Actual Travel: Faroe Islands + Travel Tips.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Faroe Islands
Ah here we are, the last in my series of Actual Travel (as opposed to our Web Trips), it’s the Faroe Islands + travel tips.

Let me preface this post by saying, even if you aren't planning a trip, any trip, just click the links for a visual treat.

Yes, the Faroe Islands.  It’s possible you’ve never heard of them and to be honest, I hadn’t until, I’m embarrassed to say, Instagram

Ya know, the ‘gram, it typically shows you accounts you might be "interested" in and, for me, I’m typically not until one day the most dramatic scenery blew my little mind. 

Dang Faroe Islands related accounts kept pushing their way onto my feed so I followed, far off hazy fuzzy dreaming that one day, maybe someday ha ha yeah right I’d get there.  Didn’t for a second think it’d be realistic.

But.  Dreams do come true, my friends. 

During the planning phase of my Scotland trip (sorry babe), my cool woodworking friend Scott and I tacked on that extra week because, jeez louise, it’s rare to get overseas, sadly.  Why not, right?!  I wanted way more but couldn’t stand to be away from Mike and Finn that long.

Planning…it dawned on me, holy heck, the Faroe Islands are close to Scotland. 

I texted Scott, “ you think…”

And he texted back, “YES!!”

Looked deeper, and lo, there was one flight out of Edinburgh and one back in we could do that second week. 

Me texting Scott, “, seriously, we can...”

Scott to me, “YES!!”

A bunch of reading up about the Faroe Islands ensued as I saw it’s a plan-it destination.  It’s remote, it’s nowhere near anything like Chicago with restaurants on every corner, things open all hours.  This article was very helpful.

So the Monday after our incredible week courtesy of Glenfarclas, we were struting the tarmac at Edinburgh Airport to a wee Atlantic Airways jet aeroplane. 

Atlantic Airways airplane to Faroe Islands
I reserved us a sprightly car through Unicar and I definitely recommend them.  Pre-pay any tolls through them too, it's super easy.  The Faroe Islands does have a bus system or tours that take you around if you prefer.

Considering the vast majority of roads are (very well maintained or new) twisty turn-y curvy, unlit snug two-lane numbers, and sub-sea or one lane, loooong, near panic-inducing mountain tunnels, yeah, I’d get not wanting to drive.

Oh, they are right side like the US, fyi.  The Faroe Islands are a “self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark.”

To be realistic given the short time we had there, I had two destination goals:  Kallur Lighthouse and Múlafossur Waterfall

Mid-to-late-ish September, the weather is already turning foggy, rainy, and chilly so there’s no guarantee you’ll see, well, anything honestly.  It was rainy or misty or foggy nearly the entire time we were there. 

Pack full rain gear,* truly waterproof, fast drying, and lightweight.  Pack thin layers.  Pack warm clothes.  Pack very waterproof shoes* or hiking boots* (I wore these* and give them an A+).

In fact, if you fly from Edinburgh, just bring a carry-on* (I went with this handy bag from Target.*).  We used Bounce* to store our main luggage in Edinburgh. 

Right.  We plunged into Vágar Airport around 6:30 pm.  A rain-soaked dash outside and we located our little car; no check-in, no people, get in and go. 

We drove to Leirvik which I booked to be close to the ferry to Kalsoy, the lighthouse’s island. 
Leirvik Faroe Islands
Nice stay, our hosts were fantastic, and even gifted us bags of lunch for our next day’s adventures. 

Which.  Did not go as planned.  We tried three times for the ferry and given the timing, had we taken the third, we would’ve missed the return, slept in the car, and miss our Tórshavn pre-paid hotel reservation so we never saw the lighthouse.  Boo.

Kalsoy ferry
Our first ferry attempt.  We weren't welcome.  Can't figure out why.
Instead, we drove around for hours which wow.  Wow.  Just wow.  Do that.  

Faroe Islands scenery
Again, the fog caused us to miss a lot of spell-binding scenery but we did find ourselves gobsmacked around literally every bend regardless.  

Faroe Islands scenery
We had grocery store and gas station lunches, airport convenience, and grocery store dinners.  We’re not fussy but truthfully, we barely saw a restaurant and if we did, it wasn't open.  So, key, stock up on groceries when you see them.

Faroe Islands scenic overlook
Mentioning the unavoidable mountain and sub-sea tunnels again because, holy bejebus heck.  The sub-sea tunnel has an actual giant roundabout in the center.  Yes, a roundabout under the sea.  Crazy.

Above is one of the numerous mountain tunnels we were traversing.

After driving and walking around, we headed to Tórshavn for the night.  

historic part of Torshavn
We wandered in the rain there for a bit, popped into Pub Tórshøll to rest and dry out where we were simultaneously scowled at, chuckled at, and welcomed as American tourists.  Really good pizza around the corner for dinner!

Torshavn lighthouse
We did see a lighthouse.  In Tórshavn.  Scott....heh.
Next day was the drive to Múlafossur Waterfall which, again, rainy foggy misty, we missed a lot. 

Made it to the waterfall and I about passed out.  I mean, have you seen photos of this, on a sunny clear day?  I could not grasp I was actually standing there.  I was in full throttle agog.  So was Scott.

Mulafossur Waterfall
Despite the wind and rain pelting our chilled faces, we lingered.  And lingered.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment.  A life-evaluating moment too.
We tiptoed along the no-safety-rails sheer cliffs, went to the coffee shop in town to warm up then drove back to Vágar Airport to drop the car as the weather got progressively worse.  

North Atlantic Ocean
Black sand beach, North Atlantic Ocean in Sørvágur.
We checked into the unmanned hotel, yeah weird, which is a literal five minute walk to the airport, and burrowed in.  Having been so nonstop, we were wiped.  Plus, our plane was leaving at 7:45 am the next day.  Waayyy too early for me. 

Faroe Islands.  Add it to your bucket list.  We missed an awful lot in our drop in visit for sure.  Maybe someday I'll get back.  Off to the remainder of our week two we were and then siiiigh, home.

rainy flight out of Faroe Islands
Rainy, crack of dawn flight out.
Some extra travel tips for you?

Get compression bags* that you can roll the air out of, gives you way more, organized space in your suitcase and better room for souvenirs. 

Towelettes.*  Yes, they are wasteful but you will be grateful to freshen your face or clean something sticky off your hands.

Electrolyte powder packets.*  Keep yourself hydrated easily with your reusable water bottle* anytime, anywhere.  My water bottle of choice for this trip?  A filtered Brita one;* I drank the electrolytes out of other cups.

A multi-plug charging cord.*  Thank goodness Scott had this as one of my cords died and I left my fast charger at the Vágar airport hotel.  Doh.

Portable charger.*  Handy in the Faroe Islands and, well, handy. 

AirTag.*  Track your luggage.  Easy peasy. 

Ear plugs, eye mask, any kind of small self-care creature comforts that don't take up a lot of room in your bags.  These make being away from home soothing.

And I mentioned this before, but every day, take a few minutes to write down what you did that day, whether it's in your phone or a journal.*  You'll be thankful for the details that inevitably slip your memory over time.

Too, booking through Booking (dot) Com* is a great way to make all your plans as I did.  You earn cash back through Rakuten* using their site, bonus!  Expedia* is a great way to book too.

Ahhh.  Travel.  It's important.  Just do it.  Do it.

*The rain gear, waterproof shoes, hiking boots, carry-on bags, compression bags, towelettes, electrolyte powders, charging devices, and AirTags are Amazon affiliate links.  The travel backpack is a Target affiliate link.  The Bounce link is a Bounce affiliate link.  The journals are a Blick Art affiliate link.  The Booking (dot) Com link and Expedia link are affiliate links as well.  You earn cash back for shopping online with the Rakuten link and we both get bonus cash when you sign up.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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