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What It Means To Be Faroese


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Maighdiln Getz



Welcome to the captivating world of the Faroe Islands, a hidden gem nestled in the North Atlantic Ocean.


The Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, is a picturesque archipelago located between Iceland and Norway. Despite its small size, this enchanting cluster of 18 islands is home to an abundance of natural wonders, vibrant culture, and rich history.


With their rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and rolling green hills, the Faroe Islands offer a breathtaking landscape that is sure to awaken the adventurous spirit in any traveler. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking thrilling hiking trails, a nature lover in search of unique wildlife encounters, or a photographer looking to capture stunning vistas, the Faroe Islands have something for everyone.


The cultural heritage of the Faroe Islands is as fierce as its landscape. The Faroese people have preserved their ancient traditions, including their unique language, captivating folklore, and vibrant festivals. With a population of around 50,000, the sense of community and warm hospitality is palpable as you explore the charming villages and engage with friendly locals.


In this article, we will delve into the geography, climate, history, language and culture, traditional food and drink, art and literature, sports and recreation, education and healthcare, economy, and tourism and travel of the Faroe Islands. So, whether you’re planning a trip, conducting research, or simply intrigued by these mystical islands, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Faroe Islands.


Geography of the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands, with a total land area of approximately 1,400 square kilometers, are a unique and fascinating geographical wonder. The archipelago is characterized by its dramatic landscapes, including towering cliffs, deep fjords, and lush valleys.


Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the Faroe Islands boast a rugged topography shaped by volcanic activity and glacial erosion over millions of years. The islands are predominantly composed of basalt rock, giving rise to their steep cliffs that plummet dramatically into the ocean below.


The Faroe Islands consist of 18 main islands, but only 17 of them are inhabited. Streymoy, the largest and most populous island, is home to the capital city of Tórshavn. Vágar, the second-largest island, is where you’ll find the country’s only airport, making it a popular entry point for visitors.


One of the most iconic features of the Faroe Islands is its jaw-dropping coastline. The cliffs, which reach heights of up to 800 meters, provide nesting sites for a variety of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and fulmars. These majestic cliffs, combined with the turbulent seas that surround the islands, create a truly awe-inspiring spectacle.


The Faroe Islands are also known for their picturesque landscapes and abundant waterfalls. From the enchanting Mulafossur Waterfall on Vagar Island, cascading into the ocean below, to the breathtaking Fossá Waterfall on Streymoy Island, which is the tallest waterfall in the country, nature lovers will be captivated by the beauty of these natural wonders.


In addition to its stunning coastal scenery, the Faroe Islands boast verdant valleys and rolling hills, perfect for hiking and exploring. The islands are crisscrossed by an extensive network of hiking trails, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the untouched wilderness and witness panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.


With its diverse and awe-inspiring geography, the Faroe Islands offer a unique and unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and adventurers alike. Whether you’re captivated by the towering cliffs, mesmerized by the cascading waterfalls, or enchanted by the rolling hills, the beauty of the Faroe Islands’ landscape is sure to leave a lasting impression.



The Faroe Islands have a mild and maritime subpolar oceanic climate, characterized by cool summers and mild winters. The weather in the Faroe Islands is highly changeable, with frequent shifts between sunshine, rain, and fog throughout the day.


Due to its proximity to the North Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, the Faroe Islands experience relatively mild temperatures year-round. The average summer temperatures hover around 13 to 15 degrees Celsius (55 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), while the winter temperatures range from 3 to 7 degrees Celsius (37 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit).


Summer, from June to August, is the warmest season in the Faroe Islands. During this time, the islands are bathed in long daylight hours, with the midnight sun phenomenon occurring in June. The summer months bring pleasant temperatures and offer ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and boating.


Winter, from December to February, is the coldest season in the Faroe Islands. The daylight hours are shorter, with only a few hours of daylight for much of the season. Winter in the Faroe Islands is characterized by cool temperatures, occasional snowfall, and strong winds. It’s a great time to experience the cozy atmosphere of Faroese villages, indulge in local cuisine, and witness the stunning beauty of the winter landscape.


Rainfall is a common occurrence throughout the year in the Faroe Islands. The islands are known for their misty rain, which adds to the mystical aura of the landscape. It is advisable to come prepared with waterproof clothing and embrace the weather as an integral part of the Faroese experience.


One of the most captivating natural phenomena in the Faroe Islands is the fog. The islands are often shrouded in a thick blanket of mist, creating an ethereal and otherworldly atmosphere. The fog adds a sense of mystery and intrigue to the already enchanting landscapes, making it a dream destination for photographers and artists.


Whether you visit the Faroe Islands in the mild summer or the atmospheric winter, the ever-changing climate adds a unique element to your exploration of the islands. Embrace the unpredictable weather, and you’ll discover a land where nature’s incredible beauty shines through, rain or shine.



The history of the Faroe Islands is steeped in legends, folklore, and the indomitable spirit of its people. While archaeological evidence suggests human settlement as early as the 4th century, it wasn’t until the 9th century that the islands were officially settled by Vikings from Norway.


During the Viking Age, the Faroe Islands were an important outpost in the North Atlantic, serving as a stopover point for Norse adventurers, traders, and seafarers. The settlers established a thriving agricultural society, relying on sheep farming and fishing for their livelihood.


In the 14th century, the Faroe Islands came under the control of the Norwegian Kingdom, followed by the Danish Kingdom in the 16th century. The islands became an integral part of the Danish realm, and their cultural and political ties to Denmark deepened over the centuries.


The isolation of the Faroe Islands, due to their remote location, allowed the Faroese people to preserve their language, traditions, and way of life despite outside influences. The Faroese language, which has its roots in Old Norse, remains the national language and is widely spoken by the islanders today.


During World War II, the Faroe Islands were occupied by British forces to prevent a potential Nazi invasion. This period had a profound impact on the islands, strengthening their ties with the United Kingdom and opening new opportunities for trade and development.


In 1948, the Faroe Islands acquired self-governance, becoming an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. This political arrangement granted the Faroese people control over their internal affairs, including education, healthcare, and cultural preservation.


With self-governance, the Faroe Islands have fostered a sense of pride in their unique cultural heritage. Today, the islands celebrate their Viking roots through festivals, music, and traditional arts and crafts. The Faroese people are known for their resilience, perseverance, and strong community bonds, which have shaped the identity of these remarkable islands.


As you explore the Faroe Islands, you’ll find remnants of their fascinating history scattered across the landscape. From ancient Viking burial sites to picturesque turf-roofed houses, the echoes of the past blend seamlessly with the present, offering a glimpse into the island’s captivating history.


Language and Culture

The Faroe Islands boast a distinct language and a vibrant culture that are deeply intertwined with the identity of its people. The Faroese language, which is derived from Old Norse, is spoken by the majority of the population and is recognized as one of the official languages of the Faroe Islands.


The Faroese language is renowned for its archaic qualities, closely resembling the ancient Norse language spoken by the Vikings. It has evolved over the centuries, incorporating influences from Danish and other neighboring languages. Despite its unique characteristics, the Faroese language has managed to preserve its grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, creating a strong sense of cultural continuity.


The Faroese people take great pride in their language and make conscious efforts to promote and protect it. Faroese is taught in schools, used in official government proceedings, and celebrated through literature, music, and poetry.


The cultural traditions of the Faroe Islands are deeply rooted in their Viking heritage. Folklore and storytelling play an important role in Faroese culture, with mythical creatures and supernatural beings featuring prominently in traditional tales. These stories are passed down through generations, reflecting the rich and mysterious world of Faroese folklore.


Music is another integral part of Faroese culture, with a strong emphasis on traditional folk music and chant. The Faroese have a rich musical heritage, and their songs often echo the rugged landscapes, seafaring traditions, and historical events of the islands. Today, contemporary Faroese musicians have gained international recognition, enchanting audiences with their unique blend of traditional and modern sounds.


The culinary traditions of the Faroe Islands also reflect the islanders’ connection to their natural surroundings. Faroese cuisine is characterized by locally sourced ingredients, such as fish, lamb, seabirds, and potatoes. Traditional dishes, such as ræst lamb (fermented lamb) and skerpikjøt (wind-dried mutton), evoke a sense of the islands’ traditional way of life and the techniques used to preserve food in earlier times.


The Faroese people are known for their warm hospitality and strong sense of community. Family and social connections are highly valued, with gatherings and celebrations often bringing people together. Festivals and events, such as Ólavsøka and Jóladagur, offer a glimpse into the vibrant Faroese culture, with traditional performances, music, and dancing showcasing the islanders’ zest for life.


As you immerse yourself in the Faroese culture, you’ll discover a deep reverence for nature, a resilient spirit, and a close-knit community that welcomes visitors with open arms. The language, folklore, music, and culinary traditions all serve to preserve and celebrate the unique heritage of the Faroe Islands.


Traditional Food and Drink

The Faroe Islands offer a culinary experience like no other, with their traditional dishes reflecting the islanders’ connection to the land and sea. Faroese cuisine is characterized by its emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, embracing the bounties of the surrounding waters and rugged landscapes.


Seafood plays a prominent role in Faroese cuisine, with fish such as cod, haddock, and salmon being staple ingredients. Gravlaks, a traditional dish of cured salmon, is a popular delicacy, often served with rye bread and mustard sauce. Klippfiskur, or dried fish, is another beloved dish that has been a part of Faroese culinary heritage for centuries.


One of the most iconic and unique dishes in the Faroe Islands is ræst lamb, or fermented lamb. This traditional delicacy involves the fermentation and drying of lamb meat over several months, resulting in a distinct flavor and rich aroma. The process of ræsting is a traditional method used to preserve meat in the Faroese history.


Faroese cuisine is also known for its use of seabirds in dishes. Traditionally, the islanders have harvested various species of seabirds, such as puffins and fulmars, and incorporated them into their culinary repertoire. These birds are often prepared in a variety of ways, including smoked, boiled, or as part of stews.


Potatoes, a staple crop in the Faroe Islands, feature prominently in traditional dishes. Variations of potato dishes, such as boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, and potato dumplings, accompany many meals. They are often served alongside fish or meat dishes, adding a comforting element to the Faroese cuisine.


When it comes to beverages, the Faroe Islands boast their own unique traditions. Thanks to the abundance of fresh water springs on the islands, Faroese people have long brewed their own craft beers. These local brews, often made with unique ingredients such as heather, seaweed, and herbs, offer a taste of the Faroe Islands’ distinct brewing culture.


In addition to beer, the Faroese also have a strong tradition of drinking coffee. Kaffi, as it is known in Faroese, is often enjoyed in the company of friends and family, creating a welcoming and social atmosphere. Coffeehouses, known as kaffihúsið, can be found throughout the islands, offering a cozy retreat to enjoy a cup of coffee and engage in enthusiastic conversation.


Visiting the Faroe Islands is an opportunity to savor the unique flavors of their traditional cuisine. By indulging in the rich and diverse dishes, you’ll gain insight into the islanders’ connection to their natural surroundings and their unwavering commitment to preserving their culinary heritage.


Art and Literature

The Faroe Islands have a rich and vibrant artistic and literary culture, showcasing the creative talents of the islanders and their deep connection to the stunning landscapes that surround them.


Visual art in the Faroe Islands often draws inspiration from the rugged nature and mystical atmosphere of the islands. Artists explore various mediums, including painting, sculpture, and photography, to capture the breathtaking beauty and unique character of the Faroese landscapes. The dramatic cliffs, tranquil fjords, and ever-changing weather patterns serve as a muse for artists, resulting in captivating works that reflect the raw and untamed essence of the islands.


Faroese literature, although relatively small in scale due to the islands’ population, has a strong cultural significance. Faroese authors, poets, and playwrights have embraced their unique linguistic heritage, incorporating the language into their literary works. Faroese literature often explores the themes of nature, folklore, identity, and the struggles of daily life, offering readers a deeper understanding of the Faroese culture and worldview.


One of the most notable works of Faroese literature is the epic poem “Fuglakvæði” (Bird Song) by Rasmus Rasmussen. This poem captures the spirit of the Faroe Islands and serves as an ode to the rugged landscapes, the vibrant birdlife, and the enduring resilience of the Faroese people. It has become an iconic piece of Faroese literature, celebrated for its artistic portrayal of the islands’ natural environment.


Music also plays a significant role in the artistic expression of the Faroe Islands. Traditional Faroese music is characterized by its haunting melodies and captivating vocal harmonies. The traditional Faroese chain dance, known as “føroyskur stev,” is a cherished part of the musical heritage, with locals and visitors alike joining in the rhythmic steps and lively atmosphere.


The Faroe Islands are home to a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and cultural spaces where local artists exhibit their works. Visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Faroese art, exploring the diverse range of styles, themes, and creative expressions.


Furthermore, cultural festivals, such as the G! Festival and the Summartónar music festival, offer a platform for artists, musicians, and performers to showcase their talent and connect with an eager audience. These events not only celebrate the arts but also foster a sense of community pride and cultural exchange.


Whether it’s through the visual arts, literature, or music, the Faroe Islands offer a unique and inspiring artistic experience. The creative works of the Faroese people provide a window into their world, capturing the essence of the islands’ beauty, traditions, and untamed spirit.


Sports and Recreation

The Faroe Islands, with their diverse landscapes and adventurous spirit, offer a playground for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. From hiking along scenic trails to participating in unique sporting events, there is no shortage of activities for those seeking an active and adrenaline-filled experience.


The rugged terrain of the Faroe Islands provides the perfect backdrop for hiking enthusiasts. With an extensive network of well-marked trails, both beginners and experienced hikers can explore the islands’ breathtaking landscapes. The iconic path to the stunning viewpoints of Trælanípa, the challenging routes of Slættaratindur – the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands, and the peaceful beauty of Lake Sørvágsvatn are just a few examples of the countless hiking opportunities available.


Water sports are popular in the Faroe Islands due to the abundance of coastal areas and fjords. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and surfing are thrilling ways to explore the pristine waters and the picturesque coastline. Several companies offer guided tours and equipment rentals, ensuring that even those new to water sports can partake in these exhilarating experiences.


The Faroe Islands have a strong connection to the sea, and fishing is deeply ingrained in the local culture. Anglers from all over the world are drawn to the challenging and rewarding experience of deep-sea fishing in the North Atlantic. Whether it’s reeling in a mighty Atlantic salmon or encountering the elusive Faroese trout in a tranquil freshwater stream, fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines and test their skills.


Football (soccer) holds a special place in the hearts of the Faroese people, with the sport being the most popular and widely played across the islands. The national football team of the Faroe Islands, while small in size, has made a name for itself by competing against larger nations in international tournaments. Football matches and local tournaments create a sense of unity and excitement, with passionate fans filling the stadiums to cheer on their teams.


In addition to traditional sports, the Faroe Islands also host unique and thrilling events. The Faroe Islands Run, a challenging race spanning several islands, showcases the natural beauty of the islands while offering a test of endurance for participants. Sheepdog trials, where skilled dogs demonstrate their herding abilities, are a fascinating cultural tradition that showcases the deep connection between the Faroese people and their sheep.


The Faroe Islands are a playground for adventure and a haven for those seeking outdoor thrills. Whether it’s exploring the breathtaking landscapes on foot, embarking on water-based adventures, partaking in the local sporting culture, or immersing yourself in unique events, the Faroe Islands offer endless opportunities for sports and recreation.


Education and Healthcare

The Faroe Islands place a strong emphasis on providing quality education and healthcare for its residents. Despite the islands’ remote location, the Faroese government is committed to ensuring that its population has access to modern facilities, well-trained professionals, and a comprehensive support system.


Education in the Faroe Islands is mandatory for children aged 7 to 16 and is provided free of charge. The education system consists of pre-school, primary school, lower secondary school, and upper secondary school. Faroese is the primary language of instruction, while Danish and English are also taught as part of the curriculum.


Higher education options are available for those seeking advanced studies. The University of the Faroe Islands, established in 2008, offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various disciplines. The university is dedicated to promoting research, innovation, and higher learning opportunities for the Faroese people.


Healthcare services in the Faroe Islands are provided through a comprehensive and accessible system. The Faroese healthcare system is primarily financed through taxation, ensuring that all residents have access to essential medical care. A network of healthcare centers, hospitals, and specialized clinics ensures that medical services are readily available across the islands.


Despite the islands’ small population, the Faroe Islands have made significant investments in medical infrastructure and technology. The National Hospital in Tórshavn is equipped with modern facilities and specialized departments to provide a wide range of medical services and treatments. Additionally, there are health clinics strategically located throughout the islands that offer primary healthcare services to residents of remote areas.


Public health initiatives and preventive healthcare programs are also priorities in the Faroe Islands. The government focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, and early detection through regular check-ups and screenings. The Faroese people have access to vaccination programs, maternal healthcare, and ongoing support for chronic illnesses.


Furthermore, the Faroe Islands value mental health and well-being. A range of mental health services, including counseling and therapy, are available to support individuals in need. The government acknowledges the importance of mental health care and works towards fostering a supportive and inclusive society.


The commitment to education and healthcare in the Faroe Islands ensures that residents have access to comprehensive services and support systems. Through their dedication to quality education and the provision of accessible healthcare, the Faroese government prioritizes the well-being and development of its population.



The Faroe Islands have a resilient and self-sustaining economy built on a foundation of fisheries, aquaculture, and other supporting industries. Despite the challenges posed by its remote location and harsh natural conditions, the Faroe Islands have managed to develop a stable and prosperous economy.


Fishing has been the backbone of the Faroese economy for centuries. The surrounding North Atlantic waters are teeming with a variety of fish species, including cod, herring, and mackerel. The Faroese fishing industry employs a significant portion of the population, with both traditional and modern fishing methods being used to sustainably harvest the rich marine resources.


In addition to fishing, aquaculture has gained prominence in recent years. The Faroe Islands are known for their high-quality salmon farming, with the industry being one of the largest contributors to the national economy. Faroese salmon is recognized for its superior taste and exceptional quality, making it highly sought after in international markets.


The Faroe Islands have also diversified their economy by developing other sectors such as renewable energy, tourism, and creative industries. The islands’ abundant wind resources have led to the development of wind farms, which contribute significantly to the production of renewable energy.


Tourism has emerged as a growing sector in recent years, attracting visitors with its untouched landscapes, unique culture, and warm hospitality. The Faroe Islands’ pristine nature, dramatic cliffs, and vibrant festivals have captured the attention of adventurous travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path destination.


The creative industries, including design, fashion, and crafts, are also flourishing in the Faroe Islands. Local artisans and designers draw inspiration from the natural surroundings, creating unique and sustainable products that reflect the islands’ identity and heritage.


The Faroese government plays a vital role in supporting and nurturing the economy. It focuses on sustainable development, innovation, and investment in infrastructure. It also provides funding and support programs for entrepreneurs and small businesses, fostering a dynamic and resilient business environment.


The Faroe Islands have managed to balance economic development with environmental and social sustainability. The islanders’ deep-rooted connection to their natural surroundings drives their commitment to sustainable practices and responsible resource management.


Through their diversified and resilient economy, the Faroe Islands have ensured a high standard of living for their population. The sustainable use of their natural resources, investment in alternative industries, and emphasis on innovation have positioned the Faroe Islands as a thriving and forward-thinking nation.


Tourism and Travel

The Faroe Islands, with their stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, have emerged as a bucket-list destination for travelers seeking natural beauty and authentic experiences. This remote archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean offers a unique and untouched charm that sets it apart from conventional tourist destinations.


Visitors are drawn to the Faroe Islands by the captivating landscapes that showcase the islands’ rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and rolling green hills. The untouched beauty of the Faroese nature provides a haven for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts.


The Faroe Islands have a well-maintained network of hiking trails, allowing adventurers to immerse themselves in the untouched wilderness and discover breathtaking viewpoints. From the iconic Trælanípa viewpoint to the isolated beauty of Mykines, there are numerous trails to suit all skill levels and preferences.


One of the most iconic symbols of the Faroe Islands is the colorful turf-roofed houses that dot the landscape. These traditional homes, often nestled in picturesque villages, provide a glimpse into the islanders’ way of life and offer a unique accommodation experience for travelers seeking authenticity.


The Faroese people are known for their warm hospitality and genuine friendliness, creating a welcoming atmosphere for visitors. Local guides and tour operators offer insights into the islands’ history, culture, and traditions, allowing travelers to form a deeper connection with the local way of life.


The islands’ cultural events and festivals provide a unique window into the Faroese identity. Ólavsøka, the national festival, is a celebration of Faroese culture, featuring vibrant music, traditional attire, and exhilarating rowing competitions. Other events throughout the year, such as the G! Festival and Summartónar, offer a diverse range of music, arts, and entertainment.


The Faroe Islands’ rich culinary traditions also attract food enthusiasts from around the world. Sampling traditional Faroese dishes, such as ræst lamb and fish delicacies, provides a unique gastronomic experience that reflects the islanders’ connection to their natural surroundings and traditional way of life.


As tourism grows in the Faroe Islands, sustainable practices and responsible travel are at the forefront. The islands’ remote location and commitment to preserving the natural environment have led to a focus on eco-tourism and sustainable initiatives. Visitors are encouraged to respect the fragile ecosystems, follow designated trails, and engage in responsible travel practices.


Whether you’re exploring the dramatic landscapes, immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage, or indulging in traditional gastronomy, the Faroe Islands offer a unique and unforgettable journey off the beaten path. As you set foot on these enchanting islands, be prepared to be captivated by their untouched beauty and the warmth of the Faroese people.



The Faroe Islands, with their awe-inspiring landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm community spirit, offer a truly unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure and authenticity. This hidden gem in the North Atlantic Ocean captivates visitors with its rugged cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and rolling green hills.


From the moment you set foot on the islands, the Faroese people welcome you with open arms and share their deep-rooted connection to their natural surroundings. Whether you’re hiking along breathtaking trails, immersing yourself in their vibrant culture, or indulging in traditional Faroese cuisine, you’ll feel a sense of connection and wonder that is truly unique to this remote archipelago.


The Faroe Islands’ commitment to sustainable development and responsible tourism ensures that the untouched beauty of the islands will be preserved for generations to come. Whether it’s exploring the pristine nature, participating in traditional festivals, or engaging with the warm-hearted locals, you’ll have the opportunity to form a deep and meaningful connection with this extraordinary destination.


So, whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, cultural immersion, or a peaceful retreat in the midst of nature, the Faroe Islands will exceed your expectations and leave an indelible mark on your heart. Prepare to be captivated by the untamed beauty, enchanted by the rich cultural heritage, and embraced by the friendly community of the Faroe Islands.


Embark on a journey like no other and discover the magic of the Faroe Islands, a place where nature, culture, and warm hospitality combine to create an unforgettable experience.