Start hiking from the village sign, which shows the path out to Mykineshólmur. The first leg goes uphill following the green grass path that has been tread for centuries. Where the terrain becomes flat again, you are reminded of how tough life can be on this rocky island. Here, you see the memorial monument for those who have died at sea or fallen off the mountain cliffs through the ages. The stone was erected in 1939.
Follow the path and after a few hundred metres, turn down to your right, away from the mountain ridge. It may feel very steep here, but the path is safe and good to walk on. As you approach the bridge, you will come to the area Lambi, which is one of the largest areas in the Faroe Islands where puffins nest. The area is filled with thousands of caves, which the puffins call home. It is very rare to experience birds as closely as you do in Mykines. They stand right in front of your feet and fly close past you. Here, before you come right down to the bridge, are also ancient agricultural traces. Botanists believe that grain was grown here around the year 650, i.e. before the Viking Age; first monks, who planted oats, and then Vikings, who planted barley. But archaeologists have voiced criticism of this theory because of lack of evidence.
You then come to the 35-metre high suspension bridge. Feel the butterflies in your stomach when you cross and do not forget to look down into the waves. Turn your attention towards the mountainsides where there are birds everywhere: Gannets, Puffins, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. Their echoes reverberate in the rocks – a concert hall is no match for this music. On the islet is a magnificent view of the west and south of the Faroe Islands where you can see Vágar, Hestur, Koltur, the southwestern part of Streymoy, Sandoy, Skúvoy, Stóra Dímun, Lítla Dímun and Suðuroy.
Follow the path uphill and proceed out to the lighthouse. If you are curious and unafraid, you can walk closer to the cliff and follow it out to the lighthouse. However, be careful, because the cliff is very steep down to the sea. Gannets (which have a special fondness for Mykineshólmur) sit on the rocky ledges. Indeed, this is the only place in the Faroe Islands that is home to the Gannet. From here, you also have a view of the beautiful mountains in the north of Streymoy.
In the past, three families lived in Mykineshólmur. Their task was to tend to the lighthouse. During World War II, this was a dangerous and exposed occupation because German planes often attacked the lighthouse. On the slope, about 200 metres from the lighthouse, are the remains of the old shelters that the families used during the bombings. In 1970, the lighthouse became fully automated and the last people left around this time.
It is a special feeling to come out to the lighthouse and stand on the westernmost point of the Faroe Islands. The lighthouse was built in 1909. During construction, the first bridge was built to Mykineshólmur. By the lighthouse, you have the most amazing view over the protruding rocks where the Gannets live. At sea, you have the fishing grounds where the Faroese have fished for centuries. When you return, you can choose to go the way you came, or you can go down past the lighthouse and find the path back further down.
Mykineshólmur – and the rocks around the islet, Píkarsdrangur and Flatidrangur – is the only place in the Faroe Islands where Sea Gannets (Morus bassanus) can be found. The bird comes to Mykineshólmur around 25 January and leaves again around 11 November when the chicks are fledged. With its wingspan of about one and a half to two metres, the Gannet is the largest bird in the Faroe Islands.
Between 1 May and 31 August, each person traveling to Mykines must pay DKK 100 if they wish to travel beyond the small village area (this includes the hike out to the lighthouse at the end of the island, Mykineshólmur). The money collected is earmarked for maintenance of the birdlife and nature on the island. The fee can be paid by visiting hiking.fo.
It is recommended that you book a local guide. We recommend that you contact one of these incoming agencies or local guides for more information if you plan on visiting Mykines:
To book a ferry to Mykines, visit mykines.fo.
To book a one-way helicopter flight to Mykines, visit atlantic.fo.
The hike through the puffin colony which leads to Mykineshólmur is sensitive to weather conditions.
To protect the environment and birdlife in the area, this part of the hike might be closed if weather conditions are not suitable. In any case, you will be able to hike a section of the path, at least to an area that looks over the puffin colony. So don’t worry, you’ll see puffins either way!
Decisions regarding hiking on this part of the trip will be made each morning. For more information, contact [email protected].