A New blacklist destination: Faroe Islands
With all the positive attention Iceland has received in recent years (and for good reason), it’s easy to see why many people consider it a bucket list destination for stunning displays of nature.
For those looking for something a bit different but equally impressive, look no further than the Faroe Islands ~ a small self-governing group of 18 islands that are part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Sitting about halfway between Iceland and Norway, this gem of the north Atlantic is, in my opinion, as breathtaking as Iceland but without the hordes of tourists.
At least for the time being it is still somewhat under the radar, and that very quality is what you will see reflected in its charming villages, ease of access, friendly locals, and small-town folksy vibe.
In an age where trails are perfectly manicured for busloads of tourists, here you’ll still find many paths only mildly thread if at all. One could easily spend a month here but if you only have a few days, here are a handful of places you shouldn’t miss.
Here is a handful of places you shouldn’t miss!
While Saksun might be known for a very unique black cabin with red trim that has been the focal point of many visitors’ snapshots, it’s not the only one.
Located on the northwestern tip of largest Faroese island of Streymoy, this small village is postcard perfect in every way.
Driving along the Hvalvíksvegur (the road leading to the village) there are towering mountains on every side, and within them are numerous clusters of grass roof houses to go along with small waterfalls, and a church, Saksunar Kirkja. At the tip of the fjord is a small beach where you can catch a perfect view out to sea…if the light is right, there’s nothing quite like it. The name of the game here is tranquility and there’s lots to go around. Just you and sheep. Lots of sheep. (62.246364, -7.176943)
Without a doubt, this will be the strangest, most unique sight you see in the Faroe Islands. Sørvágsvatn is a lake, quite possibly the largest in the country too. But what separates it from all others is that when viewing it from the most popular angles, it looks like it is literally floating above the ocean below. In reality, this is because the mod ground is collapsed due to the relative vantage point, but that’s beside the point. The point is it’s an amazing spectacle, optical illusion or not.
Where to find it:
Located on the island of Vágar to the west, take the road leading to the town of Sandavágur all the way until you see a chapel in Miðvágur. A bit further up the road is a gate that leads to a dirt parking lot. Get ready for a 1-1.5 hour hike to get to the lake, and follow the white sacks along the trail…they will guide you to your destination.
Along the way are spectacular cliffs and of course the lake itself, but the most noteworthy vantage point is going up the hill at the end and looking back towards the lake. There is a small precipice along the edge of the rock that you can climb on and if you’re tall enough, get a view of the lake AND the ocean waves crashing at the bottom in the same frame. You may need to get creative to get the shot, but BE SAFE. Wind speeds here can be extremely high and the gusts are no joke. Only attempt it if you’re sure it is safe. (62.050807, -7.238771)
Next Up: Waterfall Views!
Also on the island of Vágar, the tiny village of Gásadalur (less than 20 total residents) is home to arguably the most iconic waterfall in all of the Faroe Islands, Múlafossur. As it is only a short 15km northwest of Sørvágsvatn, one could easily shoot both of these on the same day. If the “main course” is this small village that sits isolated on a majestic cliff with ocean waves from the North Atlantic crashing below, then the “dessert” is the wispy waterfall that flows from the field to the ocean! Long exposure, short exposure, postcard sunshine, or dark moody weather conditions all make no difference…this view is unique because of all these different elements coming together in a single composition.
A good vantage point to shoot this waterfall is accessed by a small dirt trail that ends with some stairs and a small wooden railing overlooking a cliff face. The beginning of this trail is about 500m southeast of the actual village of Gásadalur. The GPS coordinates provided are for the start of the trail, following it to the end you will see the vantage point. If there aren’t many people around, the best thing to do is just to park alongside the dirt road at the lip of the trail. (62.108656, -7.432576)
There isn’t a particular “shot” one must have when visiting Mykines, the westernmost island in the Faroes. It’s more a destination in the sense that when you arrive (by boat or helicopter depending on how deep your pockets are), you’ll be greeted by a wealth of things to capture photographically. As you hike your way past grass-roof houses, you’ll encounter endless rolling hills, a fixed metal bridge spanning to cross over a narrow strait, sheer cliffs, and even a lighthouse if you go far enough west. At the right time of year you may even encounter hundreds of puffins ~ one could spend hours sitting and watching them come out of their burrowed homes in the hillside. Mykines epitomizes everything you look for in the Faroe Islands, all in one place.
If you take the ferry from Sørvágur to Mykines, it’s best to reserve tickets at least a couple hours in advance and arrive with at least an hour early. The ride is roughly 45 minutes and is across the street from the main petrol station. (62.106420, -7.600359)
Similar to Mykines, Kelsey isn’t about a particular shot. While the area may best be known for the iconic Kallur Lighthouse, the north-eastern island is also home to a cluster of villages and many peaks and valleys to explore.
With a total population of less than 200, you feel the intimacy of the island immediately upon arrival.
The western part of Kalsoy is mountainous and not inhabited by many people. The eastern part of Kalsoy is where you’ll find the villages and many of the tunnels that complement the islands’ long narrow shape. From churches to sheep and everything in between, Kalsoy is a shining example of the Faroese landscape.
Are you feeling inspired to give this destination a visit??
Take heed that the weather in the Faroe Islands can be very temperamental and some of the wind gusts can reach extremely high speeds so be careful along those cliff faces! To reach Kalsoy, take the ferry from Klaksvík. (62.230365, -6.589135)
Thank you for reading and be sure to comment below if you have any questions! We would love to hear from you!
Stay Visualy Inspired!