Nine Glorious Days Traveling Around The Faroe Islands

Looking down onto the picturesque village of Eidi at dusk on the island of Eysturoy in the Faroe Islands.

It was a long fulfilled dream of mine to visit the Faroe Islands. I was fortunate to spend nine days photographing throughout most of the Faroe Islands, prior to making the short flight to Reykjavik where I ran a twelve day photography tour around southern Iceland.

My trip to the Faroe Islands started quite slowly. I spent the first few nights in the Capital Tórshavn. While it was interesting to wander the narrow laneways of Tinganes, the old part of town where the local Viking parliament met for the first time in AD 825, photography opportunities in the capital were quite limited.

A large crowd listens to sombre music from the local Salvation Army Band during the St. Olaf's Day Celebrations on a summers evening in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands.

I did arrive during the Ólavsøka Festival. Literally translated as Saint Olaf’s Wake the festival is held in memory of the former Norwegian King, and that country’s patron saint, Olaf the Holy who died in battle on 29 July 1010 AD. It’s celebrated as an important national holiday and involves several days of celebrations in the Faroe Islands.

I missed out on the afternoon parade, which was a shame as it would have provided me with opportunities to photograph faroese folk dressed in their national costume. However, I did get to attend and photograph thousands of locals singing in the centre of the old town later that evening.

After a few slow, restful days spent in and around the capital, including a fun trip to the nearby island of Nólsoy, I headed off to explore as much of the Faroe Islands as I could.

Green rocky terrain and blue waters, underneath a stormy sky, provide an incredibly beautiful outlook near the town of Skopun on the island of Sandoy in the Faroe Islands.

There were many highlights on this trip. The islands of Sandoy and Suduroy were great. In particular Sandoy, were I stayed for two nights, was wonderful with lots of beautiful scenery and adventures.

The Gásadalur waterfall was a definite highlight. I photographed it twice, on my first and last days in the Faroes.

Looking back on Gjógv, one of the most beautiful villages in the Faroe Islands, at dusk.

I had two stays in the village of Gjógv, said to be the most beautiful village in the Faroe Islands. Situated on the northeast of the island of Eysturoy, Gjogv is a beautiful place, situated by the sea, with lots of opportunities for photography.

An added bonus of my visit was the lovely Gjáargardur Guesthouse, where I stayed during both visits to Gjógv. The accommodations are modest, but more than sufficient. The food was excellent and the staff and owner at Gjáargardur Guesthouse were really wonderful folks whom I found to be both kind and very helpful.

Lush pastures in the hilly village of Saksun illustrate why this is one of the most beautiful locations in the Faroe Islands.

I loved my visit to the village of Saksun on the northwest of the island of Streymoy. Situated a short distance from the sea I undertook the short hike down to the coast and, after returning to the village, made myself busy making photos of the lovely church and surrounds. I was fortunate to have visited Saksun on a beautiful, sunny day. It was windy, which is a problem for detailed oriented landscape photography, but it was probably my favorite day spent in the Faroes. I only wish I’d stayed in Saksun overnight. 
 
It was important to me to be able to visit as many of the islands in the Faroes as possible. There are eighteen islands, seventeen of which are inhabited. During my nine day Faroe Islands adventure I managed to explore nine of those glorious islands, three of which had to be reached by ferry. 

Near the end of my trip I traveled to the northwest of the Faroes to stay and dine at the highly regarded Matstova Restaurant and Guesthouse in the village of Vidareidi on the island of Vidoy. The owner, Elizabeth, is a lovely person and I very much enjoyed my stay there.

Vidareidi is windswept and the most northern village in all the Faroe Islands. There was around one inch of rain over the 24 hour period I was on the island and I arrived at Elizabeth’s just as the wind really picked up. It was a gale and lasted all through the next day. 

During that night the winds grew to near hurricane proportions and photography the next day was a challenge in the extreme. The rains were heavy and the winds were, as I say, extreme. I did get bounced around in the wind quite a bit and, at one stage, it took half a dozens attempts before I could close the door to my little hire car. Getting in and out of the car was tough. I had to be very careful to hold onto the door to prevent it from blowing off its hinges and, at the same time, try to reduce the ponding my body was receiving as the door bashed up against me.

But neither the rain nor the wind held me back and I drove all day stopping to make photos and to undertake a few short walks, when it seemed safe to do so.

A lovely stream cascades on it's journey to the sea on the island of Kunoy in the Faroe Islands.

On the way to Vidareidi I visited the village of Kunoy on the island of the same name. A short walk from the village took me to this wonderful river flowing along the edge of a lovely wood. The Faroes is a beautiful, green country. Nonetheless, it was somewhat of a revelation to see so many trees given the Faroes is such a windswept country. It was a highlight of my trip.

My only true disappointment was that I was unable to visit the island of Mykines. Unfortunately, despite staying nearby for the last few days of my journey, I was unable to book a seat on the Ferry to and from the island. As it was the weather began to change and became totally unsuitable for that particularly adventure. What a shame! Still, I do want to return to the Faroe Islands and Mykines will be right at the top of my schedule next time around.

Unless you’re based in western Europe, or the east coast of southern Canada or the USA, travel to the Faroe Islands does require a commitment. From Australia, where I’m currently based, it’s a major endeavor.

While I could easily spend four or more weeks there, the best approach, for the enthusiastic landscape photographer, seems to be to include the Faroes into an itinerary that includes Iceland and/or Greenland. The Shetland Islands would be another interesting option to add to your itinerary. However I do it, I definitely plan to return to the Faroe Islands within the not too distant future. And I can’t wait to see what adventure await when I do. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru