Apparently I can’t just get enough of the Scandinavia hygge life after Svalbard. I’m now back on another lesser-visited Scandinavian island autonomous territory, during one of the most popular times to visit in the year when the weather stays (relatively) stable from June to August.
What made this trip felt essential was that instead of the $1400-$1600 airfare customary for an NYC to FAE (or from any city in the USA for that matter) itinerary, they were hanging steady at $600-$800 for many many months. Was it from the SAS strike/bankruptcy? The reopening of Scandinavia after COVID without any restrictions or required testing/proof of vaccination? Whatever the reason was, I didn’t want to miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
So this afternoon I set off for an afternoon flight from LGA to IAD (where Kimmy already was there and waiting for me) and got to sample all 4 lounges my Priority Pass and Amex Platinum gets me access to. I got to blitzkrieg all of them 30 in minutes while Kimmy stayed on her work call at the Air France lounge.
And racking my brain over whether to fly via SAS at all, I ended up triangulating airfare with miles to transfer to a DC-Lisbon leg via the newish TAP Portugal business class hard product on their A330neo aircraft. And I’m glad I did — pick a seat in the even row and you get the throne all to yourself. (Kimmy flew out on a separate flight to IAD to Paris).
The amenities bag was unique for including a luggage freshener!
And then comes the food:
After getting in 4 hours of sleep on the flight and arriving in Lisbon in the morning at 10:15am local time, I had 2 hours to transfer over for a connecting 12:15pm flight to Copenhagen, which I haven’t been in over 7 years.
Taking a 15 min train into the city, I re-rendzvous’ed with Kimmy who was also staying there the night before our onward flight to the Faroe Islands.
The next morning we boarded our 12:25pm Atlantic Airways flight to FAE airport, landing at 1:40pm local time.
As it is part of the kingdom of Denmark, no passport procedures are required here if you’re already stamped in the EU.
From there we were thinking of taking the one hour bus into the capital city of Tórshavn, but instead decided to ask that we all meet up with Lydia, Ainsley, and Cindy — who had arrived early and checked in the night before — by the airport at a café:
We first stopped by Bøur, which is only a 7 minute’s drive north from the airport.
You should visit for its turf-roofed village with views of Tindholmur islet and a view of the famous sea arch Drangarnir.
We then drove another 10 minutes north to the village of Gasadalur for a view of Múlafossur Waterfalls, one of the iconic sights of The Faroe Islands and only a 17 minutes’ drive away from FAE airport.
The walk to the viewpoint of the falls from the Gasadalur car park is only a short 300m hike.
Bruce then ducked a fence tape to get closer to the falls, during which a local named Johann yelled at him to come back. But instead of further berating him once Bruce returned, Johann actually switched immediately to good cop mode and quickly befriended the group with helpful advice around Faroe Islands.
About a 7 minute’s drive south from the airport is the beginning of the 40 minute hike for Lake Sørvágsvatn. To start the hike, you need to stop at the trailhead unfortunately named “Slave Cliff” where the Vikings reportedly threw off their enslaved people.
It’s also unfortunate for costing a hefty overpriced 200 DKK per person (they charge you inside the trailhead café). But this was quickly dissipated when we laughed after a woman on the hike took out her NY Mets baseball cap to cajole Bruce’s NY Yankees cap.
The views along the lake trail.
The viewpoint you want to get the optical illusion of a lake hanging over the sea would be at the edge point of Trælanípan:
Weave closely along the cliff’s edge, but don’t fall off! There are no railings here, and no safety checks even with the wind gusting at 20mph. It also felt like every 5 minutes a thick fog of rain and mist covers all visibility for a good 10 minutes before the views returns. We almost lost Cindy!
On our way back, Kimmy met a new friend she aptly named Gordon:
From the cliff, we drove 30 minutes back to the capital city of Tórshavn to drop off our stuff and begin a short walking tour around Tórshavn.
We first walked 10 minutes past the harbor to Skansin, an old fort dating back centuries that offer sea views as well.
The best bread in town is right around the corner at Brey∂virki∂:
Walking back, we passed on the other side of the harbor for a stroll through Tinganes and the historic location of the Faroese government. FYI, at time of posting, Google Maps is inaccurate by designating the wrong peninsula when you look up Tinganes; it’s actually the peninsula west of the one that Skadin is on.
The name Tinganes means “parliament jetty” or “parliament point” in Faroese and the parliament met here for the first time in the Viking ages when Norwegian colonists placed their parliament on the location in 825 AD. Along with Tynwald hill on the Isle of Man and Þingvellir in Iceland, this is one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world.
The peninsula divides the Tórshavn harbour in two parts, Eystaravág and Vesteravág, and the building on the outermost point on the peninsula is currently the government’s main building.
The small main (Gongin) street on the peninsula and is home to the oldest parts of Tórshavn. Many of the grass roofed houses on Tinganes were built in the 16th and 17th centuries and are still in use today.
The Faroese Law Assembly, Løgting, has since moved to the north of Tórshavn, but the home-rule government still sits here.
Afterwards we walked north back to the center center, marked by 1609-era Tórshavn Cathedral.
If you’re up for a 7 minute hike uphill, take in views of all of Tórshavn from the obelisk at Kongaminnið:
Driving a few minutes out north you can spend an hour visiting the national museum to learn how the Faroe Islands came about (because science) and about the first people who settled here:
Your admission fee also includes an open air museum about a 10 minute (or 4 minute drive) walk downhill from the museum:
Enjoy coffee from the performance venue The Nordic House:
The rest of Tórshavn acts more of a headquarters for day trips to the rest of the Faroe Islands, so take the time to enjoy the vibes walking around. Or drive 15 minutes south to Kirkjubømúrurin, where you can visit a traditional Faroese house by the ruins of Magnus Cathedral and Saint Olav’s Church (Olavskirkjan).
What to Eat
On our second night after a drive around Streymoy and Eysturoy we returned to ROKS, the sister restaurant to 2-Michelin starred KOKS, which unfortunately for us has temporarily moved to Greenland for the next 2 years.
broyskin toskaskraeða crispy codfish skin with salted egg yolk
igulker sea urchin
kraeklingur blue mussel
havtaskupostei monkfish paté, toskasúlta cod terrine, & niðursjóðað sílarogn cured trout roe:
rabarbu- og kurtsjettsualat rhubarb and zucchini salad
Øða og epli horse mussel and potato
steikt lodna pan fried capeli with hvítkálssós cabbage sauce
ertrasalat pea salad
innbakað reyðsprøka plaice en croute & hummarasós langoustine bisque
hjartsasalat heart lettuce & raekjur prawns
Kardamummubolli við jarðber rabarbu og vaniljuísi cardamon buns with strawberry, rhubarb, and vanilla ice cream & sjokoláta chocolates
On our first night we celebrated with a kickoff dinner at Áarstova, specializing in lamb and seafood. They have a standard 5-course meal for $105 USD
Lambskulotta Lamb culotte
OR Lamb Shoulder:
Each meal is truly “slow food,” clocking in at 3-3.5 hours per dinner.
For our send to last night, we dined at The TARV for charcoal grilled lamb and salmon. The most unique dish here, however, is the wind dried lamb (bottom row, second from the right):
And for our last night: an 80 piece platter of SUSHI from Etiki down the road —
- At time of posting in Tórshavn, it was 11 °C - Humidity: 100% | Wind Speed: 21km/hr | Cloud Cover: foggy, rainy, misty