The Faroe Islands is an archipelago located between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. They sit approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland, 320 kilometres from Great Britain. It does not take long to figure out that the weather plays a huge part of life on The Faroe Islands.
The islands are an autonomous country within the Danish Kingdom, but between 1035 and 1814 were part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Faroe Islands have been self-governed since 1948 and have control over most domestic matters, apart from the military, police, justice, currency and foreign affairs, which are still the responsibility of Denmark.
I was waiting at Copenhagen airport for my flight into Vagar and was doing some research. In the summer months a heavy fog can descend on the islands and make landing impossible. Flights can be diverted into Bergen in Norway or Keflavik in Iceland. This only heightened my sense of adventure.
Now, if you have thought about heading to The Faroe Islands on holiday you may have stumbled across the new tourism videos by the Faroe Islands Tourist board. The videos are amazing and introduced me to Marius Ziska, a Faroese artist.
Visit Faroe Islands winter film from Visit Faroe Islands on Vimeo.
I was a guest of the Faroe Islands and Atlantic Airways, who are promoting their new direct flight from Edinburgh to Vagar. Upon arrival I was told that we were heading off to the Euro 2016 qualifier against Northern Ireland as that is where everybody who is anybody in the Faroes will be! They lost 3 -1, but for a population of just 50 000 they are now punching above their weight. They were also the friendliest football fans I have ever seen.
Our guide was a great and very knowledgeable chap called Jogvan. What he does not know about the Faroe Islands is probably not worth knowing!
The connections to Denmark and somewhat Norway are obvious, but there is also a strong connection with Great Britain. This stems back from WWII. When Germany invaded Denmark and Norway in 1940, Operation Valentine swung into action to pre-empt any German invasion. This was technically an occupation, but a somewhat friendly one. The airport at Vagar was built by the Royal Engineers in 1942-43.
The Faroese supplied Britain with most of its fish during the second world war and many Faroese men lost their lives at sea. Many ships were either bombed, sunk by U-boats or hit by drifting sea mines. A memorial stands for the fallen in Torshavn’s municipal park.
In 1990 the Faroese government organised British Week to celebrate 50 years of the friendly occupation. HMS Brilliant attended along with a Royal Marines band.
English tea is widely sold along with English chocolate. When I saw 99 flakes for sale there was no doubt in my mind that they had taken some of the best of British traits.
A very un-Scandinavian trait the Faroese have is a very relaxed attitude to time, more in common with the Mediterranean than their Scandinavian brothers and sisters. You have to kick back, and get on Faroese time!
The Faroe Islands biggest export by far is fish, and the fish is some of the best in the world. We went to a sushi restaurant called Etika and it’s safe to say it is one of the best meals I have ever had.
The salmon farms located around the Faroe Islands are in some of the cleanest waters anywhere in the world.
My impression before travelling to the Faroes was of big landscapes, and it did not disappoint. Jogvan took us around the islands and we took every opportunity to take in the views.
It was a great trip and I have to thank Atlantic Airways, Visit Faroe Islands, Jogvan and the taxi driver, he was great. Also Alison for putting everything together. If you feel like a holiday to the Faroe Islands, and you should, keep your eye on our website.