Explore Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands is a self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It comprises 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean, connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Hikers and bird-watchers are drawn to the islands’ mountains, valleys and grassy heathland, and steep coastal cliffs that harbor thousands of seabirds.
Located half way between Scotland and Iceland in the Northeast Atlantic, the Faroe Islands are an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands, with a total land area of 1,399 square kilometers, a sea area of 274,000 square kilometers and a population of 50,000.
the Faroe Islands is an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands located halfway between Iceland and Scotland in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The islands were first settled in year 300 AD, although no one knows by whom. The first known settlers, according to stories passed down through generations, were Irish monks in the sixth century. Interested in the history of the Faroe Islands? Read more here.
The name Faroe Islands first appeared as Faereyjar (in approximately 1225), which means “Sheep Islands”. This presumably led to the national symbol, which is a ram. This name was given by the Viking age settlers from Norway in the ninth century.
Since 1948, the Faroe Islands have been a self-governing nation under the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark. This means the islands have exclusive competence to legislate and govern independently within a wide range of areas, such as trade, taxation, social security and education. The Faroe Islands is not a member of the European Union, even though Denmark is.
The islands’ population of nearly 50,000 is spread out across the 17 inhabited islands. These islands are connected by excellent infrastructure linked by together by a comprehensive road network and tunnel and ferry connections. This, along with first class telecommunications and high-speed internet, provides a superb base for maintaining the economic, social and cultural sustainability of communities all around the country.
The main industry in the Faroe Islands is fishing. This sector accounts for approximately 90% of exports and about 20% of GDP. In April 2019, unemployment was registered at 1.2%.
The Faroese education system is well developed, with free primary and secondary schooling for all and a number of institutions for higher education and research. Many Faroe Islanders choose to study and work abroad during their younger years before returning home to settle.
Getting around By vehicle
Exploring the Faroe Islands’ beautiful landscapes by car, campervan, bus or motorcycle is a popular way to get around. It’s easy, flexible and you can decide your own pace – just like a true Faroese.
Most islands are connected by an excellent infrastructure of roads, bridges and subsea tunnels, making it effortless to get around.
For example, you can take in the majestic view of Múlafossur waterfall in Gásadalur, explore the breathtaking gorge in Gjógv and hike out to the Kallurin lighthouse on Kalsoy all in one day – and even make it back in time for a lamb roast dinner in Tórshavn. (This is, of course, dependent on how many photos you plan on taking at each location – which is usually quite a lot!).
All major highways are paved, but some roads, especially to the smaller villages, are still gravel roads. Make sure to navigate these roads with care, as loose gravel can make driving difficult. Many roads and tunnels leading to villages can be very narrow, so please choose a safe speed according to the conditions. Note also that some roads are very narrow. To keep traffic flowing, these roads have lay-bys (widened sections formed to one side as to leave the road free for other to pass). These lay-bys are NOT to be used for parking.
The general speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, and 80 km/h on asphalt roads and gravel roads in rural areas. Road maps are a good help so make sure you bring one along before you start your journey. These can be picked up at regional information centers across the country or viewed online here.
Motorists are obliged by law to use headlights at all times, day and night. Passengers in the front and back seats of an automobile are required by law to use safety belts. Talking on a mobile phone and driving under the influence of alcohol are strongly prohibited.
Best Time to Visit
Even though the weather is mostly cold with high humidity all year round, the best time to visit the Faroe Islands is from May to September. Late spring and early summer bring longer days, wildflowers, and Atlantic puffins. Warm and humid August sees the largest tourist crowds, so book a room in advance.
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