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November 30, 2019

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The Mystical Faroe Islands

January 11, 2019


In late May 2018, I was wondering on the grassy cliffs of Kalsoy Island, located in the Faroe Islands. It was cold, windy, and fog was rolling in from the cold arctic (basically) ocean waters.  Aside from myself, there was only a younger German couple exploring the cliff sides next to the Kalsoy island lighthouse.  They asked me to a take a picture for them, and I did. While speaking with them we both asked where each other was from. When I told them I was an American, their response was priceless. Upon hearing that I was an American, the man asked, "How the hell does an American know about the Faroe Islands", I laughed at this blunt response. 


Flashback just over four years ago, and my determination to venture to the Faroe Islands began. It was a cold, rainy, windy night in the small port town of Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland.  I was enjoying a beer with some fellow travelers after spending several days on the Ring Road together (though our trips were all separate and we were strangers). Suddenly, the bar doors opened with a rambunctious group of inebriated fools. They had just arrived by ferry from the Faroe Islands on vacation or holiday. Their goal? To get messed up and party in Iceland!  They sure were off to a good start. (Hell, part of this trip was meant to experience the famed Icelandic nightlife myself).  This is the night I first discovered where and what the Faroe Islands were. A future adventure was born. I was going to travel to the Faroe Islands, one way or another.


 If you have any interest in reading about my Icelandic adventure on the Ring Road, click here to learn more! 


The Faroe Islands


 So what exactly are the Faroe Islands, and where are they?  The Faroe Islands are a territory of Denmark, but it is essentially governed by the Faroese. Despite being self governed, they still have connections to Denmark which provides mutual benefits to each party.  As far as location, the Faroe Islands are a small archipelago that rests between Iceland and Norway, smack dab in the middle of nowhere essentially. See the map below for a better idea of where to find the Faroe Islands.

 The Faroe Islands consist of 18 main islands and a population of roughly 50,000.  The capital, and largest city is Torshavn, and from my experiences, sort of the hub of everything Faroese. A little over a 1/5 of the Faroe Islands population calls Torshavn home.  The map below will break down the actual individual islands that make up the Faroe Islands archipelago. Use this for reference for any mentions of specific islands in this article. 



So you're probably wondering like I wondered how the Faroe Islands themselves came to be? Well, the answer to that is volcanic origination and plate tectonics . The islands are very old, estimated around 54-56 million years old.  In fact, the same volcanic region that created the Faroe Islands, is the volcanic range that is currently still creating Iceland! So both were created at one point around the Mid Atlantic Ridge.  The volcanic originations, and the harsh environment that these islands reside in have contributed to the unearthly and dramatic landscapes seen in the Faroe Islands. 


So what makes the Faroe Islands so special?


A simple Google search, or even just reading this article and looking at pictures I have taken will hopefully explain the reasoning behind the beauty of the Faroe Islands. The landscapes are breathtaking and there are not many places in the world you will find some of the landscape anomalies that exist in the Faroe Islands. 



The Faroe island landscapes are the landscapes that fairy tales are made of. Well sort of anyways. Each island has its own special sights and distinguishing traits.  How many places in the world can you find a waterfall that pours into the ocean? The answer, not many.



Another aspect that makes the Faroe Islands so special is that they are difficult to reach, and they are relatively unknown, or at least the number of people traveling to them every year is still relatively small. This is actually probably a good thing as the infrastructure for the Faroe Islands is not strong enough yet to withstand the masses that have recently been traveling there. I noticed it when I visited. Many things are not marked, and many of the sights often require crossing private property. Some trails and destinations are not marked very well, so finding them can be difficult.




This is bad because travelers will wander off on someone's land and not realize it, and possibly cause damage if this happens frequently. I noticed one destination I wanted to see was recently closed off to the public unless you pay an absurd amount to do the hike. On one side, I see the land owner's frustration with people crossing over his property and he has a right to deny this, but at the same time, maybe the government can purchase land from him to create a public