7 Amazing Facts about the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are located approximately halfway between Scotland, Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean. The rugged, rocky Faroe Islands are made up of 18 main islands as well as hundreds of islets and skerries. They are most famous for their unspoiled landscape and bird cliffs.

There’s much more to this archipelago than its wildlife and landscape. Here are seven amazing facts about the Faroe Islands.

The islands are an independent territory of Denmark

Or, more precisely, the islands are a self-governing, overseas administrative division of Kingdom of Denmark in much the same manner as Greenland.

The Faroe Islands have been part of Norway for hundreds of years, but they were transferred to Denmark by the 1814 Treaty of Kiel. The islands are self-governing and have their own parliament. They also control all areas of lawmaking, except defense and policing.

Danish is taught in schools. Faroese, however, is the official language. It bears a closer resemblance with Old Norse and Icelandic than Danish. Although the Danish Krona is the official currency, local banknotes can be issued.

There are more sheep than there are people

The islands are home to approximately 70,000 sheep. Only 53,358 people were recorded as the Faroe Islands’ last official population estimate. This is roughly half of the Inglewood, California population.

Faroese sheep, which are believed to have been introduced in the 9th century is a rare breed of hardy sheep that can be found year round in the mountains and meadows of the islands. Some Scottish sheep, and now cross-breeds, also live on the islands. They were introduced to the islands in the 19th Century. Researchers discovered sheep DNA in lake sediments that date back over 1,500 years.

The sea is never far away

The coast is home to all major cities and villages that have more than 100 inhabitants. No point on the Faroe Islands lies more than three miles from sea.

In the capital, buses are free to use

You are welcome to use the eight bus routes within and around Torshavn. You may not require them. The municipality is home to only 20,000 residents, so most sights can be reached easily by foot.

Due to the large government subsidies, especially for the ferry services that link the islands communities, travel is quite affordable elsewhere in the Islands.

Only a few traffic lights are available

Are you tired of the red light in rush hour traffic? Faroe Islands could be your solution. There are only nine traffic lights on the islands. Eight of them are located in the area of Torshavn, the capital.

Many of these are brand new, says Hogni Reistrup of Guide To Faroe Islands. “Since the new Glasir collage was opened by Bjarke Ingels in 2018, the municipality doubled the number traffic lights that run to the college.”

Driving is not always easy. You’ll need constant attention for passing traffic and oncoming traffic on roads outside Torshavn. Drivers will also enjoy another fun fact: The Faroe Islands are home to the first underwater traffic circle.

Faroe Islands has its own national airline

The common belief is that you can only get to the islands by flying from Denmark. Although the most popular route is Atlantic Airways’ daily direct flight from Copenhagen, there are other European destinations that offer flights.

Atlantic Airways is currently the only airline that serves the islands year round. Wideroe operates a route from Bergen (Norway) but this route is not available at the moment. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), which flew a regular route to Copenhagen from before the pandemic, is currently not operating the route during winter.

You can also reach the Faroe Islands by ferry from Smyril Line, which runs year-round between Iceland and Denmark. Depending on the season, however, the journey to the Faroe Islands can take between 30 and 38 hours from Hirtshals in Denmark.

Whaling continues despite international criticism

The Faroe Islands are known for their whaling operations, despite the beautiful landscapes and laid-back lifestyle.

According to the Faroe Islands government, “it is economically and environmentally good practice to make use of local natural resources.” The practice dates back to the 9th Century and is now strictly regulated by government. It is done under the supervision of police.

Despite these changes, photos of the annual capture of hundreds of dolphins and whales cause global outrage . However, times may be changing. The September 2021 hunt resulted in an unexpectedly large catch that shocked many participants.

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