Rugged and remote, Torshavn and the Faroe Islands serve up exceptional nature and a vibrant culture.
The Vikings were among the first to set foot on the Faroes. Imagine, if you will, the excitement of these northerners as they saw the islands appear on the horizon. The sweeping views of these remote and rugged islands may not have mattered as much to the utilitarian Vikings as they do to today’s cruise ship passengers.
In fact, National Geographic Traveler magazine recognized the Faroe Islands for their beauty in a 2007 survey, noting the “superb glaciated landscape with improbably steep slopes.”
The Faroes are situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Great Britain and Iceland.
Torshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands, and it is in Torshavn that most cruise ships dock. You can reach most parts of the islands in 90 minutes or less. Outdoor activities in various forms are what many of the visitors who come to the Faroe Islands are looking for. This is an ideal destination for hiking, bird watching, fishing, and even diving. Torshavn also offers a good range of restaurants – particularly focusing on the Nordic kitchen.
Cruise ships dock within walking distance of the town, enabling disembarking passengers the possibility to explore Torshavn on foot. The town itself combines the old and the modern, the Old Town dating from the 17th century. Torshavn is situated on the island of Streymoy. The largest of the Faroe Islands, Streymoy has a total population of some 21,000 people.
If you have the slightest interest in birds and bird watching, you should not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy bird-watching at its best. Nólsoy, an island close to Torshavn, features the world’s largest colony of storm petrel. Part of the reason why bird watching is so good on the Faroe Islands is the unobstructed views: there are few trees on the islands.
Tinganes. These flat cliffs at the cape that divides the port of Torshavn in two parts once were the center of political life in the Faroes. Tinganes was where the settlers from Western Norway met for ther annual gathering – the Thing.
Kirkjubø is the southernmost village on Streymoy. This has historically been an important place, as the bishop used to have his seat here. Visit the remnants of the Múrurin, a cathedral that was built in the early 1300s. The Ólavskirkjan is even older, built in the 12th century and still in use.
Faroese evening. Traditional Faroese evenings are arranged in June and July, featuring Faroese chain dance, food from the islands, and a variety of entertainment. More details can be obtained from the Tourist Information Office.
Local artists, designers and handicraft. The islanders are rightfully proud of the art and design conceived here. Inspired by their heritage and the scenic surroundings, artists and designers from the Faroe Islands have been recognized worldwide. See also below under Museums.
A selection of shore excursions is available on the Faroe Islands, ranging from coach tours to hiking, horse riding and trips with local boats. Torshavn is the natural starting point for a visit to the islands.
Torshavn and the Faroe Islands are not really close to anything else. The distance to Scotland is some 186 miles (300 kilometers). To the north, Iceland lies within the reasonable distance of 267 miles (430 kilometers). Western Norway is farther away: 370 miles (600 kilometers).
Contributed by Andreas Lundgren
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