Halfway between Norway and Iceland lie the magical Faroe Islands, where cliffs rise up from the sea, fog gives way to rolling green landscapes, and tiny villages seem to appear out of nowhere. This is a place you need to witness to truly realize its beauty.

With its location in the North Atlantic, the 18 volcanic islands that make up the Faroe Islands archipelago can feel incredibly remote and yet they’re a short flight from the United Kingdom. Less than 50,000 people call the islands home, the majority of whom live on the island of Streymoy. And while you’ll encounter more sheep than people in many spots, the bridges and tunnels that connect most of the islands make them easy to explore. Plan to spend a few days at the end of a European vacation wandering about the islands or make them your whole destination and spend a week hiking, dining, and sightseeing.

færøerne: koltur

The island of Koltur | Photo: Jacob Eskildsen via Visit Faroe Islands

Village on the Faroe Islands | Photo: Daniele Casanova via Visit Faroe Islands

Village on the Faroe Islands | Photo: Daniele Casanova via Visit Faroe Islands

Adventure

Adrenaline seekers can spend their days on the Faroe Islands biking, diving, and fishing. There are opportunities to fly fish as well as go deep-sea fishing, where you can try your hand at catching cod, halibut, and even shark. Diving tours offer the chance to immerse yourself in the seabed fauna; just plan a trip for the winter when visibility is better if diving is the main focus of your vacation. Biking is becoming one of the best ways to explore the islands and cyclists will appreciate the accessibility of the roads and bike trails.

faroe islands

Photo: Gabriel Nivera via Visit Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Photo: Sergio Villalba via Visit Faroe Islands

Hiking & Birdwatching

For those that want to take a break from the sports while still being outside, the Faroe Islands are full of hiking spots. You’ll feel as though you’re walking through middle earth as you hike up to the waterfall of Múlafossu or climb to Slættaratindur, the highest peak on the islands. While you stand in awe of the landscape, make sure to spend a few minutes paying attention to the various species of birds. Birdwatching is one of the most popular pastimes on the Faroe Islands and no trip is complete without a visit to the island of Mykines where you can get up close and personal with puffins.

Faroe Islands

Photo: Gabriel Nivera via Visit Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands

Group of puffins | Photo: Absalon Hansen via Visit Faroe Islands

Dining & Shopping

Foodies know Faroe Islands cuisine even if they don’t think they do. In the past few years, Leif Sorensen has made Nordic food mainstream in the United States and you’ll see similarities on the Faroe Islands. Expect many dishes to center around seafood as at any given time you’re only three miles from the ocean. Other traditional Faroe Islands cuisine you should try includes fermented lamb, blood sausage, and stewed vegetables. Ask one of the locals, who all tend to be very friendly, for their recommended spots.  After getting your fill of local food there’s plenty of shopping to be done, especially near the capital, where you’ll find art galleries where local artisans have captured the beauty of the islands. Save room in your suitcase.

Faroe Islands

Photo: Høgni Heinesen via Visit Faroe Islands

Sightseeing

Around every bend is something to see on the Faroe Islands. Walk up to the Kallur Lighthouse or explore the ruined Fort Skansin to take in the medieval center of the Faroe Islands home to stone houses and St Olav’s Church built in 1111. Keep your itinerary lose and you’ll discover something new at every turn and return from your vacation with memories of a place unlike any other.

Faroe Islands

Photo: Christoffer Collin via Visit Faroe Islands

Featured image: TJØRNUVÍK via Visit Faroe Islands