8 places to see turf-roofed houses

By Verified Expert

Are there any turf houses in the Faroe Islands? Do people live in sod roofed houses in the unspoiled archipelago? Are turf-roofs common in the Faroe Islands? Continue reading to find out the best places to experience grass roofs in the Faroe Islands.

In one of the world’s greenest islands, being green is not a choice. There are more grass-roofed houses in the Faroe Islands than any other place in the world.

Whether you are visiting the Faroe Islands in the summer or winter, the turf-roofed houses are always fascinating. They are green during summer. In winter these enchanting roofs come in earthy tones.

The turf-roofed style is the perfect match to the Faroe Islands weather. Here is your guide to eight places in the Faroe Islands to experience turf houses.

1. Gásadalur

A small cabin in the secluded village Gásadalur. The cottages here sit next to the stream that turns into the famous Múlafossur waterfall.

The small village Gásadalur holds some great examples of the rich grass-roofed tradition in the Faroe Islands. In this remote village on Vágar island, you will find cosy cabins. They look the same from the outside but they come with different layout on the inside.

Gásadalur is home to the famous waterfall Múlafossur. You will get to the grass clad cabins in Gásadalur when following the stream into the valley. This is the same stream that empties into the North Atlantic Ocean as Múlafossur waterfall.

The cottages here are separated by narrow pathways, which ads to the awesomeness of the place. The cabins are located a very short drive from the village into the valley in Gásadalur.

Location: Vágar island

2. Tinganes

The Prime Minister’s office in Tórshavn.

In the heart of the capital, Tórshavn, you will find the political stamping ground in the Faroe Islands. The Prime Minister’s office is situated in Tinganes. Other ministries are also settled on this peninsula in the middle of Tórshavn.

Most office houses with leading administration are covered in turf-roof. These bred buildings look great with their green grass.

Location: Streymoy island

3. Bøur

Old houses in the small village Bøur. Just like in the newest part of the settlement, these houses are sod-roofed. Photo by @raulhudson1986 on Instagram.

Make sure to visit Bøur on your Faroe Islands vacation. This is last village before entering the tunnel leading to Gásadalur. In Bøur, there are charming houses on every corner and many of them are turf-roofed.

In a new part of the village, you can stay at Útsýnið. This is a stunning place to accommodate yourself with a fabulous view. The houses are built in an old-fashioned way with turf-roof. From the living room in these houses, you are overlooking Tindhólmur and the famous Drangarnir sea arch.

If you want to get even closer to Drangarnir and Tindhólmur islet, you can join the classic Boat Tour to Drangarnir. This is a great activity to partake in when you are on Vágar island. Tours depart from the nearby marina in the village Sørvágur.

Location: Vágar island

4. Leitisvatn

Sod-roofed houses along the lake Leitisvatn. Photo from Getty Images.

You probably want to see the outstanding Trælanípan cliff when you are in the Faroe Islands. Whether you come by car, bicycle or bus, you will park by the lake.

And here you will also see several turf-roofed houses along the lake. During winter there are lightbulbs all along the houses. This is a perfect opportunity for a great winter picture.

If you want to see these old stone houses from the lake’s side, then make sure to kayak on Lake Leitisvatn. You can rent a kayak here throughout the year. Lake Leitisvatn is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Faroe Islands.

Location: Vágar island

5. Hotel Føroyar

Hotel Foroyar - Guide to Faroe Islands
The 4 star Hotel Føroyar located on the hillside above the capital, Tórshavn.

Have you ever seen a turf-roofed hotel? This popular Tórshavn hotel overlooking the capital has a fantastic roof all covered in grass. Enjoy the view from the hotel and this unusual four starred building in the capital.

Weather can be harsh here during winter. But turf-roofed houses are made for rough weather. Hotel Føroyar also has a great spa area.

Location: Streymoy island

6. Kirkjubøur

This farm house is the oldest building in the Faroe Islands. It is still inhabited and now by the 17th generation of the Patursson family.

You will find the oldest house in the Faroe Islands in Kirkjubøur. It is a traditional Viking farmhouse with a roof covered in grass. The density of turf-roofed houses is highest in Kirkjubøur as almost all houses are turf-roofed.

While you are in Kirkjubøur, you can look inside the old living room in the farmhouse. Everything looks like it did 800 years ago.

Location: Streymoy island

7. Á Reyni

Á Reyni is the oldest part of Tórshavn. More or less all houses here are sod-roofed.

Á Reyni is the oldest part of Tórshavn with small houses only. Most properties here are inhabited and covered with a turf-roof. These traditional dwellings make up one of the absolutely most charming districts in a capital anywhere.

Standing between these houses is an unmatched experience. It feels like travelling back in time. It is common to come upon a Faroe Islander mowing his roof here in summer.

You will find the area Heima í Havn next to the Á Reyni district. Heima í Havn is famous for its many good restaurants. These cosy houses – most of them painted black – are full of life every evening. Guests gather here from all over the world to try the outstanding courses served in restaurants such as Ræst, Barbara Fish house, and Áarstova.

You can also enjoy a beer at the local Mikkeler bar in Tórshavn. The bar is featured in the crime drama TROM. All these places are turf-roofed.

Location: Streymoy island

8. Saksun

The turf houses in Dúvugarðar in the remote settlement Saksun. Photo by Federica Violin.

Enjoy an outstanding view from Dúvugarðar. These sod-roofed houses in Saksun are called Dúvugarðar and are truly something special. Dúvugarðar translates directly to the Doves Garden.

You will see the iconic church overlooking the round lagoon from this viewpoint. The church in Saksun is also turf-roofed and is planted alone in outstanding surroundings. The view of the lagoon that you get here is unrivalled.

Location: Streymoy island

Even the church in Saksun is sod-roofed.

The tradition of building houses with turf-roof dates back to the Vikings. This unique architecture style is still very much alive all across the archipelago. So you will both find very old sod-roofed lodging such as in Kirkjubøur and you will find modern buildings like the Nordic House in Tórshavn also covered with grass.

Are you planning a trip to the Faroe Islands? You will for sure see lots of houses with grass on the roof. Make sure to discover hidden gems and top attractions by joining some guided tours in the Faroe islands.

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