The plane landed in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I walked out of the airport tired. In this fleeting glance, I saw more people than I had seen on that mysterious island in the past ten days combined. There, there are winding coastlines, changeable weather, steep cliffs, as well as the boundless North Atlantic Ocean, endless sunlight, and enough time to squander. Yes, I have finally realized my long-cherished wish—to visit the Faroe Islands, an isolated island in the North Atlantic Ocean, located on the edge of the Arctic Circle.
The Faroe Islands are not that well known to most people. Even the local travel guidebook says: “Welcome to the Faroe Islands, imagine that you are one of the few people who have visited this archipelago among the 7 billion people in the world.” And it is true
. It is also a Nordic island, and its neighbor Iceland has been crowded with people in recent years. However, out of a hundred people who go to Iceland, at most only five or six people will stop by the Faroe Islands.
So where exactly are the Faroe Islands?
As an overseas self-governing territory of Denmark, it clings to the edge of the Arctic Circle, 18 rocky islands, scattered in the North Atlantic sea between Iceland, Norway and Scotland. With an area of just under 1,400 square kilometers, you might have to use a magnifying glass to find it on a commonly used 8-inch globe.
But don’t let this underestimate it. It has the vagaries of Iceland, the verdant fjord scenery of Norway, and the rolling highlands of Scotland-you can catch all these scenery when you come here.
A bird paradise that only opens twice a year
Among the “legends” of the Faroe Islands, the most interesting one is about the population: the population on the island is no more than 50,000, but there are more sheep than people on the island. For this reason, the archipelago is known as the “Island of Sheep”.
There’s more life here than sheep, though—birds.
According to incomplete statistics, there are about 2 million seabirds in the Faroe Islands, and these seabirds are divided into 305 species, of which about 100 are common species, and about 200 are migratory birds, so here is a well-deserved bird watching paradise . Among these birds, the most popular is the Puffin. There are three species of puffins, arctic puffins, horned puffins and tufted puffins. They are nicknamed “flying penguins” because of their cute appearance, and most of the puffins living in the Faroe Islands are arctic puffins. .
Although these birds are chubby and clumsy, once they get into the water, they are small fishing experts with super diving ability-they can dive more than 10 meters or even 200 meters under the water, and they can catch fish in one go. Back a lot of fish!
If you want to watch birds, you must not miss the “Bird Island” – Mykines Island. This small island with only a dozen permanent residents is located in the far west of the Faroe Islands, where hundreds of thousands of seabirds gather, and it is the largest seabird sanctuary in the Faroe Islands. To get there, you have to take a ferry, which takes about 50 minutes of bumpy travel through some of the most treacherous waters in the Faroe Islands. If the weather changes suddenly and the ferry is canceled, you will be trapped on the island, which will affect the subsequent itinerary. Experienced locals have concluded that there are two most suitable seasons for sailing: from May 1st to August 31st in summer, and from October 12th to October 20th in autumn. For the remainder of the day, ferries were suspended and there was no other means of transport to Mykines. In other words, it only opens twice a year.
In addition to bird watching, there are also hiking routes that are most friendly to tourists.
Among the 23 officially recommended hiking routes in the Faroe Islands, neither will it be as time-consuming and strenuous as the Appalachian Trail in the United States, nor will it be as difficult as in the Himalayas and Karakorum. Altitude itinerary. For an ordinary traveler, all the hiking routes here are basically a 5-hour walk to enjoy the magnificent scenery along the way, without too much outdoor hiking equipment and experience. This is the case with the hiking route in Mykines, about 2.5 hours away, about seven or eight kilometers in length, and the highest altitude is about 125 meters. Perhaps the difficulty of hiking is not high, so you can see many gray-haired European tourists on the way. Along the way, you can also see a large number of sunken green holes on the tall grass slopes, which are the “sea view rooms” of the puffins.
Follow this road to the westernmost point of the Faroe Islands, and you will see a lighthouse that was built in 1909, which means that you have completed more than half of the hiking route. At this point, you can choose to go back the same way, or go back through another road under the lighthouse. However, it should be noted that although this route is not difficult, because the hiking trail is located on the sea cliff, windproof outdoor clothing and trekking poles are still essential. Tourists who are afraid of heights should also do what they can. No problem for ordinary tourists.
The village next to the waterfall
A very important reason why I want to go to the Faroe Islands is because I saw the waterfall in the village of Gasadalur (Gasadalur) in an old magazine. The waterfall originated from a small stream flowing down from the mountain next to the village. The swiftly falling waterfall smashed hard on the sea in the strong wind. The entire sea was like a cracked dark black jade, converging into a white dragon entering the sea.
The village of Gosadaroul is the last village in the Faroe Islands to be accessible by road. It wasn’t until 2006 that a tunnel opened up a mountain range in the village, finally allowing cars to reach this isolated village. It is said that before this, there were only three ways to reach the village: one was to hike over the mountain for 2 hours, and the other two were to take a boat or a helicopter.
Because it is located in a remote area with inconvenient transportation, the small population of the village once dropped sharply. At least, only 18 people lived here. So when I was wandering around the village, I only met two lovely children. One of them was working hard to draw chalk drawings on the ground, while the other was dutifully cleaning with a shower head. Most of the time, all I’m left with is no one around.
Tired from walking, I knocked on the door of the only coffee shop in the village, only to find that the room was full of excitement. Could it be that the whole village gathered together? ! Seeing my surprised appearance, the proprietress told me apologetically that they were preparing a “surprise party” for a certain friend. Think about it, when you get home, you find that there is no one in the whole village, and when you open the door, you find that they are all sitting in your house. That was really a surprise!
lake over ocean
Sorvagsvatn is the largest lake in the Faroe Islands with 3.4 square kilometers. It’s also known as the “Lake Over the Ocean” because it looks like it’s hovering above the sea if you find the right angle. One of the most famous hiking routes on the Faroe Islands also runs along this lake. If you reach the end, you will be able to see the 35-meter-high Bösdalafossur waterfall flowing into the Atlantic Ocean on the steep cliff.
Although the entire hiking route takes a long time, fortunately, it is basically flat along the way. Due to the small size of the Faroe Islands, the climate is significantly affected by the ocean, and the weather is changeable. There is a saying in Iceland, “If you don’t like the weather, please wait 5 minutes”, this sentence is also applicable here. During the 3-hour hike, I experienced rain, sun and wind, which can be described as embarrassing. However, when I reached the edge of the three sharp-toothed cliffs, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty in front of me.
When I made persistent efforts to climb up the highest cliff and was about to see the wonders of the lake hanging on the sea, a burst of thick fog suddenly hit me and surrounded me heavily, and the visibility quickly dropped to less than 1 meter. It suddenly occurred to me that the location where I am now is the edge of the cliff, and it is also the place where the ancient Vikings punished prisoners of war. As far as the form of punishment is concerned, it is also very simple and rude: let the prisoners of war line up and jump off the cliff into the North Atlantic Ocean one by one.
I waited in place for a long time, but this time the saying “wait for 5 minutes” did not come true, and the thick fog never seemed to clear up. In the end, I could only miss the spectacle of Sorvagsvatn “hanging” on the Atlantic Ocean, and returned the same way angrily.
North Atlantic pastoral
In my mind, the town of Gjogv, located at the northernmost tip of Erster Island, is the most beautiful town in Faro. It is located between the fjords and faces the sea. The colorful roofs of the houses in the village are particularly eye-catching against the surrounding empty environment, and it also vividly shows the romance of the local people’s loneliness.
”Gjogv” means canyon in the local language, named after a beautiful 200-meter-long canyon, at the end of which no other villages can be seen. The canyon stretches north from the small town of Jaghaf to the sea, and villagers have used this natural canyon as a landing place for boats for centuries.
For a long time, local people have made a living by fishing and selling dried and salted fish. In 1982, a factory for the production of prefabricated concrete elements was established in the village. This is also the only factory on the island with only 6 employees. Other than that, there are only fish farms, guest houses/hotels and campgrounds on the island.
Although it is sparsely populated here, it still has a different kind of romance. Looking from a distance, the spacious valley seems to be covered with a huge carpet, dotted with yellow flowers, undulating and extending to the distance, connecting with the row of colorful houses by the sea. In the pastoral, there are almost no human voices, only the strong wind, the bleating of sheep and the waves of the sea.
At the end of the trip, I wandered aimlessly along the calm bays of the Atlantic Ocean. On the Faroe Islands, in the villages along the bay, almost every house has a window facing the sea. The poignant beauty isolated from the world seems to calm the unknown fire and resentment in the hearts of urbanites. Go experience the romance of loneliness, hide in the world, and be the most beautiful lonely “patient”, even if it is only for this moment.