Today’s blog comes from STA Travel expert Jake Cassar from @thiswildtime travel junkie and off-beat destination enthusiast.
This year I may have stumbled upon my best discovery yet! Are you wanting to find a destination where tourists are almost non-existent? Where you feel like you’re the only soul around? A place where you can truly embrace the natural beauty of your surroundings? Well look no further. This place does still exist and it’s smack-bang in the middle of the Atlantic, between Scotland and Iceland.
The Faroe Islands, owned by Denmark, has Icelandic vibes and is Europe’s best kept secret… Maybe not for long though, so start packing those woolies!
On the island of Streymoy, Saksun has Grass covered roofs and a church with the best view in town surrounded by a tidal lagoon.
TIP- Do ask the local towns people if it’s ok to wander through their farms to get close these buildings. Respect.
The smallest of all the islands, Mykines has a population of only 4 permanent residents. It’s rare to have more than 30 people on the island at one time! If you’re lucky enough to be there during Puffin breeding season (Summer) the island is covered by hundreds of these amazing birds. If traveling outside of this time, don’t fear, it’s still my favorite place on earth. Mykines has also been voted National Geographic’s World’s best island thanks to its natural beauty and remoteness. The one and only hike on the island is the walk to the lighthouse, which is also the most western point of the Faroes. Stand and look out over the ocean as you take in the vast expanse of nothingness.
TIP- Make sure to get yourself a bowl of fish soup at the cafe in town as a hearty reward for those glute-burning walks.
3. Ride in a Helicopter
You have two modes of transport as this island is not connected like the rest of the islands by sea tunnel. That’s right, you literally drive under the ocean to get from one island to another. But not to Mykines. So I suggest you take a helicopter one way and come back on the ferry for a different perspective. I know what you’re thinking! I’m not Kim Kardashian and I don’t have coin like that to drop on a 15 minute helicopter ride! But the amazing thing is, the helicopters are subsidised by the government, so locals can afford to travel between the islands. This means that a stunning helicopter journey will set you back a mere 130DKK (approx 26AUD) You’ll never get a cheaper thrill ride than that! It’s literally the same cost to take the ferry.
TIP – Book well in advance. There are only so many seats on a helicopter and no more than two flights a day – there and back. This also means you can’t do a return helicopter journey, as you would be on the island for no more than 5 minutes!
A humble fishing village, Gjogv is speckled with colourful cottages sporting grass-covered roofs and other pretty details. The town is surrounded by jaw dropping hikes – a fairytale village.
TIP- Find the kids’ playground!
The smallest capital city in the world. Walk around the old part of town and see the traditional black tarred 14th century houses that people still call home. If you can afford to drop some worthwhile dollars on a meal, head to KOKS, a Michelin starred Nordic restaurant. Conveniently situated in the teeny tiny Faroe Islands which has a total of around 25 restaurants.
TIP- Book KOKS well in advance. They only seat 30 people max each night.
6. Gasadalur Waterfall
If you have ever heard of the Faroe Islands, or after reading this are going to start researching, you’ll find that this is one of the most iconic images. And for good reason, it’s a frickin’ waterfall that somehow comes out of a mountain and falls into the ocean. That’s not normal!
TIP- Do this first or last as its close to the airport. I would opt to do it first for a powerful welcome!
7. Drive everywhere
Best to get your own wheels to get around as public transport (buses only) make it hard to experience and see beauty all around. The main islands are all connected by underwater tunnels with the exception of Mykines.
TIP- You have to pay a 15EUR fee each time you use a tunnel so check out the map and try and do an island each day.
8. Hanging Lake
You heard right, there is a lake that hangs in the sky! It’s around a 75-minute hike each way with a view point you can climb up that allows the optical illusion to form.
TIP- When you get to the end of the lake you need to climb the cliff face to the left to get this view.
This small village nestles in a lush green valley surrounded by fjords. Rumour has it that it’s the first place where the Vikings settled.
TIP- Ask a local where the path is to climb the fjord for smashing views across the bay.
Sheep outnumber people 2-1, so there’s no need to worry about crowds of people getting in the way.
TIP- Just be careful and give way to sheep when driving.
So do yourself a favour and get yourself to the Faroe Islands before everyone else goes!
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