The Faroe Islands are making all sorts of positive headlines this year, as the backdrop to the upcoming James Bond film and one of the first destinations on the Government's green travel list. We asked Tim Ecott — who wrote a book on the year he spent in this little-known archipelago — to share his expert tips for an adventurous trip to the Faroe Islands.
At the time of writing, the Faroe Islands are Covid-free and on the UK government’s ‘Green List‘ for holidays — and as of July 1st, fully-vaccinated travellers from the UK are now allowed to enter the Faroe Islands without the need to quarantine.
All visitors still have to be tested on arrival at the airport (£36) and should self-isolate until they have received the result (usually within half a day), with a follow-up test to be taken on the fourth day of their stay. You can see the latest on the Faroe Islands government website and latest UK Foreign Office advice here.
These 18 rugged spikes of basalt half way between Shetland and Iceland are windy, wet and wild. The crew shooting aerial scenes for the upcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die (out September 30) had to bring in a small helicopter on the ferry from Denmark to film the sheer cliffs surrounding the deep road tunnels that link the four tiny villages on the island of Kalsoy (total population: 70).
In reality the Faroese are probably the people least likely to ever harbour a Bond villain—a tight-knit community of just 52,000 where most people can still name a common ancestor. Getting there is easier than many imagine, with twice weekly flights from Edinburgh (with Atlantic Airways) or twice daily from Copenhagen.
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What to do
Walk one of the old mountain paths that link most villages and fill your lungs with the cleanest air in Europe. To understand what traditional life here was like take the short ferry ride to Mykines — the westernmost island — and spot puffins, gannets and kittiwakes in their thousands. Bring hiking boots and proper outdoor clothing.
Twenty minutes drive from the capital you can explore the ancient settlement at Kirkjubøur, home to Faroes oldest church, and a wooden farmhouse, inhabited by the same family for seventeen generations.
The national art collection is a must. It’s housed in a beautiful gallery in town with a remarkable collection of Faroese paintings that capture the island’s distinctive northern light and landscapes.
Where to stay
You’ll find no-fuss Nordic chic at the turf-roofed Hotel Føroyar (From £125 on a B&B basis perched on the slopes above the capital Tórshavn. In the middle of town, 62 North is low key, but the two penthouse suites have inspiring views of the harbour and you can walk everywhere (from £105). Hotels are scarce outside the capital but Airbnb has become big business in the outlying settlements.
Where to eat
Adventurous foodies travel to Faroes just to dine at Koks, the islands’ first and only 2* Michelin restaurant. Housed in an eighteenth century farmhouse surrounded by mountains, it serves a spectacular tasting menu by Poul Andrias Ziska and features traditional dishes like skerpikjøt (fermented lamb), fulmar breast and hand dived scallops. Guests are ferried to the restaurant by Land Rover along a bumpy track beside a lake (open May to September; www.koks.fo)
When to go
Between May and September; the weather is at its best in June, July and August, when migratory puffins also stop by.
Tim Ecott’s book The Land of Maybe: A Faroe Islands Year is out now (Short Books, £14.99)
Where to spot puffins nesting along the coastline in the summer