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Faroe Islands

Why You Should Visit the Faroe Islands (& How to Get There!)

Iceland is so 2022: The Faroe Islands are the next untapped travel destination. And thanks to new flights to and from the Faroe Islands, it's shockingly easy (and surprisingly cheap) to get to this relatively unknown destination.

Take it from our Social Media Manager Lauren, who recently returned from a trip to the Faroe Islands this spring. What she found there was breathtaking, unspoiled beauty with a fraction of the crowds you'll find elsewhere … yet a surprisingly easy-to-pull-off trip for American travelers. It might attract outdoor enthusiasts from hikers to birders and fishers, but the Faroe Islands also feature Michelin-rated dining in quaint villages. 

And thanks to service from several international airlines, getting here doesn't have to be a pipe dream. 

Here's how to get there, what you need to know, and why you should consider making the Faroe Islands your next big trip.

 

What You Need to Know About the Faroe Islands

Perfectly triangulated between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway, the Faroe Islands are an increasingly popular travel destination for those looking for a lesser-tread, scenic spot.

The islands offer a mix between the highlights of its neighbors … without the swelling crowds you might find in places like the Norwegian fjords or around Iceland's Ring Road.
 

Faroe Islands 

In fact, the nation has an undeniably Icelandic landscape. The country offers lots of cliffs, moors, waterfalls, and 18 different volcanoes. Our social media manager, Lauren, said it's easily the most beautiful terrain she's ever seen in person. 

“I was actually taken aback,” she said. “The pictures do not do this place justice.” 

But let's try it. Here's one of her photos. 

 

Faroe Islands

 

Besides those sprawling landscapes, quaint and quiet villages dot the elongated chain of islands – between which you can easily travel using a series of tunnels. Yes, almost everything is connected by roads and tunnels, so you can rent a car to explore the islands relatively easy. 

 

Faroe Islands map

But that doesn't mean you need to rent a car. Lauren booked this Viator tour that took her all around the islands with only two other guests. The guide drove everywhere and she was able to see a lot in a short amount of time during her visit last month. You can also book taxis to and from the airport and around the island through this service

Torshavn, the capital city, is the best place to make your home base in the Faroe Islands. While it's no doubt still small with a population just north of 13,000, Torshavn has the most going on compared to the other sleepy villages around the islands. But no matter where you lay your head, the Faroe Islands are not where you'll go for buzzy nightlife and bars open late.

 

Torshavn Faroe Islands

 

What it lacks in nightlife, it makes up for in restaurant quality. I was shocked to learn that there are two Michelin-rated restaurants in Torshavn: ROKS and Raest. Otherwise, getting a vacation rental or hotel room with a kitchen setup and doing some grocery shopping will behoove most travelers on a budget. 

Part of the charm of the Faroe Islands, like its neighboring Iceland, is that the weather is … well, not always great!

 

Faroe Islands cliff

 

The average high temperature usually falls in August at around 55 degrees. The record high temperature for the islands was a comfortable 71 degrees. The daily mean temperatures on the islands hover between 39 and 51 degrees depending on the time of year, so you can probably leave your shorts and swim trunks at home on this adventure.

That said, some days on Lauren's trip were beautiful and sunny. The weather would change throughout the day, so pack rain gear, warm clothes, and good walking shoes to take advantage of the scenery. 

Because of its northern, seaside climate and ever-changing weather patterns, the island is a bucket list destination for fishermen, climbers, mountain bikers, and even scuba divers. Birders also flock to the islands to catch a glimpse of the puffins.

Lauren missed out on a puffin tour and thought all was lost … until she stumbled on this colony of them anyway!

 

Puffins in Faroe Islands

 

How to Get to the Faroe Islands (& the Cheap Flights to Do So)

All flights to the Faroe Islands land at the small airstrip in the town of Vágar (FAE). Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to get there. 

For starters, there's the hometown airline called Atlantic Airways, and it's an oddball. Atlantic is a commercial airline … and an intra-island commercial helicopter operation … and also serves as the search and rescue operation for the islands and surrounding waters. It's a strange business model borne out of necessity to get to and from this tiny chain of islands.
 

Atlantic Airways Faroe Islands
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Airways

 

Last year, Atlantic Airways tried something fascinating: They added the first-ever nonstop service between the Faroe Islands and the United States. And then the airline brought the seasonal route back for 2024.

 

SWF to FAE

 

Although the flight only operates out of the small (and somewhat inconvenient) New York-Stewart (SWF) airport located 70-plus miles outside of Manhattan, it's a welcome first try at commercial air service to and from the U.S.

Flights to the Faroe Islands from the U.S. aren't brand new, though – you just needed to make a connection in Europe to get there. And that's where things get easier … and cheaper!

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has been flying travelers there for years and will continue operating those flights next year, giving U.S. travelers a great option to visit the islands with a quick pitstop in Copenhagen (CPH). And it wasn't too long ago that we saw these flights go on sale – big time!

 

Boston to Faroe Islands

 

That dirt-cheap fare was part of a roundup of cheap flights to the Faroe Islands we sent to Thrifty Traveler Premium members, including a number of routes on SAS.

 

Faroe Islands flight deal

 

Whenever we see cheap flights to the Faroe Islands, we always put together deals for our Thrifty Traveler Premium members like this one. 

 

Cheap flights to the Faroe Islands

 

Lately, we've been seeing more and more of those great deals, too. Why, you ask? It's because of one airline in particular…

 

Icelandair (& its Awesome Stopover Program) Make it Even Cheaper!

Another major (and often much cheaper) carrier has just started service to the Faroe Islands (FAE): Icelandair. 

 

KEF to Faroe Islands

 

As of May 1, Icelandair began flying from its hub in Reykjavik (KEF) to Vágar, a two-hour jaunt on a prop plane. It's a bit noisy and less comfortable than your typical Icelandair flight – Lauren said her recent flight was freezing … to the point where she could see her own breath onboard. But it's worth it to get somewhere so spectacular.

And critically, it's ultra-convenient. The flight over to the Faroe Islands departs Iceland at 8:30 a.m., meaning travelers from the U.S. can easily make a quick connection after landing in Reykjavik.

 

MSP to FAE

 

As you can see, the itineraries are amazingly convenient to make it to the far reaches of the Faroe Islands from the U.S. And Icelandair has a robust network of flights to North America, giving tons of travelers an easy one-stop way to get to the Faroe Islands. 

Plus, Icelandair's comfortable Saga Premium business class operates on the long-haul flights from the U.S. to Reykjavik, giving you a plush recliner instead of an economy seat for right around twice the price. We found this roundup of Icelandair Saga Premium fares flying to the Faroe Islands a few months ago … so good, in fact, that Lauren herself jumped on the deal! 

 

Icelandair Saga

 

Compared to full lie-flat business class fares to Europe that can be $2,500 roundtrip or more, these fares are a huge bargain. You're not getting the full lie-flat experience, but the service and lounge access in Reykjavik (KEF) makes it a truly premium experience.

Lauren got a glass of Prosecco and a macaron while boarding, loved the lamb and the salmon she ate onboard, and she was able to sample some tapas after dinner both ways, too. Icelandair Saga Premium also has a legendary gin tasting menu … but Lauren opted for champagne because, as she put it, “bubbly on the plane is just so much better.” 

The service was also attentive throughout the flight – which is the same experience I had flying Saga in 2022

 

Icelandair business class

 

Icelandair also offers business class passengers an excellent Saga Lounge at Reykjavik, a spacious and quiet expanse with an open bar and a decent selection of food and drinks. Every seat had a charging port and there were sweeping runway views.

The space is also full of exceptional Icelandic touches, like this round hearth fireplace in the middle.

 

Icelandair Saga Lounge
The Icelandair Saga Lounge at KEF

 

Unfortuantely, there are no Saga class seats on the short flight from Reykjavik (KEF) to the Faroe Islands (FAE). And, in our experience, that means you won't get lounge access when connecting through through Reykjavik on the way to the Faroe Islands. You will get lounge access ahead of your long-haul flight back to North America, however 

No matter what cabin you're in, you can connect one-stop to the Faroe Islands from the following airports on Icelandair:

  • Baltimore (BWI)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Portland (PDX)
  • Raleigh (RDU)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • Toronto (YYZ)
  • Vancouver (YVR)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD)

Plus, don't forget about the number one reason why Icelandair is one of our favorite airlines: The convenient and cheap Iceland stopover program.

When flying Icelandair, you can add a stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights on any roundtrip ticket – aside from Icelandair's cheapest Economy Light fares, with which you're restricted to a maximum of a three-night stopover. In some cases, that stopover is only a few dollars more than the cost of a standard roundtrip ticket … but in most cases, it's the exact same price. And in a select few cases, the stopover can even be cheaper than the simple roundtrip fare!
 

icelandair 

You probably see where I'm going with this. The Iceland stopover program creates a tantalizing possibility: A two-in-one trip to see both the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Read next: How to Plan the Perfect Iceland Stopover Trip

If you don't overdose on spectacular vistas and dramatic landscapes during your journey, you could pull off one of the greatest trips I could imagine with a cheap and convenient one-stop itinerary each way. If you don't book this for next summer, I will.

 

Bottom Line

If you're looking for something off-the-beaten-path, adventurous, and impossibly beautiful, take a good hard look at the Faroe Islands for your next vacation. 

Thanks to Icelandair's brand-new service to the burgeoning travel spot, it's easier than ever for North Americans to fly there … not to mention, it can be shockingly cheap. If our most recent journey there was any indication, we think you're going to love it, too. 

 

Thrifty Traveler social media manager Lauren Sohn-Ahn contributed to this story.

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