Trips

Into The Wild: Exploring the Faroe Islands

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| Tanner Wendell Stewart
March 19, 2018
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The most magical places in the world are the hidden treasures – the wild, undiscovered ones. Among the best examples are the Faroe Islands. These 100+ islands are practically untouched. Hundreds of mountains, ocean cliffs, unpredictable weather, rugged waves, inspiring fjords... it feels massive and unexplored. Some of the islands are accessible by ferry, and others only by helicopter. (One man has an entire island to himself!)

With limitless nooks and crannies to explore, you might need help narrowing down your options. Here are some of my favorite spots in the Faroe Islands:


1. Sørvágsvatn or Leitisvatn - Island of Vágar

10 minute drive from airport, 1 hour hike

The famous lake above the ocean. There is a goat path along the lake edge. Just make sure you close the gates on the property you access. The main parking lot off the highway is private, so you must park in the town near the grocery store and walk along the lake. There is a more established trail near this unmarked road. Coordinates here. 62°02'31.3"N 7°11'58.2"W 

The hike to the cliffs takes about an hour. There are many things to see once you climb to the top. The view back from where you hiked is the most famous. Like I said above, there are no railings, but there is one small stone bench at the top. The cliffs should be explored because there are many beautiful spots for unique compositions. If you head toward the lake and down, you can see the waterfall from the largest lake in the Faroes plunge 100 feet into the ocean. We watched the sunrise here and waited it out in 5 snow storms that came and went, then on our hike out, faced sideways rain for the entire hour hike back.

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2. Kallur Lighthouse - Island of Kalsoy

All day ferry, drive and hike

This adventure takes all day. You have to drive to the second largest city, Klaksvik, and take a ferry to the Island of Kalsoy. Once you get off the ferry, you drive through multiple tunnels to the end of the road. There you will find a little town called Trollanes. Park near the public restroom, (62°21'41.3"N 6°47'19.3"W) walk up the road to your left to the red gate. Walk through the gate, close it behind you and follow the trail up the side of the hill and along the bottom of the mountain. 

Don’t climb the big mountain to your left, the lighthouse is on the plateau. The lighthouse is about a 40 minute walk. There are many amazing things to see at the lighthouse, so explore around! Just make sure you leave enough time to make it back to the ferry, or you can get stranded on the Island and there aren’t a lot of places to sleep or eat. On our day to the Lighthouse, we had a very snowy trail and windy conditions. That said – we were the only people there all day, which was incredible.

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3. Drangarnir - Island of Vágar

All day hike

My favorite location we visited on our journey has to be the hike to Drangarnir! It’s a 3 hour one way hike and, at times, is very sketchy. Park near the gas station at these coordinates. 62°04'12.9"N 7°19'33.1"W. 

When you hike out to Drangarnir, follow the low path along the goat path and work your way out to the amazing cliffs of Drangarnir. From here, make sure to go up the mountain for epic views above. This place feels more like an alien planet then a real place. The long tedious hike was an all day adventure since we only had 5 hours of daylight in December. If you take the time to hike anywhere in the Faroes, this should be your priority.

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4. Mulafossur Waterfall, Gasadalur - Island of Vágar

15 minute drive from airport

It turns out, this famous waterfall is a 15 minute drive from the airport, and you can drive right to it. (62°06'21.8"N 7°26'05.7"W) 

My favorite perspective was right on the waterfall. The cool thing about this place is that the small village of Gasadalur was totally isolated until 2004. The small village of nearly 18 people were forced to make a long strenuous hike over 400 meter mountains just to get to a grocery store. The waterfall is gorgeous and the easiest site to see in the Faroes. The road to the village also has an incredible view of the beautiful Drangarnir and the island of Mykines. It also shows you exactly how far the hike is.

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5. Vidoy - Island of Vidoy

2 hour drive from airport

This is the most northern island and the furthest east. The journey here is about as true to the experience of the Faroe Islands as it gets. If you drive from the Airport to the small village of Viðareiði, (62°21'37.0"N 6°32'34.3"W) you will drive through 9 long tunnels, two of which go under the ocean, and a few are one way tunnels that have small cut-outs to let people pass in the opposite direction. 

The hiking in Vidoy is amazing, and the tallest sea cliffs in the world are on the most Northern part of the island. The photo of the many waterfalls, with the mountain in the background, was a view you can see from the highway. From the highway, you can only see one waterfall, but by the time you explore further, you'll find 3 waterfalls and an incredible landscape.

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Lastly, I want to share a couple tips on how to get to the wild untouched places in the Faroes. Maybe it will inspire you to seek out some new places. 

With any hike in the Faroe Islands, the best advice is to prepare for unpredictable weather. Bring warm waterproof clothes and water and food to wait out a storm. It could be sunny one minute, and 50 mph freezing rains the next. 

Many of the trails are ancient paths that are unmarked except by cairns (rock piles), and some will require you to learn the names in Faroese or ask for directions. If you do plan on visiting the Faroe Islands, I would read the @visitfaroeislands trail guide before you go.


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Tanner Wendell Stewart is a Seattle based Emmy Award winning photographer who is passionate about using photography to make the world a better place.