Solo Travel in the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are incredibly safe for solo females. Not only do they have a very low crime rate but the Faroese are known for their relaxed attitude, warmth and hospitality. Because of their remoteness it’s hard to meet others here so you need to be comfortable with your own company but if you love the outdoors and old traditions then travelling solo in the Faroe Islands is for you.
About the Faroe Islands
They have been dubbed the world’s favourite unspoiled island destination by National Geographic Traveler, and the New York Times thinks they “maybe the most curious place left on Earth” but what’s their appeal to solo travellers? Well, if you’re looking for traditional, modest living with more greenery than you could ever imagine, sheer cliff walls and twice as many sheep as inhabitants then the remoteness of the Faroe Islands will definitely appeal. These mysterious islands are situated between Norway, Iceland and Scotland and because of their geographical spot the weather can be very changeable marking the best time to visit these islands during the tourist season; between May to September.
The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and are made up of 18 islands with 16 of them inhabited. Wooden houses dot the green pastures and many of them are hard to spot with grass roofs that you may be lucky enough to spot a local mowing. The islanders are however not Danish and this is the worse insult you could say to a Faroese. They have their own identity and their own traditions such as old folk tales and the Faroese chain dance. The locals live off the sea and the islands are one of the last places where whaling still takes place. Although extremely controversial, this tradition has stayed symbolic within their culture and is under much pressure to be stopped. Read more here…
Torshavn is one of the smallest capitals in the world and is the city where the action is. You’ll often find rowers in the harbour or people in the cafes drinking the rhubarb beer or Rinkusteinur; a beer brewed with volcanic rocks. This is where you’ll find the Historical and Natural Museum (although not actually in the centre), and SMS: the largest shopping centre on the islands as well as a 200 year old cathedral.
Within the capital is Tinganes, a tiny peninsula which was the original site of the Viking parliament. There’s not that much to see here except the harbour, colourful buildings and quaint shops but it is the hub of the Faroes.
Travel to the Faroe Islands by plane and the first port of call is Vagar, an island with the largest lakes in the Faroes. There are a few sights to see on Vagar but bear in mind that the attractions are modest and traditional and represent the island’s culture. Mykines is a seabirds paradise. The islands are steeped in legends and ask any local about the “seal woman” of Kalsoy, a finger-shaped island nicknamed “the flute” and they’ll tell you that a seal woman was captured here and forced to marry a farmer’s son. She then later found her seal skin and returned to the sea!
Visit Roykstovan for the world’s oldest (continually) inhabited house, home to seventeen generations of Faroese sheep farmers or Duvugardar for the Saksun Folk Museum, a house turned museum with the rooms preserved as they've been for centuries in a pretty location. You can trace the Viking’s footsteps at the Saga museum at Vestmanna but prepare for some gory historic scenes. The ‘friendly occupation’ by the British in World War II is documented at the museum in Miovagur. The Faroese are proud of their traditions but a visit to the smithy at Trollanes is only for those who enjoy watching a nail being created.
The natural harbour at Gjogy in the Dalsa Valley is definitely worth seeing. Its tall moss-covered cliffs are breathtaking and you can choose to hike to the top or just stare out to sea. A stream runs through the village and there’s a quaint church with a gift of silver from the British government but you may have to get the key from the village to enter it.
Beyond the village is Europe’s second highest vertical sea cliff where the land ends at Cape Enniberg standing 882 meters sheer. This is a place for serious hiking but if you prefer somewhere on the lower ground then the walk to the lighthouse at Kollur is less challenging. Walking trails are very rustic so expect to be walking amongst sheep or the Huldufólk, another Faroese myth of the hidden people who live within the giant boulders.
For those more into the spiritual side of travelling, Kirkjubour is the spiritual heart of the Faroes and on a clear day you can see across to the islands of Hestur and Koltur. The remains of St Magnus Cathedral is a great place to contemplate the meaning of life. For the adventurous and those who aren’t afraid of cold water, you can choose from dry suit swimming, sea kayaking or jump aboard a historic schooner for some sea fishing. If you prefer to be on land, try rappelling, zip wiring or just ride a Faroese or Icelandic horse across the fells. You can take a boat ride and go back in time to Nolsoy, one of the islands only accessible by boat with a very quiet existence.
The Faroe Islands have more than 260 species of birds and the bird cliffs at Vestmanna are the place to spot puffins, gulls and other species. Even if you’re not a bird lover, the boat takes you through colourful caverns (weather depending) and if you’re lucky enough you may even spot a seal! From the boat you get a glimpse of an old ghost town which was abandoned after WW2. Visit in the summer and you can join the locals at the music festival in Klaksvik. See G Festival for more details.
If you’re looking for a sunbathing holiday then this isn’t really the place to come. The Faroe Islands are a place to learn about traditions, don your walking boots and windproof jacket and just explore…
If you’re outside the EU you can take advantage of the tax free shopping and get 15% back when you leave the Faroe Islands.
The pilot whale season is between July – August so look at avoiding if you don’t want to see any whales harmed.
The weather is very changeable so ensure you take a fleece and a rainjacket and check the weather if you’re going to hike as the mist can soon come in. Take a mobile phone, compass and a map to be on the safe side.
How long do I need?
Three days is plenty to see the main islands but you may want to stay longer to experience the real outdoors and laid back lifestyle.
Faroe Islands Accommodation
You’ll find a few hotels in the Faroe Islands with the majority in the capital, as well as an apartment in Miovagur. Camping is an option for accommodation here but you may prefer to stay in a local b&b or guest house, providing a more personal touch. To meet locals consider Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
GatG Favourite – Hotel Foroyar, Torshavn
Offering great views over the harbour, and an ideal spot for a nature walk, Hotel Foroyar is a friendly hotel in the capital with all the quiet you need for a relaxing holiday plus they do an excellent breakfast too. Prices from £90 p/n. Find Out More
GatG Favourite – Hotel Hafnia, Torshavn
We love this hotel in the Old Town of Torshavn. It’s really close to the town centre and shops and restaurants plus it has a sauna and a roof terrace with amazing views of the city and harbour. Prices from £107 p/n. Find Out More
Faroe Island Tours
Because the island draws a quieter type of traveller you wont find tour companies such as G Adventures or Intrepid Travel in the Faroe Islands. If you hire a car it is easy to do your own tour around the island, then just hop on a boat tour to explore more of the islands.
Here is our list of recommended companies for package tours and also day tours for women visiting the islands alone.
- GreenGate Incoming – Arrange sustainable tours to the Faroe Islands.
- Tora Tourist Traffic – Offers day tours to the Northern Islands, as well as ferry trips to Sandoy and other places.
- Puffin.fo – Arranges day tours to the famous Birdcliffs of Vestmanna.
- Nordlysid – Experience the Faroe Islands by sea on a sailing trip.
Getting Around the Faroe Islands
Getting between the islands has been made incredibly easy with bridges and tunnels connecting the majority of the islands. Local bus services are good and free buses operate in Torshavn, click here for bus timetables.
Ferries will take you to the more remote islands only accessible by helicopter or ferry, click here for buses, ferries and helicopters. Travel all over the islands by bus and boat with a 4 or 7 day travel card which is available from the airport. If you choose to hire a car, sub-sea tunnels have a road toll which you can pay at a service station.
To hire a car we recommend pre-booking car hire with Avis so you can collect your car when you arrive at the airport.
From the Airport
All flights to the Faroe Islands fly into Vagar airport.
Vagar – An airport shuttle runs from hotels in Torshavn at 0630 and 1300 each day and takes 45 minutes or pre-book an airport taxi the night before. Rent a car from the airport or if you’re feeling really flush take a helicopter to one of the other islands. Contact Atlantic Airways for details.
Travelling onwards (check visas before you travel)
To Iceland – Ferries operate directly to Iceland. Check Smyril Line for timetables.
To Denmark – Only accessible by plane.
To England – Only accessible by plane.
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? It is becoming more widespread but only if you feel it is good service.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
- Any ATMs? In the capital yes.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Right.
- Good for vegetarians? The main dishes are lamb and seafood so there are a lack of vegetarian restaurants. You can buy vegetables in supermarkets which is an option for creating your own meals.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
*This is accurate at time of writing but we appreciate things can change. Please let us know if you experience anything otherwise. Thanks…