Do stop by:
Stopped here on our way back to Norway, and was very pleasantly surpised. I had expected a tacky, commercialised place, but found cobbled streets, old buildings, nice restaurants and sweet shops. Definitely worth a stop if you need a rest from driving, want to go swimming, or have a nice meal in one of the many eateries.
Don't bother with:
Stopped here on the way to Hanstholm, but if you don't need to, don't. There is really nothing to see here.
Lacks personality, but is famous for being one of those villages that Norwegians stay in during the summer. Larger than Aabybro, but just as uninteresting.
Smyril Line's ferries to the Faroes and Iceland depart from this miniscule village, so during the summer months every guest at the two hotels are people who are taking the early morning ferry. We were no exception. Stayed at the Hotell Hanstholm, which was very nice, and they had a pool table for the kids, and free Wi-Fi. Hanstholm city centre is very small. Ate at «La Pizza» in the shopping centre, which was decent and cheap.
The Faroe Islands:
Had a nice cabin with a window (or is it port-hole in ship-speak?). Rather large ship, with lots of bars, restaurants, a cinema, swimming pool (icy water!), kids' show and more. When it comes to eating, you have three options for lunch and dinner: Cafeteria-food, buffet in the buffet-restaurant, or the á la carte restaurant. I'm not a huge buffet-fan, because I always find the food poor quality and never eat enough to accommodate the price. But I tried having lunch in the cafeteria. Not recommended, unless you like tasteless, boring food. Dinner in the á la carte-restaurant was very nice, but rather expensive.
Stayed at the «Hotel Hafnia», which was very central and really, really nice. Free Wi-Fi, large, light rooms, friendly staff. The breakfast was fantastic; homemade jam and müesli with chocolate and walnuts, croissants, eggs and bacon etc. On the whole, a really great hotel.
Tórshavn is very small, but very pretty. Take a walk in Vidarlundi; a rather grand park in the city centre. There are lush lawns, sparkling rivers and boulders there.
Above Vidarlundi is the city's only shopping centre; «SMS». This has all the usual shops, a Burger King and a decent coffee shop.
Eating: Etika sushi restaurant opposite Hotel Hafnia has fantastic sushi, Kusmi tea, imported beer, sake, and everything you could ever desire (if you like sushi). This is probably the one «hip» restaurant in Tórshavn, so it's often fully booked i the evenings. Prices are reasonable, and they have a fantastic childrens' menu.
We met up with a couple of Faroese friends we met in Cornwall (of all places), and after a coffee at Baresso in SMS shopping centre, they showed us this little place with great historic importance.
Kyrkjebøur used to be the capital of the Faroe Islands. Tòrshavn was where they held their ting; a parliament of sorts, but was only used once a year or so. Gradually, however, shops popped up, and people started living there. Soon Kyrkjebøur became a deserted little village, much like it is today. But a thousand years ago, the place was thriving. The Bishop had his seat here; in a house that is still inhabited, making it the oldest house in the world that is still lived in. The roof on this house was actually brought from Norway, and is a thousand years old! On the hill behind the Bishop's house is a small cave, which is where one of Norway's greatest viking kings was supposedly born (on the wrong side of the blanket, of course). The ruins of a cathedral still remains, and there is a picturesque little church there that is still in use.
Our friends live in a village called Skarvanes, though I don't know if they can actually call it a village, seeing as they're the only ones who live there:) Talking to locals really upped my impression of the Faroe Islands; you get such a different view of a place, so this is highly reccommended!
The Bishop's house. See the little red circle? I made that:) It shows the entrance to the cave that Sverre (great viking king mentioned above) was born in!
Gjògv (pronounced Jugf):
This small fishing village is very representative for all other villages on the Faroe Islands, we were told. The reason this village is «famous» is because it has a guest house, unlike many of the other villages. Located on the island of Eysturoy, and is relatively easy to find (not many roads on the Faroes). Nevertheless, you should definitely hire a car. The distances aren't huge (spent approx. 2 hours from Tòrshavn to Gjògv, including stops), but the bus service isn't great. Stopped by Kollafjørdur and Eidi on the way, but they were so small that you didn't have time to stop until you were out of the village. Many of these villages are along a street, usually only a couple of block long.
Gjògv is a picturesque little village, and looks very much like small Norwegian villages did 50 odd years ago (I imagine). The Faroes didn't get electricity until the 60's, and television came in the 80's.
Detail from Gjògv.
... Faroe (Før in Faroese, Får in Norwegian) means sheep, okay? If you were to translate the word, instead of giving it an English name, the country should be called the Sheep Islands. There are twice as many sheep on the island as there are people. Most of them live around the towns, running free on the green fields and all that.