72-HOURS ON THE FAROE ISLANDS

EXPLORING THE ISLANDS

This 72-hour guide to the Faroe Islands is produced by 12hrs in collaboration with Visit Faroe Islands. 

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere between Scotland and Iceland, lie the Faroe Islands. Flying in you only see water until suddenly, a cluster of clouds caught on the mountain tops reveal that there is land. It's a remote destination, fairly unexplored and devoid of mass tourism. Their unspoiled nature is the island's biggest virtue.

While around 50.000 people live here, almost double as many sheep roam the hills of the islands. They are everywhere; you encounter them when leaving the airport, before checking into your hotel, and while driving along the streets. Alongside sheep, the Faroe Islands are renowned for their diverse population of sea birds. You can observe some of them, like the wonderfully charming puffins, on the smaller, more remote islands. 

This itinerary is by no means a complete list of things to see, but it is where we would go if we had 72 hours to spend on the Faroe Islands.

FACTS FROM ANNA & SØREN

  • The archipelago is made up of 18 major islands, most of which are inhabited. Nature here is wild and rugged. There are grass-covered hills and a few steeper mountains, the highest one is roughly 880 meters above sea level. The breathtaking coastline is mainly made up of cliffs.
  • Life on the islands has always been shaped by the unpredictable weather, a reality that persists to this day. The climate is surprisingly mild, with extended daylight in the summer months and sparse sunlight during winter.
  • Navigating the islands by car is easy, with minimal traffic, aside from occasional encounters with the omnipresent sheep. Some roads and tunnels are one-way, providing pockets for passing when faced with oncoming traffic— a reminder to exercise caution.

DAY 1 | STREYMOY & VÁGAR

HOTEL FØROYAR | A LOCAL BASE

Hotel Føroyar is one of the best hotels on the Faroe Islands and a popular starting point for many adventures. With its traditional grass roof, it blends into its surroundings on the hills over the capital. The terraced building has big windows, and many rooms face towards the ocean with wonderful views over the city and the harbour.

Located just outside the city centre, the hotel provides a tranquil escape, with sheep freely roaming the grounds and a chorus of birds serenading guests from every corner. Recently refurbished, the common areas and the rooms boast a modern, bright, and cozy ambience, ensuring a comfortable stay.

The hotel has recently been refurbished and the rooms are modern, bright, and cozy. The attentive and friendly reception staff stand ready to assist with any needs, making Hotel Føroyar a perfect starting point for your Faroese adventures.
Hotel Føroyar // 45 Oyggjarvegur // Tórshavn

RESS SPA | RELAXING START

Ress Spa is Hotel Førayar’s wellness area, and it’s the perfect way to start a three-day stay on the Faroe Islands off with some serious relaxing. Offering a range of indulgent treatments, from the Sálarró full-body massage to the detoxifying Reinsa, each experience is a bespoke journey into relaxation.

The interior is clean, modern, and serene, with muted colors and lots of wood. Natural skincare products by Norwegian brand Sprekenhus and Kerstin Florian from Sweden line the shelves and scent the air, and the super friendly staff speak in hushed voices. Currently, there’s an infrared sauna, treatment, and relaxation rooms, but later this year, an expanded wet section with indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, a rooftop pool, and more, is set to open.

Indulge in a massage or any other treatment to get ready to brace for the unpredictable weather that may lie ahead. 

Ress Spa (inside Hotel Føroyar) // Oyggjarvegur 45 // Tórshavn

VÁGAR

CAFÉ FISKASTYKKIÐ

Drive to the island of Vágar. In the south of the village of Sandavágur, Café Fiskastykkið stands as a living testament to a bygone era. Housed in an old building, every creak of the floorboards tells the tale of a historic fish-drying area. Through dimly lit windows, glimpse an expansive stone-paved field where villagers once laid out salted cod, now renowned as Bacalao worldwide.

Over a century ago, this very spot was the epicenter of a bustling industry. Villagers, men, women, and children alike, engaged in the meticulous process of washing, salting, and drying cod for export to the Mediterranean. The stone-paved ground, Fiskastykkið, played a crucial role, with its neat layout resembling a turtle shell, ensuring a constant draft that, combined with the salty sea air brought by the waves, contributed to the global fame of Faroese bacalao.

Today, a beautiful café occupies the spot. Go here for a wonderful lunch of local favourites or international specialities, like hearty soups and stews, sandwiches, and vegetarian fare, but definitely don’t miss the homemade bread and crackers that accompany every meal. 

Fiskastykkið (opens from February) // 12 Úti á Bakka // Sandavágur

TRØLLAKONUFINGUR | WITCHES FINGER TRAIL / MYSTICAL STONES

Driving up the hill behind Café Fiskastykkið and parking the car in the small parking lot lets you enter the Witches Finger Trail, also known as the Trøllkonufingur Trail, by foot. It's easily accessible and offers a short, enjoyable hike, around three kilometers long, and generally considered easy, with an average completion time of 48 minutes.

At the end, you can spot Trøllkonufingur (Witch's Finger or Troll Woman's Finger), a monolith that rises 313 meters from the sea. It's shaped like an old, crooked finger with weathered skin and a sharp blackened nail. Legend has it that so far, only eleven people have managed to top it. 

The Faroese folklore surrounding Trøllkonufingur adds a layer of mystique to the trail. According to legend, a witch arrived on the Faroe Islands intending to throw them northwards to Iceland. However, as she approached Vágar, the rays of the rising sun turned her into stone. She fell into the water, landing face down with one arm still reaching out to grab Vágar. Her pointy finger and the back of her head remained above the surface, known today as Trøllkonufingur and the island Koltur.

STREYMOY

TÓRSHAVN | EXPLORING THE CAPITAL

Drive back to Streymoy to spend some time in Tórshavn. It is the capital of the Faroe Islands, home to approximately 40% of the Faroese population. It proudly stands as one of the world's smallest capitals, with around 21,000 inhabitants. 

Perched on the water's edge, Tórshavn serves as the cultural epicenter of the islands, where the largest cruise ships dock, and is easily explored by foot. The city's coastal expanse, dotted with centuries-old turf-roofed houses in the historic quarter, extends into a peninsula that gracefully meets the bustling harbor.

Wandering through Tórshavn's labyrinthine lanes, steep alleyways, and wider streets, you encounter a dynamic city that seamlessly integrates the contemporary with the traditional. 

Far from being a mere gateway for island hopping, it is well worth exploring on its own.

RÆST | FERMENTED FARE

Ræst, housed in a traditional turf-roofed Faroese dwelling, is not just a restaurant but a gateway to Faroese culinary heritage. With three cozy dining rooms adorned with photos of Tórshavn residents from centuries ago, Raest pays homage to the ancient Faroese method of food preservation. 

Comprising solely of fermented dishes, it showcases seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. From ‘Sveiv á Hvali,’ featuring pilot whale meat, blubber, and potato, to ‘Ræstur Fiskur,’ a blend of garnatálg, potato, and fermented fish, each dish is a unique exploration of Faroese flavors. Desserts like ‘Dulse,’ a burnt cream with seaweed, add a sweet note to the fermented symphony.

Chef Sebastian Jiménez, hailing from Atlixco, Mexico, adds a Mexican twist to the 14-course tasting menu, treating each dish as a work of art. For instance, Faroese flatbread is transformed into a tortilla, crowned with pan-fried langoustine, fermented carrots, and pipián rojo, a mole-inspired sauce from Jiménez's Mexican roots.

The low-ceilinged, cozy dining rooms and shared tables cultivate an intimate atmosphere, immersing guests in the rich flavors of fermented dishes. The restaurant's name itself, translating to ‘fermented,’ sets the central theme. Eating here is as much about exploration as it is about sustenance. 
Ræst // Gongin 8 // Tórshavn

ROKS SEAFOOD | FEAST

Right next to Ræst lies the quirky ROKS, meaning "silly," which exudes a whimsical spirit within its historic two-story structure with a turf roof dating back to the 1600s. Adorned with playful art, including an octopus holding glasses of red wine, the restaurant upends the laid-back essence of its Michelin-starred sister, KOKS, and turns it into something unique.

Embracing the rich offerings of the Faroe Islands, ROKS offers two meticulously crafted set menus: "Totally on the Roks" and "Nearly Ashore," placing a strong emphasis on the finest quality Faroese seafood. The culinary journey unfolds with precision and whimsy, showcasing a diverse array of local specialities, from sea urchins to langoustines and the exquisite Greenlandic snow crab.

Spending an evening here under the creative direction of head chef Poul Andrias Ziska is a wonderful experience – relaxed, comfortable and delicious. 

Roks // Gongin 5 // Tórshavn

DAY 2 | SUÐUROY

FERRY TO SUÐUROY | SOUTHBOUND

Suðuroy, literally translating to 'South Island', is the southernmost and third-largest island of the Faroe Islands. Despite its size, it remains one of the islands least discovered by tourists, primarily due to its distance from the rest of the Faroes. But it is well worth exploring. To reach it, you take a two-hour ferry ride from the capital.

It’s a mountainous island characterized by vertical sea cliffs, narrow isthmuses, and hidden lakes. The highest point on the island is the mountain Gluggarnir, which rises 610 meters from sea level. The island's location in the south exposes it to the full force of the Atlantic weather, making blustery winds, freak storms, and raging swells a common occurrence.

Settlements here date back to the 14th century and the picturesque villages of Sandvík, Famjin, and Sumba are popular destinations. The island also offers outstanding views and great options for hikes in the mountains.

MORMOR CAFÉ | COZY CAFÉ

The ferry from Tørshavn docks in Tvøroyri, the largest settlement on Suðuroy. Drive off and find a parking space in the center of the village, then head over to grab some lunch at Café Mormor, a charming and cozy spot at the water. The name 'Mormor' translates to 'Grandmother' in Danish, and the café truly lives up to its name with its warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The interior is quirky and artistic, filled with vintage furniture and old books, magazines, and newspapers. There’s a small menu featuring freshly prepared, seasonally changing dishes, as well as a large selection of hot and cold beverages. 

Café Mormor often hosts events and art exhibitions, making it a vibrant hub in the community and the café's relaxed atmosphere is a reflection of the laid-back lifestyle on the island.

Café MorMor // Undir Heygnum 38 // Tvøroyri

FIRST FAROESE FLAG | MERKIÐ IN FÁMJIN CHURCH

Take the scenic drive to the tiny village of Famjin. There is a lot to take in, as the road curls around steep mountains and through beautiful, empty expanses. Once you reach the village, find the church.

One of the most significant symbols of Faroese culture is the national flag, known as Merkið. And the story of the very first Faroese flag displayed in a church is deeply intertwined with the islands' history and identity.

Merkið was designed by Faroese university students in 1919. Initially, it was used for sporting events and cultural occasions. Amid the Second World War, in 1940, the flag was recognized. However, it was not until the Home Rule Act of 23 March 1948 that the Danish Government officially recognized it as the national flag of the Faroe Islands.

The original flag is displayed on the wall of the church. And every year, on April 25th, the Faroe Islands celebrate Flag Day. The public holiday commemorates the day when the BBC announced that Faroese vessels should use their own flag, Merkið, when at sea. 

HEIMA Í STOVU | JOURNEY BACK IN TIME

From Famjin, drive to the village of Hvalba and find Heima í Stovu. This historic house, built in 1910, has been a family property for four generations and is now a charming hotel that beautifully blends tradition with modern comforts.

Heima í Stovu translates to 'home in the living room' and it truly lives up to its name. The hotel looks like an interactive museum, full of vintage furniture, decoration and knick-knacks. Every room looks different, but they all feel like they have fallen out of time. There is a lot to discover, and it’s well worth it to spend soe time perusing the different rooms.

You can decide to stay the night here, enjoy dinner, or just have a look around and head back to Tórshavn. If you want to stay for dinner or to stay the night, you will have to book in advance!

Heima í Stovu // Bíarvegur 89-91 // Hvalba

DAY 3 | SANDOY & EYSTUROY

TUNNEL TO SANDOY | SANDOY EXCURSION

Sandoy translates to 'Sand Island' and is one of the five southern islands in the Faroe Islands, the fifth largest in the Faroe chain. The island is known for its fertile, sandy soil, which gives it its name, and it is the only island with dunes. It also predestines it for agriculture. The largest potato farm in the country is located here. 

The island is home to beautiful little villages, peaceful lakes, and breathtaking cliffs. The largest population center on the island is the village of Sandur, with 532 inhabitants. Other settlements include Skarvanes, Skopun, Skálavík, Húsavík, and Dalur.

Sandoy is also a haven for birdwatchers. The island's surrounding bird cliffs and steep slopes have been identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’ because of their significance as a breeding site for seabirds.

In December 2023, life on Sandoy changed significantly: the Sandoy Tunnel opened. Connecting the islands of Streymoy and Sandoy, it is the second-longest tunnel on the Faroe Islands at 10.8 kilometres and features art installations along its subterranean route.

HÚSAVÍK | VILLAGE VIBES

On the eastern edge of Sandoy lies the quaint village of Húsavík. Its name, translating to 'Bay with Houses', is very fitting. The village is home to a mere 115 residents, most of them living in well-preserved old stone houses, their iconic grass-roofs a testament to the Faroese architectural tradition.

At the heart of Húsavík, you can find the ruins of 'Heimi á Garði', said to be the remains of the farm built by the 'Lady of the House in Húsavík' who also inspired the ‘yarn-Bombed Rock’ at Bartalstrøð. 

The village's geographical isolation adds to its allure. Húsavík lies in a bay from which no other islands or villages are visible. The only sights to see are the nearby mountains and the vast expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean. 

SANDOY TO EYSTUROY

THE EYSTUROY TUNNEL | TUNNEL VISION

Leave the island of Sandoy, cross Streymoy and continue to the island of Eysturoy. On your way, you’ll pass another marvel of modern engineering: the Eysturoy Tunnel. This underwater tunnel, the longest in the country, connects the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy. 

The Eysturoy Tunnel, or Eysturoyartunnilin, spans an impressive 11.2km and reaches depths of 189 meters beneath the seabed. The construction of this ambitious project took almost four years, with the tunnel officially opening in late 2020.

The impressive tunnel has one unique feature: the world's first underwater roundabout. Known as the 'jellyfish roundabout', this circular underwater infrastructure is illuminated with multicoloured lights and features a steel installation of people holding hands by the Faroese artist Tróndur Patursson, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Tune your car radio to 97.0 FM to listen to a soundscape created by the musician Jens L. Thomsen, who composed it to accompany the journey under the sea.

EYSTUROY

HANUSARSTOVA | LIVING WITH THE LOCALS

‘Heimablidni’, or home hospitality, is a unique way to experience life on the Faroe Islands. Guests are invited into the private homes of participating locals and get to enjoy a typical Faroese dinner, prepared by the hosts. With it comes lots of stories, exciting insights, and – very often – deep connections. 

One pair of such hosts are Harriet and John, who not only welcome diners in to their living room, but also offer one of the most beautiful and serene B&Bs on the islands. If you can, book yourself a spot at their table and the bed in the adjacent apartment via their website. But be quick: this place books out quickly!

The two-story space at Hanusarstova was designed by a friend of the couple at Kraft Architects. It features a turf roof with a ramp for grazing sheep and giant picture windows that frame the rolling green hills and the steely blue sea some meters beyond. The bedroom is secluded on a high platform off the living room, and the modern bathroom features a large, Japanese-style soaking tub. The highlight here, however, are the animals. Roaming the ground around the space are chickens, sheep and horses, there’s a dog and, of course, a cat. And on the walls hang Harriet’s photographic portraits of her favorite sheep, adorned with flower crowns.

Hanusarstova // Æðuvíkarvegur 1 // Æðuvík