Usually, the conversation goes like this. Friend or acquaintance: „You have bought a house on Faroe Islands? You guys are crazy. Faroe Islands … how do you get there? And how do you get around on site?“ I will tell you. The basics. And insider tips.
Although the Faroe Islands are located in the middle of the North Atlantic, roughly somewhere between Scotland, Island and Norway, there are direct flights from England, Iceland, Norway and Denmark year round. If your home base is America, Canada or Germany, you’ll catch a plane to Reykjavík or Copenhagen and a connecting flight with Atlantic Airways to Faroe Islands. Make sure you get a window seat. The landing approach to Vágar airport is spectacular. Feel like a bird flying over the sea, steep cliffs and bizarrely shaped mountains.
You might also take the ferry MS Norröna run by the shipping company Smyril Line. The ferry connects Faroe Islands (capital Tórshavn), Denmark (Hirtshals) and Iceland (Seyðisfjørður). Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, or you will miss the fun. Three hot tubs are located on the upper deck of Norröna, each large enough for seven people. Take a bath and let the oil rigs and the Shetlands pass. This is indeed a view like no other. The more swell, the more the water swashes in the hot tubs. Afraid? Don’t worry. The ferry is well-equipped with stabilizers. Naturally, the North Atlantic can get rough. But mostly in the wintertime. The off-season is the perfect choice for those who want to try lots of authentic Faroese food on board, including different kinds of sheep-dishes.
Another recommendation for those travelling with MS Norröna: bring along your car. Without a car, you are lost on Faroe Islands, to my opinion. Last winter, I spent two weeks in our village, working on a short story. My husband Francesco had already gone back to Germany, and he had taken our car. After I had finished my story, I got in a really strange mood. Suddenly, I felt completely trapped. So bring your car, or rent one. According to my experience, most rental cars on Faroe Islands don’t have automatic transmission. Just to let you know.
What about getting around on site? Check Anja’s map of Faroe Islands in the page sidebar to get an overview of the geographical situation. On Faroe Islands, most places are connected by roads, bridges and tunnels. My favored tunnels are the narrow one-way tunnels. The lay-bys are on your side? You will have to be the one to stop, in case traffic approaches from the other direction. Use the next lay-by, turn off the lights and wait until the oncoming traffic has passed. Listen to the sounds of the dark and be prepared for the tunnel-ghost to touch you with his cold, bony hands … My favorite subsea tunnel: Norðoyatunnilin. This subsea tunnel is 6,2 km long, it costs road toll and it links the island Eysturoy (my second home) and the northern island Borðoy that leads to the town Klaksvík. I like Norðoyatunnilin, because right in the middle it’s decorated with green, red and blue lights – light art by Tróndur Patursson, a well-known Faroese artist.
You can also take busses and ferries on Faroe Islands, they are operated by Strandfaraskip Landsins. My favored ferries: to Mykines, between Sandoy and Skúvoy and to the northern Islands. All those ferries are small, and the passing scenery is fantastic. With some ferry connections, you have to order the boat in advance. Check the timetable and call the contact phone number.
My personal highlight and favorite means of public transport on Faroe Islands? The helicopter. Atlantic Airways operates a service to a number of islands and villages. The service is subsidised by the government, and the fares are remarkably low. The most expensive one-way-flight for an adult costs 360 DKK (48 Euro). A possible route for this price could be: from Svínoy far north to the remote Island Mykines – the westernmost Island, as you might already have read on Anja’s blog. What else do you have to know about Faroese helicopters? Round trips are not available for tourists, because the helicopters perform many other tasks. There are sling flights, they involve flying with goods which are hooked underneath the helicopter. The cargo can be hay, timber, concrete mix, mini-diggers, tractors, cars and even fuel tanks! Atlantic Helicopters also has a helicopter with crew on standby 24 hours a day all year round – for search, rescue and ambulance flights. Ready for take-off? Put your neon-colored headset on. Just before departure, some goods have been loaded. Food-boxes. And tarp. Now the rotor blades start to move. Off we go!