Even for many seasoned travelers, the Faroe Islands remain a mystery. The islands — about halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean — are just an odd spot on the map when flying between the US and Europe.
Those who make the effort to visit will be rewarded with wild, windswept landscapes, traditional coastal communities and rare wildlife.
If it were easier to get to the rugged Faroe Islands, there would be far more visitors. However, new direct flight routes from Norway and France have brought more visitors to the islands than ever before.
New hotels in the capital, Toshavn, keep up with demand, especially in summer. But this is not a busy place. Even in the height of summer, it’s easy to find total seclusion in untouched nature.
If you want to visit the Faroe Islands, there are direct flights from Denmark to Vágar Airport all year round and many other seasonal options. The more adventurous can also arrive by ship from Denmark or Iceland.
Faroe Islands by air
Atlantic Airways is the island’s main airline with daily flights to and from Copenhagen in Denmark all year round. Most days there is an early morning, early afternoon and early evening departure to Torshavn. Return times are typically early morning, mid-afternoon, and late evening.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) also operates flights from Copenhagen. Although not as frequent as Atlantic, SAS departures can come in handy when transferring from SAS flights or other Star Alliance member airlines including Air Canada, Lufthansa and United.
However, SAS flights vary depending on the season. In spring and summer there are daily flights up to six days a week, but in late autumn and winter there are several weeks without service.
Atlantic Airways also operates direct flights from other parts of Denmark and the Norwegian capital Oslo. Reykjavik in Iceland, Edinburgh in Scotland and Paris in France, among others, are served by Atlantic on certain weekdays, although the latter two are seasonal services.
Finally, the Norwegian airline Widerøe operates twice-weekly flights from Bergen on Norway’s west coast to the Faroe Islands.
If you’re arriving by plane, remember that the capital, Torshavn, is a 40-minute drive from Vágar Airport. If you wish to rent a car during your stay in the Faroe Islands, it is best to arrange this in advance from the airport.
Faroe Islands by ship
While flying is by far the easiest option for international visitors, arriving by ship adds a touch of old-time romance.
The Faroese Smyrill Line operates the year-round car ferry Norröna from Hirtshals in Denmark to Seyðisfjörður in Iceland, stopping at Torshavn in both directions.
This opens up the possibility for a truly special Nordic itinerary. Fly to Reykjavik, spend a few days enjoying the southern part of Iceland before sailing to the Faroe Islands. Sail on to Denmark and return home from Copenhagen by plane, or continue by ferry to Norway.
Smyrill also offers various packages that include three nights in the Faroe Islands and/or seven or 14 nights in Iceland.