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I'm in the exploratory stages of trip planning for next summer. Top of my list is the Faroe Islands. Has anyone here been? If so, I'd be grateful for any recommendations. 

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Tweaked   

Icelandair promotes its service to the Faroe Islands via Reykjavik so they may have some info on their website.  And they will definitely fly you there! 

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I like Icelandair but I don't know that I want to make a connection through Keflavik! They do have very attractive fares, though.

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saf   
13 hours ago, porcupine said:

I don't know that I want to make a connection through Keflavik! 

I love Iceland Air. Keflavik is a nice airport, easy to navigate, the airplane staff are lovely, and I really appreciate a chance to get off the plane at that point. I HATE long flights. (OK, I hate to fly in general, but I like to go places, so I force myself onto planes.)

See, we got a cheap fare to Paris, where we had never been, and it was on Iceland Air. It was lovely. And the airport transfer was easy. And I got to GET OFF THE PLANE before my brain melted. And the view from the airport was amazing.

The next time we went to Paris, we added on a few days in Iceland (love that free stopover thing.) It was really cool, and I would like to do it again. 

If it is not TOO far out of the way, it's an easy connection, and if you have time, a stopover in Iceland is excellent.

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Tweaked   

SAF when was the last time you went through KEF?  Myself, Porcupine, and EricandBlueBoy have flown through KEF in the past several months on seperate trips (myself a couple of weeks ago, did the stopover on Icelandair en route to London) and KEF cannot handle the crowds during peak summer time.  The airport is overcrowded, no directions given by staff, no place to go, people just milling around.

Icelandair was a nice airline, Iceland was fantastic, KEF during the peak summer tourist season is not fun.  The airport is over capacity.

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8 hours ago, saf said:

I love Iceland Air. Keflavik is a nice airport, easy to navigate, the airplane staff are lovely, and I really appreciate a chance to get off the plane at that point. I HATE long flights. (OK, I hate to fly in general, but I like to go places, so I force myself onto planes.)

See, we got a cheap fare to Paris, where we had never been, and it was on Iceland Air. It was lovely. And the airport transfer was easy. And I got to GET OFF THE PLANE before my brain melted. And the view from the airport was amazing.

The next time we went to Paris, we added on a few days in Iceland (love that free stopover thing.) It was really cool, and I would like to do it again. 

If it is not TOO far out of the way, it's an easy connection, and if you have time, a stopover in Iceland is excellent.

I've been to Iceland twice this year. I loved it, but don't feel the need to spend another day there. And I loved flying on Icelandair, but we saw how connections were in Keflavik and it wasn't pretty. The scuttlebutt about all this is near the bottom of page 8 in the Dining in Airports thread.

There's a purely subjective price:value threshold that has to be met for me to consider a connecting flight through Keflavik.

At any rate I'm unlikely to do it because we want to stay in Copenhagen for a few days on one end or the other of the Faroe Islands trip, so it makes sense to just fly non-stop there and pick up the very inexpensive Atlantic Airways flight to Tórshavn.

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saf   
17 hours ago, Tweaked said:

 KEF cannot handle the crowds during peak summer time. 

There's the difference. I have never gone during summer - only spring and fall.

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We just got back from a 13 day trip: four full days in the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) followed by five full days in Copenhagen, and although I loved the latter, I really wished we had spent two more days in the Faroes.

This is not a destination for everyone. The main reasons to go: appreciate the bleak, beautiful landforms; hike; birdwatch; experience a modernized yet still traditional country that does not yet have a well-developed tourist industry.

I could write pages and not do it justice, but will try to get a few details in. If you're considering going, please post questions in this thread and I'll happily answer them.

Getting there: currently service is offered by Atlantic Airways (the Faroese national airline) from a handful of European cities, and SAS once daily from Copenhagen. Also there's a ferry from Copenhagen and Iceland but that takes days. The shortest route from the US would be through Iceland, though you have to change airports. 

Weather: temperatures range from the low 30s in winter to the low 50s in summer. Summer is drier but still wet - kind of like Seattle, not pouring rain but light rain and mist, frequently. Bring all your raingear and dress in layers. The main issue here is wind. One guide told us that last Christmas Eve, they had a storm with winds at 70 meters per second. 

That's 156 miles per hour.

That was an unusually strong storm, but winds can make travel to and within the islands challenging, and I've read that pilots consider the airport at Vágar to be one of the most challenging commercial airports in the world (Mr. P did not appreciate me reading this to him while we were on final approach). Be flexible in your plans, because boat and helicopter service are frequently canceled or delayed. And the weather is extremely difficult to predict with any accuracy. Just dress appropriately and be adaptable. The weather may be fine half an hour's drive in another direction.

We stayed in the Hotel Føroyar just outside the capital, Tórshavn. It was described everywhere as the best hotel in the country. It was rather like a very nice motel. This is not a place for luxury. Tip: ask for a room on floor one, which is above floor two. Our room on floor two had a weird odor which was so bad on the second day, we asked for another room; they were happy to move us, explaining that the odor was "a known problem." An evening walk on the property led me to believe the problem is the septic system. However, the rooms are reasonably spacious, clean, and comfortable.

The Faroe Islands is not a foodie destination, although there is a Michelin 1 star restaurant (KOKS). We didn't eat there. We had some very good meals (call it the Noma effect), and some good food. Nothing was extraordinary, but neither was anything bad. One dinner was fish and chips at a village convenience store. It wasn't great, but it was hella better than a lot of fish and chips at DC restaurants. I'd say on average the quality of food is rather good, just don't expect fine dining or service or you'll be disappointed. The range of ingredients is limited: not much grows there. Expect fish and seafood (especially salmon, as salmon farming is the major industry), lamb, bread (really good bread, actually), potatoes, other root veg, and rhubarb.

This is probably reading like a hell-trip, but actually we loved it. Absolutely loved it. We're going back next summer.

They don't exactly have a tourist infrastructure, but they do provide for visitors. For example, many of the villages are too small to drive in, or have no place to park. So there's a small parking lot at the entrance, and frequently there's a WC there as well. Every building we went to was impeccably clean, sound and sturdy.

These people take pride in their land, and it shows. They have rules, only a few simple ones, and so long as visitors follow them, it will remain a delightful place to visit. Mostly the rules come down to common sense and courtesy. Like, stick to the paths in the infields, the trails in the outfields. Don't harass the sheep. Close the gate.

Most of these villages will have a little cafe that might serve something savory, but more often than not offer just coffee (espresso, really) and "vafur" (waffles), which are always served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream.

I'd read that the Faroese were reserved, and think that's generally right, but at the same time they know hospitality. In one village a man had set up kaffi & vafur outside, but when the rain started, he moved us into his kitchen, where we sat and chatted with a Danish couple. In another, a woman gave me a coffee - we walked into her shop (ground floor of her great-grandfather's house), and she said "oh you look cold, I'll get you coffee". I tried to buy a sweater she had knitted, but I didn't have enough cash, and she couldn't take a credit card. So she gave me a slip of paper with her bank account info and asked me to deposit the amount into it within the next two weeks.

How can you not love that?

Faroese is the official language, but everyone speaks Danish and almost everyone speaks at least some English. 

Roads are generally good (better than Iceland), but some of the tunnels can be challenging (think one lane, unlit, and five kilometers long).

There are sheep everywhere, including the roads (though I think the Faroese build better fences than Icelanders do). Watch the road. And watch your step, because with sheep everywhere comes sheep droppings everywhere - including the entryway to our 5-star hotel. Seriously.

The hiking is challenging. There are some mostly flat hikes, but the topography is such that mostly you're walking up and then down. After one hike our iPhones registered 4.5 miles walked, 170 flights of stairs climbed. As you ascend, the weather comes in - the mountains catch or create the clouds, fog rises on the slopes, and sometimes when you reach the top you're socked in and can't see a thing. Sit still for 45 minutes, maybe it will clear up a little and you'll have a beautiful view, maybe not.

There's a new excellent hiking guide online (here), and free copies of it at the airport and tourist info centers. Read it and pay heed to the warnings. In Mykines there's a memorial to men who've lost their lives at sea; on the other side is listed the names of people who have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs.

I'm not kidding. It happens. Poor footing and fog are a dangerous combination. And I heard tales of scheduled helicopter trips being canceled because the 'copters were needed for search and rescue ops. This is an inconvenience for the tourist but a real problem for the residents, because many of them depend on those helicopters for supplies and transport, so much so that as a tourist you're only allowed to travel one way by helicopter, and must take a ferry the other way.

Oh, and ferries are frequently canceled because of rough seas. People get stranded on some of the smaller islands. Those islands have no accommodation for visitors. Do your homework and be prepared. And if you're prone to motion sickness, consider getting a scopolamine patch.

Back to food. Favorite restaurant: Áarstova, by a mile. Simply prepared food but a little elegant rather than plain. Coffee: Brell Cafe in Torshavn (they roast their own beans). Kaffihúsið is good, too, but they use beans from Iceland (Kaffitar). Breakfast: just eat at the hotel if it's included in the room cost, because unless you want to eat pastry and eat it late, you won't find much of interest. Good pastry: Paname Cafe. Good fish and chips: Fisk and Chips (really, that's what it's called). All of these are in Tórshavn. In Klaksvik, Fríða serves a good cup, with nice pastries.

That's all for now. Again, happy to answer questions/provide details for anyone who's considering going.

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Marty L.   
On 7/15/2017 at 7:10 AM, porcupine said:

We just got back from a 13 day trip: four full days in the Faroe Islands (Føroyar) followed by five full days in Copenhagen, and although I loved the latter, I really wished we had spent two more days in the Faroes.

This is not a destination for everyone. The main reasons to go: appreciate the bleak, beautiful landforms; hike; birdwatch; experience a modernized yet still traditional country that does not yet have a well-developed tourist industry.

I could write pages and not do it justice, but will try to get a few details in. If you're considering going, please post questions in this thread and I'll happily answer them.

Getting there: currently service is offered by Atlantic Airways (the Faroese national airline) from a handful of European cities, and SAS once daily from Copenhagen. Also there's a ferry from Copenhagen and Iceland but that takes days. The shortest route from the US would be through Iceland, though you have to change airports. 

Weather: temperatures range from the low 30s in winter to the low 50s in summer. Summer is drier but still wet - kind of like Seattle, not pouring rain but light rain and mist, frequently. Bring all your raingear and dress in layers. The main issue here is wind. One guide told us that last Christmas Eve, they had a storm with winds at 70 meters per second. 

That's 156 miles per hour.

That was an unusually strong storm, but winds can make travel to and within the islands challenging, and I've read that pilots consider the airport at Vágar to be one of the most challenging commercial airports in the world (Mr. P did not appreciate me reading this to him while we were on final approach). Be flexible in your plans, because boat and helicopter service are frequently canceled or delayed. And the weather is extremely difficult to predict with any accuracy. Just dress appropriately and be adaptable. The weather may be fine half an hour's drive in another direction.

We stayed in the Hotel Føroyar just outside the capital, Tórshavn. It was described everywhere as the best hotel in the country. It was rather like a very nice motel. This is not a place for luxury. Tip: ask for a room on floor one, which is above floor two. Our room on floor two had a weird odor which was so bad on the second day, we asked for another room; they were happy to move us, explaining that the odor was "a known problem." An evening walk on the property led me to believe the problem is the septic system. However, the rooms are reasonably spacious, clean, and comfortable.

The Faroe Islands is not a foodie destination, although there is a Michelin 1 star restaurant (KOKS). We didn't eat there. We had some very good meals (call it the Noma effect), and some good food. Nothing was extraordinary, but neither was anything bad. One dinner was fish and chips at a village convenience store. It wasn't great, but it was hella better than a lot of fish and chips at DC restaurants. I'd say on average the quality of food is rather good, just don't expect fine dining or service or you'll be disappointed. The range of ingredients is limited: not much grows there. Expect fish and seafood (especially salmon, as salmon farming is the major industry), lamb, bread (really good bread, actually), potatoes, other root veg, and rhubarb.

This is probably reading like a hell-trip, but actually we loved it. Absolutely loved it. We're going back next summer.

They don't exactly have a tourist infrastructure, but they do provide for visitors. For example, many of the villages are too small to drive in, or have no place to park. So there's a small parking lot at the entrance, and frequently there's a WC there as well. Every building we went to was impeccably clean, sound and sturdy.

These people take pride in their land, and it shows. They have rules, only a few simple ones, and so long as visitors follow them, it will remain a delightful place to visit. Mostly the rules come down to common sense and courtesy. Like, stick to the paths in the infields, the trails in the outfields. Don't harass the sheep. Close the gate.

Most of these villages will have a little cafe that might serve something savory, but more often than not offer just coffee (espresso, really) and "vafur" (waffles), which are always served with rhubarb jam and whipped cream.

I'd read that the Faroese were reserved, and think that's generally right, but at the same time they know hospitality. In one village a man had set up kaffi & vafur outside, but when the rain started, he moved us into his kitchen, where we sat and chatted with a Danish couple. In another, a woman gave me a coffee - we walked into her shop (ground floor of her great-grandfather's house), and she said "oh you look cold, I'll get you coffee". I tried to buy a sweater she had knitted, but I didn't have enough cash, and she couldn't take a credit card. So she gave me a slip of paper with her bank account info and asked me to deposit the amount into it within the next two weeks.

How can you not love that?

Faroese is the official language, but everyone speaks Danish and almost everyone speaks at least some English. 

Roads are generally good (better than Iceland), but some of the tunnels can be challenging (think one lane, unlit, and five kilometers long).

There are sheep everywhere, including the roads (though I think the Faroese build better fences than Icelanders do). Watch the road. And watch your step, because with sheep everywhere comes sheep droppings everywhere - including the entryway to our 5-star hotel. Seriously.

The hiking is challenging. There are some mostly flat hikes, but the topography is such that mostly you're walking up and then down. After one hike our iPhones registered 4.5 miles walked, 170 flights of stairs climbed. As you ascend, the weather comes in - the mountains catch or create the clouds, fog rises on the slopes, and sometimes when you reach the top you're socked in and can't see a thing. Sit still for 45 minutes, maybe it will clear up a little and you'll have a beautiful view, maybe not.

There's a new excellent hiking guide online (here), and free copies of it at the airport and tourist info centers. Read it and pay heed to the warnings. In Mykines there's a memorial to men who've lost their lives at sea; on the other side is listed the names of people who have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs.

I'm not kidding. It happens. Poor footing and fog are a dangerous combination. And I heard tales of scheduled helicopter trips being canceled because the 'copters were needed for search and rescue ops. This is an inconvenience for the tourist but a real problem for the residents, because many of them depend on those helicopters for supplies and transport, so much so that as a tourist you're only allowed to travel one way by helicopter, and must take a ferry the other way.

Oh, and ferries are frequently canceled because of rough seas. People get stranded on some of the smaller islands. Those islands have no accommodation for visitors. Do your homework and be prepared. And if you're prone to motion sickness, consider getting a scopolamine patch.

Back to food. Favorite restaurant: Áarstova, by a mile. Simply prepared food but a little elegant rather than plain. Coffee: Brell Cafe in Torshavn (they roast their own beans). Kaffihúsið is good, too, but they use beans from Iceland (Kaffitar). Breakfast: just eat at the hotel if it's included in the room cost, because unless you want to eat pastry and eat it late, you won't find much of interest. Good pastry: Paname Cafe. Good fish and chips: Fisk and Chips (really, that's what it's called). All of these are in Tórshavn. In Klaksvik, Fríða serves a good cup, with nice pastries.

That's all for now. Again, happy to answer questions/provide details for anyone who's considering going.

FWIW, Tyler Cowen opines that KOKS is perhaps the best restaurant . . . in the world!  

https://tylercowensethnicdiningguide.com/index.php/is-koks-the-best-restaurant-in-the-world/

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