There is no better way to explore a beautiful nature destination like the Faroe Islands than hiking. But what are the best hikes in the Faroe Islands?
There are so many hiking trails and walking routes in the Faroe islands that it might be overwhelming to choose which ones are worth your time the most. Especially if you only have a couple of days and want to see the best that the Faroe Islands have to offer.
When planning our trip to the Faroe Islands, we came across a hiking brochure published by Visit Faroe Islands. It’s a beautiful booklet that you can find in pdf version online and also in the visitor information centres across the country. It describes 23 hikes on 9 different islands and therefore gives you a lot of choice. Too much choice for an average tourist who only has a couple of days to explore the islands.
Therefore you still have to do some homework and research the best hikes in the Faroe Islands before your trip. One strange thing about this booklet is that it does not mention one of the very best hikes of the Faroers at all…
So to help you make the best of your trip, I made a selection of just 5 best hikes in the Faroe Islands that in our opinion are worth your time the most. If you have more time and want to do even more walking in the Faroe Islands, you can find a couple of other suggestions at the bottom of this post.
Just to make things clear from the start – walking in the Faroe Islands isn’t effortless. It’s often very muddy, the trails aren’t well marked, and you are dealing with the ever-changing weather conditions. The good news is that these hikes often lead to some of the most spectacular places and phenomenal landscapes. And once in a while you might be rewarded by the most incredible rainbow…
Walking in the Faroe Islands is worth the effort (or at least the most beautiful hikes described in this post are). Also, apart from being slippery and muddy, the hikes mentioned in this post are not too difficult and are all doable for an average hiker; our kids age 7-9 managed just fine.
TIP: At the bottom of this post you can also find practical tips for walking in the Faroe Islands, as well as a map indicating the starting point for each of the hikes mentioned here. However, most hiking trails are really not well marked, so it’s best to either print the description from the hiking brochure or try to get a copy of it once you are in the Faroe islands.
1. Villingardalsfjall and Enniberg (Viðoy island)
Villingardalsfjall hike starting in the old village Vidareidi (Viðareiði) is probably the most beautiful hike of the Faroe islands. There are several options at the top of the mountain: you can go to the top of Villingardalsfjall (recommended) or climb to Enniberg (not recommended without a local guide).
If you are lucky to visit on a clear day, you will be rewarded with the most spectacular views over the northern islands Fugloy, Svinoy, Bordoy, Kunoy, and Kalsoy. But even if the weather is not as good, you can still enjoy nice views along the way to the top. This is however not the hike to attempt if it’s really misty.
With its 841 m (2759 ft) Villingardalsfjall is the fourth highest mountain of the Faroe Islands and you will feel it. This hike involves lots of climbing, pretty much all the way up. Despite this and the fact that Vidareidi is about as far from Torshavn as you can get to by car, it seems to be a popular hike.
Most people we met along the way didn’t make it all the way to the top and neither did we. We hiked up for about an hour and the view was amazing during the entire hike. I have no idea if the view is even better from the top than it is along the way, but the scenery along the first part of this hike was truly breathtaking. So impressive, in fact, that I put this hike as our absolute favourite in the Faroe Islands.
- Length and duration: 6km (3,7 miles), 3 – 4 hrs return. You can also choose to do just a part of the hike – it’s still worth it.
- Difficulty: moderate/difficult. We did this hike with three kids under 10 and while not entirely happy with the steep climb, they managed it quite alright. However, we didn’t get all the way to the top, so I cannot comment on the last piece that is said to be rocky with loose stones along the way.
- Starting point: North of Vidareidi village. See the map below for the exact location.
2. Kallur lighthouse (Kalsoy island)
The hike to Kallur lighthouse has to be the best-known secret of the Faroe Islands. For some strange reason it is not mentioned in the hiking brochure, yet everyone seems to know about it. If it wasn’t for the limited space on the ferry to Kalsoy island, this place would probably be overrun by tourists. Maybe that’s the reason why they rather not promote it too much…
While the previous hike described above is all about the scenery along the way, it’s not really the case on Kalsoy island. The walk to the Kallur lighthouse is muddy, you have to constantly navigate between the sheep droppings, and the landscape is a bit underwhelming. But once you get to the lighthouse, the scenery takes your breath away. It’s the most beautiful coastline we have seen in the Faroe Islands!
Make sure you spend some time here and explore the coastline in all possible directions. The best view is actually not at the lighthouse itself, but from a cliff right opposite of it. It looks a bit dangerous to get to and so most people never even try, but I found the path to be completely safe and it was so worth it. In any case, you have to be really careful everywhere around the lighthouse as it’s really steep, slippery, and windy. So watch your step, take your time, and enjoy the views!
The biggest challenge of this hike is actually not the hike itself; it’s quite easy, short, and rewarding. The challenge is to get on the tiny ferry that brings you to Kalsoy island. There are just a few boats running from Klaksvik on Borðoy island to Syðradalur on Kalsoy island. The ferry can take 17 small cars at best. In high season they simply don’t have enough capacity to take all the tourists who want to visit Kalsoy. So you either have to go very early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or arrive at least 1 hour before the ferry.
- Length and duration: I’m not sure how long the hike is, my guess it’s about 4 km (2,5 miles) round trip. It took us 35 minutes to get there and a bit less to come back.
- Difficulty: easy/ moderate. The biggest challenge is the first steeper section that can be very muddy and slippery.
- Ferry from Klaksvik to Kalsoy island: Here you can find the ferry schedule. In high season, make sure you are at the harbour at least an hour in advance.
- Starting point: Parking lot in Trøllanes village. See the map below for the exact location.
3. Trælanípa – Bøsdalafossur (Vagar island)
The hike from Miðvágur to Bøsdalafossur waterfall and Trælanípa mountain is without any doubt the most popular hike in the Faroe islands. It’s close to the main road between the airport and the capital city Torshavn. Furthermore, it’s an easy walk and is is very rewarding. It seems that if people do just one hike in the Faroe Islands, it’s this one.
Bøsdalafossur – Trælanípa hike follows the Sørvágsvatn lake (also called Leitisvatn or Vatnið – why make things easy, right?). It’s the largest lake in the Faroe Islands and you’ll find many birds in this area during summertime.
Contrary to all the other hikes in the Faroes, the main trail is quite well indicated and easy to follow. It’s also quite well maintained and not even remotely as muddy as all the other places we visited. You’ll have to jump over a few minor streams, but nothing to worry about. Kids and older people will manage this trail just fine. The only challenge is the climb up the Trelnipa mountain at the end of the walk.
Trælanípa mountain is the last hill on your left hand side almost at the end of the trail. It’s not very high and in just a few minutes you can reach the top. From here you can see many nearby islands, the stunning coastline, and of course the famous most-photographed view over the Sørvágsvatn lake. Just be careful here – it’s really steep, slippery, and you don’t want to get too close to the edge.
After Trælanípa you can choose to go back to the car parking, or turn left and continue to the end of the lake. The trail isn’t indicated, but if you just follow the lake, you can’t really go wrong. At the end of the lake you’ll find a beautiful waterfall, Bøsdalafossur, where the water of the lake thunders down into the Atlantic Ocean. For some reason very few people seem to make it to the end of the walk, but it’s a fascinating sight, so don’t miss it. You can even cross the river (there are stepping stones) and walk up to a gorge with a view over Geituskorardrangur cliff.
The trail back, as it is indicated in the hiking brochure, follows the lower path along the lake and ends up in a different part of the village than where it starts. Most people (us included), however, take the same path back to the car parking.
- Length and duration: 6-8 km, 2-3 hrs (starting and ending at the parking lot). The exact distance and time will depend on the exact route you choose and your starting/ ending point. Hiking brochure says it’s a 10km walk, but that’s not the case if you start/ end at the car parking.
- Difficulty: easy/ moderate. The biggest challenge might be a short climb at the end of the hike.
- Starting point: Small parking lot in Midvagur. Coming from Sandvagur, turn left on the first street after you pass the church and just follow the signs. It’s well indicated from the main road.
4. Mykinesholmur (Mykines island)
Mykines island is probably one of the most special places you will ever visit. Not just in the Faroe Islands. Ever. One of the best things to do in Mykines is hiking Mykinesholmur all the way to Mykines lighthouse. The scenery here is second to none and if you come on a sunny day, it’s as beautiful as it gets.
Hiking is not the main reason why Mykines is so popular with tourists. This island with its sheer cliffs is home to a big colony of puffins that come to nest here every summer. On top of that, it’s one of the very few places where you can expect to see gannets in the wild.
There are however many obstacles to visiting Mykines, seeing the puffins, and doing this stunning hike. First, the island can only be reached by helicopter or by a small boat (see practical information below). Second, the hike to the lighthouse is quite steep and muddy and it often gets closed if it becomes too dangerous. Third, puffins are of course wild birds and may not always be there. On top of that, there are talks about limiting tourist access to the puffin nesting area. Increasing tourist numbers mean more and more damage to the already fragile landscape…
Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, even if the hike is closed and access to the puffin nesting area is limited, Mykines is still a place worth visiting. It’s probably even more special to experience it on a windy rainy day as it makes you wonder how life should be on this island in the middle of the winter…
We visited Mykines on such a miserable wet day. The hike to the lighthouse was closed, so we didn’t get to experience it to the fullest. But we saw hundreds, thousands of puffins. We saw incredible landscapes and a tiny remote village in the middle of the harsh Atlantic Ocean. And it was still worth a trip.
- Length and duration: 7-8 km, 2,5-3 hrs.
- Difficulty: moderate. The biggest challenge is the slippery mud. Also the steep climb in the beginning of the hike, followed by a steep descent to the bridge, and then the climb back up.
- Ferry to Mykines: Ferry only operates weather-permitting, from the 1st of May till the end of August. I’m not sure if you can get here by boat outside this season, so it’s best to call the company operating the ferry and inquire about the possibilities. This is the only ferry in the Faroe Islands that has to be booked in advance (and it often sells out). Here you can find the schedule and here you can book the ferry.
- Helicopter to Mykines: Helicopters on the Faroe Islands are actually meant to help local people, but the rides are so cheap that it has become a popular thing to do for tourists. The helicopter to Mykines is probably the most sought-after and since this summer you can only book one week before departure (here is the booking website). It only has 12 seats and gets fully booked in no time. Please keep in mind that they only fly a few days a week (see the schedule here) and you can never take it both ways on the same day, so you still need to get the boat to come back or be prepared to stay on Mykines for a few days. We tried to book the helicopter for our visit to Mykines and it was fully booked at 7AM on the day the bookings were possible. On top of that, by then there were no places left on the evening boat. So even if we could have booked the flight, there was no way to come back. It turned out so much easier to just book the boat both ways for another day. This is what I recommend for you too, or you risk not being able to visit at all.
- Hiking fee: Mykines is also the only place in the Faroe Islands where you have to pay in order to hike. You have to pay the hiking fee in advance on hiking.fo website.
- Starting point: Before you reach the village, there will be a sign to Mykinesholmur on your left hand side.
5. Saksun – út á Lónna (Streymoy island)
The most popular hike near Saksun is actually not this hike, but Saksun – Tjornuvik hike that is indicated in the hiking brochure. However, if you are not up for a difficult long hike climbing a mountain between the two villages (and back), a beautiful hike called út á Lónna is not just easier, but probably a much better option to explore the majestic landscapes near Saksun. After all, how many visitors actually have 5-6 hours to hike between the two villages…
The út á Lónna hike is easy, flat, and suitable for all ages. It also takes much less time – count 1-2 hours, depending on how far you choose to walk. The scenery here is simply unbelievable and hardly any tourists seem to come to this part of the popular Saksun village.
We discovered this hike by coincidence, on our first day in the Faroe Islands and it was love at first sight. As we left the village and walked along the fjord out to the black sand beach by the ocean, we couldn’t believe how beautiful and tranquil this place was. It’s one of those experiences that makes you feel small and humble compared to the majestic nature that surrounds you.
- Length and duration: 6 km, 1-2 hrs. You can make this walk as long or as short as you want to.
- Difficulty: Easy. The biggest challenge is the tide. You should not walk here in high tide, or in any case not till the end of the trail.
- Starting point: The first parking lot on your left hand side when you enter Saksun village, before you cross the bridge. Walk west towards the fjord and you’ll soon find a sign with the map of the walk.
Other nice hikes in the Faroe Islands
As mentioned before, the five hikes selected above, were our personal favourite hikes in the Faroe Islands. Those are the hikes that we recommend the most. However, if you have more time and love to do more walking in the Faroe islands, there are many more hikes to consider.
Here are a few other beautiful hikes that we recommend in the Faroe Islands:
- Hvannhagi hike (Suduroy island). Probably the most off the beaten path hike we did in the Faroe Islands. Little to no indications make this hike difficult to navigate, but a spectacular view at the end makes it all worth it. If you are visiting Suduroy island and have 2-3 hours to spare, check it out!
- Nólsoy Borðan (Nosloy island). Long walk to the lighthouse at the southern part of Nolsoy island is, in our opinion, not really worth the time that it takes (13-14km, 5hrs). However, Nolsoy island is definitely worth a short visit and we recommend doing the first part of this hike. The best views are in the beginning, just as you climb the hill.
- Slættaratindur (Eysturoy island). Slættaratindur is the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands. If you are lucky to visit this area without the mist covering the view, this is one of the most beautiful hikes you could consider as well. Count 2-3 hours.
TIP: All these recommendations for walking in the Faroe Islands are based on our personal experience and conditions at the time of our visit. For more practical information for these and other hikes, please refer to the hiking brochure of Visit Faroe Islands.
Best hikes of the Faroe Islands on the map
In this map I indicated the starting points for each of the Best hikes of the Faroe islands described in this post. Don’t forget that some of these hikes can only be accessed by taking a ferry, so make sure to check the schedule and prepare in advance.
Practical tips for hiking in the Faroe Islands
- Dress for the ever-changing weather. Layers, warm clothes, waterproof jacket, rain pants, cap, and gloves are a must in any season. Dressing for the Faroe Islands is actually pretty much the same as what I recommend to pack for Iceland.
- Sturdy waterproof hiking shoes with good grip are a must too. We always wear hiking shoes with Vibram soles. Even then, you still have to be very cautious as hiking in the Faroe Islands is the most slippery I have ever experienced.
- I recommend taking hiking poles with you when planning to do any walking in the Faroe Islands. We really missed them.
- Always pack a picnic and drinking water. A thermos with your favourite hot drink might be nice to have.
- Make sure you have a description of the hike with you. According to the brochure, tourist information might help you with a digital copy of the hiking maps as well.
- Don’t start the hike if it’s misty. It’s really easy to get lost and some areas with steep cliffs are just too dangerous to take a risk.
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