The Isolated Faroe Islands—Jewels of the North Atlantic

Mikladalur, a village located on the island of Kalsoy, Faroe Islands, Kingdom of Denmark

Faroe islands flagThe Faroe Islands feature some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The island chain is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, with a total area of only about 540 sq mi. Breathtaking sea vistas exist throughout the island chain, attracting tourists during warmer months—the region's subpolar oceanic climate keeps it cold, wet, and windy most of the time. About 52,000 people live on the islands.

Let's get into a quick overview of this fascinating chain of islands.

A Faroe Islands Flyover

The archipelago consists of 18 major islands, or 779 if you count every dot on a map of the Faroe Islands. Below, we'll look at 9 of the larger islands, dealing with two southern islands before starting a west-to-east sweep.


The Hvalba settlement, Hvalbiarfjørður, Faroe Islands.

Suðuroy, home to about 4,600 people, is the southernmost of the Faroe Islands. An ancient settlement on the southern tip of the island named Akraberg was inhabited until 1350 when it was abandoned due to the Black Death. This island features one of the region's most famous mountains, Beinisvørð, and it has more islets than any of the other Faroe Islands.


Sandoy is named for the large beach at Sandur and it's the only island with dunes. Due to its fertile sandy soil, Sandoy is the best of the Faroe Islands for agriculture, with potatoes being a primary crop. The island has only about 1,200 people but supports 6,878 adult sheep and their lambs.

That's the two main southern islands covered—let's move to the westernmost island, Mykines.


Only 14 people live on Mykines, the westernmost of the Faroe Islands, in a settlement that's also called Mykines. Large numbers of puffins live there, and mountain hares, introduced in modern times, inhabit the island. Mykines has one animal it can call its own—the Mykines house mouse, a species that's believed to have been brought by Irish monks in the 6th century.


The Mulafossur waterfall in Gasadalur, Vagar Island

The next island to the east is Vágar, the third largest of the Faroes. This is one of the most visited islands, with boundless scenic grandeur and numerous natural attractions, including the Faroe's two largest lakes, Fjallavatn and Sørvágsvatn. Vágar is where most visitors to the Faroe Islands first land and it's the location of the islands’ only airport.


Tórshavn, Streymoy.

Streymoy is the largest of the Faroe Islands and has the most people, with about 24,000 inhabitants, the majority of whom live in the capital city of Tórshavn. There's also Vestmanna, the former ferry port on the western side of Streymoy, Kollafjørður in the middle, and two quaint villages in the north called Saksun and Tjørnuvík.


Eysturoy is the second largest of the Faroe Islands, both in size and population. It's separated from Streymoy by a narrow sound and the land rises quickly to rugged mountains. There are 66 separate mountain peaks, with Slættaratindur being the highest in the Faroe Islands. Eysturoy is also home to the island chain's two longest fjords, Skálafjørður and Funningsfjørður.


Kalsoy features rugged terrain that was perfect for filming parts of the 25th James Bond movie No Time to Die. The name Kalsoy means man island. Kalsoy is isolated, having no bridge or tunnel linking it to another island, not even to Kunoy, or woman island, Kalsoy's neighbor to the east.


Kunoy has two settlements, the namesake Kunoy, with a population of 64, and Haraldssund, which is the connection point to the Borðoy via a causeway. The two settlements on Kunoy are connected to each by a tunnel.


There are three more islands to the east, but the island named Borðoy, meaning headland island, is the largest in the northeastern part of the chain. It features Klaksvík, the second largest town in the Faroes, the largest being the capital city of Tórshavn on Streymoy.

More to Explore in the Faroe Islands

As a cold, isolated volcanic island chain located between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands may not be the most inviting of destinations, but anyone who's been there will tell you that the breathtaking scenery makes up for any travel difficulty.

It's fun to explore the Faroe Islands from a distance, and we hope you've found this overview interesting. Don't forget to check out Seterra's Faroe Islands quiz too!