Some basic information about the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are a small group of 18 main islands located between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. There is a population of 50,000 and the capital, Torshavn, has a population of 20,000, which is located 45mins from the airport at Vagar. The highest mountain is Slættaratindur and is 880m above sea level and at no point are you more than 5km (3 miles) from the sea.
Life on the Faroe Islands can be traced back to 400AD. The Faroe Islands has been claimed by Norway in the past but has been Danish since 1814. During WWII Great Britain was seen as a friendly invader, designed to counter German manoeuvres in Scandinavia, and maintain a strong position in the Atlantic. The British built the only airport on the islands at Vagar and once the war ended handed sovereignty back to Denmark. In 1948 home rule legislation led to the island becoming a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Getting to the Faroe Islands
There are direct flights from Edinburgh on Thursdays and Sundays with Atlantic Airways. Indirect flights operate from the UK via Copenhagen on other days.
A geologically interesting area of volcanic rock covering an area of 1400sq km, carved out by the last ice age. The highest point is around 800m and there are 18 main islands. The closest international neighbour is the Scottish Western Isles 260km (160 miles to the south east).
Located in the North Atlantic Ocean the climate is dominated by the Gulf Stream and the Faroe Islands has little protection from the elements! Their northerly latitude means the Faroe Islands have mild winters with an average temperature of +2C in December and January and cooler summers averaging +13C.
Clothing & Equipment
Depending on your personal holiday plans we recommend good waterproof walking shoes, a rain jacket and some warm clothing. If you are planning on doing some day hikes we recommend a small backpack and a thermos flask for warm drinks. When the sun does shine you will need sunglasses and sun cream as temperatures can reach over +20C during the long, almost endless, summer days. Binoculars and cameras are a must!
The Faroese Krona and the Danish Krona are of equal value. Danish currency and Faroese currency are both valid. Cards are widely accepted (with the exception of American Express).
The Faroe Islands are always the same as London.
A standard 2 pin continental adaptor is required.
Passports & Visas
The Faroe Islands are not part of the Schengen agreement and a passport is required to enter the Faroe Islands. As a general rule, non EU countries require a visa specific to the Faroe Islands. If in doubt please check with your local Danish Embassy.
Driving & Tolls
On the Faroe Islands they drive on the right hand side, just like continental Europe. There are 2 tunnels that each have a 100DKK toll (approx.) to pass through, one as you drive between Torshvan and the airport. There are no pay stations at the tunnels. Please double check the payment process with your car rental company.
Faroese is the main language and most people can speak and write Danish. English is widely spoken, and Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish and widely understood and spoken.
Bars and restaurants are permitted to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. There is a state run off licence for the general purchase of alcohol.
Tipping and Service Charges
You are not obliged to tip. Tipping for outstanding service is a matter of choice, but is not expected.
Whaling has been a part of Faroese life for centuries and is deeply rooted in the local culture. Pilot whales have provided a vital food source on islands where natural resources are sparse. An estimated 778,000 whales are in the North Eastern Atlantic Ocean, of which approximately 100,000 are around the Faroe Islands.
Whaling is highly regulated and records of whale hunts date back to 1584, the longest running continuous statistics of any use of wildlife. Whale drives are supervised by elected officials and only those with special permits may slaughter the whales. The meat is then distributed, without the exchange of money, amongst the local community.
Whale drives can take place at any time of year when a school of whales is spotted close to shore. Locals gather in small boats and drive the whales ashore to recognised bays. These drives usually take place in July, August and September, when the conditions are more suitable.
The Faroese are aware of the international view on whale hunting but would like the international community to have a better understanding as to why whaling is still carried out. More information can be found here …. http://www.whaling.fo/
Please let us know if something is incorrect or you think we are missing some information from this page.