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Ein atemberaubender Anblick: Ein Wasserfall vor dem Ort Gasadalur, Alexander Erdbeer / shutterstock

Faroe Islands – archipelago of austere beauty

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If it had been up to them, the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands would have preferred to choose which of their neighbors they felt they belonged to. After all, geographically they are located almost exactly at the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean between Scotland, Norway and Iceland. Parliamentary democracy chose neither one nor the other and now feels comfortable under the patronage of the Danish queen. And by the way, the people of the Faroe Islands endure their typical rain with an astonishing serenity. After all, according to statistical values, the sky opens its floodgates over there on about three hundred days a year.

Lighthouse on Mykines, Faroe Islands
Lighthouse on Mykines, the westernmost island of the Faroe Islands, Image: Federica Violin / shutterstock

They are largely untouched islands that rise out of the sea. The Vikings must have liked this dramatic scenery of a rugged landscape with barren rocks, because they settled on the Faroe Islands as early as the ninth century, and the locals leave no doubt that they feel like true descendants of said Vikings. They call themselves Faroese and they adapt to the nature surrounding them with their direct nature. Some may smile at the somewhat old-fashioned way of life of these people, but the Faroese leave it as it always was. They cover the roofs of their houses with grass and let their sheep support them from time to time. They also detest traffic lights at their intersections, even in the capital Tórshavn there are only three.

Of the 18 islands of the Faroe Islands, 17 are inhabited – but some of them are so small and insignificant that hardly anyone stays there for a long time. This is the case on Stóra Dímun, where only seven inhabitants are registered. Narrow sound and a few fjords separate the various islands from each other and those who rent there as a vacationer come either by ferry or by helicopter. Actually, it doesn’t matter where you go on the Faroe Islands – the sea is always on your doorstep.

Faroe Islands, Kalsoy Island
The island of Kalsoy, Image: Leos Mastnik / shutterstock

The Bøsdalafossur waterfall and Lake Leitisvatn are extraordinarily photogenic. However, if you want to visit this area, you have to accept a five-kilometer hike and then be compensated by a magnificent landscape at the destination. If you believe a legend, then slaves were thrown from the rocks into the sea on the cliffs of Trælanípan in earlier times. Things are much more peaceful in the narrow harbour of Vestmanna on the main island of Streymoy, where the fishermen weigh anchor and try their luck on the stormy sea. Anglers are drawn to Lake Leynavatn on Streymoy, where not only the experts among the Petri disciples pull trout and salmon into their boats.

Island hopping has become fashionable in the Faroe Islands. Some holidaymakers even come by ferry – others with their hiking backpacks. The North Islands and the island of Varga are connected by tunnels, all others by smaller or larger ships. It is the austere beauty of this archipelago that fascinates all holidaymakers and makes them forget that the rays of the sun are often hidden behind heavy clouds. “Soon it will clear up again” – these words are heard very often on the Faroe Islands, and most holidaymakers puzzle over whether this is a consolation.

Ornithologists get their money’s worth in any weather, because the cute puffins and the gannets nest on the islands. Even on gloomy days, this small country is full of magic and spreads a very peculiar magic. Every now and then, a particularly beautiful and spruced up ship anchors at the quay of Tórshavn. It is the “Norge”, and then word gets around on the small and large islands of the Faroe Islands that the Queen from Denmark is visiting.

Travel information Faroe Islands

Capital Tórshavn
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy with self-government
parliamentary democracy
Currency Faroese crown
Area approx. 1,395.74 km²
Population approx. 50,318 (2017)
Languages Faroese and Danish
Electricity grid 220 volts, 50 Hz
Area code +298
Time zone UTC
UTC+1 Daylight Saving Time (March to October)