Faroe Islands

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Do you have a travel bucket list? I do. It’s not very big. Just a few key places I want to see before I can no longer travel.

At the top of that list was the Faroe Islands. And during this current trip, I got there.

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The first question I usually get when I mention the Faroes is….where? Don’t feel bad if you asked that question even to yourself. About six years ago I noticed them on a map. I had never heard of the Faroes and looked into them. The photos I saw online looked amazing. It immediately went on my bucket list.

First, the basics……The Faroe Islands are a group of islands located about halfway between Iceland and Scotland. They have a population of 50,000 with 20,000 in the capital, Torshavn.

Technically part of Denmark, they accept the Danish Kroner but also have their own paper currency, the Faroese Kroner.

 

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The islands are not easy to get to, only one airline offers service, Atlantic Airways,  the official airline of the Faroes, with just a handful of flights daily. A couple of years ago they extended the runway and last year built a new terminal. There are now two gates.

Thankfully, tourists have yet to discover this beautiful place so there are no tour groups and only a few cruises calling on the islands each year.

I flew from Edinburgh and what surprised me was that it seemed half of the people on the plane knew each other and a few even hugged the flight attendants while boarding.

There is one airport on the Faroes and it is about a 45 minute drive to Torshavn. If you go, you need to pre-arrange for a taxi but there is a public bus service as well. The taxi runs about 200 Kroner ($30 US.) per person and is shared with one or two other people.  The bus is not free but doesn’t cost much. The ride from the airport into town is beautiful.

The hotels are a little behind the times–mine had the old fashion type of metal keys with the big key fob meaning you hand your key in when you leave the hotel and ask for it when you return. There are only five hotels in Torshavn with the largest, at about 100 rooms, just on the outskirts. I stayed at the Hafnia which is one of the oldest hotels but centrally located.

However, there is wifi everywhere and very good cell service.

The bus service in Torshavn has five lines and they are free. It’s a good way to see the city. The schoolkids use the buses to get to and from school as well as visit their friends and to the mall. I have never seen such well behaved kids.

Weather, surprisingly, isn’t that severe. While they do get snow in the winter, temperatures rarely go below 20 degree F in the winter nor above 60 in the summer.

Prices are high because just about everything has to be imported. Almost  everyone I met spoke English very well, there is no crime to speak of–most people told me they leave their car keys in their cars and sometimes don’t bother to lock their house doors–and people are very friendly.

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If you look in the above photo, you will see a church spire just left of center. To the right of that is a building with a glass top floor. That was my hotel and from there I took the first photo and the one below.

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The pace of life in the Faroes is slow. Or should I say relaxed. I never saw anyone rushing or stressed out. Everyone seemed fairly happy.

The one mistake I did make was not renting a car. While there is a bus service to many areas of the islands, some of which are connected by tunnels, the best way to see the island is by car. Note, there are four traffic lights in the Faroes; Three are on one street in Torshavn and the fourth is in one small town somewhere.

Since I plan to go to Iceland in the fall, I think a return visit to the Faroes, only slightly more than an hour away by plane,  will be necessary.

One last thing….there are no McDonald’s on the Faroes but there is a Burger King located in the city’s largest shopping mall, SMS. Including the supermarket and the three eateries in the food court, there are about 20 stores. For reference, a Whopper, fries and a coke went for just over $12. Ketchup was extra.

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2 Responses to Faroe Islands

  1. Paul-in-NYS says:

    The Faroe Islands are on my bucket list, too. I am especially interested in hiking on the islands but I’m more cautious than I used to be about hiking alone in remote places.

  2. phillipw says:

    I am meeting my brother in Scotland next month and we are thinking of going to the Shetland Islands – between Scotland and Norway – recently featured in the BBC crime drama “Shetland”.

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