Guide to Hiking the Faroe Islands

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Hiking the Faroe islands
Hiking in the Faroe Islands. Photo credit: Gregory Holder

There are hikes and then there are hikes in the Faroe Islands. Nothing compares to the Faroe Islands, a world so remote and isolated there are more sheep than people. It’s the kind of place where you have to pinch yourself every now and then just to be sure it’s real. Hiking the Faroe Islands is a great way to explore the landscape.

Comprised of 18 islands, this far-flung archipelago situated in the North Atlantic Ocean halfway between Iceland and Norway is a paradise for hikers with stunning landscapes unfolding on every hiking trail. Whether you’re a hiker that prefers an easy trail with plenty of stops for photos or one that craves a challenge, the Faroe Islands has a hiking trail for you. Pack your hiking boots and check out some of the best hikes in the Faroe Islands.

Walk in the Footsteps of Vikings

Embrace the Nordic history of the Faroe Islands with a guided Viking hike. This moderate 4-hour hike begins in the capital city of Tórshavn. There, your hiking guide will pick you up for a short 15-minute drive where your hike begins in the picturesque Mannafelsdalur valley. While hiking, you’ll see cascading waterfalls, dramatic coastal cliffs and seemingly endless valleys in south Streymoy – the largest of the Faroe Islands.

As you discover the hidden landscapes where Vikings once trekked, you’ll be treated to a stunning panoramic view of the Trøllkonufingur (Troll Woman’s Finger) and Vágar Island. Winding your way down into the Norðradalur valley, you’ll have a spectacular view of the small islands of Koltur and Hestur.

Explore the Town of Tinganes

From here, your hiking guide will take you back to Tórshavn to explore the city centre’s old town known as Tinganes. You’ll walk the cobbled streets flanked by tiny wooden houses painted red and topped with turf roofs. You’ll hear the stories of the Vikings who chose this as their parliament in 850 AD.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include the Múlafossur Waterfall.
Múlafossur Waterfall spilling into the North Atlantic Ocean. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

Hike the Postman’s Trail on Vágar

Until 2004 when a tunnel was built through the mountain, the tiny village of Gásadalur on Vágar island was isolated from the rest of the country. On calm days, boats could dock at the tiny harbour but most people had to hike to the village following cairn trails. The hiking trails weren’t easy as Gásadalur is surrounded by Vágar’s highest mountains.

Despite the difficulty, villagers embarked on these journeys each week to attend church. But the postman climbed over the mountain pass three times every week to deliver the mail to the village of Gásadalur. Today, a 5.2-mile out-and-back trail known as the Postman’s Trail is one of the best hiking trails in the Faroe Islands. The trailhead is just a 15 to 20-minute drive from the Vagar Airport.

Read More: Discover the Faroe Islands on a 5-Day Road Trip

Enjoy the Views

Hiking the trail from Bøur to Gásadalur serves up breathtaking views of Drangarnir sea stack Tindhólmur Island, Gáshólmur Island, and Mykines Island. If you’re hiking between May and August, keep an eye out for puffins nesting in the sea cliffs.

Your hiking efforts are rewarded with a stunning approach to the Múlafossur waterfall. Set against the backdrop of the village of Gásadalur, the Múlafossur Waterfall spills over the edge of a grass-carpeted sea cliff into the swelling North Atlantic Ocean below. It’s one of the must-see natural wonders of the Faroe Islands.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include trekking to Lake Sørvágsvatn.
Trekking to Lake Sørvágsvatn. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Follow the Hiking Trail to an Optical Illusion at Lake Sørvágsvatn

Landing at Vagar Airport in the Faroe Islands brings you within 10 minutes of one of the country’s most fascinating sights, Lake Sørvágsvatn. The largest lake in the Faroe Islands, Lake Sørvágsvatn is known for the optical illusion it presents overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean.

Miðvágur is the closest town to the trail, and clear signs point you in the direction of the starting point. The hiking trail begins with a gradual ascent to the Trælanípa sea cliffs. It then hugs the lake’s shoreline until you reach the iconic viewpoint where the lake presents an optical illusion that makes it appear as if it’s suspended far above the surrounding Atlantic Ocean earning it the moniker of “Lake Above the Ocean.” Another beauty to behold, Bøsdalafossur waterfall sits at the edge of Lake Sørvágsvatn spilling into the Atlantic Ocean.

As are many hiking trails in the Faroe Islands, the trail can be muddy in places. It’s important to wear good hiking boots to keep your feet dry and your grip steady. Located on private land, there is a fee for Lake Sørvágsvatn. The cost is 200 DKK per person, which equates to approximately $30 USD. The hike takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours for the loop plus all that additional time you’ll spend capturing photos of this phenomenon!

Hiking the Faroe islands can include a view of the Witch’s Finger on the Trøllkonufingur Hike
View of the Witch’s Finger on the Trøllkonufingur Hike. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

A Hike to Trøllkonufingur into Legends and Folklore

Also on Vágar island, the charming village of Sandavágur is home to the Trøllkonufingur hiking trail, which translates to witch’s finger of a troll woman’s finger. The trailhead begins just above the village and is a relatively flat 1.8-mile out-and-back hike. Yes, you’re hiking to find a finger, but not just any finger! Legend has it, that Trøllkonufingur is the finger of a witch that came to throw the Faroe Islands to Iceland.

When she reached the Atlantic Ocean south of  Vágar, the sun came up and she was turned into stone and fell into the ocean. As a big witch, when she reached the bottom of the sea, the back of her head and her finger were above the surface. The back of her head is the island of Koltur, and the finger is Trøllkonufingur.

The legend may not be pretty, but the peaceful sights along the way are gorgeous. We chose to hike to Trøllkonufingur at sunset, which was absolutely perfect. Most of the path is sand and gravel and you’ll likely meet some of the woolly locals as they graze alongside the path.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include the mountain Pass between Saksun to Tjørnuvík.
Mountain Pass between Saksun to Tjørnuvík. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

A Village-to-Village Hike from Saksun to Tjørnuvík

Located on the island of Streymoy (the largest of the Faroes Islands), the captivating village of Saksun sits at the edge of a lagoon surrounded by mountains. A 2.8-mile out-and-back trail takes you along the edge of the Saksun lagoon. The views of the surrounding mounts and Gjógvará are breathtaking. However, be aware of the tide table as the lagoon can flood during high tide.

For an epic hike, follow the hiking trail from Saksun to Tjørnuvík – the northernmost village on the island of Streymoy.  The trailhead for this 4-mile point-to-point hike sits among the turf-roofed houses of Dúvugarðar in the village of Saksun. The hike leads you through a mountain pass with an elevation gain of 1,571 feet.

Although challenging, this off-the-beaten-path hiking trail delivers the best of the Faroe Islands’ spectacular nature. Along the way, you’ll cross several streams and likely hike with a herd of sheep. As you reach the mountaintop, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the tiny village of Tjørnuvík before descending into the village to the beach.

As a point-to-point hiking trail, you’ll want to book transfer from Tjørnuvík back to Saksun to reach your car. Otherwise, consider booking a guided hike with transportation included.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include hiking James Bond style to the Kallur Lighthouse.
Hiking James Bond style to the Kallur Lighthouse. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hike James Bond Style to the Kallur Lighthouse

As one of the most dramatic landscapes of the Faroe Islands, Kalsoy Island was chosen as the filming location for James Bond’s last film – No Time to Die. Fans flock to Kalsoy Island to view the Jams Bond gravesite. And hikers make the trek to Kalsoy Island for its iconic hike to the Kallur Lighthouse.

To reach the starting point of the hiking trail, you’ll need to take a ferry to Kalsoy Island. If you’re based in Tórshavn, a 1 hour and 10 minute drive gets you to Klaksvik where a 20-minute ferry ride brings you to the village of Syðradalur. Due to the popularity of this hike, there are often long lines for the ferry during the summer months. Consider staying in a guesthouse in Klaksvik to beat the crowds.

Once you land on Kalsoy, drive to the other side of the island until you reach the parking area in Trøllanes. From the trailhead, you’ll start the 2.4-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 980 ft.

When you spot the Kallur Lighthouse, you can continue the trail that leads to the cliffside for an epic view high above the North Atlantic Ocean. Make sure you have good hiking boots before trekking to the cliff. And check the weather because gusty winds can be dangerous.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include Slættaratindur in Spring.
Slættaratindur in Spring. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

Conquer Slættaratindur – The Roof of the Faroe Islands

Trekking to the summit of Slættaratindur – the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands – is a local tradition for Summer Solstice. Hikers make the trek to the summit to watch the sunset and the sunrise a couple of hours later.

Located about an hour’s drive from Tórshavn, the trailhead starts at Eiðisskarð, the mountain pass between Eiði and Funningur. You’ll climb over a fence in the parking area to begin the trek. The 2.2-mile out-and-back trail includes an elevation gain of 1,505 feet with a steep ascent and a couple of rock scrambles near the summit.

When you reach the roof of the Faroe Islands, you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the entire country.

Hiking the Faroe islands can include the Chapel in Viðareiði.-- the northernmost Island of the Faroe Islands.
Chapel in Viðareiði.– The Northernmost Island of the Faroe Islands. Photo credit: Terri Marshall

A Trail for Hardcore Hikers

If you’re up for a challenge, the trek to Villingadalsfjall is the hiking trail for you. Located on Vidoy, the northernmost island of the Faroe Islands, the coastal mountain poses one of the toughest one-day hikes in the country.

The hike begins in the incredibly scenic village of  Viðareiði. Despite being one of the most remote locations in the Faroe Islands, Viðareiði can be reached by car in only 1 hour and 30 mins from Tórshavn. However, we chose to rent a guesthouse in this little piece of paradise and we didn’t want to leave.

As for the hike, Villingadalsfjall rises high above the village, and the nearby Cape Enniberg. In fact, it’s one of the world’s highest sea cliffs.

To find the trailhead, look for a rock wall along the village road Við Garð where blue plastic tubes mark the path. There is a parking lot just beyond the gate leading to a grassy field. The hiking trail begins with an easy stroll through the grass as you gradually gain elevation. The 2.9-mile out-and-back hiking trail has a challenging 2,916 elevation gain. However, hikers who put in the effort benefit from unobstructed views of the surrounding peaks of the northernmost islands in this magical world!

Happy Trails!

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