Island hopping and hiking in one of the truly secret spots in the Northern Atlantic.
Historically, these 18 volcanic spots of land, far out in the North Atlantic, seemed to get very little press and, although they are a stone’s throw from mainland Europe, few would ever think much about them.
A global guidebook wrote: One of Europe’s last places. Then, lately, UK-based National Geographic’s panel of 522 well-traveled experts was asked to rank 111 different islands to answer: Which island on the globe is the most unspoiled, unexplored, and unbelievable? The number one answer and winner: The Faroe Islands!
Winner of best island destination in the world, above 110 other island destinations.
Location: 2 weeks of traveling across Vagár, Streymoy, Eysturoy, Kalsoy, Kunoy, Bordeoy, Vidoy, Nolsoy, Sandoy and Suduroy
But is it that famous? No, the Faroe Islands is still a well-kept secret. Not many people know about the Faroe Islands. Outside Scandinavia, most people would be hard-pressed to find it on a map. It is one of those places, akin to the Aleutians or the Falklands, that few have heard about let alone aspire to visit. Most Scandinavians however know of these islands; they know that it’s an archipelago, that it’s located somewhere between Scotland, Greenland and Norway, and that it's associated with bad weather and stoic local personalities. But not much else.
Spring was not a bad time to visit as we did. Green grass, grey gravel, patches of snow, herds of sheep grazing on the hillsides, and crystal-clear cascading waterfalls. . It was wild, wet and windy. Some of it just as we’d imagine the stormy North Atlantic to look like. A world where the sea is all-powerful. But still, we were a bit surprised to discover such a different world and landscape that was so undeniable beautiful. We saw towering cliffs plunge directly into the churning Atlantic below, layer-cake mountains, odd lighthouses, colorful fishing boats dive-bombed by thousands of squawking sea birds, and turf-roofed houses with their timber walls painted a mêlée of reds, yellow and blues.
Who said "Ha Long Bay", "Koh Phi Phi" or "El Nido" of the North? It was such an elemental wonder that we soon became devotees.
In the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland
A rare sight: Good weather in the Faroe Islands during April. We had quite good weather during our 2 weeks here.
We loved Tórshavn. It was a treasure trove of houses and relics from the past... the kind of place where old meets new. Faroes tempo is faster here, yet slow compared to the rest of Scandinavia. We stayed in Tórshavn for the most of the time and did seveal day trips from here by ferry, by car and by helicopter.
The southernmost island, Suduroy, offered great hiking. Nilan (Anders' oldest son) and Anders went on a father-and-son hike from Vagúr. We reached the Eggjanar cliffs during the hike, as seen in the backdrop, as well as the 431m vertical drop Rávan cliff. Spectacular!
Ahh, Sumba - what an exotic name. It almost sounds Brazilian... Here, a view towards Sumba village and the mighty Beinisvørd cliffs in the backdrop during a hike on Suduroy that took us all the way to Land's End.
The end of the world... Not quite, but the southernmost part of the Faroe Islands on Suduroy. A wonderfully remote rocky promontory, which juts out into the crashing waves of the North Atlantic. Keep going south, and we would have reached the Shetlands, then the Orkneys, and finally Scotland and the Outer Hebrides.
We came here almost solely for the dramatic views towards Lítla Dúmun island and the lovely ride down to Sandvik village.
The most remote settlement on Vágar, Gásadalur is wonderfully isolated and offers great views and a gaggle of coloured houses. In front of the village. the Dalá river dramatically plunges into the open sea in the form of a waterfall.
Eysturoy offers many good hikes. Two of the best we did was the ones around Eidi. The first took us south of Eidi onto the Slættaratindur plateau (in the picture). The second took us north of Eidi towards the Risin and Kellingin peninsula.
As seen from the road beteen Eidi and Gjógv on Eystuyoy.
After traversing the longest valley in the Faroes, Saksunardalur, we rach Saksun village. We came here to do the Saksun to Tjørnuvík hike.
One of the oldest farms with calssical turf roofes, this farm dates back to the Middle Age and is thus one of the oldest in the Faroes.
On the Saksun to Tjørnuvík hike you will encounter a stone church that enjoys one of the most dramatic positions in the whole of the islands, standing produc high above the Pollurin lagoon.
The Saksun to Tjørnuvík hike leads you through the Frammi i Dál valley and over the Melin peak (764m), where we had a complete whiteout, to the northern shore of Streymoy.
Anders' son, Nilan, playing on Tjørnuvík beach after a tough hike (for a three year old kid). Risin and Kellingin view in backdrop.
We spend quite som time on Kalsoy to do several hikes. The landscape was very capitivating here, and the enire island is very remote.
Anders and his son, Nilan, are enjoying another hike. It's tough to be on a father-and-son trip... Nilan has just turned 3 and is already into hiking.
Veiw from Kalsoy towards Kunoy and Vidoy on the Kallur hike.
Much more than any of the other islands, Kalsoy consits of a ride of mountains that runs down the spine of the island. Here, we are at the northern end of that spine.
The final hikin destination on our 10-day trip
You enter Nólsoy village under an archway made by the jawbones of a sperm whale. It's a wonderfully sedate, traditional and slow-moving sort of place.
We did the hike to the Bordan lighthouse on Nólsoy, despite quite bad weather. Here, Anders and his son, Nilan, are having lunch along the hike.Allow 6-7 hours and forth and back in bad weather,
Had it been summer we would have enjoyed a dip in the seemingly transparent and almost azure water.
Another great hike is the one from Skopun to Trøllhøvdi on Sandoy. Here, with great views towards Streymoy and Hestur islands.