Culture Trip’s Guide to the Faroe Islands

There is natural beauty at every turn on the Faroe Islands
There is natural beauty at every turn on the Faroe Islands | © Rogério Toledo / Unsplash
Chloe Byrne

A ready collection of bookable travel ideas inspired by what you love. Discover things to do, where to stay, and the best spots to eat and drink.

The fog-laced Faroe Islands, in the north Atlantic Ocean, sit like scattered jigsaw pieces between Iceland, Norway and Scotland. Part of the Kingdom of Denmark, complete with colourful Danish-style villages, the islands are magical landscapes where you can spot sheep and even puffins on the hiking trails. Here’s our pick of places to stay, things to do and where to eat.

Where to stay

1. 62°N Guesthouse

Hotel

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Courtesy of 62°N Guesthouse / Expedia

The 62°N Guesthouse, just steps from the ferry terminal, plunges you into the heart of Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. While its sun-yellow exterior ensures you’ll have no trouble finding it, the inside is stripped back with gold-framed art and dark-blue accents adding a subtle splash of colour. The bright rooms are budget-friendly crash pads, ranging from twins with shared bathrooms to singles with a private bathroom, so you can save your pennies for frothy coffees and reading material from Paname Café and its adjoining bookstore, just a short amble away.

2. Hotel Hafnia

Hotel

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Courtesy of Hotel Hafnia / Expedia

Hotel Hafnia, built in the 1950s, is a patchwork of styles picked up over the years. Polished mahogany desks, yellow retro chairs and metallic pebble-like lampshades are found in most rooms, while in the lobby, sheepskin rugs, potted cacti and ’60s-style furniture give off a Mad-Men-in-the-desert vibe. There are more contemporary rooms if you prefer – the minimalist Nordic double has a giant mural of puffins (regular visitors to the Faroe Islands). Alternatively, if you’re after something more indulgent, suites come with Jacuzzis and picture-perfect views across Tórshavn.

3. Hotel Føroyar

Hotel

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Courtesy of Hotel Føroyar / Expedia

Hotel Føroyar, just a few kilometres from Tórshavn, has turfed roofs and low, stretched-out architecture that resembles natural pleats of rock jutting from the hillside. Giant windows provide views of sheep-speckled fields or the city and wild Atlantic beyond. If you’re feeling active, there are a handful of hiking trails nearby that wind through the blustery countryside, or you can avoid the coastal winds by working out in the state-of-the-art fitness centre. In the evenings, unwind in capacious rooms decorated in soothing neutral tones, or pull up a seat at the hotel’s on-site restaurant and tuck into fresh seafood dishes.

What to do

4. Highlights of the North Tour – Six Islands in One Day

Tours

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Courtesy of Highlights of the North - Six Islands in One Day / Expedia

Discover the treasures of the Faroe Islands on this immersive one-day tour. You’ll be picked up from your Tórshavn hotel and soon be on the road, twisting through picturesque villages, grabbing a coffee (on the house) and listening to a live commentary along the way. There are plenty of stops to soak up the islands. Snap postcard-worthy photos of the red-roofed church in Àrnafjørður, listen to haunting ghost stories in the remote village of Vidareidi and shudder at the gory folktale of the Seal Woman, a bronze statue that has endured saltwater and storms. A packed lunch is also included.

5. Trælanipa Lake Above the Ocean + Photography Tour

Tours

Lake above the Ocean at Faroe Islands, Europe. Sorvagsvatn
© ronnybas / Alamy Stock Photo

Pack your best camera, and lace up your walking boots to go on this photography tour, showcasing the otherworldly nature of the Faroe Islands. Sørvágsvatn, the “lake over the ocean”, is your destination, with stops along the way at mythical stone statues, storybook villages and Wes Anderson-style churches. You’ll be dodging sheep to take photos of the enchanting Múlafossur waterfall, then puffing away on a three-hour hike to snap pictures of the serpentine Sørvágsvatn – an optical illusion makes this lake appear hundreds of feet above sea level when it is only about 30m (98ft).

6. Private Faroe Islands Highlights Tour

Tours

FAROE ISLANDS, NEAR TORSHAVN, KIRKJUBE, RUINS OF MAGNUS CATHEDRAL
© Wolfgang Kaehler / Alamy Stock Photo

History buffs and nature lovers, this tour is for you. Journeying around the Faroe Islands in a small group, you’ll stop at Viking burial grounds and historical villages where you can explore the overgrown ruins of cathedrals, churches and farmhouses – some of which date back to the 11th century. Your friendly guide, who doubles as a driver, will also reveal the legend behind the Giant and Hag rock formations on the headland and show you some natural landscapes, ranging from amphitheatre-like cliffs to babbling brooks.

Where to eat

7. Sirkus Föroyar

Bar, Vegan

Sirkus Föroyar, a stone’s throw from the Tórshavn marina, wears many hats. It’s a vegan-friendly restaurant, where you can sink into a mismatched seat and devour comfort food such as a flavour-packed veggie burger or fish and chips. It’s also a kooky bar, where friendly bartenders mix cocktails amid curious knick-knacks, gay pride flags and swooping fairy lights. Then, on the ground floor, it’s the moodily lit Bjórkovin (the Beer Cove), where you can wash down your meal with an amber pint of Icelandic craft beer. By night, it’s also a buzzy music venue where local bands perform live.

8. Áarstova

Restaurant, Authentic

Tinganes, Torshavn old town, Streymoy, Faroe Islands, Denmark, Europe
© Sebastian Wasek / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re looking for an authentic Faroese meal, Áarstova is the place to go. Hidden down a cobbled street in old Tórshavn – with a turfed roof, ambient lighting and emerald wood-panelled walls – it has the air of a cosy country home. It is perhaps not the place for vegans, with sheep heads mounted on the walls and aromas of meat stews and fresh seafood wafting from the kitchen. The meals – artfully served on pretty vintage dishes – range from shoulder of lamb to smoked haddock, typically sprinkled with herbs and accompanied by buttery potatoes.

9. Restaurant Katrina Christiansen

Restaurant, Tapas

Katrina Christiansen Restaurant in Old Town (Tinganes) of Torshavn.Streymoy.Faroe Islands.Territory of Denmark
© CNMages / Alamy Stock Photo

Vestiges of a storied past can be found at Restaurant Katrina Christiansen, with an old kerosene pump from its days as a general store and early work by the Faroese author William Heinesen, who grew up here. Today, it is a popular restaurant with tons of historic charm and a diverse menu. Dig into tasty tapas such as home-smoked salmon and Spanish tomato salad, treat yourself to a charcuterie board of cured meats and cheese, or savour the rich flavours of a traditional Faroese meal – all washed down with a local beer. Be sure to make a booking as it fills up quickly.

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