A Travellerspoint blog

June 2019

Faroe Islands - Travel Tips

sunny 12 °C
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Tórshavn Harbour

Tórshavn Harbour

The Faroe Islands were a step into the unknown in a lot of ways. I have visited the Nordic countries quite a lot in recent years, so I wondered what the similarities and differences would be. I expected high prices to be one similarity, and assumed they would be up to double the equivalent in the UK.

As background, the Faroes are still part of Denmark, but very much a self governing part. They set their own immigration rules, for example.

They are not part of the EU. From that I assumed they are not part of Schengen. Maybe I am wrong. Iceland is part of Schengen (but not in the EU) and when I flew to Reykjavík from the Faroes I did not go through passport control at either end.

Confused?

I flew in and out with Atlantic Airways, the national carrier. It has a fleet of 3 Airbuses and 2 helicopters. Both flights were excellent, as were my experiences of Vágar Airport. It is small but modern and user friendly. You will have to walk across the tarmac to get between plane and terminal, so be ready for whatever the weather might throw at you.

Vágar Airport

Vágar Airport

My flight cost £122 from Edinburgh to Vágar and £237 to Reykjavík. Both took just over an hour. They give you complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks. Beer and sandwiches have to be paid for. Mine cost 70DKK (£8 or €9).

To get from Vágar to Tórshavn you have the choice between a public bus, a shuttle or a taxi. It is a 40-45 minute journey by car, and no doubt a bit more by bus. I got the shuttle, as booked by my hotel. It was 200DKK each way (£24/€26).

Apparently Tórshavn is prone to fog, so building an airport there would have been counter productive.

I stayed at the 62⁰N Hotel, which was the Havn until fairly recently. It was very good, but lacked any public space - as in a bar, coffee shop or lounge area. The breakfast room becomes a restaurant at night, and is closed off in between time.

62⁰N

62⁰N

The cost was 1,395 DKK per night, breakfast included. That’s about £167/€186 as at today’s exchange rates. Breakfast was excellent quality, but the choice was not huge and hot food costs extra. Remember, almost all food has to be imported. My guess is only the smoked salmon would have been sourced locally.

The hotel cost was high, but I assumed I might spend more time in it than might usually be the case if the weather was poor. Accordingly, I wanted a certain degree of comfort. I saw two big new hotels under construction, so the high prices in small places like 62⁰N Hotel may come under pressure.

I did not eat in any restaurants - I was happy to get takeaways and eat picnic dinners given how good the weather turned out to be.

I went to a pub once, and it was lovely. On the other hand, it was 70DKK for a small beer. Like the Nordic countries, alcohol is highly taxed and not readily available - the state monopoly shop is where you have to go to buy for home consumption.

Awaiting Empties

Awaiting Empties

I had two great hiking excursions and as a result I did not buy any of the packaged excursions which are available. I prefer hiking up a hill on my own to sitting in a sweaty minibus listening to a guide narrate every tedious little fact.

Sunday Hike

Sunday Hike

My big home grown excursion was a flight on Atlantic Airways scheduled helicopter service to Klaksvík. The 12 minute flight cost 200 DKK and the bus back added 90 DKK (£11 or €12) to the day out. The weather over in Klaksvík meant the hike I was planning there had to be abandoned before it started.

Following the Trail

Following the Trail

Many visitors rent a car to get around the islands, and I certainly thought about it even for part of my stay. As well as giving the flexibility which a group excursion removes, a car will get you to places which the public buses do not serve. It will also protect you from the weather.

I was fortunate with the weather, but I had chosen the end of June as the time to visit in the hope it would give me the best chance of striking lucky. It also meant 24 hour daylight, and so your “day out” is as long as you want it to be.

Koltur

Koltur

I am delighted I chose to visit the islands. The scenery is just amazing. It was an expensive choice, but I knew roughly what to expect and it is not likely to be a place I visit frequently.

Posted by IainT 10:10 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged planes island transport flights airlines faroes torshavn islandlife klaksvík nólsoy Comments (0)

Reykjavík

sunny 12 °C
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Hallgrímskirkja

Hallgrímskirkja

Yesterday I moved north, and a bit west.

My time in the Faroe Islands came to an end, and I flew to Iceland. My airport shuttle collected me at 6:50 for the 40 minute drive to Vágar Airport and under an almost cloudless sky, it was really beautiful.

Atlantic Airways at Vágar

Atlantic Airways at Vágar

During my 3 days/4 nights in the Faroes I can only think of one disappointment, and that was the weather which greeted me in Klaksvík. Even that was more that offset by the enjoyment of the helicopter flight and the bus journey back to Tórshavn.

Atlantic Airways did the honours to get me to Keflavik on time and in good shape. The views of Vágar as we took off were even more amazing than on arrival - the sunshine made the difference!

My first sight of Iceland was the Vatnajökull icecap from the plane window. I hope it was an auspicious beginning.

Iceland Approaches

Iceland Approaches

By 11:30 I was in Reykjavík city centre, making that decision between the public bus and a taxi to get to my Airbnb flat. Let me just mention that Iceland does not seem to be any cheaper than the Faroes.

Reykjavík City Centre

Reykjavík City Centre

The afternoon was about orientation - the suburb where the flat is located, and downtown Reykjavík. It is a 10 minute cycle between them.

23:45 in Reykjavík

23:45 in Reykjavík

The evening highlight was sunset at midnight.

Quite a special day.

Posted by IainT 04:08 Archived in Iceland Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises flights iceland airlines reykjavik faroes torshavn klaksvík Comments (0)

Nólsoy

sunny 11 °C
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View South

View South


What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday I took the ferry across to Nólsoy and spent 3 hours hiking across the island in the sun.

The Hike

The Hike

The end result was a sunburnt face. The top temperature was 12⁰c, the latitude here is 62⁰N, and I got sunburnt.

The Village

The Village

Well, it was worth it. I got fantastic scenery, a sleepy little village (island population is 217), a ton of fresh air and a lot of exercise.

East Coast of Nólsoy

East Coast of Nólsoy

You can see Nólsoy from Tórshavn and the ferry takes only 20 minutes. The cost is 40 DKK (£5/€5) return, so it is cheap too.

The Ternan

The Ternan

An island legend is about the daughter of a Scottish king who eloped after getting pregnant with a man her father did not approve of. They fled to Nólsoy and settled there. The ruins of their home can still be seen - called Prinsessutoftir.

No Fear

No Fear

The day’s other big event was going to a pub in Tórshavn. A pub with a grass roof.

Mikkeller

Mikkeller

A pub where a small beer cost me 70 DKK (£8/€9). Fortunately pub and beer were both excellent.

Delicious

Delicious

Sunset last night was 23:20. The birds’ dawn chorus starts at 2am. If it gets dark at all, it is while I am asleep.

Posted by IainT 01:09 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged island faroes torshavn islandlife nólsoy Comments (0)

Klaksvík

rain 9 °C
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Klaksvík Helipad

Klaksvík Helipad

Yesterday I resumed my love affair with Atlantic Airways. I took their 11:22 helicopter service from here (Tórshavn) to Klaksvík. It was all over very quickly - 12 minutes.

Now this might sound extravagant or even pretentious, but the cost was 200 DKK - a bit over £23 (€26). The bus back took 2 hours and cost 90 DKK.

Klaksvík is the second largest town in the islands after Tórshavn, with a population of 5,000. That makes it quite a metropolis around here. It is on Borðoy, one of the northern islands. My plan for the day was to see the town and hike up one of the hills overlooking it.

Tórshavn Helipad

Tórshavn Helipad

Sadly, the lovely sunny morning in Tórshavn turned into a wet, windy one “up north”. I was on the next bus back. My time spent in Klaksvík was about 90 minutes.

There was good news, however!

The helicopter flight was just fantastic. A real bargain at that price. The bus journey was great too, with astonishing scenery all the way - including passing across Eysturoy, which is the island between Borðoy and Streymoy (where Tórshavn is).

Bus View

Bus View

Back in Tórshavn the weather was still sunny and a pleasant 12⁰c.

Atlantic Airways operates two of these 15 seat helicopters. The route varies and on some days there are no flights, but the service I took starts at the airport in Vágar, and then island hops around four of the small ones as well as stopping at Tórshavn and Klaksvík.

As far as Klaksvík is concerned, the wind and rain coming in off the sea made it impossible to take a view on the place. After wandering around for an hour after getting off the helicopter I was just getting fed up - although my waterproofs were doing their job well.

Posted by IainT 01:54 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged island transport flights airlines faroes torshavn islandlife klaksvík Comments (0)

Atlantic Airways

all seasons in one day 9 °C
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Southern Islands

Southern Islands

It is a rare event for me to travel on a “new” airline for the first time, but it just happened.

Yesterday I took Atlantic Airways’ 17:25 from Edinburgh to the Faroe Islands.

The 80 minute flight was a lot of fun, especially on approach to the airport at Vágar. Spectacular.

Atlantic has a fleet of 3 Airbuses - a 320 and two 319s - plus 2 Leonardo AW 139 helicopters, so its route network is limited. Bergen, Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Paris feature, as well as Edinburgh.

My Thursday flight was no more than half full and made the experience extra laid back and comfortable. Like most airlines tea and coffee are free, but a beer and a sandwich involves getting the wallet out.

Good Food

Good Food

Mine set me back 70 DKK, but both were excellent. Yes indeed, an excellent airline sandwich! The filling was mostly salmon and that is a Faroese speciality, so my guess is the food was not loaded in Edinburgh.

We had great views of the Forth bridges just after takeoff and Burghead on the Moray coast as we headed north.

Forth Bridges

Forth Bridges

The sun was shining on the southern islands of the Faroes as we descended towards our destination. I had paid extra to book a window seat at the back hoping for this, but my expectations were exceeded by a long way.

Final Approach

Final Approach

The weather was not so nice at Vágar, but the surrounding hills made it one of the most interesting landings. It was dry at the airport so we got into the terminal without incident!

As you might expect, it is a very small airport but new and (mostly) user friendly.

Landed

Landed


Vágar is the name of the island it is on, and from there to the capital Tórshavn (on the next island - Streymoy) is a 30 minute taxi ride.

Tórshavn

Tórshavn

It was amazing too, and includes the 4.5 km tunnel between the islands.

Posted by IainT 00:17 Archived in Faroe Islands Tagged bridges planes food scotland flights airlines faroes torshavn islandlife vágar Comments (0)

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