Located in the North Atlantic, this archipelago of 18 islands of volcanic origin, mountainous terrain and sharp cliffs, is an authentic paradise for bird watching. Some of the most common species are puffins, boobies, and endless seabirds. The best way to enjoy its untamed nature is through travelling along the traditional roads that connect the small towns of the islands. Also by boat, to hop between the islands and discover their virtually untouched environment. Although the vast majority are inhabited, it is not a popular tourist destination, so it is possible to cross the islands without coming across many people. Among the most well-known islands, where most of the points of interest are concentrated, are Streymoy, Vágar, Eysturoy, Mykines and Borðoy, easily accessible by light plane or by boat. Vágar is the gateway island, where the ferries of the archipelago arrive and from where most of the travellers depart to Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes located in Streymoy, the largest of all the islands. Occupied originally by the Vikings, this small city was the first to become populated and retains, perfectly, its architecture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Other places of interest are the villages of Tjørnuvík and Saksun. Mykines is known for being the paradise of ornithologists, since it is home to great number of birds, some of unknown species. On a trip to the Faroe Islands, cities such as Klaksvík, located on the island of Borðoy, can not be missed either; as well as an excursion to Slættaratindur, the highest point in all the islands.
Faroe Islands Travel guide
Events and festivals in Faroe Islands
Popular festivals in the Faroe Islands are dominated by music, culture and sports competitions. Although of all the festivities of the archipelago, the most important is its national holiday.
When talking about the events in the Faroe Islands, we can't group them by month since, due to the weather, most of them are celebrated during sunny periods. In this sense, May to August are the months where most of the popular festivals and festivities are celebrated in the archipelago.
For this reason, instead of month by month, we will see what the most popular festivals of the Faeroe Islands are and what they consist of. If you like music, this may be the perfect destination for you.
Also known as the Seafood Festival of Vágsbotnur, it takes place every May. This family festival is one of the most traditional festivals of the Faroe Islands and it revolves around seafood. A perfect occasion to savor the rich cuisine of the islands, and especially the most delicious recipes of the marine world.
Also during the month of May, different Festivals of the Sea take place, with boat competitions in the archipelago. The most famous are Vestmanna and Toftir. The boat race of Klaksvík also has a special reputation, which takes place during the Norðoyastevna Festival.
June is the best month to enjoy the most popular festivals of the Faroe Islands in terms of music and culture. Starting on 1st June in Tórshavn, with the Culture Night, and continuing with the Blues Festival of Sorvagur from 7th to 9th June.
If you're still in this region in June, you can attend a 12-hour pop music festival, right in the heart of the capital of the Faroe Islands. It is celebrated on the last weekend of June, with views of the marina. The concerts take place along the pier and in and around the square, Vágsbotn. The backdrop of the yachts and boats bobbing in the harbor and the old multicolored warehouses which line the harbor is a perfect postcard to enjoy one of the best festivals of the Faroe Islands.
This musical festival is undoubtedly one of the events in the Faroe Islands which attracts the most tourists. It is celebrated from 12th to 14th July and it is the perfect time to enjoy the best local and international music. It takes place in the beautiful town of Gota, and the contrast between green landscapes and musical events is a unique experience.
We continue with music, this time in Klaksvik, to attend one of the best of the popular festivals of the Faroe Islands. This festival, held in August, is known for its pop style aimed at an audience of all ages. The best international artists come together on this particular stage for three days, to fill the streets of the city with music.
The festival of Tórsfest is also worth visiting. It is celebrated in Tórshavn on the last Saturday before the national holiday of the Faroe Islands, Ólavsøka - it is a great street party with a stage erected on the main pedestrian street, Niels Finsens gøta, which shows off local and international musical talent. As you will see, the islands are a buzz of musical activity during the summer.
On 29th July, the islanders celebrate, within the calendar of popular festivals of the Faroe Islands, what has become their most emblematic festivity: their national holiday. Translated literally, the name of the party means wakefulness, as it commemorates the death in 1030 at the Battle of Stiklestad of St Olaf, who was King of Norway between 1015 and 1028.
The festival presents many outstanding cultural aspects, such as traditional Faroese dance and song ballads, concerts and art exhibitions. Chain dancing is for everyone; it is usually held in Sjónleikarhúsið, which is a theatre in Tórshavn. Another of the protagonists of the festival is the national sport of the Faroe Islands, rowing, becoming one of the highlights of the national holiday for the Faroese.
In addition to the aforementioned popular festivals, the Faroe Islands also celebrate the New Year, Holy Week, Christmas, and the typical festivities of the Christian calendar. Although more than eighty percent of the population belongs to the Lutheran church, the Catholic festivities remain national holidays.
Pack your bags and prepare to enjoy a very musical trip.GO TO EVENTS
Food in Faroe Islands
Almost everything you eat in the Faroe Islands comes from the sea, except for lamb. Dry meat, sausages, and fresh fish are the main ingredients of the cuisine of the archipelago. Almost everything is dried, fermented or goes through a smoking process before it is consumed.
On the islands, vegetables are scarce, as are cattle, which is why the traditional cuisine consists of what nature gives it: meat from cetaceans and fish. Sheep are another of the main foods of the Faroese. In fact, lamb enjoys great popularity among locals.
Let's see what the typical dishes to eat in the Faroe Islands are which you can try during your visit.
The tradition of drying meat in the air is very popular among the inhabitants of the islands. In this case, lamb meat is used, which is subjected to a drying process of about a year. The result is a kind of raw sausage, very similar to Iberian ham in its form.
The meat is dried in the hjallur, a shed built for this purpose which allows the passage of wind to facilitate the drying of the meat. Before it becomes Skerpikjøt, the lamb goes through two other stages, visnaður and ræstur, which describe the speed of curing and fermentation and are important in determining its final taste. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity at any stage can alter the taste of the meat by stimulating or inhibiting the process.
Continuing with lamb meat, the second of the typical dishes to eat in the Faroe Islands is this recipe made with meat from organs. Large oval pieces are prepared and dried outdoors.
This local product is usually cut into slices, and fried in a pan with plenty of fat. With the resulting fat, a sauce is also made which is served on dried and fermented fish. As you can see, the food in the Faroe Islands is very caloric.
This other culinary specialty which you can eat in the Faroe Islands is native to Iceland. It is a sheep's head, which is cut in half and then the brains are extracted, dried and then boiled. It is usually served with simple mashed potatoes or turnips. It is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries; it also has its counterpart in Norway, but under another name.
In addition to these three typical dishes of the gastronomy of the Faroe Islands, along with lamb, sausages and black pudding are also prepared. In many restaurants you can try very tasty lamb soups.
Grind og Spik
We leave meat aside to focus on the products of the sea. In this case, the pilot whale, a cetacean which is very abundant in the waters of the islands, with whose meat this speciality which is typical of the region is prepared.
The Faroese traditionally consume meat from pilot whales and dolphins, something which may not be viewed particularly well in the rest of the world. Remember that the hunting of pilot whales has always caused a lot of controversy.
Other well-known seafood products in international cuisine are herring, cod and salmon. All of them are plentiful in the archipelago, so it's not surprising that this is one of the most popular things to eat in the Faroe Islands. There are also other species which are typical of the area such as halibut, plaice or haddock, although lesser-known species are also part of the gastronomy of the islands.
Generally, in the archipelago, as in many Nordic countries, the fish also dries and undergoes curing processes, to then be eaten raw. For this reason, they have a strong flavour so not everyone will like them.
Among the various varieties of seafood, lobsters and shrimp are the two which are most commonly used. You can try them in the seafood restaurants of the capital, where they range from the most modern and elaborate dishes to the simplest ones. The ways in which they are prepared to depend on the restaurant you go to, but you will usually find them in soups, or steamed.
To end this culinary journey through the typical dishes which you can eat in the Faroe Islands, it must be said that, with the progressive increase in tourism, the cuisine has modernized. So much so that the capital has a restaurant with a Michelin star. The famous KOKS restaurant uses exclusively local ingredients to create unique dishes.
To summarise, we could say that smoking, salting, fermentation, and drying are the main culinary techniques of the cuisine of these little-known islands.GO TO GASTRONOMY
Shopping in Faroe Islands
During your trip you will wonder what to buy in the Faroe Islands; well, this autonomous archipelago of the Kingdom of Denmark offers you various souvenirs. Their culture, a mixture of Irish, Viking, and Scandinavian, is so particular that they even have their own language.
These little-known islands mostly have wool, in fact, the translation of the Faroe Islands means "land of lambs", such is the importance of this animal in the archipelago. But, in addition to woolen clothes, you will also find crystal souvenirs, works of art, traditional music, typical alcohol of the region and many other things.
One of the typical products par excellence which you can buy in the Faroe Islands is woolen clothes. An example of this is the designs of the firm Guðrun & Guðrun, which uses Faroese wool, which would otherwise be discarded, to produce high-end fashion products which are sold all over the world.
Their best-known garment is the so-called Star jumper, which became famous when Sobie Gråbøl's character, Sarah Lund, wore the hand-woven sweater on the popular Danish television series Forbrydelsen, which also appears on the BBC as The Killing.
Knitted fabric has also become one of the most characteristic souvenirs of the Faroe Islands. This tradition has been part of the culture of the islands for centuries. Even today, a large number of women weave various types of clothing, such as jumpers, underwear, and socks.
Several Faroese companies have made great use of the technical knowledge which these women possess. Companies such as Navia and Sirri manufacture internationally valued woolen garments from the Faroe Islands. The same goes for the Faroese designers Jóhanna av Steinum and Soul Made.
The history of Faroese art is short, and can only be traced back to a couple of hundred years ago. The lack of time, light and material may have caused the late emergence of painting. But despite this, the islands have a very active artistic scene.
With the first Faroese painters, the landscape became a national icon and has remained the central theme of Faroese visual arts. The interest for installations, minimalism, and conceptual art, has not affected Faroese art much until now. The Danish art critic Ole Nørlyng concludes that nature, the wild landscape, is the driving force behind the Faroese artists.
Lovers of philately will find their paradise in this archipelago because the old stamps of the Faroe Islands are really unique. Seals with birds, plants, boats, typical costumes or Faroese landscapes, there will be something totally different to buy in the Faroe Islands.
In addition to the age of the stamps, the variety of unique images will captivate both experts and amateurs. In the archipelago, there is a great fondness for this hobby - a fairly calm archipelago is ideal for dedicating yourself fully to this kind of hobby.
The rural populations of the Faroe Islands have remained faithful to the traditions of dances and ballads. The three types of dance ballads are kvæði, tættir, and vísir. Many of these forms of dance were revived after the Second World War when several dance societies were formed.
Other songs include skjaldur, fantastic fairy tales sung by adults for children, and sliding microtonal hymns called kingosálmar. These folk songs can be the perfect gift to buy in the Faroe Islands for music lovers.
Here, as in many other northern and eastern European countries, cut glass is a tradition which goes back hundreds of years. From figurines of all types to other practical and decorative objects, glass is also one of the most famous products of the Faroe Islands.
As well as carved glass, ceramics are also part of the little touch of handicraft which is preserved both in the archipelago and in Denmark. If you want to take home some beautiful plates decorated with fine china, this is the perfect occasion.
Who hasn't tried the famous Danish butter cookies? Well, here is one of the typical Faeroese products which will be most popular when you come home.
These delicious cookies are liked by everyone, so buying a can of cookies as a gift will ensure you get it right. They are a practical gift and they are also very good.
This is just a small example of the souvenirs you can buy in the Faroe Islands. Surely during your visit, you'll find many more things to take home as a souvenir.GO TO SHOPPING
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