Nature scenery in its purest form

Once upon a time, there was a land lost in the clouds, where raw nature commanded respect from close-knit inhabitants… Thus begins the fairy tale that leads well-inspired travelers to the Faroe Islands. Secluded on the border of the North Atlantic, in the middle of a triangle formed by Scotland, Norway and Iceland, this subarctic archipelago is one of the last wildernesses in Europe.

Puffins live by the thousands on Mykines Island. A paradise for budding ornithologists. – Jean-Claude Urban

Despite being a constituent country of the Kingdom of Denmark, this chain of eighteen small islands is fully self-governing and does not belong to the European Union. The people of the Faroe Islands mint their own coins, make excellent beer, fish in their exclusive waters and obey the laws of the parliament established in the 10th century. This geographical and political isolation leads to a small, near-perfect society, with the lowest unemployment and crime rates in the world.

A frugal diet for a long time would explain the Faroe Islands' small size compared to their Scandinavian cousins.
A frugal diet for a long time would explain the Faroe Islands’ small size compared to their Scandinavian cousins. – Jean-Claude Urban

The 53,000 residents of the Faroe Islands are proud to remember their Viking ancestors. A third of them are concentrated in Tórshavn, “the port of Thor”. Their language is also closer to Icelandic than Danish. In Old Norse, faer means sheep and Oyar Refers to carrots. The Faroe Islands, or more precisely, Fourier, is therefore translated as “the Sheep Islands”. Nothing surprising because the eggs thrive there. They will number about 90,000 to roam freely, from the green slopes to the roundabouts.

Sheep have been part of the landscape since their introduction by Irish monks, long before the arrival of the Vikings.
Sheep have been part of the landscape since their introduction by Irish monks, long before the arrival of the Vikings. – Jean-Claude Urban

The cultural integrity of the Faroe Islands was one of the criteria experts from National Geographic magazine used when they rated the destination as one of the “Wonderful Islands in the World”. The Faroe Islands, whose standard of living rose only in the late twentieth century, have fiercely preserved traditions that were once vital in the face of shortage. Some are sometimes denounced, such as grindingSeasonal pilot whaling, in which their meat is distributed free of charge to the community.

In a country without trees, where the simple cultivation of potatoes is an achievement, the sea has always provided enough to survive. The fear of being lost remains rooted in the collective unconscious. Every home contains Hjloor It has perforated walls where meat and fish are fermented under the mist.

Kierkegaubourg farm, well insulated with its turf roof, is the oldest still inhabited building in the archipelago.
Kierkegaubourg farm, well insulated with its turf roof, is the oldest still inhabited building in the archipelago. – Jean-Claude Urban

There is another indisputable advantage that allows the country to distinguish itself: the virginity of its nature. In fact, even if the Faroe Islands retain a warm welcome for its visitors, and although direct weekly flights now connect them to major capitals like Paris, their secluded archipelago is still a long way off the beaten track.

This harsh land, constantly contested by rain and fog, is one of the wettest on the planet! “Always have a Plan B, even a Plan C, before setting out on an adventure,” advises Edon Berg, who runs the bespoke excursion company The North Atlantic Experience. But here more than anywhere else, nature rewards those who drown.

Fast and agile, NAX inflatable boats allow you to get as close as possible to the slopes of Histor.
Fast and agile, NAX inflatable boats allow you to get as close as possible to the slopes of Histor. – Jean-Claude Urban

breathtaking

Nearly eight hundred fjords have been carved out by the geography of the Faroe Islands. The sea is everywhere there. Wherever you walk in the archipelago, you are no more than five kilometers away from the waves. And on those pebbles whose sides have been eroded, you won’t be too far from an unusual landscape either. The Faroe Islands have the highest walls in Europe, some of which rise to over 700 meters in the Vistmana Strait.

Calsoy was seen from a helicopter.  The connections between the islands, both quick and cheap, offer great views.
Calsoy was seen from a helicopter. The connections between the islands, both quick and cheap, offer great views. – Jean-Claude Urban

On Vagar Island, there is a ten kilometer circumference around the airport alone and unites some of nature’s most beautiful fantasies. On the east side, Lake Sørvágsvatn, which flows into the ocean, offers a surreal view from the top of the surrounding cliffs. On the western side, a river runs under the small village of Gásadalur before falling into the waves.

Needless to insist on the beauty of the place when the sun can break through the clouds! However, there is no sign indicating these great sites. You have to ask the locals to find them. All the magic of the Faroe Islands lies: after a reluctant journey that often ends across the field, the visitor finds himself alone, face to face with the elements…

Torshavn, the enclave capital of the Faroe Islands, is surrounded by pristine nature.
Torshavn, the enclave capital of the Faroe Islands, is surrounded by pristine nature. – Jean-Claude Urban

On wet lawns covering basalt reliefs, the only touches of color are provided by the facades of the houses and the beaks of puffins. At the western end of the archipelago, these seabirds rule the island of Mykines.

Recognizable by their melancholy clown look and large colorful beak, they are the most endearing representatives of the domestic fauna. Their colony coexists here with cormorants and gannets. Unafraid, all these birds allow themselves to get close, to the delight of photographers and ornithologists who guarantee their love at first sight with the Faroe Islands in advance.

Farmer Johannes Kalsgaard erected a stone in memory of James Bond, whose last adventures on his land at Calore ended.
Farmer Johannes Kalsgaard erected a stone in memory of James Bond, whose last adventures on his land at Calore ended. – Jean-Claude Urban

Meanwhile, moviegoers look to the other side of the archipelago, toward Kalsoy Island. That’s because James Bond has been there lately! In fact, the amazing Kallur point was the setting for the last scenes of Death can waitTwenty-fifth part of the epic. When the film was released, all viewers from the Faroe Islands waited until the end of the credits to pay tribute to their compatriot Johanus Kalsgaard, who is credited with the title of “King of Kalsoy”. This is how this young farmer was thanked for welcoming the film crew to Calore Cliffs.

A stele was installed in honor of Agent 007 on the dizzying heights of his property. A photo of its opening by Johannes and the country’s prime minister spread around the world in early 2022. Since then, the site has regained its calm. It is still wonderfully welcoming and well preserved, like all the Faroe Islands.

going to

Although July is wetter than May, it offers very long days for the national holiday of St. Olaf and the many celebrations that accompany it.

Until this year, you had to pass through Copenhagen to get to the Faroe Islands. But the archipelago can now be reached within two hours and forty hours from France. Atlantic Airways has just opened a direct link between Paris-CDG Airport and Vagar Airport. Until October 17, 2022, the Faroese airline operates two weekly flights, Monday and Thursday, from €407 A/R.

Atlantic Airways also has helicopters to fly from one island to another. Tórshavn Heliport is located within walking distance of the city centre. This amazingly fast and affordable mode of transportation is surprisingly affordable in the Faroe Islands. Between 15 and 50 euros per trip. But the fog makes the cycles random. On the other hand, the lack of visibility does not pose any problem for the company’s Airbus 320neo, which is equipped with an ultra-accurate navigation system that allows it to land.

Move

The car is the ideal means of transportation to explore the main islands, connected by wonderful underwater tunnels. No need for GPS. There are so few roads that a road map is enough to find your way around. However, some data should be taken into account. Traffic lanes, always well maintained, are sometimes very narrow and steep. Sheep can appear at any time. The vagaries of the weather can complicate everything.

Live

Wherever you choose to stay in the archipelago, most of the islands are still accessible during the day. With its population of 19,000, the capital of the Faroe Islands is a city on the human level where you feel immediately at ease. Located on the heights of Tórshavn, the Hilton Garden Inn is one of the largest and most beautiful establishments in the country. With its large rooms with practical equipment, this new address is a comfortable base camp for touring the country.

Restores

Vegetarians will find it difficult to appreciate the cooking habits of the Faroe Islands. Mutton and fish are a must in all meals in a country where almost no vegetables grow. Housed in a cozy little building on Tórshavn Harbour, Roks is a cozy new version of the star-winning Koks restaurant. Locals flock there to discover the flavors of the sea that have been creatively rethought. For a more intimate experience, the planters also open their doors to visitors. This is the case of Anna and Eli Rubiksen who offer to savor traditional (sometimes unsettling, cod with fermented sheep stomachs) preparations in front of a panorama of dreams.

owns

Kirkjubøur is the archipelago’s most important historical site, with its Lutheran church and the ruins of St. Magnus and Roykstovan farm, one of the oldest inhabited wooden buildings in the world. Seventeen generations of the same family lived in this home full of memories. An exciting visit, when commented by Jóannes Patursson, the current owner.

to listen

Music is very present in Faroe Islands society. Linked to their culture, national artists such as Eivør, Orka or Budam Man, bring the traditional sounds yet with the rhythms of folklore, rock or jazz. They are all produced by the archipelago’s only record company, Tutl Records, which also includes an environmental museum and point of sale in Torshavn. Music lovers can meet Christian Black, the brand’s creative musician there.

Information

In addition to basic tips for preparing for your trip, the Faroe Islands Tourism Office website provides great information on local customs and legends.

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