Faroe Islands. June 6-13, 2018 (Part 1)

It’s been over a year since I last wrote in this blog! I really had planned to keep up with it but work, travel, sightseeing, photo editing, eating and sleeping take up pretty much all of my time unfortunately. I do plan to go back and write about some of the more interesting places I visited in the past year, especially really special places like Mt. Ijen in Indonesia, but I really want to write about the Faroes now since it’s such an unusual travel destination that a lot of people have asked me about and since it’s all still very fresh in my memory, so here goes!

By the way I am extremely long-winded so I will have to split this up in parts so it’s not too long and painful to read. Also because it’s already after 10pm here in Helsinki and I need to go to bed soon.

First of all, where are the Faroe Islands? Most people asked me this when I said that I was going there, because most people have never even heard of it. I hadn’t either until a few years ago thanks to Instagram. The Faroe Islands are self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. They lie about halfway between Iceland and Scotland, in the north Atlantic Ocean and are made up of 18 small islands connected by road tunnels, ferries, causeways and bridges. Some tunnels are a real doozy, more on those later.

I think a lot of people think a place like this is expensive to get to, but that’s not true at all. First of all, for Americans, you can often get to Iceland for $99 one way from many cities, even on the west coast, on WOWair, Iceland’s budget airline. Then from the domestic airport in Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik, it’s a short, direct flight on Atlantic Airways (the national airline of the Faroe islands) to Vagar airport in the Faroe Islands (airport code: FAE), which I only paid $166 USD for.

So, getting there is cheap-ish and easy-ish, but once you are there, it’s definitely not a cheap place. I guess part of this reason is because it’s part of Denmark, an extremely expensive country for most people. I searched quite a bit and the cheapest rental car I could get for a week was $800 USD, even booking more than a month in advance, and that was from Sixt. I have never paid that much for a rental car anywhere ever. However, thankfully, I didn’t get some tiny crappy car like you usually get when you get the cheapest car category, we got a very nice 6-speed diesel Nissan Pulsar with heated seats and a pretty large luggage area in the back hatch, which was a big improvement over the Toyota clown car we had in Iceland. A diesel car is preferable in the Faroes as diesel is cheaper than normal gas. At the time we went, diesel was roughly $5/gallon while normal gas was $6/gallon. But, I guess it really doesn’t matter much as we only used 1.5 tanks of gas in a week driving on literally every road in the islands except a few of the smaller ones that you have to ferry the car to.

If you don’t feel like spending that much on a car, it IS possible to see the Faroe Islands without renting a car, as there are public buses that I think go to just about every village, but they are not frequent. They are however, cheap. Hitchhiking is also an option and pretty acceptable thing.

Backing up, when I made the car reservation, I made the mistake of not wanting to pay the after-hours rental car pickup fee (we were arriving at 8:30pm and Sixt closes at 5pm). I didn’t know what the fee was, but figured it would be a lot. So I made the car reservation for the following morning and I booked accommodation just an 8 minute drive from the airport so we could easily go back the next morning and pick up the car during normal business hours and not pay extra.

So our flight arrived to the airport and we  got a taxi to our accommodation, 8 minutes away. And I learned a lesson that you should never assume that an 8 minute taxi ride will be cheap. Especially in this part of the world. That 8-minute taxi ride ended up costing $47 USD. AND that was AFTER the driver “gave us a break” on the price. He said they normally charge 200 Krone per person, which I thought was BS, but later I did see that most of the taxis and shuttle buses DO in fact say on a decal on the vehicle, 200 per person (approx. $31). BUT, that is to go all the way  to the capital of Torshavn, 45 minutes away. It’s apparently the flat rate to go ANWHERE from the airport. So he “only” charged us 300. So that was another mistake, not asking the price before we left the airport, because I certainly would not have agreed to pay that amount. We SHOULD have taken the bus for 20 each ($3) as my friend suggested but I was in a daze and didn’t feel like dealing with a bus and walking any distance with my luggage which is why I just got in the taxi. I am pretty lazy when it comes to this kind of thing.

The next morning we had ferry tickets for 10:20am to go to Mykines Island. Yet another mistake: I didn’t wake up early enough to go back to the airport to pick up the car. It was only my 5th day away from home and I was still very jetlagged and having a hell of a time waking up early in the morning. Thing is our ferry was not coming back from Mykines until like 6pm. Do you see where this is going? LOL. SO, I then called the car rental company from the bus stop on the way to the ferry terminal, from my American T-Mobile phone, to let them know I was not going to be able to pick up the car until like 6pm, so they could arrange someone to be there. That phone call probably cost me at least $20 as well.

SO – after ALL OF THAT!!, I ended up having to pay the 300 Krone ($47) late fee ANYWAY. Oh the joys of travel and lack of proper planning. This kind of crap happens to me all the time. You’d think by now I would plan better and keep track of timings and figure out logistics but who has time for that? Ha. I have another very costly car rental horror story from the previous week in Iceland but I’ll save that for my Iceland post.

Anyway the car was great as previously mentioned so I was happy about that at least. Our accommodation for the first 2 nights was at a place called Kristjanshavn in the village of Midvagur (the one 8 minutes from the airport) and was actually a caravan! Like an old camper van from the 70’s. Haha. The kind you pull behind a vehicle. When I booked all this stuff, the only options were a caravan, a hostel dorm, or stuff that was like completely unreasonably expensive. So I opted for the caravan, which was 890 Krone for 2 nights, like $70/night. Cheap for the Faroes. I like staying in unusual types of accommodations from time to time anyway. Windmills, boats….I hope to stay in an igloo, treehouse, castle and cave at some point too! There were 2 caravans parked on the property which were an afterthought of an already established guesthouse of actual rooms in 3 buildings surrounding a nice wooden sun deck, and the whole property was situated right in a beautiful little harbor with lots of small boats. The caravan had a pretty good sized table and seating area in the front, a sink, a gas burner, kettle, heaters, and 2 beds in the back. Since the caravan did not have a bathroom, there was one in the adjacent building which also had a couch and table and chairs to chill in a larger space, which we did. On the second day though, it was pretty stuffy inside the camper so I went to open the large window on the front of the camper, which was plastic, and when I did, the whole thing just fell right off on the outside and the corner broke off in several shards. Oops! The lock on the door was also a big pain to lock and unlock. Haha. Oh and the roll down shade next to my bed would fall off whenever I tried to raise or lower it. Regardless it was a decent and comfortable place to sleep and kind of amusing that everything was so shoddy and falling apart. We laughed about it all. The guy  running the place was super nice though and told us when we arrived that the caravans were a new addition to the property and kind of experimental I guess. He also was very nice about the broken window and said not to worry about it. So that was a relief! I felt really bad about that. Anyway, I would definitely recommend the property to anyone needing accommodation near the airport, but would stay in one of the rooms rather than one of the caravans. It’s also a convenient place to stay if you are going to Mykines island, which is an absolute MUST for visiting the Faroes. More on that in my next post, time for bed!

Here is a slideshow of  photos pertaining to this post

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