The Faroe Islands are the country that you did not know existed - yet they are only two hours by direct flight from Gatwick. The Faroe Islands are therefore an attractive destination for people who have been everywhere else and are looking for something new.

It is not strange that most people do not know about the Faroe Islands. On most world maps they are not even there. And if they are, they are marked by two or three small dots hardly visible to the naked eye. This also means that it can be difficult for tourists – who are looking for a new destination - to imagine the versatility of what is on offer in the Faroe Islands.

Yes the Faroe Islands are small and located in the middle of nowhere. But the smallness is actually an advantage because it allows you to experience a lot in a relatively short period of time. Our visitors like the fact that whenever you get to a bend in the road there is a completely new view opening up to you. And even if the country is small, it has a lot to offer the choosy tourist.

Best islands in the world
The Faroe Islands are often described as the unknown jewel in the North Atlantic Ocean.

A few years ago the American travel magazine National Geographic Traveler summoned over 500 travel experts to participate in a survey to find the best island community in the world. The survey was based on integrity of place and on what makes a destination unique. 111 different islands were rated and the Faroe Islands topped the list as the number one island destination in the world. National Geographic Traveler say that the Faroe Islands are Authentic, unspoiled and likely to remain so. When the National Geographic Traveler voted the Faroe Islands the best islands destination in the world, it was exactly because the islands are such an uncut gem away from the mainstream of international tourism.

The Faroe Islands are characterised by an incredibly fresh and clean air, green, green grass that even grows on the roof tops of people’s houses, dramatic landscapes with steep mountains, fjords, a rich bird life, cosy villages with colourful houses and clean and tasty water - a country where the views are always breathtakingly beautiful.

The feedback we get from people visiting the Faroe Islands is that it is the nature and culture which attracts them the most. And the Faroe Islands is a modern, Scandinavian country in the middle of the ocean that at the same time is strongly rooted in its traditions.

The land of contrast
The Faroe Islands are in many ways a land of contrast. There is the obvious contrast between the rest of Europe and 18 islands in the middle of the ocean.  Yet with a population of only 50,000 people you will find a modern society which however is in close contact with its roots and traditions. There is also the contrast between life lived in the capital of Tórshavn – the smallest capital in the world – and life led in the outlying villages.

The smallest capital in the world
Tórshavn may be the smallest capital in the world, but it still has 4- star hotels, excellent restaurants that serve food based on local produce like fish, lamb, birds, seafood and herbs, a thriving music scene with live concerts all over the islands and design shops that sell products rooted in traditional Faroes knitting by local designers who are internationally acclaimed.  

Instead of tearing down the old part of town, Reyni, the small houses with their characteristic grass roofs, white framed windows and black wood have been carefully restored and today they are the homes of young families with children.  Also Tinganes where the Government sits is an important landmark in Tórshavn with its red buildings and grass roofs.

The Faroe Islands have a well-developed infrastructure with good road connections, subsea tunnels and bridges tying the main islands together and helicopters and boats that serve the outer-lying islands. This makes it easy for tourists to visit all parts of the islands and to experience the contrast between the capital and the outer laying villages, where people to a large degree still live off the land on small islands and villages with only a few inhabitants.

As far back as Faroese history is recorded, music has played a major part in the nation's culture and tradition of story telling. The music scene on the Faroes today is buzzing with artists and creators across all genres delivering world class performances and recordings. During the summer there are live concerts every day somewhere in the Faroe Islands. There is a wide variety of venues from the impressive Nordic House, to churches, more humble venues on the small remote islands to the famous Concerto Grottos.

Bird watching
Especially the island of Mykines – all the way to the west – is a true bird paradise with thousands of puffins, gannets, guillemots and other seabirds. It is possible to get quite close to the birds either by boats that do excursions along and under the majestic bird cliffs or by walking in nature. In addition to the seabirds the Faroe Islands’ remote location functions virtually as a magnet for birds that migrate over the North Atlantic Ocean. Around 300 bird species have been recorded in the Faroe Islands, but only around 100 species are regular migrants or breeding birds. This means that about 200 species are rare migrants and new birds are added to the national list every year.

All in all the Faroes Islands are among the least explored countries in Western Europe when it comes to birdwatching in spring and autumn. Here is a chance to find your own rarities as there are only a few birdwatchers out there. And you can find some of the birds that people elsewhere travel miles and miles to see.

There is nothing like a hiking trip in beautiful and dramatic landscapes where you can enjoy the tranquillity and breathe the fresh air. You do not have to go far to experience outstanding and unspoilt nature and on the routes you will also experience many interested places connected to Faroese history and traditions.

When out hiking you can get a sense of how the ancestors lived. You will come across stone houses, boat houses, old fences, sheep sheds and Fransatoftir (French ruins) which are remains of small houses where people sought shelter from pirates in the old days. Many birds breed in the outfields, and you can be lucky to see Oystercatchers, the Faroese national bird, Golden Plovers, Snipes, Whimbrels etc.

The Faroe Islands have a large number of village paths, which are ancient communication routes between villages. Before roads were constructed people walked between the various villages to gather at the nearest “Thing”, to sell and buy goods and for church services: christening, weddings and for the last journey – in a coffin. These ancient paths are marked by cairns which mark the direction of the path, so hikers do not get lost. The paths constitute a fantastic opportunity to go back in time and at the same time experience great nature.

Climbing up on the top of a mountain on a beautiful sunny day is an exceptional feeling that you never get tired of. It might be a bit hard to reach the top but the green grass all around you, the bird song, the ever present sheep, and the magnificent view when you reach your goal are great rewards. 

With a view over the ocean, other mountains and the nearby island you truly have a moment of tranquillity and a sense of being part of nature.
Further information is available at www.visitfaroeislands.com

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