-brewed IPA for a refreshing start to the evening. The whale meat served on whale blubber and potatoes, is expertly cooked for a delicious introduction to this intimidating delicacy.
After these opening dishes, you’ll be taken to a Land Rover Defender in which you’ll be driven along the edges of the lake until you reach the main restaurant, a spectacularly Nordic-designed building nestled in the isolation of the Faroese hills. With the whimsical sounds of the river and waterfall flowing nearby, this is the perfect setting for an unforgettable culinary experience. The knowledgable sommelier and host will serve each course and alcohol pairing with detailed and delightful descriptions of the flavours, background and history behind each dish and welcome any questions you may have about the meal you are about to enjoy. Expect exciting, unexpected flavours and unknown dishes such as kelp jelly and reindeer liken. You’ll be sharing this experience at Koks with friends and family for years to come.
There’s nothing quite like the stillness that pervades the early morning air in the Faroe Islands. After a restful night’s sleep, get yourself out of bed, pull back your blinds and stand in awe as you set your eyes once again upon the stunning scenery that surrounds you – a needed assurance that yesterday's breathtaking views weren’t just a dream. Before setting off for the day ahead, take out the provisions you bought yesterday and enjoy breakfast and a coffee while you overlook the spectacular views from The View for the last time.
It’s time to begin the one hour trip to Tjornuvik and like all trips around the islands, the journey is almost as noteworthy as the end destination. Tjornuvik is a village that sits in the bend of the mountains along the cost and carries an almost eerie sense of quiet and calm. You’ll find that the most idyllic sight of the village can be seen as you slowly drive down to it from the mountains - the sight of the fields and ranges as the backdrop against the black, almost ash-like beaches on the coast is an other-worldly scene. When you arrive, park up and take a stroll through the village. Go into the church and café and strike up conversation with the locals who are always friendly - however may not always speak English! The black sand beach is the gem of Tjornuvik and differentiates this small village from most of the Faroe Islands. Take some time exploring here, absorbing the atmosphere and taking some snaps to show friends and family back home.
A ten minute drive from Tjornuvik you will find yourself by the Fossa Waterfall. Nearby Nesvík on Stremoy Island, Fossa Waterfall is a natural wonder among the most impressive in the region. The highest waterfall in the country, Fossa is certainly a tourist attraction but in true Faroe Island fashion, this only amounts to a few people dotted around – you can be sure that you won't get caught up in any crowds or queues to view the natural attraction. The waterfall is split into two sections with water cascading off the hill into the pool below, before rolling off the second plateau and into the final pool sitting at the base of the hill which then flows down the mountain to meet the sea – a magnificent scene of natural beauty at work. For the more adventurous of you, a hiking path can be taken to the top of the waterfall for a different perspective. It is a steep and tricky hike so we would recommend this only for those outdoor lovers who like a challenge.
Another spectacular drive, another picturesque village. Twenty minutes along the coast and over the water is Funningur. Home to various stunning buildings, be sure to keep an eye out for the church especially. Standing at the water’s edge the church is a great vantage point for views of the sea and the mountains across the way. Another notably quiet village, Funningur carries the air of a ghost town of sorts. Enjoy the solitude and admire the scenery before moving on to a more populous part of the islands.
By afternoon you’ll be feeling peckish if not ravenous, so your visit to Gjogv will come at the perfect time. One of the larger towns on the Faroe Islands, here you will have a choice of various small cafes and restaurants serving sandwiches and larger plates. After a bite to eat, wander through the tight walkways that thread between colourful, preserved buildings and discover this charming village. Make your way to the village’s namesake, a 200-metre long sea-filled gorge that runs from the village into the ocean - a stunning feat of nature. A walkway makes reaching the top possible if you are willing to get close to the edge, however be wary as the fenced off areas at the top aren’t especially secure and the walkway can be slippery. Whichever way you choose to look at it, the canyon is impressive from whatever angle and is a must see.
An hour’s trip away from Gjogv is Berg Hestar, a horse-riding stable conveniently located close to your next hotel. The stable offers offers a unique way of exploring your beautiful surroundings - upon horseback. The experience is suitable for everyone, from those who have never ridden a horse before, to expert jockeys. The staff is on hand and happy to guide you through the process so you will have an experience perfectly suited to your preferences. The horses themselves are magnificent, fit, well-trained and familiar with beginner riders, so for those novices – you have nothing to fear. As you are trotting through the rivers, up and down the mountains and hills take time to pause atop your horse and fully appreciate this experience. If you’re feeling confident, there is a chance to gallop at the end of the journey – a thrilling way to end a memorable afternoon.
Surrounded by fresh salty sea air, your second abode, Hotel Havgrim is a boutique hotel situated right on the coast of the capital, Tórshavn. The hotel is housed in a lovingly restored building and has stayed true to the building’s original style and decor with furnishings and architecture that echo the hotel’s seaside surroundings. Check in with the friendly staff, who will always be on hand should you need an extra pillow or a cup of coffee during your stay. Head to your room which you will find is luxuriously large and feel humbled by the rhythmic sounds of mighty waves crashing against the rocks – the perfect soundtrack for your stay here.
Hidden between turf-roofed houses in the historical region of Tórshavn is a culinary gem and your dining destination for tonight, Barbara Fish House. Priding itself on cooking local produce with a Spanish flair, the tasting menu is a sure way to sample all of the best dishes that they have to offer. The carefully curated wine pairing is also an additional you won’t want to pass on. Appropriately, the menu boasts a broad selection of fresh seafood, thoughtfully prepared and expertly cooked to perfection. Highlights of the menu include the delicious monkfish soup of fresh prawns and delicately flaked fish, as well as the fresh mussels in white wine sauce. The knowledgable staff will be able to advise on each dish, the fish and its origins, offering an enticing introduction to each course.
Time to do some exploring of the neighbourhood right on your doorstep so wake up for breakfast, leave the hotel and take the ten minute walk to Tinganes, a small peninsula of the capital city that is steeped in a rich history. The parliament met at this very point for the first time in the Viking ages, making it one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world. Walk amongst history as you stroll through the black-tarred wooden houses and red warehouses with sod roofs, all of which were built in the 16th and 17th centuries and are still in use today. From there if you feel like a morning pick me up, head to Brell Café, where you’ll find some of the best coffee on the Faroe Islands. If you’re interested in seeing some local Faroese design, make your way to Öström, a haven of Faroese knitwear and handicrafts housed in one of the harbour warehouses that is swathed in natural light.
Considered by most to be one of the most beautiful places in the Faroe Islands, Saksun is a village nestled in the natural circular amphitheatre high above a tidal lagoon. It is renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and breathtaking views. Impressive neighbouring mountains and its stunning lagoon surrounded by sand in the fjord add to this region’s undeniable beauty. If you’re visiting at low tide, walk along the sandy shores of the lagoon, maybe even taking your shoes off to feel the sand between your toes. And if you haven’t had enough of spotting sheep dotted around the island, head to the nearby Dúvugaroar – an active sheep farm which also functions as a museum providing a little insight into the history of farming in the region.
From Saksun, take the fifty minute scenic drive to the Vestmanna Bird Cliff Tour’s starting point – an easy place to spot with the many restaurants and tourists here (a rare sight in the Faroe Islands). Aboard your boat - a fairly large vessel with two viewing floors that is able to offer some shelter from the harsh elements. For the best views you’ll want to stay outdoors but if the weather does take a turn for the worse, you’ll be provided with waterproof jackets. On your way outbound, a knowledgable captain will identify points of interest and answer any questions you may have about your surroundings. Dependent on the weather, you’ll see a range of wildlife, from puffins sitting at the highest points of the cliffs to sheep making their way to the edge of the cliffs to feast on the seaweed. Hundreds of birds soar in the skies above and swoop between the steep cliff towers, as your boat steers in and around large rock formations.
Once you’ve had a well deserved rest back at your hotel, get ready for tonight’s culinary feast at Restaurant Raest. Only a ten minute walk through Tórshavn, this specialty restaurant is the perfect place to get acquainted with Faroese delicacies and flavours over fine wine and candle light. Boasting a menu built on the popular Faroese process of fermentation, you should expect fermented rhubarbs, lamb’s liver and fermented cod to be among the many delicious dishes on this unexpected, innovative tasting menu. It is a Faroese culinary experience that may challenge your tastebuds but should absolutely not be missed.
After stopping by one of the nearby cafes for a quick coffee and bite, you'll be heading for the skies. The helicopter tour will invite you to experience the landscape of the Faroe Islands from a whole new perspective. Watch as the helicopter beats down to pick you up, and have your breath taken away as you soar higher and higher above the rugged mountains, flying west across the mystical rivers. An incredible, once in a lifetime experience that you won’t want to end as you descend upon the village of Mykines. With lush green grass and rugged mountains as far as you can see, this island’s awe-inspiring natural beauty has made it one of the most popular destinations for travellers. Aptly known as the 'Island of the Birds', Mykines is where you will find the most birdlife, so as your helicopter glides over your surroundings keep an eye out for gannets and lapwings swooping between cliff and listen to their cacophony of sounds reverberating in the air.
Once you’ve touched down, wave your helicopter goodbye as you’ll be embarking on the rest of this journey on foot. Begin your hike from the village sign; from there you’ll follow the grass path out to the lighthouse, Mykineshólmur, which sits at the end of the island. Spot the beautiful horses roaming the green lands and make your way uphill. When you notice the path flattening out again, look for the memorial monument erected in 1939 as a tribute to those who have died at sea or fallen off these same mountain cliffs throughout the ages. The path will take you through Lambi, an area filled with thousands of caves which are home to puffins who will come right up to your feet for a close encounter. From there, you will cross a 35-metre high suspension bridge – we urge you to fight the fear and look down at the powerful scene of the waves crashing below you. Once you've finished exploring, take in the island from a different view point and aboard the ferry back to Tórshavn.
After refreshing yourself back at the hotel, take a ten minute stroll to where you will enjoy your last Faroese dinner of the journey, Áarstova. Sitting along the coast, the restaurant has lived a past life as a family house and the cozy wooden restaurant which has retained much of its homely appeal is now one of the Faroe Island’s culinary treasures. We suggest the tasting menu to ensure you experience all the flavours this humble restaurant has to offer, but if you prefer something à la carte, we definitely recommend the Faroese lamb, a deliciously hearty dish served with kale, parsnip puree and new potatoes in lime. Of course, accompanied by one of Áarstova’s refreshing Scottish ales.
Take it easy on your final morning in the Faroe Islands. Wake up slowly and feel the soft morning rays beaming through your bay window. Order a coffee and sit on the terrace for one last morning of taking in that Faroese serenity. Surrounded by a stillness that’s rarely found in many destinations today, the past four days have done wonders for your mindset. Hold on to some of that calmness as you head back to the airport and begin your journey back home home . . .
This itinerary was written in collaboration with 99 Percent Lifestyle.