Faroe Islands – Good To Know Before You Go
Travelling to any new destination can be rather daunting, especially when it is an island only few people know about. This list should take all the uncertainties out of your planning and help you to be better prepared for when you arrive at this amazing destination.
Getting There By Plane
If you fly in from Iceland, it is best to sit on the left-hand side of the plane. You should have a beautiful view of the island on the left, just before you come in for landing.
Obviously nothing is guaranteed as a lot of factors could play a role and cause the pilot to come in from a different angle. However, this worked for us and we really appreciated the view.
Returning to Iceland we sat on the right-hand side of the plane, and were greeted with a final goodbye from the islands.
If you fly in from the South instead of the North, we would imagine sitting on the right-hand side of the plane will give you the better view, but we can only speculate as we are only familiar with the flight from Iceland in the North.
Transportation In The Faroe Islands
Many people wonder if they should hire a car or make use of public transport. Make no mistake, public transport in the Faroe Islands is efficient and cost effective. By making use of busses and ferries, you should be able to cover the majority of the Islands without any issues.
There are ferry routes between Tvøroyri and Tórshavn, Sørvágur and Mykines, Klaksvík and Syðradalur, you get the idea….
Busses will take you between Tórshavn and Vestmanna, Oyrarbakki and Eiði, Kunoy and Klaksvík, and so on.
Prices are very reasonable too, especially when comparing it with renting a car. All this is great, but… in all honesty, we are of the opinion that the public transport makes more sense if you are a local. If you are a tourist, you will end up being extremely frustrated with bus and ferry schedules, timetables that change depending on certain days, limited transport on weekends and public holidays, and so on.
If you are someone who is going to do more hiking and not necessarily want to see as much of the islands in as short a time as possible, then maybe the public transport system will be ideal for you. However, the advice we received from a local was that if you are a tourist on limited time, getting a rental car is pretty much the only option you have.
We wholeheartedly agree with the local who gave us this advice, and we are really glad we took it. This is our recommendation as well, but it still comes down to personal choice.
To see what the bus and ferry schedules look like, this website is your best friend:
(for the English version of the website click here – https://www.ssl.fo/en/home/)
Even if you do hire your own car, you will most probably want to study the timetables for ferries carefully. You will likely make use of the ferries to transport you with your car as you explore the different smaller islands.
For renting a vehicle in the Faroe Islands, you have the option of getting one from the rental counters when you arrive at the airport. However, it is strongly advised that you book a vehicle beforehand, especially during the busy months.
We visited the Faroe Islands in April just before the busy season started. We were fortunate to be able to get a car from one of the rental desks, but in hindsight we would have been more relaxed if we had booked one in advance.
While you will be able to get a rental vehicle from one of the standard agencies (Avis, EuropCar etc.), Unicar comes highly recommended and we will most likely rent from them on our next trip. You can visit their website here to make a booking:
Not only are the prices very competitive, the website is also a great resource when planning your trip, as they list some interesting places that might be of interest to travellers.
Driving In The Faroe Islands
Driving is done on the right side of the road, and you need to adhere to the speed limit as indicated. Like in Iceland, don’t stop at non-designated areas, although you might find that stopping next to the road is easier than in Iceland.
Don’t go too slow either. The Faroe Islands is so beautiful it demands your attention. Chances are you will find yourself going much slower than the speed limit at times, purely because of the distraction from the beauty of the place. However, rather be cognizant of other drivers and try not to go too slow. The maximum speed is already much slower than in most countries, due to the fact that there are many sheep and other animals that can cross the roads at any time.
Furthermore, you need to understand how the tunnels work. Most of the tunnels are single lane tunnels with designated stopping areas along the way. The idea is that the person who has the stopping area on their right needs to pull over and give way to oncoming vehicles. We found this a bit stressful, as we weren’t always sure how far the oncoming car was. Since the tunnels are dark you have to make a call on pulling over or continue driving until the next designated stop.
Here is a video put together by Unicar, and it is an absolute must to watch before you go to the Faroe Islands. It explains driving in the Faroe Islands perfectly:
How Many Days Do I Need To Visit The Faroe Islands?
This depends entirely on how much of the islands you would like to see. We had 4 days in total (we landed on the Monday and departed on the Friday) and felt it wasn’t enough. Although we saw a great deal of the islands, we felt we had to rush things a bit.
In hindsight we would say you need at least 7 days for a meaningful visit. However, the 4 days we had were awesome and you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
The important thing to note is that flights and other transport are not necessariliy available on a daily basis. It would be best to check the schedules and plan accordingly. For example, we arrived on a Monday and the next flight out was only on the Friday.
Where To Stay In The Faroe Islands
Most people want to know if they should stay in one place for the duration of their trip, or whether they should arrange for different accommodation all over the islands.
Again, this will depend on what you want from the trip. We booked a place through Bookings.com for the entire duration of the trip in Vestmanna. We used it as our base camp and returned to our cottage every night.
This worked really well for us, as we didn’t have to waste a lot of time every day packing and unpacking. It also gives you one thing less to worry about, as you know your accommodation for the day is already sorted.
Having said that, we did feel the Faroe Islands is a tad big to explore everything from this one location. On our next visit we will most likely go for at least a week, and then book accommodation at two or maybe three different locations.
Voltage And Plugs
The power voltage in the Faroe Islands is 230V 50Hz; The plugs that are supported are Plug Types F & K.
Where To Buy Food In The Faroe Islands
As in Iceland, there are many grocery shops in the Faroe Islands to choose from. Some are cheaper than others, but you will find pretty much anything you could need. Meat is expensive, fruit and vegetables are average and sweets are ridiculously cheap.
We recommend the Bónus chain stores for good prices and a variety of stock. Bónus operates around 32 stores in Iceland and around 7 in the Faroe Islands. You can also get amazing pastries and other takeaway items from the convenience stores at the gas stations.
Holidays In The Faroe Islands
It is a good idea to check if there will be any public holidays in the Faroe Islands during your trip. One of our days in the Faroe Islands happened to be 25 April, which is known as the National Flag Day. This day is also a public holiday and we missed out on a few attractions since everything was closed on this day.
Apps To Install Before You Go
We would recommend you install at least 2 Apps onto your mobile device before you visit the Faroe Islands.
The first would be an Offline Map App, like MAPS.ME
Offline Map Apps allow you to navigate on a map without using data or GPS. The App will make use of your cell phone location based on signal instead of GPS.
Make sure you download a map of the Faroe Islands before you leave for your destination.
The second App we would recommend is an App that can tell you if there is a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.
Clothing To Wear While Visiting The Faroe Islands
You should be prepared for rain, snow, strong winds and rugged terrain, should you go hiking.
While the houses are very well insulated and kept warm with oil heaters, it can be really cold and windy outside.
We would recommend a good pair of hiking shoes, warm hiking socks, fleece tops and down jackets / waterproof jackets. You will also want to cover your head, ears and neck, and if you are going to walk around a lot, a buff is a must.
Sunrise, Sunset And Day Hours In The Faroe Islands
Depending on what time of the year you plan your trip, day light can vary from 19 hours in July to only 5 hours in December.
Check out this site for a breakdown of day light hours for the time of the year you plan to visit the Faroe Islands: