Where are the Faroe Islands?
The Faroe Islands are one of the most unknown places on earth. The pristine Nordic archipelago is quiet and untouched. So where are the Faroe Islands actually located on a map?
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You might have heard about the Faroe Islands in recent years. Or you might have seen outstanding pictures on Instagram thinking: where on earth is that? Marco Grassi, Ryan Field, Benjamin Hardman, and many other prominent photographers have been there.
You might have read a blog about intense serenity. Or you might have heard a friend of a friend talking with deep passion about a recent Faroe Islands vacation. Maybe you are next.
The Faroe Islands are marooned in the North Atlantic Ocean halfway between Scotland and Iceland. Due to its isolation in the vast ocean hundreds of miles from neighbouring countries, the Faroe Islands are the best-kept secret in Europe. Visitors can experience stunning nature pearls such as Saksun and the remote Gásadalur with the breathtaking Múlafossur Waterfall.
This cluster of islands in the North Atlantic is located where two ocean currents meet, the warm Gulf Stream, which brings warm surface, and the nutritious cold current from the Polar Sea, which flows near the seabed as a strong tide. The Faroe Islands are at the latitude where the low pressures pass eastward, so the weather in the Faroe Islands changes much. It is never cold, from 3 Celsius on average in January, but not warm either, 11 Celsius on average in July.
Getting to The Faroe Islands
The flight from Keflavík Airport (KEF) in Iceland to the Faroe Islands is only one hour. Flights from Iceland are available from early April to late October. You can also take the flight from Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and be in the Faroe Islands only one hour and fifteen minutes later. The direct flight from Edinburgh to Faroe Islands runs from early April to the latter half of October.
The flight from mainland Europe is two hours. There are daily flights from Copenhagen Airport (CPH). There are also direct flights to the Faroe Islands from a couple of other cities in Europe.
The easiest way to get to the Faroe Islands from America is by a stopover in Keflavík Airport (KEF), Iceland. However, the Faroe Islands are still very well hidden and therefore during winter from late October to April there are only two weekly flights from Iceland to Vagar Airport (FAE) – the only airport in the Faroe Islands. During high season from April to October, there are three weekly flights from Reykjavík to Faroe Islands.
The Faroe Islands literally means Sheep Islands. This archipelago rises in austere beauty steeply from the salty sea. Rugged landscapes and mountains surround the country.
The intensity of colours will take you by surprise. In the summer the lush grass and mountain pastures seems greener than anywhere else and contrasts dramatically with the savage shades of black, grey and brown of the peaks and crags.
The purity of the air makes it difficult to judge distance, and what looks like rocks strewn in the landscape sometimes turn out to be sheep grazing on steep slopes or narrow plateaux.
It seems like the sheep defy the laws of gravity. However, birds nesting along the grassy edges see to it that the sheep are kept in their place. Sea-birds by the thousand make the cliff-faces teem with life.
The light is always changing, so that the most awesome rugged cliffs may be transformed into gentle fairy-tale land of ethereal beauty. The light seems to come from all directions, and so does the mist; suddenly the top of a mountain rises from billows of thin wool, only to disappear again as the mist forms and re-forms into fantastic shapes.
During the short and intense northern summer the nights are never rally dark, and in the muted light of dawn and dusk the islands become a magical place.
Many villages or bygdir are built in a short valley, known as a botnur, which is open to the sea so that boats can land, although in many places with difficulty. Such a botnur, like Tjørnuvík in Streymoy, is half circular, almost like an amphitheatre, and rises in slopes, known as brekkur, up to the characteristic hamrar – terraces – of the mountains.
The ridge between two botnar is often very narrow; a naturally-formed pass through it is known as a skarð. The deep cleft formed in the coastline where the less resistant rock has worn away is known as a gjógv and is very striking feature of the landscapes.
Facts about the Faroe Islands
- 18 rocky islands
- Home to 53.000 people
- 1.393 square kilometres or 540 square miles
- From north to south the islands measure 113 kilometres
- From west to east the Faroe Islands are 75 kilometres
- The coastline is some 1100 kilometres long
- The average altitude of the islands is 300 metres above sea level
- All settlements are connected by roads and tunnels
- The nearest land is Shetland to the south-east, some 300 kilometres or 187 miles away.
- Due north there is only the small island of Jan Mayen between the Faroe Islands and the North Pole
- The capital Tórshavn is inhabited by 21.000 people
- Over 100 small villages
- Nordic nation with a high standard of living.
- The language is Norse with the same old West Norse root as Norwegian and Icelandic
- Everyone understands English in the Faroe Islands
You cannot predict the weather as it is ever changing. So if you are planning a Faroe Islands vacation make sure to bring waterproof and windproof clothes – and good hiking shoes. Furthermore, layering is key to the perfect experience in this untouched Nordic archipelago.
Visiting Faroe Islands is a total break from city life. Start your travel to the North Atlantic by booking some activities in the Faroe Islands.