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How to spend a week in Tórshavn and Nólsoy

Plastic whale at national gallery

Well, we didn’t really spend the whole week in Tórshavn, but we decided to rent a car to drive around and explore more of the islands, which we really recommend. We also arrived just in time for Whitsun so Sunday and Monday everything was closed. If you only plan to stay one day in Tórshavn you need to remember not to come on a Sunday as everything is always closed. If you want to spent a little more time we have tips for your stay here.

When you come here by sail you will meet some of the friendly harbour people and sailors as you are docked right in the middle of town in the café area and people are walking by all day. The local sailing club is very friendly and helpful and it has been a joy meeting the Faroese people.

Snow bear in the Torshavn marina

If you are here to stock up on food, there is an excellent supermarked called Miklagarður with everything you could want about 600 m from the harbour. Just don’t come while the islands are on strike (like we did) as all vegetables and fresh food will be gone. If you need to buy alcohol it is about 2 km from the marina at Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins.

Empty shelves in the supermarket

Great things to do in Tórshavn

Start the morning by having a great freshly made bun with cheese and a quality coffee at Astaklokkan, where you can get a simple but delicious breakfast – if you are lucky to get one of the 4 tables.

Then have a stroll around the very cute old town area which is very picturesque. All of Faroe Islands have beautiful wooden churches and the one Tórshavn is really pretty too.

We also went to the national gallery Listasavn where there is some great contemporary Faroese art and several paintings of the famous painter Mikines. From there you can walk in the park back to the harbour and there are some great statues.

A Pilot Whale Made out of 32.000 Toy Soldiers

There is also a nice walk if you walk along the harbour towards the beach Sandargerð and then find the path along the lake.

We had a few not too exciting dinner experiences in some of the fancy restaurants, but can recommend Etika Sushi which had a great poke bowl. We also went to Sirkus for a local beer and back to Astaklokkan for a glass of wine. If you are driving back from a long day of sightseeing we highly recommend stopping at Reyðleyk for a fantastic sandwich or pizza!

If you are here for a party we have been told the town lives up after 1 am, but we only heard if from the boat as the bars were very quiet before then.

Meeting the Tórshaven Boatclub

We like to meet new people so we contacted Tórshavnar Bátafelag to see if they would be interested in hearing about our 2023 sail to Svalbard. To our delight they were really keen on this idea so we arranged to meet and present to their members. It was at very short notice so we didn’t expect a big turnout so we’re pleased when a good group of members turned up. This was the first time we had done this and really enjoyed all the questions and discussion that followed the presentation. And we got a new flag to fly.

So if you are reading this and we are heading your way then please get in touch here so we can set something up.

Driving around the Islands

Given the strikes and reported fuel shortages we were glad that we rented an all electric car from Rent Your Car. It is an amazing place to drive and experience the undersea tunnels and the ones through the mountains. – Though we saw one place where there was a narrow tunnel and a new one in the making next to it and a road that went around. Here it seemed they had gotten a little too enthusiastic about the tunnel making.

It is fun to experience the only undersea roundabout in a tunnel and the long tunnels with coloured light in them as they are just fantastic. Our electric car proved to be a good choice as it had more than enough power and range for us to drive all day and then charge it over night near the harbour.

We recommend driving to Sornfelli Observatory and experience the magnificent view and the nerve-wrecking drive up there. Get chased by the geese on the curving road down the to the small village of Norðradalur. See the cute birds at Leitisgardur which has small bird houses around their pond . Visiting in the springtime means you see all the cute little newborn lambs walking freely all over the islands.

Drive to Tjørnuvík and see the little town surrounded by mountains and on the way stop by the waterfall Fossa. It was also great to see the beautiful sea stacks off the northern coast of Eysturoy. They are known as the “Giant and the Witch”. You can read all about their legend at Risin og Kellingin

The cliff known as Giant and the Witch

On the road map we had picked up with the car rental the scenic spots are marked with a flower and it is true that these are very beautiful.

Map of roads in Faroe Islands

Two tips we recommend when travelling in the Faroe Islands are:

  1. Remember to bring lunch, snacks, drinks for the whole day. It is not always easy to find something to eat in the small towns and villages.
  2. If you are at a scenic spot and the fog is there, take a coffee break (with the coffee you brought in a thermo) and 30 minutes later the fog will probably be gone.

Visiting Mykines

Puffin with fish in mouth

Going to Mykines seems to be a must do, but like many of the reviewers here on trip advisor you might get very disappointed as it is a bit of a tourist trap. The ferry ride alone is worth doing as it takes you close to the cliffs and it was amazing. It also allowed us to see first hand some of the strong currents and overfalls around the islands in case we sail that way. Stand on the port side of the boat to get the best view both ways to and from Mykines.

Islands Mykines in the sun

You really only need 30 minutes at Mykines as you are not allowed to walk alone outside the pretty small village without paying a quite expensive fee. You get the impression that you have to take the tour up to the land mark (it used to be longer but a landslide ruined the path to the iconic lighthouse which is also where the puffins are), but we decided not to do it and have a stroll around the town alone and to the only other viewpoint that is open on this quite big island. Apparently the reason for all this is that the huge amount of tourist were disturbing the puffins as they were stepping on their nests, we suspect the motive is more financial.

It is understandable that the locals do not enjoy tourist walking around and taking pictures of there homes, but they really do not seem to want you there at all, so it feels a very awkward when you cannot leave the village.

We can only suggest 2 solutions to make this a nice experience again: either limit the tourist further to not disturb locals and birds or make some proper marked hikes on the (quite big) island so the tourist are not caught in the tiny town for 4 hours with the only thing to do is taking pictures of the very pretty houses.

A trip to Nólsoy

As the wind is not yet good for sailing to Iceland we are not quite ready to leave just yet. Luckily we got a tip from Sarah’s friend to visit Maggie’s on the Island of Nólsoy – Just a short crossing from Tórshavn. And what a brilliant tip this was. When we arrived we were met by a helpful UK boat crew and we got a spot on the harbour wall. Again the fender board comes in handy.

The whale bone entrance to Nolsoy town

We wanted to take the hike to the lighthouse but the island is covered in fog, so we decided not to do it. At dinner time we walked up to Maggie’s and hoped to try their fish and chips that looked delicious. When we arrived the place was crowded and the owner was singing from the small stage, there were no seats available so we had a local beer at the bar.

The crew from the other boat in the harbour joined us and told us that the ferry was leaving at 7.30 pm, and then we might be able to get a table. And they were right. We ended up having a great evening with a few beers and some amazing pan fried fish and chips. We were told that this place will close after next Summer as the owners are going away travelling for a couple of years, so now is the time to experience one of the Faroe Islands best music venues.

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