Everything you wanted to know about the Faroe islands
When I told people my next trip is going to be to the Faroe islands, the next thing in the conversation was a series of questions which most of the times were more or less the same. So in this post I'll write about them shortly and next time I'll walk you through my trip to the Faroes. Deal? Deal!
Where are the Faroe islands?
The islands are located in the North Atlantic somewhere between Norway and Iceland, just to the north of Scotland. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so:
How many islands are there?
The total number of islands is 18. Some have no population at all. Those that are inhabited can have as few as 10 people leaving there. The major ones are connected with bridges and under-sea tunnels. The further you go out, the more likely you'll need to use a ferry to reach that island.
Who do they belong to? Are they independent?
So, this is a tricky one and like relationships, the answer is "complicated"… Officially they are a "self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark", practically they have their own language, flag, currency (which is equal to the Danish one) etc.
Where does the name "Faroe" come from?
In the old Norse language the word "Faroe" means "sheep", so its the "Sheep islands". This makes sense since sheep got humans outnumbered here… There are about ~50,000 people and ~80,000 sheep!
What language do the Faroese people speak?
They speak the Faroese language which is actually closer to Icelandic than to Danish. However, Danish is taught in schools and you can get around with English and… hands if needed 🙂 .
Practical information about the Faroe islands
And now to some practical information…
What to see & do there?
Wow! That's a big one… I just love this kind of views and scenery, where everything is green and wild. The land is very rugged and offers cliffs, waterfalls, mountains and small villages with turf houses. Depending on the season you can expect to see different kinds of birds, where the most "attractive" one is the puffin or sea-parrot. There are also some enchanting little villages that you can read about here.
How to get there?
I suppose the most common international flight would be from Copenhagen to Vagar (Faroe islands airport) but other Scandinavian cities also have flights there. In 2019 Atlantic Airways started a code sharing agreement with Air France so flights from Paris were also possible.
COVID-19 update: During COVID-19 things may have changed so its advised to check the options before you book anything.
The Faroe islands are not a cheap place to travel, however since you do not have a lot of souvenirs to buy, it balances things (there just aren't that many shops…).
Innovation in the Faroe islands
A few years ago the local tourist office came up with an idea to map the islands. Up to that point Google maps couldn't be used on the islands since there was no data. They came up with a brilliant idea, to use the large number of sheep in order to get this information. They hooked up with Google for a special project called "Google Sheep view", see what it looks like.