Tinganes, Tórshavn
photo by Stig Nygaard

The Faroe or Faeroe Islands (in Faroese Føroyar) are 18 islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Islands are a self-governing island territory of Denmark, although they politically aim for higher independence. The Islands have a population of nearly 50.000 (48.290 march 2005), and a language and culture of their own. The countryside is dominated by steep mountains and there are about 70,000 sheep and some 2 million pairs of seabirds, including the largest colony of storm petrels in the world. Most visitors to the islands come between early July and late August when the weather is fairest.


The Faroese tourist season is very short. It begins in May and ends by September. Most visitors come between July and August by far. If you would like to avoid the busiest season, it is best to visit the Faroes in late May or early June, although you shouldn’t expect raising temperatures during this period.

The main reasons why people tend to visit the islands are because of the nature and scenery. But the tranquillity of the islands also plays a major part. Bus rides, horse trekking, mountain hikes and boat trips are all ways to enjoy the magnificent wild green landscape. And the islands are undeniably beautiful: green, rugged and wind-swept.

Because the islands are so close to the Arctic Circle, the amount of daylight varies by season. The sun sets briefly each night in June, so there are several hours of twilight, before the sun comes back up again. During the winter there are no days of complete darkness, but about five hours of daylight.

The Faroe Islands' primary industry is the fishing industry and the islands have one of the smallest independent economic entities in the world. The fishing industry accounts for over 80% of the total export value of goods, which are mainly processed fish products and fish farming. Tourism is the second largest industry, followed by woollen and other manufactured products. The unemployment rate in the Faroes is extremely low.


The Faroes were colonised by Norwegians in the 9th century - according to history the first settler was Grímur Kamban, a Norwegian Viking who made his home in Funningur on Eysturoy in 825. The Faroese population has largely descended from these settlers. Recent DNA analyses have revealed that Y chromosomes, tracing male descent, are 87% Scandinavian. However, the studies also show that mitochondrial DNA, tracing female descent, is 84% Scottish or Irish. Today the population is 48.220 (1st March 2006). About 19,300 people live in the metropolitan area which comprises Tórshavn, Kirkjubøur, Velabastaður, Nólsoy, Hestur, Koltur, Hoyvík, Argir, Kaldbak, Kaldbaksbotnur, Kollafjørður, Signabøur and Oyrareingir. About 4,700 people live in Klaksvík, the second largest town in the islands. Faroese is the national language, it is rooted in Old Norse.


The Viking settlers established their own parliament called "ting" around 800. Local things were established in different parts of the islands. The main thing was established on Tinganes in Tórshavn. About the turn of the millennium the Faroes came under control of the Norwegian king. In 1380 the Faroes along with Orkney, Shetland, Iceland and Greenland, came with Norway into a union with Denmark. At the end of the Napoleanic wars, by the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden, but kept the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. In 1816, two years later, the Faroes were made into a Danish County and the old parliament was abolished. The Danish Governor became the highest authority in the Faroes.

In 1849 the Danish parliamentary constitution was made to apply in the Faroe Islands. In 1852 the Faroese parliament was reinstated as a county council, but served mainly as an advisory power. The Danish governor presided at all meetings and was a co-opted member. At the same time the Faroes came to be represented at the Danish parliament. It should be stated that, although the Faroe Islands have recognised the Royal powers, they have never been a part of Denmark. Only the Danish kingdom.

During World War II, Denmark was being occupied by the Germans, while the Faroes had a friendly occupation by the British. During this time the Faroese parliament carried both the legislative and the fiscal responsibility. The Faroese people had a taste of self-government and a return to status quo seemed impossible.

After a referendum, which led to a very small majority voting for independence, in 1946 negotiations took place between the two countries and the outcome was the Home Rule Act in 1948. The Faroese were from then on responsible for most matters of government. The parliament can legislate on matters of local importance, and Danish laws can be rejected. The parliament has between twenty-seven and thirty-two members. The leader of the cabinet has the status of prime minister. The Faroes are still represented in the Danish parliament by two representatives. Also, since 1970 the Faroes have had independent status in the Nordic Council. Furthermore, the Faroes have their own flag (merkið). And unlike Denmark the islands are not a member of the EU and all trade is governed by special treaties.


The weather is maritime and quite unpredictable. It can change quickly and it varies extremely, from moments of brilliant sunshine to misty hill fog, to showers - there can be sunshine on one side of the mountain range, while it's raining on the other side. During the summer the islands are often overcast by summerfog. The Gulf Stream south of the islands tempers the climate. The harbors never freeze and the temperature in winter time is very moderate considering the high latitude. Snowfall occurs, but it is short-lived. The average temperature ranges from 3 C in the wintertime to 11 C during the summer, the temperature can be much higher, but the air is always fresh and clean no matter the season.


With their volcanic origin the 18 islands are rugged and rocky. The average height above sea level for the country is 300 m (982 ft). The highest peak, Slættaratindur, is 882 m (2883 ft) above sea level. There are 1100 km (687 miles) of coastline and at no time is one more than 5 km (3 miles) away from the ocean. Mountains and valleys mostly characterize the inner landscape. The faroese west coast is characterized by steep slopes and bird cliffs, that in the summertime are full of nesting seabirds such as puffins. Something that first meets the eye of a traveller is the lack of trees in the Faroes. The reason for this are the thousands of sheep that occupy the islands.


The archipelago is composed of 18 islands covering 1399 km2 (545.3 sq miles) and is 113 km (70 miles) long and 75 km (47 miles) wide. 17 islands are inhabited, leaving just one uninhabited island, the smallest island, Lítla Dímum. The precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands. The islands are connected by tunnels, causeways, and a regular public ferry service.

The Faroe Islands consist of the following regions

  • Northern Islands - the six Northern islands, (Borðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy, Viðoy, Svínoy and Fugloy), have made up one administrative area since Norse times. The volcanic origin of the Faroe Islands is more pronounced here than anywhere else. The Landscape is very dramatic.

  • Eysturoy - Eysturoy is the second largest island. The landscape in the north is very steep.

  • Northern Streymoy - Streymoy is the largest and main island. The north is less densely populated but there are some wonderful villages.

  • Southern Streymoy - here the capital Tórshavn is situated and the area surrounding the capital is where the largest number of people live.

  • Vága - Vágar and Mykines make up the Vága region. Vágar is the third largest island, and is where the airport is situated. Mykines, the small island to the west, is well known for its bird life and remote location.

  • Sandoy - the region is made up of four islands with the largest being Sandoy.

  • Suðuroy - the most southern island and Lítli Dímun - The smallest island which is uninhibited.

Other destinations

  • Vestmannabjørgini (Vestmanna Birdcliffs) - The birdcliffs are situated north of Vestmanna. The half of a kilometre high cliffs are one of the highpoints of a trip to the Faroes.

  • Mjørkadalur

  • Tinganes

Getting there

By plane

  • Vága floghavn . The Faroe Islands are served by one airport. The airport is on the island of Vágar. The location was chosen by the British during the occupation of the islands during World War II. About 180.000 passengers fly to and from the airport every year. Vágar is connected to the largest island Streymoy (on which the capital Tórshavn is situated) by a sub-sea tunnel. A bridge connects Eysturoy to Streymoy. There are buses to Torshavn and other major cities; the schedules are aligned (more or less) with the arrival of all flights. The price to Tórshavn is (summer 2006) around €14. You might need to change buses if you are going to Klaksvik. Check the schedule with the driver, there might be a lot of waiting time.

  • Atlantic Airways , connects the Faroes with a couple of chosen cities in Scandinavia. The Faroes are accessible by regular commercial air service from Copenhagen (3 times a day), Oslo and Stavanger (twice a week in the summer time) and Reykjavík (twice a week). It also flies to London. It is the only airline with a scheduled service to the Faroes.

Be aware that summer fog is a problem when flying to the Faroes in the summer months. The planes can't land in this weather and will often divert to Iceland where you will stay until the weather clears. This also means that flights out of the Faroes can be disrupted too. Allow yourself a few days either side of your visit to the Faroes in case of flight delays.

By Boat

  • Smyril Line operates an all year Cruise and car ferry service by the big car ferry, Norrøna, with regular sailings to the Faroe Islands. In the summer time there is service twice a week. The Ferry continues onwards to Denmark (Hanstholm/Esbjerg) from the Faroe islands. On Iceland the ferry departs from Seyðisfjörður on the east coast. It is the only ferry service with a scheduled services to Iceland.

Due to the recession, Smyril Line will NOT be operating to Scrabster or Bergen in 2009. All passengers to/from the UK and Norway must now go via Denmark

Getting to the Faroes by boat takes longer than by plane but has the advantage of allowing you to take your own vehicle.

For people arriving by yachts, there are several harbors around the islands. The best are found in the capital Tórshavn, Klaksvík, Tvøroyri, Vágur, Vestmanna, Sørvágur, Miðvágur, Runavík, and Fuglafjørður.

Traveling around

The Faroe Islands are a small country and getting around is easy. All of the Islands are connected by a public transport system.

Travelling between Islands

The two largest islands, Streymoy and Eysturoy, are connected by a bridge, Sundabrúgvin, or the Channel Bridge. Since 2002 a sub-sea tunnel connects the island of Vágar with Streymoy and since 2006 a sub-sea tunnel connects Borðoy to Eysturoy. These are toll tunnels and you have to pay when driving from Vágar to Streymoy and from Borðoy to Eysturoy. Road causeways connect Borðoy with Viðoy and Kunoy. The other main Islands Sandoy and Suðuroy have excellent car-ferry connections to Streymoy, making motoring in the Faroes easy and pleasant. Strandfaraskip Landsins, the Faroese public transport service, publishes an annual timetable (Ferðaætlan ) containing details of all ferry and bus schedules. It is available from the Passenger Terminal in Tórshavn, and all tourist information centres. When using a car ferry please note that it is not possible to make advanced bookings. You should be at the pier no later than 20 minutes before scheduled departure, and on Friday and Sunday evenings it is advisable to be ahead of time if you want to secure a place for the car.

Sub Sea Tunnel Fares

Vehicles up to 3500 kg and up to 6 m, DKK 130. Vehicles between 6 and 12,5 m, DKK 350. You shouldn´t pay your fare any later than three days after using the sub sea tunnel. You may pay at any petrol station on the islands. Otherwise an invoice will be sent to the car owner.

By car

The first motor road connecting two villages wasn’t built until 1916, and travellers were limited to mountain paths and rowing boats. Nevertheless, today driving is easy with an excellent 600-km network of well maintained tarmaced roads and tunnels. The density of cars is one of the highest in Europe.

The numerous road tunnels in the Faroe Islands mean that drivers of large vehicles must plan their routes by finding out in advance which tunnel they can enter. Driving is on the right and most road signs follow international standards. Headlights must be on when driving and the use of seat belts is required. The speed limit is 80 kph (50 mph) and 50 kph (30 mph) in the towns and villages. For cars with trailers, the speed limit is 50 kph and for caravans the speed limit is 60 kph. The consequences for speeding are severe.

Parking in the towns of Tórshavn, Klaksvík and Runavík is restricted. Parking discs must be displayed in the lower right hand corner of the front windscreen showing the time you parked your car. These display discs are available at no charge from banks and the tourist offices. There is a fine of DKK 200 for parking violations.

Car Rental


  • BVK , Frúutrøð 6, FO-100 Tórshavn. Tel: 283310, bvk@epost.fo.


  • AVIS Føroyar, Vágar airport, FO-380 Sørvágur. Tel: 358800/212765.

  • HERTZ - 62N.fo NEW NAME, Vágar airport/Hotel Vágar, FO-380 Sørvágur. Tel: 340036/213546, hertzl@ff.fo

  • Unicar , FO-360 Sandavágur. Tel: 332527, unicar@olivant.fo

By bus

Passenger road transport is run by private companies, but is coordinated by a public body.

The inter-town bus system (Bygdaleiðir), has together with the public ferry company established a coherent and well-developed public transport system which takes in all settlements on the islands. This means that there are bus services to all places - maybe not often, but every day!

Bygdaleiðir´s buses are in the colour of blue. A schedule (Ferðaætlan) listing the various timetables for the inter-town buses (and ferries) may be purchased from the tourist office, as well as the central bus station near the harbour in Tórshavn. Transport is quite expensive, so check for student discount or multiple-ride-cards. Students as well as children and pensioners are eligible for discounts on fares provided they show a student or pensioner identity card. There is a four day travel card meant for tourists which is valid for all buses and ferries. It is well worth its price if you are planning to get around the islands by public transport.

The buses are equipped with radios. If you are planning to change buses, do tell the driver in advance, as he will make sure the other bus waits for you.

The capital Tórshavn offers a local bus service (Bussleiðin) with four routes that reach most area of the town which is free. The red coloured-buses operate every half-hour during the day through out the week and hourly on weekday evenings. The buses don´t operate on Saturday or on Sunday evening which can be inconvenient for tourists. Route maps and schedules may be obtained on the buses, at Kiosk Steinatún in the centre of town, or at Kunningarstovan, the local tourist information in Tórshavn.

By Helicopter

You can splurge, and take a helicopter (or a cheaper ferry) to all the faraway places. - for example to Mykines, the picturesque island far west. Atlantic Airways offers a helicopter service to selected towns and villages throughout the Faroes. Contact Atlantic Airways directly at phone no. 341060. Booking is required. The service is intended for locals and as such tourists can only book one way of a journey but you can use the ferry and bus services to make the return journey.

The service may be affected by the weather -- a heavy overcast with low clouds, for example may cause the flights to be cancelled.


  • Slættaratindur (882 m) - the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands. It is well worth climbing, the only downside is that the summit is often wrapped in fog.

  • The Lake of Toftavatn - the lake is in the south of Eysturoy, situated on the east coast of the fjord, Skálafjørður. The low rolling hills around the idyllic lake, have the widest streches of heather on the islands. They are considered unique in the Faroes. Furthermore, the terrain is a splendid choice for an outing.

  • Rinkusteinar (the rocking stones) - a strange natural phenomenon at Oyndarfjørður, two very large boulders which permenantly stand rocking in the ocean, just a few metres from the shore. The stones have been rocking as far back as anyone can tell.

  • Risin og Kellingin (The Giant and his Wife) - Two magnificant basalt sea stacks off the northern tip of the island, close to the village of Eiði. Legend has it that the two giants had come to tow the Faroes back with them to Iceland, However, the sun rose and they where both turned into stone. They both stand looking towards Iceland which they will never reach.


Most traditional Faroese cuisine involves meat, either lamb or fish. The traditional Faroese kitchen mainly owes its food traditions to the archipelago´s harsh climate. This is due to the fact that in earlier days the food culture on the islands was not very extensive. It is hard to find a Faroese dish on the menu of a restaurant, but it is possible at certain restaurants and hotels.

Distinctive Faroese foods include:

  • Wild seabirds fx puffins. The puffins are stuffed with cake and served with potatoes and wild berries

  • Skerpikjøt, dried mutton that has been hung for over a year and is eaten raw

  • Ræst kjøt, meat that has been hung for a couple of months to mature before cooking

  • Ræstur fiskur, dried fish that has been hung in the same way as ræstkjøt

  • Turrur fiskur, dried fish

  • Grind og spik, whale meat and blubber

  • Rhubarb since it is easy to cultivate


There is an increased number of restaurants in Tórshavn (the capital), a few good ones are mentioned below. In general, though, there are very limited dining selections in Tórshavn. Outside Tórshavn, the quality and quantity of the restaurants declines greatly.

There is no McDonalds on the Faroes, but Burger King has arrived. In Tórshavn you can find fast food restaurants at the shopping centre SMS and City Burger is situated in the Town center.

All over the Faroes you will find gas-stations, Statoil and Magn. Nearly every gas-station will serve fast-food, espescially sausages.

  • Glasstovanat Hotel Føroyar. From the restaurant there is an excellent view over Tórshavn. Their cuisine offers Faroese specialities as well as international cuisine. A typical Faroese speciality is a dish of dried lamb, dried fish and whale blubber. The price is DKK 110,00.

  • Gourmet by the western harbour "Vágsbotn". This is arguably the finest restaurant on the Faroes.

  • Merlot in the town-centre.

  • Toscana nice and small Italian restaurant downtown.

  • Nan tong in the town centre. The only Chinese restaurant.

  • Etika Just opened. a delicatessen and take-away. has great sushi, on account of the splendid local fish.


The legal drinking age in the Faroes is eighteen. These days there is only one brand of Faroese beer: Føroya Bjór. Alcoholic drinks are very expensive. Light beer may be purchased in shops and unlicensed restaurants and cafés. Stronger beer, wine and spirits can only be purchased in the Government Monopoly stores in major towns and in licensed restaurants, cafés and bars etc.

Government Monopoly Stores

  • Streymoy Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins, Hoyvíksvegur 51, FO-100 Tórshavn

  • Eysturoy Rúdrekkasøla Landsins Heiðavegur, FO-600 Saltangará

  • Norðoyggjar Rúdrekkasøla Landsins Bøgøta 38, FO-700 Klaksvík

  • Sandoy Rúdrekkasøla Landsins á Mølini, FO-220 Skálavík

  • Suðuroy Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins Drelnes, FO-800 Tvøroyri

  • Vágar Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins Norðuri á heiðum, FO-370 Miðvágur


There are few bars and nightclubs outside of the capital. The bars in Tórshavn, are simple. Manhattan and Café Natúr are situated in the centre of Tórshavn. They both feature wooden interiors similar to English / Irish pubs, and have live music (usually in the form of a singer / guitarist) most nights. Another place is Cleopatra right in the town center which has a restaurant on the lower floor, with the main bar on the next floor up. The entrance to the bar is up some green felt stairs.

A popular nightclub is Rex, at third floor in the same building as "Havnar Bio", the cinema. Get there early, or you won't get in. It's very popular. You need to be 21 to get in.

For young people the nightclub Eclipse is a popular place to visit. It is the same as in most European cities. You have to be eighteen to get in, and you shouldn´t be older than 25!


For a cozy and old fashioned cafe, go to the Western harbour "Vágsbotn" - just below Tórshavn Dome and have a cup of coffee at café Karlsborg. However, it isn´t open at regular hours. Other Cafés include the very popular Gallarí Jinx in the centre of Tórshavn and Baresso at the shoppingcenter SMS. Hvonn is one of the most popular places at night, keeping it sophisticated and clean, and also includes a brasserie.



The best hotels in Tórshavn:

  • Hotel Føroyar, Oyggjarvegur 45, Po.O. Box 3303, FO-110 Tórshavn. fh@hotelforoyar.com. There is an excellent view over Tórshavn.

  • Hotel Hafnia, Áarvegur 4-10, PO.Box 107, FO-110 Tórshavn. hafnia@hafnia.fo. It is situated right in the town-center.

  • Hotel Tórshavn, Tórsgøta 4, P.O. Box 97, FO-110 Tórshavn. ht@hoteltorshavn.fo. It is situated down by the harbour.

  • Hotel Streym, Yviri við Strond 19, FO-100 Tórshavn. booking@hotelstreym.fo. Situated just about 10 minutes walk from town centre.

Recommendable outside the capital

  • Hotel Vágar, FO-380 Sørvágur, Vágar. It is situated by the airport.

  • hotel Eiði, Fo-470 Eiði, Eysturoy.


Prices vary slightly from around dkk 250 to dkk 300 per night/person for adults.

Here are some guesthouses in the capital, Tórshavn.

Guesthouses in Suðuroy.

Youth Hostels

The youth Hostels of the Faroes are spread across the islands. The limited geographical size of the Faroes ensures that the next Youth Hostel is always well within one day’s walking distance allowing visitors to travel from one Youth Hostel to the next one at will.

Accommodation is mostly in 2 to 6 rooms of limited size but of good standard. There are no dormitory accommodations at the Faroese Youth Hostels. Most of the Youth Hostels don´t have a regular reception with daily opening hours, so be sure to make arrangements with your host by e-mail or phone before arriving at the hostel.

Prices vary slightly around 130 to 160 DKK per night/person for adults. Variable discounts for children 2-11 years old. YHF members get a 20 DKK discount while groups get special discounts.

These are the seven Youth Hostels:

On the small islands you can find some nice guesthouses.

For further information, contact the local tourist information.



The Faroese currency is the Danish crown (in Danish: den danske krone), abbreviated kr. But since the Faroe Islands are a self-governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroese government prints its own currency, the Króna, although Danish coins are used. The coins come in 25 and 50 oyra (one quarter and one half of a Króna, respectively), 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 króna. Paper notes come in 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 króna. the exchange value on notes is equivalent to the Danish crown, and there is no service charge on exchange, as Danish notes are equally acceptable as the Faroese króna throughout the country. Take care to withdraw as minimal an amount of Faroese currency as necessary, as it can be very difficult (or impossible) to exchange the currency outside of the Faroe Islands, even in Denmark.

Faroese Notes
Faroese banknote series .


You should note that almost everything in the Faroe Islands is expensive. All consumer sales include a 25% sales tax but displayed prices are legally required to include this, so they are always exact. If you are from outside the EU/Scandinavia you can have some of your sales tax refunded when leaving the country.


Opening hours in the Faroes are longer than they used to be, but many smaller stores still close early on Saturday (usually at 2PM ) and nearly everything is closed on Sundays.

It is very modern to wear wool and woolen clothing on the Faroe Islands. You definitely will find trendy sweaters, jackets and (cheaper) hats and gloves. Check out the shops "Sirri" and "Guðrun og Guðrun".


The native and official language of the Faroes is Faroese, which is a West Nordic or West Scandinavian language. It is one of three insular Scandinavian languages descended from the Old Norse language spoken in Scandinavia in the Viking Age, the others being Icelandic and the extinct Norn, which is presumed to have been mutually intelligible with Faroese. Speakers of modern Scandinavian languages such as Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic may be able to puzzle out the written language, though spoken Faroese is generally not mutually intelligible with these languages.

Until the 15th century, Faroese had a similar orthography to Icelandic and Norwegian, but after the Reformation 1538, the ruling Danes outlawed its use in schools, churches and official documents. The islanders continued to use the language in ballads, folktales, and everyday life. This maintained a rich spoken tradition, but for 300 years the language was not written.

In 1854 ,Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb published a written standard for Modern Faroese that exists to this day. He produced an orthography consistent with a continuous written tradition extending back to Old Norse. The letter ð, for example, has no specific phonemes attached to it. Also, although the letter 'm' corresponds to the bilabial nasal as it does in English, it corresponds to the alveolar nasal (English 'm') in the dative ending -um (rhymes wth English room).

In 1937, Faroese replaced Danish as the official school language, in 1938 as church language, and in 1948 as national language by the Home Rule Act of the Faroes. Today, Danish is considered a foreign language, though it is a required subject for students from 3rd grade and up.

English is also widely spoken. Other Nordic languages are also understood.


  • Never say that you are in Denmark when visiting the islands, as the Faroese do not identify themselves as Danes, as they are a self-governing region under Denmark. Most Faroese people are very proud of their national heritage.

  • Take good care of the countryside and the birds.

  • Faroese people are known to be very polite.

Stay healthy

There are emergency wards at the hospital in Tórshavn, Klaksvík on Borðoy and Tvøroyri on Suðuroy. Doctors around the islands provide emergency assistance. A lot of hospital staff are residents of Denmark who spend periods on the Faroes to supplement the local health staff. The coast guard and Atlantic Airways have helicopters that may be used in emergencies. Police stations are found in most parts of the Country.

Health Insurance

Citizens of the Nordic countries and the UK are covered by their own national health insurance. It is advisable for citizens of other countries to take out travel health insurance.

Emergency or Fire

  • Dial 112


  • Tórshavn (by the SMS shopping centre) on Streymoy. Tel 341100

  • Klaksvík on Borðoy. Tel 455055

  • Runavík on Eysturoy. Tel 471200

  • Tvøroyri on Suðuroy. Tel 371076

Car Problems

For breakdown and immediate help on the two larger islands Streymoy and Eysturoy, contact the Fire Station in Tórshavn, telephone number 302100. It is advisable to arrange for insurance coverage for your car to save you the worry of a spoilt holiday due to unexpected garage bills.


  • Generally: The Faroe Islands are very safe.

  • No risk of natural disaster or animal attack.

  • Crime and traffic are minor risks.

  • As you drive along, please be aware that the sheep may be startled and leap out in front of you. If you happen to collide with a sheep, you should immediately contact the police in Tórshavn at telephone number 351448 for assistance.

  • Always be aware of fog if you go hiking.

Towns and villages

Right until the late 19th century, people spent most of their lives in the same village. Towns didn’t start to appear until very late. For instance, the capital, Tórshavn, only counted about 100 inhabitants in 1900, whereas today the number has escalated into nearly 20.000. In the Faroe Islands the traditional village was to a certain extent self-sufficient. Historically there was a limit to how many families it could support. When the fishing industry took off in 1872, it was the beginning of the end for the traditional way of life in the small villages as fishing replaced farming and the growing population chose to settle in the fast growing towns instead.

Even so, today there are still over a hundred villages in the Faroe Islands. Nearly every single one of them is situated near the ocean, and to new visitors they all seem to be very much alike. The houses are either painted in bright colours or the traditional black, whilst the roofs are often turf covered. The buildings are usually built very close to each other, which is very cosy. Every village is surrounded by a cultivated infield, and surrounding it is the uncultivated outfield. In most places the sheep occupy the outfield troughout the whole year.


  • Tórshavn - The capital and largest city

  • Klaksvík - The main industrial city

  • Hoyvík - Located north from Tórshavn and now effectively a suburb.

  • Tvøroyri - The second largest city on Suðuroy

  • Vágur - The largest town on Suðuroy

  • Runavík - The largest village in Eysturoy, kind of an agglomeration together with Toftir and Saltangrá

  • Fuglafjørður - Has a cultural centre that has become one of the main cultural attractions in Eysturoy


  • Kirkjubøur

  • Gjógv

  • Eiði

  • Saksun

  • Oyndarfjørður

  • Gásadalur

  • Bøur

  • Nólsoy

  • Viðareiði

  • Porkeri


Unemployment is the lowest in Scandinavia and wages are high.


There is widespread cellular phone and Internet access.

Contact & location

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(Tórshavn, one of the smallest capitals in the world)
Faroese (derived from Old Norse), Danish. English; Nordic; widely spoken - Danish krone (DKK), Faroese króna at par
Area1,399 sq km
Electricity230V/50Hz (European plug)
GovernmentSelf governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark
ImageRisin og Kellingin
Population47,246 (July 2006 est.)
ReligionEvangelical Lutheran