After a long day of driving, and a couple of diversions, we arrived at Loch Lomond slightly later than expected but more or less just slightly too late for sunset. I managed to catch the tail end of it, but I suspect if we’d been there at the time I’d planned the sky would have been more interesting for longer.
Can’t do anything about that though, so thankful for the bits of pink and orange I managed to get!
Way back in August I went to Grindelwald, Switzerland. The weather was super hot and sunny the entire time we were there; which was great apart from the fact all of the waterfalls had dried up.
Unfortunatly this happened such a long time again I no longer know what happened on what day, so instead you are just going to get a photo dump of mainly cows and mountains.
I do know that the view from the hotel was epic, and that I’ve never been on as many gondelas in my life.
The public transport in Switzerland is on point, and as someone who gets really nervous around getting on trains this was super! I’d paid extra to go first class on the journey to and from the airport and this was awesome too.
Grindelwald itself was nice; we were there right at the very end of August so at the end of the season and it wasn’t too busy. I bet it gets really busy there though, as everything is so easily accessible by train or gondela.
Here are the photos which I edited after I got back from the holiday, along side some top tips!
Getting around We saw plenty of buses and there were plenty of bus stops, but I suspect it is most convenient to get around in a car. I’m going to be honest and say that I have no idea how frequently the buses ran, but we did see a lot of them. Hiring a car is expensive, but you will not need a big one. We hired a Vauxhall Corsa for the week and were just fine. Most of the roads are well paved, and even the ones that aren’t (road to Muli, road to Trollfinger/Klakkur car park) weren’t that bad. Just go slow and be careful of pot holes.
The rules for driving around the islands are fairly straight forward, 50 in towns, 80 else where. Single track roads give way to someone if they are coming up hill. Single track tunnels will indicate who has the right of way before you enter. It can be pretty tricky to judge how far away a car is when you are in a tunnel, so I would say to pull over even if you are sat waiting for a while – better to be safe than sorry, especially in the ones which don’t have lights!
Pricing / Costs More or less everything is expensive. Our AirBnB was reasonably priced, but food and drink wasn’t cheap. You could “go cheap” by buying things from the supermarket, but everything is a lot more expensive than we are used to. Oddly petrol was the same price as at home (UK), but that probably says more about the price of petrol in the UK than anything else.
Hiking / More Costs All of the land in the Faroe Islands is privately owned. This means that the farmers / land owners can charge you for walking on it. I think that due to the increase in tourists this is becoming a problem, and whilst we were there there were signs for an upcoming election where the tourist boom was apparently a hot voting point.
The hike to Draganir was really expensive (About 70Euros/£65 each) and can only be done with a guide on set days. No one can say that they “didn’t know” because you have to walk past signs everywhere declaring this.
The hike to the lake on Vagar was 200DKK (£25/30Euro) each, and as much as this is really expensive – they were at least building in a new path steps etc so you could see what your money was being spent on.
My advise would be to pay when you get there rather than booking in advance. The Faroese hiking website (hiking.fo) lists more hikes and people have paid for them only for a guide not to turn up and others have done the hike for free. I think it is something that will be sorted out better in the future.
Where to Eat We stopped in Skala, which is about an hour from the capital. Outside of the capital restaurants are few and far between. You will have a fairly decent range of places to eat in the capital itself, and Klaksvik also had a fair few places to eat. Everywhere else expect small cafes or maybe a restaurant. We found that the range of what to eat in the cafes wasn’t great. A lot of places sold soft drinks or a tea/coffee and waffles for 50DKK (£6/7 Euro). Clearly though the islands are not set up for tourism, so my advise would be to buy your food from a supermarket and take it with your for the day/lunch. This is what we did, and then ate in the capial for tea on certain days / ate in at the AirBnB for others.
Top Sights Some of the prettiest things to see and do are on the island where the airport is situated. Some require some planning. We never made it to Mykines because the ferry had sold out too fast for us. Check what you can book in advance, and decide where to spend your cash. Things like ferrys can’t always be booked in advance, but if you can book it then do. Like I said earlier the islands aren’t particularly set up for tourism, so expect some weird ferry times and long waits. Everything is pretty spread out as well, so be prepared for a lot of driving.
Buttercup Routes Buttercup routes are scenic routes that connect villages together. I think you can get a map with the buttercup routes marked on it from the tourist information centers, but we managed to do most of them just by driving around. They are clearly marked with a bright yellow buttercup next to them.
Be Respectful There aren’t a lot of people on the Faroe Islands, and they are not really used to the big influx of tourists. In certain places signs have been put up to point out issues the locals are having with the tourists, eg. “Don’t fly drones less than 150m away from a village”, “Take your rubbish with you”. Be respectful of the people living there.
Weather Be prepared for every weather type! The week we were there we experienced, mild 10 degree days which we cloudy, 20 degree blue skies, persistent rain, very low handing cloud….. Pack for everything!
Photo Opportunities There are plenty of places to pull over and grab a quick photo – just make sure that you aren’t using the passing places on single track roads to do this. It is pretty clear when it’s a passing place, or if you can pull in and stop for a bit. A lot of places to stop have rubbish bins and seating.
Toilets (Yes, really!) An important point to consider – if there are not really many restaurants, what is the toilet situation like?? Surprisingly good! Most of the villages have somewhere to park (Usually near the church), and then there is usually a public bathroom! These tended to be fairly well maintained as well!
This was the second attempt to get to Kalsoy, the first day we had got up for the 8am ferry the day before but decided when we got there that the weather wasn’t great and we didn’t want to waste a trip.
This time the weather was much better, but we were unsure if the hike would be free or not. Some reports on the internet were saying you had to pay for it, some were saying you didn’t…. so we just turned up and hoped for the best.
The 8am ferry was pretty empty – as you would expect. I think the ferry can fit about 17 cars on it, but that is a close fit! There were about 7 cars on the outbound ferry.
We drove to the top of the island, and saw a message at the start of the hike – it said to be careful and enjoy the hike and if you enjoyed it to leave a donation in the box. Hurray! It was a free hike (with optional tip).
The hike was easy, although really muddy in places. You hike around the mountain not over it, so it was pretty straight forward as there is a clearly visible route to follow. The sign at the start asks that you stick to the path.
When we got to the lighthouse it was super, duper windy – so windy that I couldn’t walk out to the view point to take the photo I wanted! We walked back and visited the other two villages on the island, before heading back to the ferry port queue.
The ferry times are odd and the ferry’s stop going from the island at 1020, and don’t start again until 310, so we had a bit of a wait! We were in the queue for about 12, and by 1 it was clear there were more than 17 cars waiting for the 310 ferry – so a trip to Kalsoy is a trip you have to plan!
On the sixth day… The weather still wasn’t great. It wasn’t raining much, but it was drizzly and misty. We decided to go to the capital for lunch, and then if the weather cleared up to hike up Klakkur in the afternoon.
It was a windy day as well, so the clouds and weather did in fact blow over somewhat.
However, unfortunately the weather didn’t blow over as much as I would have liked. But we still hiked up Klakkur.
After being really lucky with the weather, we were due a bit of rain. So we had a full day of it. We decided to drive around the northern islands and see how many little villages we could visit.
The weather stayed poor all day pretty much, there were occasional breaks in the rain, but it was very cloudy and overcast all day.
The little villages are well connected, and this was the first time we drove through longer single track tunnels. They were a bit scary at first, because they were so long, but once you’ve gone through once an gotten used to it hey are fine – you just have to follow the rules.
On this day we encountered a lot of animals blocking the road – kB had to get out of the car and shoo geese, ducks and sheep.
On the whole the sheep just moved out of the way, but there was one time where a sheep started licking/chewing on the front of the car. lol
On the second day we had paid to go on a hike to Drangarnir. This hike has been closed to the public by the landowner, and the only way to do it is to pay for an approved guide to take you on either Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday.
As we left the house in the morning it was very misty, but as we had paid we went to the meeting point. There were quite a few people there already and we parked up and waited for the guide to turn up. Rather un-optimistically the guide said that we would set off and “see what we could see”. He was optimistic that we would be able to see the sea stacks up close, but wasn’t so sure that we would be able to see the sea stacks from afar.
The hike across (You walk around the edge of the cliff rather than over the top) wasn’t too great in terms of views. This could have had something to do with the mist, or maybe not. However when we hiked up the first cliff and got to the top… We could see the sea stacks – hurray! We had a mini break to take some photos and have a snack before carrying on the sea stacks.
The closer we got to the sea stacks, the more the mist cleared. Eventually a bit of blue sky broke through.
We got to spend enough un-rushed time around the main view point that we could grab photos and have a bit of a rest.
For the way back we got to go on a boat!
By the time the boat had returned to the harbour the sky was totally blue! We decided to go to try and see Múlafossur Waterfall, which was on the same island and only about a 10 minute drive away. When we went through the tunnel and came out of the other side…. It was soooo misty! The rest of the Faroe Islands was bathed in sunlight!