Day 9 – Tulip It’s about this time when you question why you started this project as it’s dark and you are starting to run out of things to photograph…. Which means that I’ll have to start coming up with ideas and planning what days I am going to execute them. This is where this year is going to be trickier than previous years, as I’m going to the gym 3 week nights as well.
Day 12 – Forgotten One full week down. Feel like I’m learning a lot about my new camera system (Swopped from Pentax dSLR to Fuji mirrorless). Getting my head around settings and what not! Alternative title for this shot is “I really need to dye my roots”.
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!
On the final day, the flight back wasn’t until the afternoon. We left the airBnB early enough to leave time to go and visit the sights on Vagar (The island with the airport on it) before going to the airport.
The first stop off was the Trollfinger. It is signposted and there is a (very) small car park at the end of a very pot-holey road. Then there was a path to the view point. All very nice and easy to get to.
The second stop off was at the Nix horse statue. A nix is a water creature that can transform into any shape.
The third and final stop off was at the waterfall from earlier in the week – where there was no mist! Hurray!
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 day 3 it was sunny sunny sun sun sun. We decided to drive around some of the towns on Eysturoy, following the buttercup routes that we didn’t do on day 1. We then drove to Streymoy an visited some of the towns on there, including Saksun (above).
Saksun has 8 people living there, and one of them is clearly annoyed by the number of tourists visiting – around the church there were signs saying that if you trespassed he would phone the police.
After visiting the two main islands, given the nice weather, we decided to do the walk to Sørvágsvatn. Which is another walk you have to pay to do. The temperature on this day was 20 degrees, and kB got a little bit sun burnt – even though he had suntan creme on.
Driving around the Faroe Islands is really lovely, there isn’t much traffic at all and the roads are in really good repair. The only problem (and I use that term loosly) is that everything is so spaced out!
As much as a lot more people are vising the Faroe Islands, it still isn’t busy by any stretch of the imagination.
Buttercup routes are the more scenic routes on the Faroe Islands. They are labelled with a little buttercup so you know where they are when you are driving along.
Due to a lack of water, the waterfall wasn’t at it’s peak!
But it was also the only day where we got to see the sun actually set, so that was nice!
In Austria the drone laws are pretty strict; a drone is considered a toy if it produces less that 79 Joules of energy, and as such it doesn’t require a license. So I opted to take the Spark with me, as I would legally be able to fly it without paying for a license.