During the summer of 2018 I went to the Faroe Islands to do some photography and to escape the European heatwave. When reflecting on the trip I realised that I did some things very well and that there were some things I should have done differently. So, I decided to summarize them in 10 tips for the Faroe Islands. These mainly concern planning and weather since that seems to be the major issues when going to the Faroes.
1. Start with accommodation
Since there is so much to see in the Faroe Islands you will probably find beautiful things to photograph everywhere however finding a place to sleep is a bit harder. Therefore, I suggest starting your planning with sleeping arrangements and working out locations from there.
2. Get some wheels
I truly believe that if you like me have limited time for travel getting a car to move around in the Faroes is the best way. There are so many beautiful spots along the roads that would be inaccessible by public transport. With unlimited time I might suggest walking or bicycling however that puts extra strain on the accommodation planning since places to sleep mainly located around largish villages. Any wild camping is prohibited and I would strongly recommend against it especially since the areas pristine nature and culture is worth preserving.
As for the type of car I would go with the smallest one you can find, during summer at least there is no need for anything other than a regular small car. You will however have to take care while driving especially in the fog it’s all too easy to miss a sharp turn and have to enjoy a few hundred meters of tumbling, or for that matter to hit a gracing sheep something I believe the locals look down upon.
3. Have backup plans
Make sure that you scout out at least twice the number of locations that you feel you have the time for. You will probably be forced to cancel at least half due to weather conditions, having a few backups that work in different weather makes reorganising the trip simple and the short distances involved makes a mid-day switch easy.
4. Bring rain gear for you and your equipment
You can be certain that it will rain sometime during your visit but if you bring good rain gear and weather sealed equipment that will only give you a different perspective on some of the classic views.
5. Bring a sturdy tripod
High winds are almost as certain as rain causing some issues especially for longer exposures, however a sturdy tripod and something to weight it down might give you the stability you need to get the shoot. Or at least to keep your equipment, on the day I arrived I went to Mulafossur and the winds where reaching 20m/s making it hard both to stand up and to make sure that I got all the gear back. A good solution would have been to tie the tripod to my bag making the package a lot easier to deal with. Sadly, I only figured this out the day after...
6. Give it time
After arriving at a location make sure to give it ample time before moving on with the constantly changing weather five extra minutes might give you that perfect moment. You can always spend the time enjoying the beautiful views.
7. Avoid the first route selected by Google maps
When planning your drives try to make sure that you aim for the smaller roads this gives you the opportunity to stumble on some hidden gems. With some careful planning you could also avoid taking the same route twice further improving the possibilities for unexplored viewpoints.
8. Bring offline maps
As a swede mainly traveling in the Nordic countries I have become used to free roaming, however the Faroes is a bit different. I therefore suggest making sure that you download both your entertainment and any maps you might require before leaving home. This also makes for a good way to make sure your planning is organised.
9. Follow the green flowery signs
When driving make sure that you have enough time for detours, especially along any roads marked with green signs. These signs are used to mark the scenic routes and they are well worth the extra time.
10. Step away from the road
While driving it’s all too easy to just top right next to the road when you notice an amazing view. And while doing this is preferable to just driving past, I would strongly recommend that you take the time to leave the car and explore the area (provided you find a safe spot to park the car in of course)