While I was in the islands, I stayed in Torshavn (population 14,000-ish), visited Nolsoy via ferry (220), shared a taxi to Vestmanna and took the public bus service back (1215), and sailed to tiny Mykines from Vestmanna (10.5!). My point is that you better like your neighbors in some of these towns. Just kidding! I got a great sense of community from the Faroese people, they welcomed me and were extremely friendly. They’ve lived and been so isolated and far away from any other country and living MUST have been very difficult before modern times. A sense of solidarity and community was probably necessary!
I’ve already mentioned how much I want to go back, and honestly, the next time I go, I want to rent a car and spend enough time there to explore every corner of the islands. I don’t think visiting every town is my goal, but I plan to go back with the plan to do more hiking. And yes, I’d love to go back and run the half-marathon again and be prepared for those monstrous hills!
What I loved about each small town:
Torshavn: The big metropolis and capital of the island. This was the most cosmpolitan of the towns. It really did have a cute little downtown, with nicer restaurants, and a few higher end shops, museums about the history of the islands,etc. There were also hotels and a variety of places to suit anyone’s taste for nightlife. The main bus terminal for the island is here, the port for ferries/cruises to continental Europe and Iceland is in Torshavn. I think if you were traveling to the islands it would serve as a good base for day trips in a car or by bus, (if you didn’t want to stay somewhere different each night) because it has the most dining and accommodation options. There were several Airbnbs, hotels, hostels, and bed and breakfasts.
Nolsoy: Across the sea from Torshavn lies Nolsoy (both island and town). It is becoming more common for people in Nolsoy to work in Toshavn and take the ferry to and from work daily, as it was only about a 30 minute journey. I went to the ferry to hike the trails but the rain discouraged me and I ended up befriending some Swedish women and the locals and hanging out in the only bar on the island called Maggie’s Cafe. There was another cafe but it closed right as the ferry arrived. I would definitely head back here for the hike and for views on a clear day.
Vestmanna: Site of the port from which we sailed to Mykines. This town was on the bigger side but was spread out and did not seem to have a central area. Or, we missed it! Either way, it seemed kind of isolated and dare I say, boring, considering its size. This town probably sees a good amount of tourists and has a pretty darn good little restaurant right in the harbour/visitor center gift shop. If you book a boat tour and don’t have warm clothes, you’ll find sweaters, hats, and gloves in that shop. After our tour to Mykines, I ate with my new friends Desi, AnnCharlott, at the visitor center restaurant and had the most delicious fish soup and salad at the restaurant with a glass of wine. Most of our boat tour did as well! It was Whit Monday in the islands (a religious holiday) and so many things were closed but we walked into the town after we ate to explore and stretch our legs. We spotted a few restaurants and pubs and the main church but it seemed like a much quieter town despite the fact that it was the largest one I went to after Torhsavn. It seemed like a jumping off point to other places.
Mykines: Tiny Mykines! The town and the island are both named Mykines. This small town is on the westernmost of the Faroe Islands and is only accessible by boat or helicopter. There is a hostel and a bed and breakfast that serves food. I’m assuming the hostel does too because there is nothing else commercial on the island. We arrived and stopped at Marit’s house to have a bit to eat, which consisted of local sheep cheese, fish cakes, local blood sausage, rhubarb jam, and local butter, bread, and coffee, all for 100 DKK or about $18 at the time of purchase. Then we set off for the hiking! There are definitely more animals on this island that people. The operator of the b&b told us 10.5 people live on the island beause he is only there in summer to operate the business. We didnt’ interact with any other local people on this island, just sheep, puffins, and dogs. :) A few of the locals were out and about and nodded or smiled to acknowledge us, but I have to guess that if one chooses to live in such an isolated and small town, that they’re friendly but not interested in talking to small boatloads of tourists. This town was magical though, out of a fairytale. I felt like I’d stepped back in time even though I had cell service and there was electricity and all the modern conveniences, which was comforting.
Overall, I loved getting a peek at these little towns in the Faroe Islands. When I go back, I have my sights set on the northern islands and the towns on the island of Vagar so that I can hike the famous and picturesque lake Sorvagsvatn and see more of the natural scenery of the islands. Each one has its own charms!