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THE FAROE ISLANDS OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN


THE FAROE ISLANDS OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN


Have you ever had a bucket list destination that absolutely delivers, and then some?


The Faroe Islands may not be a place you have even heard of, but I can assure you that once you travel there, it is a place you will not forget. With 18 islands in total and 17 inhabited, there is evidence they were formed between 50 and 60 million years ago by volcanic activity. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean and bordering the Norwegian and North Seas, it is not all that far from the United Kingdom to the south and Iceland to the north. From 1035 until 1814, the islands were a part of Norway and under their governance. The Napoleonic Wars changed the ownership to the Danes. The language today is a Faroean Danish combination.


Torshavn, The Faroe Islands Travel, grass roof tops

I had heard stories about grass growing on rooftops and had seen homes in other countries who I thought had invented the idea. So why do they do it? I am about to reveal the not so mysterious reason.


The turf rooftops have been likened to those in fairy stories. Birch Bark is first laid down for the grass to have something to grip to. The most obvious reason for them is insulation as these islands become increasingly chilly throughout the winter with strong blustering winds. The idea began originally in parts of Scandinavia and has also spread to parts of Iceland, hence the beginnings seem to lie with the Vikings. When you understand that the temperatures range from maximum 12 degrees in the summertime to just 5 degrees in winter, it doesn't take long to understand their benefit. 


For islands almost it seems in the middle of nowhere, there is much to experience. The first underwater tunnel from Thorshavn (the capital) to Runavik is 11 kilometres long. The journey used to take one and a quarter hours but has now been reduced to just 16 minutes. It certainly is a feat of the modern world. The newer section linking the islands of Streymoy to Etsturoy opened in December 2020.

Torshavn Harbour Faroe Islands Holidays

The imported animals have adapted to the weather extremes, including short stocky mountain ponies and sheep for which the subpolar islands are renowned. In fact, the name loosely translated is 'Islands of Sheep'. Another industry that the people of the Faroes rely upon is whaling - sadly. The blubber is used in household fires and the meat is still considered an essential part of the daily diet. 


Hiking is very popular and in the right season, sailing, fishing, angling and diving are all considered to be amazing experiences. One 'hobby' that may not surprise you here is birdwatching and my favourite little bird the puffin, is right up there on top of the list. There are literally thousands and thousands of them during the nesting season, and many of the black cliffs are dotted with the whites of their chests. But do not be deceived; they are small birds that will fit into the palm of your hand and fly extremely fast. They are also considered essential on the menu in restaurants, oh dear!!

Torshavn Harbour Faroe Islands Tours

Horse riding looks like fun but the horses aren't really all that tall – maybe not for anyone with really long legs. To see all that the Faroe Islands offer you will need at least three days or longer if you plan to hike. After all, you need a little downtime to enjoy the lovely restaurants and café's around the main harbour and glimpse more of the turf-roofed buildings. Coffee and a chat are high on the agenda for the local people, and with many of the small villages being somewhat remote, it is easy to see why the social events in 'town' are so important.


Torshavn in town, Faroe Islands Travel


Torshavn Faroe Islands Travel


The hotels in Torshavn have turf rooftops in keeping with the tradition and my recommendations are as follows 

1) The HOTEL BRANDON 

2) the HILTON GARDEN INN 

and for a beautiful seaside view 

3) the HAVGRIM SEASIDE 1948. If you book the Havgrim, be sure to request the best ocean view room they can provide. 


An absolute must-see is the lake above the ocean and the steep weather-beaten cliffs and narrow fjords of the coastline. But it is this ruggedness that adds a crazy kind of charm to a journey here and just one of the reasons to add the Faroe Islands to your 'must visit' list. 


Lake above the ocean, The Faroe Islands Holiday


How to get there? If you have come from Iceland, a short flight from Reykjavik will do it, or you can fly from the UK and points in Norway. Alternatively, many cruise lines take in the Orkney Islands and Kirkwall in the UK's far north, another amazing destination by anyone's standards. 

Get in touch if you'd like to plan a trip to The Faroe Islands.

 Torshavn outer village tour Faroe Islands



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