Five reasons why you should visit the Faroe Islands

Overlooked by many, there are compelling reasons why a trip to the Faroe Islands should be on your wish list. Here are five reasons why you should visit the Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands capital is quaint and compact

faroe islands,Tinganes, Tórshavn's old town
Tinganes, Tórshavn’s old town

Tórshavn is no ordinary capital. Take an early evening stroll along the lanes of Tinganes; where government ministries are housed in russet red clapboard cottages topped with turf. Hipster cafes and shabby chic bars rub shoulders with family homes little changed for decades, if not centuries. In the waters beside them, gin palaces and simple wooden rowing boats share the marina with fishing trawlers and freighters. Wander further from the water’s edge; and you’ll discover shops selling sheepskins and hand-knitted sweaters and a liberal sprinkling of statues and gardens.

Its history is fascinating

faroe islands,Jóannes Patursson,farmer, Kirkjubøur
Jóannes Patursson, 17th generation farmer in Kirkjubøur

From the ancient tales of the sagas to the implications of the British occupation during World War Two, history is big business in the Faroes. Settled by Celtic monks and Norse warriors, its early history is gory, gruesome and at times just plain gaga. Find out more at the country’s first waxworks museum in Vestmanna. No less enthralling is how self-government was brought about by the invasion of Denmark by Nazi Germany and the subsequent British occupation of the Faroes.

Wildlife opportunities abound in the Faroe Islands

faroe islands,lambs,sheep,saksun,folk museum
Lambs graze alongside the folk museum at Saksun

Whether it’s cute newborn lambs scampering up grassy hillsides to the safety of mum or vertiginous cliffs sheltering huge colonies of seabirds, wildlife-spotting opportunities in a sparsely populated country such as this are exceptional. You’re never more than five kilometres from the sea and it’s not uncommon to find basking seals forced to share the beach with seaweed-munching sheep. Take a boat trip to the bird cliffs from Vestmanna or drive the narrow coast road on Sandoy Island to seek out puffins.

The foodie scene has exploded into action

KOKS, Michelin restaurant, Faroe Islands
KOKS, the first Michelin-starred restaurant in the Faroe Islands

Until relatively recently, the locals will tell you, the restaurant scene was nothing to write home about. Fortunately, that’s all changed. Michelin-starred KOKS will challenge, awe and delight your tastebuds; and if it’s bragging rights you’re after, the rustic setting and innovative menu will give you plenty of reasons to make friends and family envious. Barbara serves up some of the best fish in town and nearby harbourside eatery The Tarv retains a loyal clientele. If you’d like to eat a home-cooked meal, many families open their doors to serve visitors tasty comfort food in a practice known as heimablídni.

Faroe Islands have the cleanest water

Faroe Islands, Rain falls,sheep, Saksun
Rain falls on around 210 days a year in Saksun

No joke, this one: ask many Faroe Islanders what they think is the best thing about their country and they’ll tell you they have the cleanest water in the world. And if you extrapolate to consider why it’s so pure; that’ll give you an idea about how pristine the environment is across the nation’s eighteen islands. Best of all, unlike much of Europe, visitor numbers are still at a level where you’re likely to be able to find a spot to yourself – for now at least. Are you going?

About JuliaHammond

Website: http://www.juliahammond.co.uk

Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel’s Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt’s Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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