Eight things you may not know about the Faroe Islands | Faroe Islands holidays


Appears like Icelandic

The Faroese language is near Icelandic, with its personal alphabet of 29 letters together with the barely complicated ð (edd), which is nearly all the time silent however happens in lots of phrases. Be careful for phrases starting with “hv”, which sounds extra like “kv”, and “sk” which is extra like “sh”. Oh, and there are three genders and 4 instances, so for English audio system the grammar may be difficult.

Customer numbers are rising

Sørvágsvatn – the hanging lake on Vágar island {Photograph}: Alamy

The Faroese identify for the archipelago is Føroyar, from the Previous Norse for sheep – fær and oyar (islands). It’s pronounced a bit like furr-ee-yar. The islands may be a self-governing nation inside the Danish kingdom, however the islanders don’t contemplate themselves Danish. Of 18 main islands, 17 are inhabited. Tourism has doubled in the previous 5 years, and Instagram has made some websites well-known – like Sørvágsvatn, the lake that appears suspended above the ocean; and Múlafossur, a waterfall that spouts into the sea. Each are on Vágar and inside a 15-minute drive of the airport. As the raven flies, the islands are 209 miles from Shetland. The nationwide airline is Atlantic Airways and in July it is going to recommence twice-weekly flights from Edinburgh. At the moment, entry is through Copenhagen.

Pack a raincoat (however not an umbrella)

Faroe Islands rainy day
{Photograph}: Roman Huber

Rain is anticipated someplace in the islands 300 days a yr and totals about 1,300mm (52 inches). The temperature doesn’t drop a lot under zero in winter, however doesn’t often get a lot above 16C in summer season, though you may be fortunate if the wind drops. On Boxing Day 2016 a hurricane registered gusts of 176 miles an hour – one among the highest speeds ever recorded in Europe. Summer season days are very lengthy, and everybody likes to celebration.


A wartime pal of Britain

A British naval gun from the second world war on Streymoy.
A British naval gun from the second world conflict on Streymoy. {Photograph}: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Throughout the second world conflict, the Faroes have been occupied by British troops, who launched Cadbury’s chocolate, Typhoo Tea and Viscount biscuits, which stay favourites to this present day. About 180 Faroese girls married the primarily Scottish servicemen. Additionally throughout the conflict, Faroese boats equipped vital portions of fish to British ports, a harmful exploit. In 1940 Winston Churchill recognised the Faroese flag, which had been banned by Denmark, and after the conflict it turned the official image of the islands.

It’s ‘massive’ in soccer and science

The Faroe Islands take on Scotland at home at the Svangaskard Stadium in 2008.
The Faroe Islands tackle Scotland at house at the Svangaskard Stadium in 2008. {Photograph}: Andrew Milligan/PA

The nation’s small dimension means the Faroese rank at the high of some attention-grabbing tables. They’ve one Nobel prize winner – Niels Ryberg Finsen (drugs, 1903, for his work on gentle remedy for pores and skin illnesses) – which suggests the nation has the highest variety of Nobel winners per capita in the world. The identical statistical trickery means Faroes has the highest variety of Fifa factors per capita (416) although the males’s crew is 113th and the girls’s 93rd on Fifa world rankings. The lads famously beat Greece twice in the Euro 2016 qualifiers – two of the largest upsets ever in Fifa-ranked matches since Greece have been ranked 18th and the Faroes then 187th. They’ve additionally crushed Canada, Malta, Moldova, Estonia and Austria and have drawn in opposition to Northern Eire, Hungary and Scotland.

There’s a roundabout beneath the sea

The new Eysturoy-Streymoy tunnel.
The brand new Eysturoy-Streymoy tunnel. {Photograph}: faroephoto.com

In 2020 an 11km undersea tunnel was accomplished, linking the giant islands of Eysturoy and Streymoy, and incorporating the first roundabout constructed beneath the North Atlantic. That is the longest of 14 tunnels by way of mountains and beneath water that permit straightforward communication throughout the archipelago. Wifi is accessible in the tunnels, and even small villages have sooner connections than most of London.

Meaty issues

Sheep at sunset on west coast of Streymoy island
Sheep are a significant useful resource for meals and clothes in the islands. {Photograph}: Alessio Mesiano

The islands’s distinctive local weather has allowed a really specific meals tradition to develop. Though it’s moist and windy, the archipelago is warmed by the Gulf Stream and doesn’t get a lot snow. Meat – largely lamb – is air dried, and undergoes a protracted fermentation course of in sheds with louvred partitions that permit the wind to whip by way of. The style is kind of “tacky” however you must not ever describe it as “rotten”. After a number of months it goes very darkish, and develops a sexy bacterial bloom. It’s known as skerpikjøt (feels like “shush-per-jot”) and has a singular umami flavour. One native chef, Poul Andrias Ziska, has been awarded two Michelin stars for his trendy interpretations of conventional substances at Koks restaurant.

Ripping yarns

Faroes jumpers, wool
Jumper gross sales are persistently robust in the Faroes. {Photograph}: None/NONE

If you need to mix in, purchase a jumper. There are formally greater than 300 names for Faroese fleece patterns, and the animals may be white, black or “crimson” (actually, a wealthy brown). The wool may be very excessive in lanolin, making it excellent safety for these windy mountainsides. Faroese socks have been favourites with Napoleonic troopers. The sheep get all over the place, and the oldest current doc in the Faroes is the Sheep Letter – a set of legal guidelines and guidelines about sheep farming written in 1298.

The love of reside music

Campers at 2017’s G! Festival.
Campers at 2017’s G! Competition. {Photograph}: Alessio Mesiano

The Faroes have a really energetic music scene and the G! Festival attracts worldwide artists to carry out on the seashore at Gøta, on Eysturoy. Something goes: modern folks, rap, Viking metallic, techno and soul are all fashionable. Conventional ballads – kvædi – are an historical artwork kind and supply the rhythm for the nationwide “chain dance”. At Nationwide Day celebrations in July, as much as 2,000 folks will hyperlink arms to bop collectively. It’s typical of the Faroes’ group spirit.

Tim Ecott is the creator of The Land of Possibly: A Faroe Islands 12 months


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