Steep cliffs with hardy grasses, narrow ridges, and waterfalls plunging into the frigid North Atlantic ocean are among the highlights of the windswept Faroe Islands. Formed from volcanic eruptions long ago, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 individual islands in all shapes and sizes.
The archipelago’s notorious weather, often described as ‘four seasons in one day’, has long inspired artists, writers, and photographers, with each ray of sunlight or shadow of a cloud adding another layer of mystique to the natural environment.
You don’t have to go far to experience the staggering scenery. In fact, your adventure begins as soon as you land. The main international airport is located on Vágar island on the western side of the archipelago.
Just a few miles west of the runway, you’ll find two of the most visually stunning spots in the nation: the Drangarnir sea arch and Tindholmur island. The arch in the 230-feet-tall Drangarnir is big enough to allow small boats to pass through when waters are calm, while the imposing cliffs of Tindholmur provide a dramatic backdrop.
Hiking in the area is a challenge, so most tourists head for the small coastal village Bøur to get a good, albeit distant, view.
The black basalt wall rising up from the ocean is the defining feature of Kalsøy island. At the northern end of the island, the whitewashed Kallur lighthouse provides a striking contrast to the green hills and black cliffs.
The area, near the tiny village of Trøllanes, was already popular with tourists. But since 2022, the hiking trail has become even more renowned with the addition of a memorial. The stone commemorates the dramatic finale of the latest James Bond movie, No Time to Die, which was filmed on Kalsøy.
The drive north to Trøllanes is a breathtaking experience in itself. Mikladalur church with its spectacular view across the water to the neighboring island is the highlight of the trip.
If you have the time, stop off in Mikladalur for a walk down to the waterfront, where you’ll be able to admire the waterfall Mikladalurfossur tumbling into the ocean.
The towns of the Faroe Islands
You’re never far from nature even in the towns of the Faroe Islands. The Tinganes peninsula in the capital of Torshavn still retains original timber architecture, while the modern suburbs spread out into the hills surrounding the port.
Galleries around the town showcase the creativity of Faroese artists, many inspired and influenced by the natural environment.
Klaksvik, the second biggest town in the Faroe Islands, is blessed with a stunning location, sandwiched on a narrow strip of land between two fjords. Regular ferries leave Klaksvik for the picturesque islands to the northeast.
Getting to the Faroe Islands
Despite their natural beauty, these islands remain an off-the-beaten path travel destination because of their remote location between Scotland, Iceland, and Norway.
Unless you travel on a cruise ship or take a lengthy ferry journey from Denmark or Iceland, getting to the Faroes involves a flight, most likely with Atlantic Airways.
Although multiple daily flights connect Torshavn with Copenhagen, there are other options. Atlantic Airways recently launched the first ever direct flight from New York to Torshavn, which is expected to return for the 2024 summer season.