The Faroe Islands looks like pyramids growing effortlessly out of the sea.
During the tourist season the hills are incredibly green and sharp, stinging the sky with no mercy. Countless waterfalls cut the hills, descending down rapidly, feeding the grass, helping it achieve this incredibly deep greenness.
The tourist season is a short one, starting in May and finishing in September/October, as later on the weather can be unforgivable.
During this time you can explore the islands by car, and hop from one island to another through the network of tunnels and bridges. Two sub-sea tunnels are charged for – a toll payment of DKK 100,- (approximately €13) for a return trip, but the rest is available for free.
One sub-sea tunnel (Vágatunnilin) connects the western island of Vágar (Airport) to the island of Streymoy (capital Tórshavn). The other sub-sea tunnel (Norðoyatunnilin) connects the northern island of Borðoy (Klaksvík) to the island of Eysturoy (Leirvík). You are only charged when driving from Vágar in Vágatunnilin, and driving from Klaksvík in Norðoyatunnilin.
Please, be aware there are no pay stations at the tunnels.
Drive through the tunnel without stopping and pay at one of the petrol station. Payment must be made within three days. If payment is not made, the bill will be sent to the owner of the car.
Some of the tunnels, as we found out, are very slim, with a space for one car only and numbers of side bays you can use if there is a car coming from the opposite direction.
Driving through this type of tunnels was a heart wreaking experience, as they are not very well-lighted. Luckily we have survived!
Renting a car is an easy and pleasant experience.
Just have your driving licence and the credit card and you will be sorted. It is advisable however to try and book your car via the internet. We have snatched the last car available from one of the two car rentals companies in Torshavn. The people are pleasant and helpful and English is a very popular language, so there are no problems with communication.
The islands are under Danish jurisdiction.
You might be up for a nasty surprise if you are planning on buying something stronger to drink, as the alcohol is only sold during the day in special shops, between 11 am and 5.30 pm. All alcoholic beverages over 2.8% vol. are imported and sold by Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins, who have a national monopoly on alcohol. The alcohol in the pubs and bars can be awfully expensive!
The nature is different in here than at Shetlands.
The landscape is more dramatic, harsh, less changed, left to be as it is, allowed to grow like it wants. The islands are very irregular, with hundreds of bays cutting through the land. Not many houses around, if you leave the town. Many villages consist of just few houses, with characteristics roofs with the growing grass. This simple isolation will help keeping the houses warm during the harsh winter months.
During our unplanned wander (just grab a map and let yourself travel around – no plan needed, really), we have visited Kirkjubøur – one of the oldest villages on the Faroe Islands.
In the medieval times the Bishop’s cathedral was built here and because of that Kirkjubøur became a cultural and spiritual centre.
The cathedral was erected in around 1290 and it stands as the most splendid relic of the antiquity on the Faroe Islands.
It was built by Bishop Elrendur. Not far away from the cathedral you will see a beautiful white Olavskirkjan – the only medieval church that is still in use. It was probably built in 1111.
Kirkjubøur is a place where a great deal of flotsam drift ashore and it is very sunny.
The same family has lived here for 17 generations. The farm’s roykstova, the traditional Faroe’s front room, is famous as it is 900 years old. Legend has it that it was made in Norway, and then toed to the Faroe Islands by boat. At the moment the old building has been converted into a museum and you can visit during its opening time (until 5.30 pm) or after, as no one is closing it. There is a small box you can leave the money in, after the closing time.
The Faroe Islands are unusual travel destination, but worth visiting, if you look for something unspoiled.
The silence surrounding you seems precious and desirable, as you can immerse yourself in the world of peace, nature and beauty. Let your eyes rest looking at dramatic hills, have a meeting with sheep and listen to the sea quietly embracing the land.