Runavík, Faroe Islands
The Norwegian 19th century writer Henrik Wergeland may have made a premature statement when he claimed that “Nowhere is the grass greener.” Wergeland had probably never seen the Faroe Islands when putting pen to paper to write those words. If he had, he might have been less certain when claiming that Norway’s grass is the greenest.
The many different shades of green is one of the first things that visitors will notice when arriving to the Faroe Islands. That, and the grand landscape of the 18 islands that together constitute the Faroes.
Eysturoy, the second largest of the Faroe Islands, offers visitors many opportunities to marvel at the spectacular landscape. In the northern part of the island the town of Gjógv is one of the true sights.
At the other end of the island, at the southernmost tip of Eysturoy, the port of Runavík is where cruise ships call on the island.
Runavík is really a conurbation, consisting of 14 different settlements along the east bank of the Skálafjordur (a fjord). The total number of inhabitants here is slightly less than 4,000. That’s more than a third of the entire population on Eysturoy, which totals some 11,000 individuals.
A quaint fishing port, Runavík’s greatest asset is perhaps its ideal location as the gateway to everything that Eysturoy has to offer when it comes to wildlife and outdoor experiences. That includes everything from diving in the clear waters around Eysturoy, to tours of the island and its many sights. Among those is the Slættaratindur, which, at 2,890 feet/882 meters in height is the highest peak in the archipelago.
Runavík has been an important fishing port since its foundation in 1916. More recently, the port has also come to play a role in connection with the North Sea oil industry. The supply base for the exploration drillings in the Faroese waters is also situated in Runavík.
Cruise ships dock at Kongshavn, which translates to King’s Harbor. This is the part of the port of Runavík that the King of Denmark made use of in older days, whenever visiting the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands is officially an autonomous constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark. Even before the Danish King started to visit, the Vikings made use of the harbor. It was considered the safest in the region.
The spectacular landscape is the main draw here, so it might be a good idea to dress with outdoor experiences and trekking in mind. Remember that the weather can change rapidly. So rapidly, in fact, that English soldiers on the Faroe Islands during the Second World War referred to the islands as “The Land Of Maybe.” For more information on what to do, you might want to visit one of the two tourist information centers on Eysturoy. There is one in Runavík and one in Fuglafjørdur
Various shore excursions can be available from Runavík.
Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, is some 37 miles/60 kilometers away by car or coach.