|Facts about Faroe Islands|
|Faroe Islands||Territory of Denmark|
|Coordinates||62° 0′ 0″ N, 6° 47′ 0″ W|
|Area||1,399 km2 (180th) 540 sq mi|
|Population||49,709 ( 2013 ) 48,351 (2011 )|
|Official language||Faroese Danish|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy under constitutional monarchy|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0) -Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)|
If you thought sandy beaches and palm trees are the best description of a scenic island’s coast, the Faroe Islands will surprise you. These islands, about 200 miles from Scotland, provide some of the most breathtaking views of both the rocky land and the teal-colored Norwegian sea. In addition to this, its cultural heritage makes it spectacularly attractive. A tiny speck above the European continent in the globe, the Faroe Islands are hardly visible to the global tourist. But whoever has visited here swears by its unspoiled beauty and picture-postcard views. It is no wonder that in 2007, National Geographic Magazine adjudged the islands as the most "unsoiled" and "authentic" islands with a strong "cultural integrity".
Faroe Islands (locally referred to as Førøyar or Foroyar), is a cluster of land masses in the North Atlantic Ocean, between Norway and Iceland. It is inhabited mostly by the Nordic people, who boast of being Viking descendants and trace their ancestry as far back as the ninth century. At present, the Faroe Islands are an autonomous group of islands under Denmark’s sovereign reign (since 1948). Its human population is around 50,000, living amongst millions of sea-birds and about 70,000 sheep.
Spanning 540 square miles, the Faroe Islands are best known for its natural scenery featuring mountainous and grassy terrain, and marine wildlife, which includes Grey Seals and Long-Finned Pilot Whales. During its peak tourist season, July and August, the islands are thronged with ornithologists spotting Faroe-special bird species like Storm Petrel, Puffin, Black Guillemot, and Winter Wren. Another fact that has put the Faroe Islands on the global map is its highly creative residents, especially in the musical field. Global musical lovers may recognize bands like “Boys in a Band” and “The Dreams”, opera singer Rúni Brattaberg, and musician Teitur Lassen.
Geography of Faroe Islands :
The Faroe Islands is an archipelago of 18 islands (of which 17 are inhabited) with rugged terrain and a coastline spanning 1,117 km between the North Atlantic Ocean and Norwegian Sea. The terrain features rocky, grassy and low-peak mountains (the highest point being at 882 meters above sea level at Slaettaratindur), and high cliffs along the coastline. The cliffs here are in fact considered among the highest in the world. Their incredible height makes them ideal nesting places for sea birds. Cape Enniberg, at the northern tip of the archipelago is the second tallest sea-cliff in Europe (754 m above sea level). Apart from cliffs, some of the islands of the archipelago like Hestur and Nólsoy have natural caves that look chiseled by the sea. In certain places they form tunnels that can be accessed by boat.
How to Reach the Faroe Islands :
Faroe Islands is well connected with many of the European countries, like Denmark, UK, Norway, Spain and Iceland by air and water. The Vágar Airport in the Sørvágur village on Vágar Island is the only air connection with the archipelago. Atlantic Airways is the main airline serving the islands. After reaching the airport, you can take a helicopter, hire a cab, or board a ferry to reach the specific island you wish to visit. Tórshavn in the Streymoy Island is well connected with Sørvágur by a toll-road through a tunnel. Faroe Islands has a number of ports, such as in Tórshavn, Vestmanna, Sørvágur, Runavik, Sandur, and Klaksvik. You can take a ferry or ship-liner to any of these ports from Iceland (Seyðisfjörður) and Denmark (Hirtshals). To get around you can easily find buses and taxi services from the ports.
Weather of Faroe Islands :
Owing to its proximity to the Gulf Stream, the Faroe Islands experience mild winters (3 ̊C average) and cool summers (11 ̊C average). Even though the islands do not experience extreme colds, you can expect snow even in May. The weather in general can be best described as being mercurial in the islands. It seems to have a life of its own and does not conform to any rule. Be prepared for the weather to change in moments, from windy fog to bright and sunny, all in a matter of few minutes. It rains almost 280 days in a year. In the months of July and August, Faroe Islands get the maximum daylight time, hence making it the best time to visit.
The scenic rugged terrain of Faroe Islands coupled with the surrounding blue ocean provides tourists with fascinating things to do, from mountain climbing and hiking, to diving and fishing. In addition, you can visit a number of buildings and monuments that are associated with the islands’ rich history and culture. Here are the top points of interest in Faroe Islands:
- Torshavn - The capital of Faroe Islands, Tórshavn is quite unlike what you imagine a capital city to be. This unique town embraces its natural surroundings with its cultural heritage in a rather modern sense. Major attractions here include the Faronese Parliament, a cathedral, the Tinganes historical center, the 16th century Skansin fort, lighthouses, the Faronese Music Gallery, National Museum, pubs, restaurants and a shopping mall. Wherever you go in this town you will see vibrant-colored houses (some with interesting grass covered roofs) and warm people. Torshavn also has a lively nightlife.
- Nolsoy - About four kilometers from Tórshavn, Nólsoy is another popular tourist destination. It is easily accessible by a ferry ride from the capital’s port. Major attractions in Nólsoy include the Gate of Honor (which is made of the jawbone of a sperm whale), the lighthouse in the southern end of the island (best known for its panoramic views and bird spotting), and the Nólsoyar Pall Monument (which has historical significance). You can also hire a boat and visit the sea-caves nearby. These are famous for their sea-sculpted look and musical concerts. In case you are visiting in August, you can enjoy the Ovastevnu Festival held here.
- Vestmanna - Located in the Streymoy Island, Vestmanna is renowned for its bird cliffs. You can spot a variety of sea-birds here, including Guillemots, Puffins, and Razorbills.
There are varied types of accommodation available in the Faroe Islands for every traveler, whether they are adventurers, or leisurely vacationers. Port towns are preferred destinations for accommodation. These include Tórshavn, Vágar, Sørvágur, and Vestmanna. You can find several hotels, guest-houses and youth hostels in these towns. Faroe Islands also has campsites that allow travelers to stay close to nature and enjoy various adventurous activities, namely hiking, mountain climbing, bird watching, and fishing. Here are names of famous accommodation options in Faroe Islands:
- Hotel Foroyar at Tórshavn in the Streymoy Island
- Undir Fjalli at Tórshavn in the Streymoy Island
- Gjaargardur Guesthouse at Gjogv in the Eysturoy Island
- Sandavagur Bed & Breakfast at Sandavagur in the Vágar Island
Last Updated : January 21, 2014