Random notes about visiting the Faroe Islands
I recently went to on a 5 day tour to the Faroe Islands and, as you might imagine, I loved it.
But before leaving for my trip I had many, many questions, since you can’t find a lot of information about the islands, at least compared to other places.
So here is a list of random notes, tips and ideas about the Faroe Islands that could have been great to know before hand.
They are listed in no particular order.
My main goal is for you to get a better sense of where you are going and to be a little more prepared.
Everything is closer than it seems
You can get a free toursit map at the airport or with the car rental. It has a table that lists the distances between most important towns and cities. There are no towns which are separated more than 60 miles (not taking into account towns were you need a ferry to get to). So you get the idea on how big the islands are.
So yes, you could stay in a central part of the islands and reach most things from there. You don’t need to stay in different island
There arent that many restaurants
Specially when travelling between towns. And once you get to a town, if there is a restaurant, it is not visible at all. Outside of Torshavn we could only spot 2 restaurants while we were driving. But then most of the petrol stations have food, so that wasn’t a problem.
Everyday that we were there it rained. It was a very light rain, but since you are going to be practically outdoors when you are there, you will eventually get soaked. We took a couple of water resistant shells that we put in our backpack. They made the difference.
You can get by using public transportation
It will take more time but the buses go to some pretty far places. And remember, the islands aren’t so big. If you take your time and check the bus schedules, you can save a pretty penny.
There are scenic routes
Take them. Most of the time that’s the only way to get somewhere.
But when going to Torshavn from Vagar there are two ways to get there and Waze and Google Maps kept ignoring the Scenic Route. We didn’t know they even existed. Once we found out about them we took them. It was worth it.
It gets windy, and foggy
Specially if you take some Scenic Routes that go high in the mountain. We drove slowly but people there are used to it and want to go faster than you. It kind get a little scary when visibility is bad.
Buy a SIM card at the airport
Their airport is quite small and I read that there was a shop were you could buy sim cards. Once you get to the airport you will realize that there are basically no shops (except for the duty free) there. There is a small information desk. And that’s where you can buy a sim card.
If you need cash, there are 3 ATMs at the airport
There are ATMs in other towns, but don’t risk it. We didn’t have to have cash for most of our trip, only on three ocassions at the most.
The Faroe Islands is kind of a soccer stadium mecca
We don’t care much about soccer. But you can not avoid the fact that there is disproportionate amount of soccer fields and stadiums in the islands. There are towns of a couple of hundred inhabitants with fields that would be the envy of small cities back in my country.
I think there are more stadium seats that people in the islands.
Renting a car can be a diy experience
Depending on the car company you use, you will get asked to just go and pick the car up and the parking lot or leave it at the parking lot to return it. Or both. In any case the keys will be in the glove box. No one will be there when you pick up the car and no one will be there when you return it. And that’s ok.
Almost everyone will speak english
If you speak english you will have no problems at all.
Eat with the locals
In the tourist website you can find more than one family that offers dinner in their own home. If you can do it, you won’t regret it. We had dinner at a fareoese family home and it was a great decision.
Alcohol is expensive
As is the case with other nordic countries, alcohol is expensive and not readily available. Alcohol above a certain grade can only be bought in government shops. So, if you like to drink, buy some beers at the Duty Free when entering the country. Or arrive with them.
Some hikes now cost money
As of May 2019, the owners of the lands of some popular hikes have started to charge money to pass thru their property. If it happens, expect to pay somewhere around 200kr. It could happen, it could not. Just don’t be suprised if it does. The Traelanipa hike cost us 200kr per person. There was a more expensive option that included a guide. But believe me, at least for Traelanipa you don’t need a guide.
That said, old postal routes are supposed to be free.
Parking in Torshavn
If you want to park in some designated parking spots in town, you need to have one of those “clock” stickers in your windshields. The kind were you put your arriving time. Parking is free but is limited to 2 hours, IIRC. Our car didn’t have the sticker. But you can get a free one in a bank or a tourist information center. So if you are in downtown Torshavn you should be able to find one easily.
Get early to the ferry
If you plan to use the ferry with your car to get to an Island, specially Kalsoy, be ready o get there at least 30 minutes early. I’ve read enough forum posts about people missing their ferry (and thus a couple of hours) because the ferry was full of cars. Either get early or don’t take your car, which might be impractical.
List of equipment
Here is a list of the equipment or clothes that we took that made a difference to us: