BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
If the thought of a staycation leaves you cold, why not travel to the captivating Faroe Islands? From 1st July, fly direct from Edinburgh with Atlantic Airways in just 1 hr 25 minutes.
This remote archipelago – located midway between Iceland and Norway, north of Scotland – is the perfect place to get away from the crowds, with a population across its 18 islands of just 50,000, plus 80,000 sheep. Visitors can enjoy a host of outdoor activities – hiking, birdwatching, fishing and adventure sports – alongside a vibrant food scene (including Michelin-starred restaurant KOKS), an exciting programme of summer music festivals and the chance to buy one of Sarah Lund’s iconic wool jumpers at designer store Guðrun & Guðrun.
The Faroe Islands has been on the UK’s Green List since 17 May but, with UK travellers having to transit via Denmark, restrictions there have meant that only travellers with a ‘special worthy purpose’ could actually go.
Now, thankfully, Denmark has eased travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated people from OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), which includes the UK.
Fully vaccinated travellers from the UK are now allowed to enter the Faroe Islands without the need to quarantine. All visitors still have to be tested on arrival at the airport (at a cost of £36) and should self-isolate until they have received the result (usually within half a day), with a follow-up test to be taken on the fourth day of their stay. Travellers are asked to be careful and keep a social distance from people they meet until they have the result of the 4th day test. Travellers are still allowed to go hiking, explore the islands in their car and enjoy outside space as well as indoor activities such as visiting restaurants.
The moment you land on the Faroe Islands, you are transported to an ethereal environment, surrounded by incredible scenery and dramatic landscapes, from stunning waterfalls and rugged cliffs to quaint grass-roofed houses and spectacular coastlines.
What to expect in the Faroe Islands this summer…
Visit the most remote James Bond movie location yet
Set for release on 30 September, the hotly-anticipated 25th James Bond film, ‘No Time to Die’, used the wild and rugged scenery of the Faroe Islands in the third and final act of the movie. Scenes were filmed on the island of Kalsoy, populated by just 150 inhabitants and known for its twisting roads, deep valleys and famous Kallur Lighthouse, perched on a steep cliff at the top of the island. The remote island can only be reached by ferry or helicopter; you can now take the James Bond Sightseeing Tour and hike your way around the film locations, led by a specialist guide. The tour costs from £315 pp, including a tour of the film locations with a guide, ferry crossing, hiking around the film locations and a boat trip.
Drive through the Faroes’ world-first – a subsea tunnel with a roundabout
In December 2020, work was completed on the 11km Eysturoy Tunnel, the second-longest subsea tunnel for vehicles in the world, and the only such tunnel in the world to feature a roundabout! The tunnel connects the islands of Streymoy (location of Tórshavn, the capital) with the island of Eysturoy for a much faster journey time, and the roundabout features a dramatic light installation by Faroese artist Tróndur Patursson. The cost is from £20 return per vehicle. Pay online in advance here, or drive through the tunnel without stopping and pay at one of the petrol stations listed here.
The 20th G! Festival
This July sees the 20th anniversary of the G! Festival, an eclectic and intimate music festival held in the tiny fjord-side village of Syðrugøta, home to just 400 people. Stages are built on the beach and the football pitch, making this a truly unique three-day event. Caught between the peaks and the ocean, in a break between the cliffs skirting the coastline, Syðrugøta lies within an unrivalled natural amphitheatre and is set against a backdrop of the Faroes’ breathtaking landscape, dominated by grass-carpeted mountains. Over the years, the festival has seen world-class acts perform, including Fat Boy Slim, The Guillemots and Travis, and this year’s line-up includes Faroese artist Eivør Pálsdóttir. The G! Festival takes place from 15-17 July and tickets cost from £173 pp – https://gfestival.fo/.
Hiking Tours made easy
Keen walkers can now plan their routes with help from experts with the new Visit Faroe Islands Hiking Guide – www.bygdagotur.fo – which highlights the Faroe Islands’ best hiking tours via old village paths, historically the only connections between villages. You can filter your search by the region you’d like to explore, the difficulty rating, duration and distance to find the right route for you, and you can also search by type, including family-friendly and best hikes for viewpoints. Start with an easy and beautiful 3.3km hike along the seashore between Hellurnar and Oyndarfjørður, or challenge yourself with the 7.9km varied hike from Norðtoftavegur to Klaksvík, taking you through the old village path over the mountain. The guide is incredibly detailed, with descriptions, 3D maps, weather forecasts and facts to help you get the best from your journey. Visit https://www.visitwhatson.fo/hiking?lang=en to plan your hike.
How to get to the Faroe Islands: Fly direct from Edinburgh to Vágar Island from £308 pp return. Flights operate twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) from 1 July to December 2021. Visit www.atlantic.fo for further information.
Where to stay: Two new 4-star hotels opened in 2020; Hotel Brandan and the Hilton Garden Inn, both situated in the capital, Tórshavn. An overnight stay costs from £153 for two sharing at the Hilton Garden Inn and from £209 for two sharing at Hotel Brandan.
To learn more about the Faroe Islands, visit www.visitfaroeislands.com.