Hiking trails on the Faroe Islands
Hiking trails on the Faroe Islands
Some of the most popular hiking trails on the Faroe Islands is described below, with some history and good advice.
Nature is fragile and it is important that we take that into consideration, so it can be preserved.
The weather decides
- Listen to the weather report, so you know if it is safe to go
- Don’t go if its foggy out
- If you on a trip get surprized by fog, it is very iportant to walk near the cairns. If the fog is so thick you can’t see a from cairn to cairn, stay put at the first one you see, and try and keep warm.
- Turn back if something is wrong. There is no shame in not completing a trip
- Dress for the occasion. It gets very cold sometimes and the weather can change very fast. If possible, dress in multiple sheets of clothes.
- If you’re traveling by bus, we advice you to check the travel times, before going. On some of the trips, there are very few bus departures. Also there might be changes in the bus plan.
- Tell your host or touristinformation where you’re going. Also make sure to notify them when you’ve reached your destination.
- Never go alone. – remember to bring drinks, food and/or snacks with you.
- Always keep a map, compass anda whistle on you.
- Your cellphone will not receive reception everywhere you go
Klaksvík hálsur, Klakkur
Time: 3 hours.
Difficulty: Easy trip
Highest point: 413m
The trip starts at ‘Ástabreytin’ which leads you all the way up to ‘Hálsur’. It is also possible to drive to Hálsur and park there. The path to Klakkur is very easy to navigate on, even though it isn’t cleary marked. When you reach the path and stand by the field gate, you just walk to the highest point north of you. On top of the first hilltop you’ll see a cairn, wich you can orientate yourself with. Start by walking towards the peatlands. The path to the top of Klakkur is almost fully grassgrown and hardly any rocks are in sight. There is a very rich birdlife in the summer. Among these birds you’ll see oystercatchers, skuas, snipe, plowers, seagulls and curlew. In the valley south of Hálsur is a place, you used to call ‘á Vaktini’. The tale says, that people used to sit guard here, and keep a watch for hostile ships. When you’ve reached the topand look down the mountaints west side, you’ll see Fagralíð. This is where the old folk school used to be after its founding in 1899. It was later moved to Tórshavn. This is where Símun av Skarði wrote the Faroese National anthem in 1906.
On top of Klakkur you’ll have an amazing view in all directions. On the western side you’ll see Leirvískfjørður, Gøtunes, Kalsoyðarfjørður and – if the weather is good – you’ll also see Nólsoy. On the northern the island Kalsoy and its fjord Kalsoyðarfjørður. In front of you is Kunoyarnes. Kunoy is unusually high, with its 6 hills that are all higher than 800 meters. On your east, you’ll see Haraldssund and finally Klaksvík. When you’re coming down from Klakkur you’ll see Halgafelli and then Háfjall infront of you. On the other side of Klaksvík you’ll see Myrkjanoyrafjall og Kjølur. Kjølur has its name because it looks like a boat with its keel up. The trip ends again at Ástarbreytin, the same place it started.
Duration: 2 hours (+40 minutes to get to Altarið)
Difficulty: Moderata, with easy terrain to Skarðið. Its very steep on the other side, down by Hellurnar.
Highest point: 353m (Altarið is 483m)
The first stretch of the path is through meadow. Above the lowest cairn is a ridge called
Rossaryggur (The horse back). Traces of the path are seen winding up it. Fuglafjørður is behind you and to the west, you can see Blábjørg, Jøklaskarð, Gjógvaráfjall and Niðan á Hús, where people from Fuglafjørður hid from pirates in the old days. Then comes Nón (where the sun hits at nónbil – at 3 p.m.), Breiðaskarð, Kambur, Trælavatnaskarð, Tyrlar and towards east Ritafjall (Leirvíksfjall to people from Fuglafjørður).
The path from Fuglafjørður to Hellurnar is called Sjúrðargøta. There is a story about a giant
from Suðuroy who went to Oyndafjørður to test his strength. No one dared to fight him. The people from Oyndarfjørður urged Sjurður, the farmer, to challenge the giant. He wanted his youngest son, also named Sjúrdur, to try. They wrestled and Sjurður beat the giant. His father paid him well for his deed.
On the way up to Fuglafjarðarskarð, you walk along Malunar Hav (Malan’s rock). There is a
story about a milkmaid named Malan, who was pregnant and was teased by the other milkmaids for not keeping up with them. Malan picked up a 176 kg rock and challenged the others to do it. They could not. 100 m west of the path runsNeytakonukeldan (The Milkmaid’s spring). The milkmaid’s tankard, which could be used to quench one’s thirst, lay here.
At the top of Skarðið, you see two large cairns. An old custom is that each time you pass
Skarðið, you throw three small stones at these cairns, while saying: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”. This is meant to protect you from getting lost and to bless the trip. To the north from Skarðið, you can see the village Oyndarfjørður and the mountains Tindur, Knúkurand Sandfelli.
On the first Sunday in August, it is the custom to hold a public meeting on Skarðið in the open air with speeches and songs.
From Skarðið, it is possible to extend your walk by 40 minutes and walk up to Altarið on
the top of Rustakambur. From here, there is a fine view of the Northern islands and Norðurhavið. Hulduheyggjar lies to the west when you walk down from Skarðið. Here, a huldu woman (grey elvish people of the outfield) received help in childbirth from the midwife from Dalbøur in Fuglafjørður. The midwife received a good reward from the huldu folk.
Another story tells about a landownership struggle between the Oyndarfjørður farmer and Gullbrandur, a farmer in Fuglafjørður. Gullbrandur was killed and hidden inGullbrandshellið and later buried in Gullbrandsleiði, which this path passes.
Approaching Hellur, you walk down Kliv and down Spreingisbrekka. It is a little steep to
walk, until you come to the outfield gate.
Kambsdalur – Skálafjørður
Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Average. Somewhat diffucult to come up from Kambsdalur. The path then runs level until you walk down towards Skálafjørður.
Highest point: 373m
The trip starts in the town of Kambsdalur. The path begins by the river close to the scouts hall. First you walk by the old peat strip in the outfield and by places where peat was stacked by the people of Fuglafjørður. On Skarðsbrúgvin you have a panoramic view over Fuglafjørður. To the north of you the mountains of Fuglafjørður, Nestindar on Kalsoy are silhoutted against the sky. At the extreme south under Borgin, a rocky knoll juts out, called Eingil-skáhús. Here , a man kept watch in hostile times. You can see both north.wards and southwards. Spotting a hostile ship. He ran over Eysturskarð to signal the village by lighting a fire. To the north, you can see some of Djúpini, the island of Kalsoy, Skarðsgjógv on Kunoy and Leirvíksfjall. The first carriage road to Leirvík was here. By the coastline lies the warm sping varmakelda with its healing qualities. Here allegedly two girls from Leirvík were taken on board a Shetlandic ship at the end of the 19th century. They were walking from Leirvík to Eiði. The girls were never seen again.
By the lake Trælavatn, a colony of lesser blackbacked gulls nests in the summer. North of the lake, you come to an old cairn path. The path is level, but the terrain is uneven and stony. Some 100m south, parallel to the path, there are some boundary cairns, which are outfiled bounday marks. Make sure you do not lose your way.
The path split into two when when you see Skálafjørður, Toftawatn and Nólsoy in the background, the left path does down to Ánadalur, and the other goes to the village of Skálafjørður. The cairns on the path to Skálafjørður can be seen westwards with Reyðafelstindur in the background. Walking down to Tundradalur, it is best to walk by the river on the south side (left side). From here, you can see over to Øksnagjógv and Typpafossur on the other side of the valley. According to a story, this is where the brute farmer, Ormur bóndi á Skála, hid the bodies of the Oyri farmer and his son, whom he had killed. Later, he undoubtedly got qualms of con- science and gave himself away by calling out in his sleep: “The clothes lie under the corn and the bodies under Typpafossur”.
Another story tells that in ancient times, four men from Hattarvík, Flokksmenninir, planned to subdue the whole of the Faroes. They embarked on acts of violence, but one day, they were captured and sentenced to be thrown off Vala- knúkar.8 The sentence was carried out and they were buried by Tingsteinur9 under Valaknúkar. You can continue from Skálafjørður directly to Selatrað.
Hvalvík – Vestmanna
Distance: 10 km
Duration: 3,5 hours
Difficulty: Average. From Hvalvík it is a little difficult to walk up the mountain. Otherwise, the path is easy to walk
Highest point: 385m
The trip begins at the river Myllá which runs north of the Mission house in Hvalvík. Walk along the river, through a gate and through an old fenced cattle way. There is a narrow path along the river on the north side. The first cairn is some 200 m from Hvalvíksgjógv.
When you have passed Eggjarmúli, there is a fine view through Saksunardalur, the longest valley in the country. From here, follow the high voltage electricity line path all the way to Vestmanna.
The first mechanical digger bought by the Faroes came to Hvalvík. It was called the Hvalvíkskúgvin. On one occasion, the people from Vestmanna wan- ted to borrow it for some work and it was carried up over Hvalvíksskarð along this path.
Now, you arrive at a cairn, stacked on a large stone called Kellingarsteinur (witch’s stone). At the next cairn after Kellingarsteinur, the path divides. The path south goes to Kvívík and the path north goes to Vestmanna.
On top of Hvalvíksskarð, you can see over to Mýrarnar and one of the first of SEV’s dams, built in the early 1960s. To the south is the mountain range Egilsfjall, Goturshálsur, Sátan and Skælingsfjall and on Vágar, you can see Reynsatindur, Heldarstindur and havartindur.
Loysingarfjall is just in front of you.
There is an account of a girl in Vestmanna who disappeared from the town and could not be found. The next day, a shepherd found her high up Loysingafjall. She said that a man in white clothes had led her by the hand and fed her. No one knew this man. Another report is about a young milkmaid who disappeared in the swollen river at Gjógvará. She had tripped and fallen and was carried down the large waterfall. There was no thought of her coming out alive from the fall. When people at home heard the news, they immediately went out to search. But they found no body. The girl was not dead. Naked, in a bad state, she was lying in the cleft, clinging to a stone. She could hear people calling for her, but she did not dare to call out because she was afraid of huldu people (stone spirits) and trolls. Not until the day after when the river had settled down, did she dare to approach the house. It was a miracle that she survived the incident. The cairns and the high voltage electricity line take you to the left side of Bjendalsgjógv. When the path twists southwards, you should be careful as there is a steep downwards slope. There are two possibilities of walking down to Vestmanna. By the dam at Fossá, the path divides. You can follow the road and walk down to á Fjørð or you can go over the first dam, follow the cairns and come down to Vestmanna along Gjógvará (where the milkmaid disappeared) and down to Miðalsbrekka.
Bøur – Gásadalur
Distance: 3,5 km
Duration: 2,5 timer
Difficulty: Moderately difficult. The hill Gásadalsbrekkan is steep and fiddicult to walk up. It is also steep down to Gásadalur. Beware of loose strones on the path
Highest point: 434 m
Bus route 300 runs from Tórshavn to Bøur.
Follow the road just 3 km west of Bøur village, where the walk begins. The road divids – make sure to take the road to the left.
Gásadalur has been one of the most isolated villages in the Faroes. It is difficult to get to the village by sea and there has been no road, so this path has been the only connection to the other villages. Even though the helicopter has flown to Gásadalur since 1983, the postman has walked up the mountain three times a week until the end of February 2003, when the hole was blasted through the mountain. The tunnel is expected to be open for traffic in 2005 at the latest.
The first stretch of the path is steep and runs close to the edge of the mountain. Therefore, walk extremely carefully, but do not forget to enjoy the outstanding view over Sørvágsfjørður, Tindhólmur, Gáshólmur and Mykines.
There is no church in Gásadalur, therefore the school is used for services. The cemetery is from 1873. Before then, people were buried in Bøur. The coffin was carried over the mountain to Bøur. The trip was very difficult and the only place that the bearers could rest was at Líksteinurin, which you will come upon in the middle of the tour. Further on, you come to Keldan Vígda. There is a stroy that a baby in Gásadalur became seriously ill and had to be taken to the doctor in Bøur. On the way to Bøur, the baby’s condition worsened and it was about to die. According to the Christian faith, your sould doesn ot gain salvation if you die unbaptised . Therefor, the priest, who was traveling with them, quickly blessed the sping and baptised the baby. Bøur. The trip was very difficult and the only place that the bearers could rest was at the Lík- steinurin, which you will come upon in the middle of the tour. Further on, you come to Keldan Vígda. There is a story that a baby in Gásadalur became seriously ill and had to be taken to the doctor in Bøur. On the way to Bøur, the baby’s condition worsened and it was about to die. According to the Christian faith, your soul does not gain salvation if you die unbaptised. Therefor , the priest, who was travelling with them, quickly blessed the spring and baptised the baby.
If you continue, you will se Risasporið. Ther is a story about two giants. One lived in Gásadalur and the other in Mykines. Once, they quarrelled and the Gása- dalur giant wanted to go to Mykines to settle the dispute. He took running leaps along the moun- tain, took off and with one leap, he landed on Mykines. He took off so hard that you can see his footprint to this day. From Skarði, the path twists down the mountainside to the village. Beware of loose stones! In the village, there are ruind from the middle ages, Uppi við Garð and Gæstutoftir. There is a helicopter service to Gásadalur
Tórshavn – Kirkjubøur
Duration: 2 timer
Highest point: 230m
The walk begins where the roads Landavegur and Velbastaðvegur intersect. From there, a road goes down to Sandá and passes the farm where the path to Kirkjubøur starts. First you walk up a hill. When you arrive at the top, if you turn round, you will have a good view over Tórshavn and all of Nólsoy. When you start to walk again, you go round Reynsmúli and then you arrive at Reynsmúlalág. Two small lakes are in front of you. You may see many Kittiwakes there in the summer. Follow the cairns and you will see a speaker ’s chair built of rocks. For the past 120 years, open air public gatherings have been held in this place with waving flags, national speeches and patriotic songs composed for the occasion. One can imagine how crowds of people have sat on the hill before the speakers chair and listened to, amongst others, Jóannes Patursson, a pioneer in the Faroese national movement.
The path continues southwards. On the route, you have a great view of Sandoy, Hestur, Koltur and Vágar. There is a story about Magnus, a young man from Koltur, who was courting a girl from Hestur. The girl’s father was not to know about this, so they met in secret. Magnus swam from Koltur, when the tidal current flowed south- wards, was together with the girl and when the tide turned, he swam back to Koltur. The father discovered this. One day, as Magnus came ashore, the father stood before him with an axe and threatened to kill him. The wooer was forced to go back, and he was never heard of again. Undoubtedly, an eddy took him and carried him out to sea. The story relates that after this, the eddy, which is called Grísarnir, arrived inside Koltursund. This must have been an act of revenge.
As you approach Kirkjubøur, you will see a small isle, Kirkjubøhólmur, which used to be part of the mainland and part of the village. Out on the islet, you can still see old ruins of houses.
The path now goes gradually down to the village and ends at a cattle grid some 50 m from the nearest houses.
Distance: 13-14 km
Duration: 5 timer
Difficulty: Average. Up to Hvíliplássið it is steep and a bit difficult to walk. On the top, it is level right out to Borðan. Avoid the soft ground in Langabrekka.
From Tórshavn, the small ferry Ritan sails from Bursatangi, on the eastern side of the harbour, to Nólsoy.
The trip starts at the path that runs southwards from Nólsoy village. Just inside the meadow wall, you come upon an area, Korndalur, with many ruins from the old days. These are the Prinsessutoftir.
There is a story about a Scottish King’s daughter who fell out with her father, because he would not acknowledge the man of her choice and by whom she was with child. They fled and arrived at Nólsoy and settled here.
A short way outside the meadow wall, you see traces of the old water pipe. Follow this trail to the
old reservoir. Here, the cairns begin and soon you will walk up the slope west of the island. Where
you walk up, there is a place called Uppi í Skipi, where people in the old days were hiding from pirates.
Near the top, you come to Hvíliplássið. It is usual to rest here. The view is outstanding. You can see the northern islands, Skálafjørður, Sundalagið, all of Tórshavn and a little bit of Sandoy. A little further south, at á Kagnum (the peek), there is a very good view southwards. The name stems from troubled times when people sneaked out from their hiding places and came to peek southwards to see if the pirates had left.
From the small spring Kolturskeldan you see Koltur outlined above Havnardalur.
Out on Borðan, the path passes old peat fields. There are cairns all the way out to Nólsoyar Viti, the beacon at Tumbin. However, some are small and a little difficult to spot. You can use as landmarks the two masts6 that stick up where the lighthouse stands. Just north of the house, the British built two attraphouses to mislead the Germans during the war.
The beacon, Nólsoyar Viti, was built from 1892-93. At the time, the lens equipment was one of the largest in the world. The lens is 2.82 m high and weighs around 4 tons. The lighthouse buildings, as the beacon, are superior workmanship. They are stacked from carved rocks and above the houses, you can see where they collected the rocks. The houses were built for three families. When Borðan’s population was at its peak, there were 10 children. Borðan alternated with Nólsoy village in having the school. No one lives out at Borðan now, but a lighthouseman walks out there daily. The silhouette of Kapilin can be seen in front of the beacon.
You can also walk down to Stallurin This is the landing place where everything which was taken to Borðan was unloaded. People from Nólsoy have also shipped peat from Stallurin. The name Stall- urin (the stall) stems from the boats being able to lie side by side like horses in a stable.
Be careful on your way back, follow the cairns, so you do not get lost when walking down the hill. Two cairns are placed closely together. The northern one is Omansneiðingarvarðin. Turn here, when going down.
Distance: 5 km
Duration: 2 hours
Highest point:Trælanípan, 142 m
A bus route runs through Miðvágur from Bøur and from Tórshavn.
Get off the bus at the police station in Miðvágur and walk southwards the first stretch through the village until you come to the outfield gate. Walking through the village, you will see in an easterly direction Trøllkonufingur. It is a high projecting rock on Sandavágur ’s side. You now come to the outfield gate where the path starts. You walk along a lot of peat bogs and remains of peat stores. There are no cairns on the path.
Vatnið is the largest lake in the Faroes. It is called Leitisvatn as well as Sørvágsvatn, but most
people call it Vatnið.
There are several legends about the enchanted realm at Vatnið. On the way from Miðvágur to Sørvágur, there was supposed to be a huldu people. One day, a huldu woman asked a priest to come inside. There were supposed to be many trolls inside. On leaving, the priest, who knew how to practise witchcraft, made sure to seal the mound so that it could not be opened again. There was said to be both moaning and wailing within.
There has also been a Nix at Vatnið. The Nix, which is a creature that lives in lakes, often resembles a beautiful horse. It lures people to it, grabs them and then pulls them to the bottom of the lake. Once upon a time, children had gone to play by Vatnið. Then a Nix came to them in the shape of a horse and they climbed on its back to play. The smallest boy, who could not get up, was frightened and called out to his brother Niklas: ”Bother Nika” (he had not learned to talk yet). The Nix, thinking it was his name being called, lost its power and disappeared, and the children were saved. The Nix loses all its power when called by name.
In Úti í Svanga, there are many birds in the summer.
Trælanípa (slave mountain top) is a perpend- ductular rock wall, which juts 142 m straight up out of the sea. Supposedly, it has gotten its name from the Viking Age when slaves were pushed off here. Be careful not to get too close to the edge, it is steep! From here, you can see the southernmost part of Stremoy, Hestur, Koltur, Sandoy, Skúvoy and Suðuroy.
When you arrive right at the edge of Bøsdalafossur, you can see ruins from buildings that the British left behind in Vágar after World War II.
You can cross Bøsdalaá by using the stepping stones that are placed in the river. Then you can walk up to a gorge, where there is a fine view of the cliff Geituskorardrangur. You also see the bird cliffs Sørvágsbjørgini , Mykines and Mykineshólmur and to the south, you can see Sandoy, Skúvoy and Suðuroy.
For the trip back, use the path by the lake on the same side you came. The end of the path is through a walled sheepfold.
The bus route has five bus stops in Miðvágur.