Chasing Aurora: Exploring the Faroe Islands
Perched atop the shifting seas between the North of Europe and Iceland, lie the Faroe Islands – an archipelago of jagged peaks and lush valleys, steeped in centuries of Viking history. Situated in the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands offer a unique and fascinating terrain unlike any other, and for adventurers looking for something a bit off the beaten track, it is the perfect place to explore. From the unique wildlife and sprawling views to the traditional culture and cuisine, the Faroe Islands have something to offer everyone – and chasing Aurora, the elusive Northern Lights, is no exception. Beyond the rolling hills and lush valleys, the magic of nature awaits.
1. Introduction to the Faroe Islands
Nestled away in the North Atlantic, between Norway and Iceland, lies the beautiful collection of islands known as the Faroe Islands. Accompanied by dramatic scenery and rugged terrain, it’s no surprise that the Islands are a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers alike. An area steeped in rich culture, it’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in local traditions and explore all that the Faroe Islands have to offer.
Visit adorable villages
You won’t be short of places to visit on the Faroe Islands. From little villages with cute village churches, to bustling towns with lively bars – there’s something for everyone at the Faroe Islands! Take a stroll around the local village of Gjógv, which is known for its cozy wooly cafes and traditional turf roofs. Or take in some peaceful scenery in Vestmanna, one of the oldest fishing villages in the Faroe Islands.
Experience nature at its wildest
Head out of the towns and prepare to be blown away by the spectacular beauty of nature. Go on a nature walk through dramatic mountains and stunning waterfalls, catch a glimpse of the unique birds or take in stunning views of the open sea.
- Go on a whale watching safari
- Explore caves such as Tjornuvik
- Take a dip in lakes and ponds
- Soak up the beauty at north-west cape
Indulge in delicious cuisine while taking in the local culture. From boiled mutton and potatoes to dried fish, you will be able to try a variety of traditional delicacies. Visit local eateries like Løkka Køkken to enjoy a modern interpretation of the classic traditional Faroese dishes. You can also try out local cuisine by going fishing, where you can catch and prepare your very own fresh fish. Whatever your preference, the Faroe Islands have a genre of delicious cuisine to explore.
Immerse yourself in local traditions and culture
The Faroe Islands have a unique culture that dates back centuries. Head to one of the local concerts or theatre performances to experience traditional Faroese folklore for yourself. You can also take part in Viking festivals, such as the annual Ólavsøka event which happens in the beginning of July, where you can join in the age-old traditions of the Faroe Islands.
2. Nature and Outdoor Activities in the Faroe Islands
When your eyes meet with the dreamy horizon of the Faroe Islands – the night sky is illuminated with vibrant greens, deep blues and peach-tinted shades in a display of mesmerizing natural beauty. Whether you come from an urban setting or just want a break from city life, the serene nature of the Faroe Islands is the perfect backdrop for chasing the northern lights.
Explore the wild side with these activities:
- Mountain Hiking – Embark on a journey through the grandeur of the mountain peaks to observe the mesmerizing beauty of the Faroe Islands. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
- Sea Kayaking – Take a sea kayaking adventure around unique bays and fjords of the islands. An unforgettable experience!
- Seal Watching – Keep your eyes peeled for species such as the common seal and harbour porpoises in their natural habitat.
If you’re travelling in winter, be sure to experience wintery fun such as husky dog sledding and snowshoeing through the mountains!
3. Sights and Sounds of The Faroes
The Faroe Islands are a playground for the senses. Aside from the dazzling Northern Lights, the landscape has plenty of visual delights. Here on the islands, you can witness breathtaking sea cliffs, magnificent mountains with snow-capped peaks, and rolling hills. The sea and sky around the islands blend together to form an ever-changing landscape of blue hues.
The Faroe Islands are also home to a variety of sounds. From the call of the seabird to the crashing waves on the shore, no sound is mundane in this paradise. The Faroese people have also made their mark by practicing their traditional singing style, askingamal, in which several singers sing a single song in unison. As the exciting rhythms drift up into the mountains, it’s hard to not feel the magic of the islands.
The Faroe Islands are full of surprises that are sure to fill your senses with joy and awe. So step into the world of the Faroe Islands and experience it all for yourself!
4. Cultural and Historical Highlights
The Faroe Islands are home to some of Europe’s most unique cultural and historical sites, with plenty of exciting activities that you can do while exploring its rugged terrain. From the old settlement ruins of Gjógv, to the spectacular Tjørnuvík Black Church, there is an energy and charm on the islands that you can’t find anywhere else.
- Gjógv: Located on the northern tip of the Eysturoy Island, Gjógv is a picturesque, former settlement with an array of incredible sea cliffs, round rocks and shallow lava. This is the perfect spot for a peaceful hike, an overland tour, or some unforgettable kayaking tours.
- Tjørnuvík Black Church: This beautiful, iconic church is built entirely from black basalt and is considered one of the Faroe Islands most stunning and impressive sights. It’s also home to an incredible graveyard, with ancient relics and headstones that tell stories of its long history.
- Kallur Lighthouse: The beautiful Kallur Lighthouse is perched on a grassy outcropping just off the coast, and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Faroes. Make sure you pay a visit to the nearby fishing village, where you can sample some of the region’s fresh seafood.
For a truly unique cultural experience, take a tour around the old Kvívík Village in the northern part of the islands. This historic village is home to a centuries-old community of fishermen and farmers, and is a great place to get a feel for the traditional way of life on the Faroes.
Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the old Viking City of Tórshavn. This old capital is full of quaint cobblestone streets, captivating markets and lovely cafés, making it one of the Faroes’ top tourist destinations.
5. Dining and Accommodation Recommendations
The Faroe Islands offer a variety of cozy and welcoming places to stay. Here are a few padding recommendations:
- Blevins Guesthouse: This cozy guesthouse is located in the quaint fishing village of Gjógv. It’s a perfect spot to rest your head after a day of hiking or exploring the local area.
- Hotel Føroyar: Located in the center of Tórshavn, Hotel Føroyar is a perfect option for convenience and comfort. Modern rooms and suites come with complimentary breakfast each morning.
- Hotel Klaksvík: Those looking for something a bit quieter should check out this hotel. Located in the small fishing village of Klaksvík on the northern coast of the Faroe Islands, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
The Faroese cuisine is simple, wholesome, and wonderfully comforting. Here are a few restaurant recommendations to make your trip even more memorable:
- Hoyma: This stunning restaurant serves delicious Faroese and Scandinavian cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere. The views of the surf rolling in along the pristine coast are mesmerizing.
- Café Natur: This cozy restaurant in the heart of Tórshavn is beloved by both locals and visitors. Enjoy freshly made sandwiches and tasty Faroese pastries.
- KOKS Gastro Bar: A much more upscale restaurant than the others, KOKS features award-winning cuisine using local ingredients. The menu changes often based on what in season.
The Faroe Islands are a captivating and unique place. Our week of exploring the breathtakingly beautiful sights and sounds of this archipelago has been an incredible journey. Six moments stood out:
- The sunrise on Leitisvatn Lake: The way the sun painted the mountains in its first morning hues was a visual delight.
- The Skælingsfjall hike: The stunning view of the shattered sea was worth every last step and the cliffside waterfall was an added bonus.
- Tjørnuvík’s first light: Taking in the breathtaking sights as the shimmering waters glowed under the first hints of sun in Tjørnuvík was something we will never forget.
- The cliffs of the Vestmanna Bird Cliffs: The sheer wonder of giant sea birds soaring between the rugged cliffs reminded us of the delicate balance between humankind and nature.
- The rainbows of Kirkjubøur: Capturing an unforgettable moment of the raging sea against a backdrop of rainbow coloured sky was an experience we will never forget.
- Klaksvík’s majestic harbour: Admiring the vibrant boats and their reflections in the waters of the harbour made us believe in magic for a while.
We have certainly found our own delicate balance of wonder and bliss in Chasing Aurora’s exploration of the Faroe Islands. We are sure that all who join us in this journey will too.
After my journey through the Faroe Islands I feel a profound sense of peace and hope. I believe that countries like the Faroe Islands can offer us something that no other place can: a reminder of the incredible beauty that can exist in a seemingly small and remote corner of the world. By broken-off stones that graffiti the hills, and everything in-between, this is a place that will forever remain stored deep in my thoughts and memories.