A $2K Road Trip Through The Faroe Islands

P1010482.jpg

*Hiking with puffins, winding roads, and stunning scenery.

MEET OUR TRAVELER
Your job: Head of People,  Bonobos
Your age: 42
Where you’re based: NYC Metro
The month you traveled: May

QUICK BACKGROUND

Trip Goal:
We are always looking for trips that are “off the beaten path.”  We try to get away a few times a year, and nature is important. We love hiking, great restaurants, and craft beer.  

Your Go-To Trip Planning Tools: 
We often get our ideas from NY Times Travel, Lonely Planet, and sometimes travel sites on Instagram.  We love Afar Travel and Travel & Leisure. Once we get an idea, we start diving into research and start a Google Doc.  I love Tripadvisor for hotels, NY Times for restaurants, and we often just start Googling the “bests of.”  We love to plan yet keep it open for impromptu and spontaneous discoveries.  The best day of the year is when the NY Times releases its “52 Places to Visit.”

QUICK FACTS
Destination visited:
Faroe Islands
Travel time: Travel from Reykjavik Iceland. Flight 1 hour 25 minutes
Length of trip: 4 nights
Cost of trip: For two people, $2,000 includes flight, Airbnb and rental car  
Trip type:  Perfect for hiking with Puffins, dropping into a Michelin Star restaurant, and wandering around a country where sheep outnumber people 2:1.  The month of May gave us 23 hours of daylight, which gave us so much more time in the day.  We had to force ourselves to stop and sleep!
Vibe:  Unimaginable stunning scenery, slow in the best way, no commercialism, fresh fish, winding roads. and small villages.  

THE QUICK & DIRTY

THE GREAT 

Visiting the island of Mykines
Mykines is a small island, inhabited by ten people, and known for their puffins.  The island is only accessible by ferry, which is often cancelled due to rough waters.  It’s highly recommended to take an official tour, and Heimdal is the best.

KOKS 
People travel to the Faroe Islands to experience this restaurant.  While we were lucky to secure a reservation two days before, it’s recommended to reserve several months before visiting.

The hike out to Sorvagsvatn Lake
When the lake is viewed from the top, it appears to be tilting into the ocean as an optical illusion.  The hike is fairly easy with a moderate steep climb at the end. Recommendation is to hike out early to avoid the crowds.  Parking is easy on the side of the road. The views are stunning, and it’s a peaceful place to sit and take everything in.

THE NOT SO GREAT 
There was nothing on this trip that was disappointing or overhyped.  

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?
Walking through a hill of puffins…. Like 100s of puffins.

THE ITINERARY  

DAY 1
Activity: Flew in during the evening and drove to our Airbnb in Gasadalur, made dinner, and played Connect Four. (We love an Airbnb that has games.)

Link to the Airbnb we stayed in, here.

Notes on the Airbnb: This was the first time we stayed in a private room/shared house.  Since we really wanted to stay on the western edge of Gásadalsgarður, there were not many choices.  The Airbnb was fine as we were away for most of the days and evenings and there was only one other guest staying at the same time as us.  My recommendation would be: spend one or two nights on the western side of the Faroe Islands and then head toward Torshavn to stay more centrally located.  There are Airbnbs all over the Faroe Islands, so it really all depends on what you want to do during your stay! There were great hikes from this Airbnb, a small cafe next door, and it was very close to the ferry to Mykines.

DAY 2
Breakfast:  Quick granola bar

Lunch: Provided by Heimdal Tours.  A great falafel wrap.
Dinner:  Local fare at the village Cafe Fjorooy.  Think fish, potato salad, and some pickles.  Interesting yet tasty!

Activity:  We typically take a tour on one of the first days of our trip so we can ask the guide about local restaurants and “must sees.”  We decided to take a tour to Mykines to hike and see the Puffins. We choose Heimdal Tours. It was an amazing day, and the guide gave a ton great tips, including KOKS - an impossible restaurant to get into it, and we called two days before and got a reservation.  We either have extremely good luck or someone canceled and we have great timing. Read more about KOKS, here.

Road Trip Denmark Faroe Islands.jpg

DAY 3
Breakfast:  Quick granola bar
Lunch: Paname Cafe, Torshavn
Dinner:  Pre-dinner drinks at Mikkeller Beer Bar and dinner at Barabara Fish House, Torshavn

Activity:  We started the day with a hike out to Sorvagsvatn (optical illusion lake), getting “lost” and staring down a crevasse that no one would have ever found us in, We headed to Torshavn the largest “city” and capital of the Faroe Islands.  The city is a quaint fishing village. We were on a hunt for Faroe Island wool sweaters and were recommended to stop by the mall to shop at Navia. A mall felt odd, but Navia was great and I LOVE my wool sweater, which recently kept me warm on a two day hike in snowy Norway. After dinner - (since we had so much daylight - we headed down to Kirkjubour to see a cathedral from the year 1300.  We forced ourselves to drive back to the Airbnb and call it a day.

DAY 4
Breakfast:  Quick granola bar
Lunch: We stopped and bought picnic fare at a local supermarket.
Dinner:  KOKS (tasting menu with a choice of wine pairing or juice pairing). $900 for two but the best meal and experience. we’ve ever had.

Activity:  We headed out early, stopped by the supermarket to grab a picnic lunch, and headed out to Gjogv.  Gjogv is a small village on the water with the cutest coffee shop and plenty of lambs. We enjoyed our picnic and then headed out to Saksan.  Saksan is another small village with grass roofs (think something out of “middle earth”), tidal pools, and a great hike out to the beach. Never a bad view from these villages.  The day ended with our amazing dinner at KOKS.

 DAY 5
We were sad to leave on an early-morning flight..

THE BOTTOM LINE 

Bottom line - we can’t stop talking about going back.  Four nights/three full days was not nearly enough. We scratched the surface, packed a lot in, but there is still so much more to see.  We can’t wait to go back. It’s the perfect place to really get away and take in some stunning scenery. Nothing was complicated or overwhelming.

If we had more time we would have explored the more eastern islands (there are 18 major islands and we visited four of them).  We would have spent more time in Torshavn and would have hiked a lot more. One of the hikes that remains on our list is to the Kallur Lighthouse, which is on Kalsoy.  The statue of the Seal Woman is also on Kalsoy. I guess we'll just have to go back!


KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: 

You must rent a car! Cash is always great.  Restaurants are far and few between unless you are in the capital of Torshavn.  While hiking stay on the trail! We strayed from the hiking trail and were attacked by swooping birds that were protecting their nests.  Watch for sheep on the roads (they are everywhere). Read the brochure on how to drive through the tunnels. Many of the tunnels are one lane, and there is a common etiquette. 

Dylan Essertier