Have you heard of the Faroe Islands?
I hadn’t. That is not before I was in Hirtshals, Denmark heading to Norway about a little over a year ago. Hirtshals is a small town, basically in existence basically for fish and ferries. On the outskirts of twon, there is a one-stop shopping and tourist information spot that everyone goes to. While there I picked up a Smyril Brochure and discovered that you could take a ferry to Iceland. Like many people, Iceland has been on my list for some time so my interest was immediately peaked. To get to Iceland, though, you have to travel to Tórshavn in the Faroes Islands first. In fact, Smyril is a Faroese company, which is very apparent once you are on board.
Needless to say, we were hooked and taking a ferry, having our own car to explore around these out of the way places, was just too enticing of a prospect. We booked, and over the summer Jim and I, along with hundreds of Europeans and adventurers, loaded up on the M/S Norröna and headed into the unknown.
You can either stop in the Faroes on your way to Iceland or on the return trip, and we chose the latter. On the way there, Tórshavn was completely fogged in. We could barely make out the red buildings of the parliament and the port. The fog gave the small city an even more exotic and almost perilous feel, which just pushed our anticipation to even higher levels.
The Faroes are made up of 18 islands which are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and many of the islands are too small for inhabitants. The bigger islands are accessed through a series of tunnels, bridges, and of course ferries. We visited four of the larger islands in our three days, and really would have liked to have done much, much more.
Everywhere you go, sod-roofed and black-tarred buildings are the norm. Part of the old town in Tórshavn, this little neighborhood is a great place to walk around and see the small, very traditional houses.
Tórshavn’s port is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve ever walked around. It was captivating and colorful. The Faroes, having an island arctic climate, which is often overcast or wet, so the bright colors are crucial for uplifting the locals spirits, I would think.
As is true of most islands, the communities are largely on the coast with easy access to food and transportation, so his sight is a very common one. The churches are full of model ships, as well as other “good luck” symbols to aid the fisherman and keep them safe.
Having our own vehicle made it easy to get to many of the villages. There is a public bus, but of course taking public transportation always takes longer. All the villages are have colorful houses, and of course there are fishing boats in the water, on land, everywhere.
Taking a boat trip is a must while in the Faroes, and the cliffs below are home to a variety of sea birds.
Sometimes you just have to go with your intuition. Looking at that brochure last year, I knew this would be the trip for us. Exploring far-off, unknown places, capturing windswept vistas and just meandering around through small towns is just the kind of trip that we love.
Would you like to go to the Faroe Islands? Would you take a ferry to get there?