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These fair Isles

Torshawn city the capital of The Faroe Islands Denmark

Why a trip to the Faroe Islands might be just the adventure you need.  

Set adrift in the North Atlantic, nestling desolately between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands possess a rare magic and mystery.

Comprising of 18 rugged volcanic isles, this land is far from desolate; in fact, it is teeming with both birdlife and a unique brand of Scandinavian culture borne from the ancient land and uncompromising weather.

Why visit?

Fortune favours the brave in this green and rocky land, and those who adore the great outdoors will thrive as they navigate the sweeping fells and vertiginous mountains. The weather may be wild, but that’s what makes the Faroes a birdwatcher’s paradise, as colonies of puffins, storm petrels, guillemots and fulmars all bustle for their supper above and below the dizzying cliffs of Vestmanna.

Beyond a breathless beauty, this epic archipelago offers much in terms of culture. To make up for the bleakness, visitors can drink up the multi-coloured fishing villages which cling to the furious coastline – a most promising sign of life – and diminutive though it may be, the capital Tórshavn (pronounced, roughly, ‘Toe-ur-shaown’) has a charming medieval quarter, Tinganes, and a cosmopolitan array of bars and restaurants.

One might be surprised in fact, at the astonishing quality of cuisine waiting to greet you throughout the isles. Unfortunately, Michelin-starred eatery KOKS is closed until 2024, but their sister restaurant ROKS is a seafood and wine bar serving sea urchins, mussels, crab, langoustines and an impressive roster of wines, positioned in downtown Tórshavn – KOKS was in a slightly less-accessible location near Lake Leynavatn and required an off-road vehicle to access it!

Though part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe islands are actually self-governed and within their small, isolated community have nurtured an impressive art and music scene. Sip blueberry shnapps while listening to a live band at Blàbar, Tórshavn’s legendary jazz and blues bar – sure to warm the cockles after a day of fighting bracing winds while hiking.

Where to stay

  • Most of the hotels on the Faroe Islands are located in the capital. These included the highly rated Hilton Garden Inn, Havgrím Seaside Hotel 1948 and Hotel Føroyar. The benefit of staying in Tórshavn is that you can easily access other main islands via tunnels and bridges, while outliers are served by ferries and helicopters.

Top tips

  • It is important to book your accommodation, restaurants and any specific trips you would like to do well in advance, especially if visiting during the high season between June and September.
  • May to September are the driest and warmest months, though prepare for rain and wind at any time – a good waterproof is essential.
  • Outside capital Tórshavn, cafés are sparse; pick up coffee, snacks (plus petrol) at service stations.

Head to the tourist board website for practical advice and inspiration ( Fly to Vágar international airport on the twice-weekly direct service from Edinburgh with Atlantic Airways or via Copenhagen with SAS Scandinavian Airlines.

Image: shutterstock_1410859400

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