On this 8-day fly-drive get under the skin of the Faroe Islands, experiencing both the traditional and modern culture of this isolated archipelago and, in particular, learning about, and of course indulging in, Faroese cuisine. Lamb and fish are the main-stays of the diet and as you drive through the islands you will see that nearly every house has a meat-drying outhouse attached to dry meat for use throughout the winter months. In more recent years a number of restaurants have opened which have embraced the traditional techniques and ingredients to create truly modern dishes. In between your culinary experiences you will have the freedom of the open-road to explore this beautiful country, where the lush green mountaintops end in precipitous cliffs falling into the sea, turf-roofed houses can be seen throughout the islands and there is abundant wildlife where you can hope to see puffins, guillemots, razorbills, oystercatchers and out to see watch gannets plummeting from height to catch fish.
Arrive in Vagar and collect your rental car and check-in to the nearby Hotel Vagar. You can take a drive to the remote village of Gasadalur, sat on a cliffside at the end of a valley. There is an iconic waterfall and if it is open the Gasadalsgardurin guesthouse/cafe is a good option for some light refreshments. Overnight at the Hotel Vagar.
Today head towards Eysturoy, first heading through the under-sea tunnel to Streymoy. Here we would suggest visiting Saksun, perched at the end of a long valley above the Pollurin tidal lagoon before continuing on to Tjornuvik, one of the Islands' most picturesque villages, surrounded by towering mountains on three sides and the sea on the other. Visit Gardahus with its beautiful garden, where you will be invited inside to enjoy lunch on this home visit. Continue on to the island of Eysturoy passing Slaettarantindur, the highest mountain standing at 882m, before arriving at Gjogv and checking in to the Hotel Gjaargardur. In the early evening visit Sydrugota for "HOYMAbit" - a concert held in a local family's living room featuring leading Faroese artists. This is a great way to see authentic Faroese music, socialise with the locals and enjoy homemade food tasters from local and traditional produce, drinks, coffee and home-bake sweets. (B,L)
The sub-sea tunnel between Eysturoy and Bordoy has been decorated with lights by famous Faroese artist Trondur Patursson, and the first stop is the town of Klaksvik which is dominated by the impressive Christianskirkjan church (if you visit be sure to go to the basement to see the art installation). From Klaksvik it is a short drive to the island of Kunoy with some beautiful walking trails, or to get the ferry to Kalsoy, known for its many legends. If you are looking for a bite to eat we can recommend the Cafe Frida in Klaksvik. In the evening return to Gjogv for a cultural evening in the hotel. Feast on a buffet of Faroese dishes whilst being entertained by local musicians and after dinner see (and maybe join in) a demonstration of the traditional Faroese chain dance. (B,D)
From Gjogv drive to Torshavn where you will stay for 4 nights. On the way you could visit the birdcliffs at Vestmanna. A boat ride out of the fjord will turn to head along the foot of these spectacular cliffs, rising vertically out of the sea to a height of up to 650 metres. The cliffs are home to nesting puffins, guillemots and razorbills and this trip is often a highlight of any visit to the Faroe Islands. On arrival check-in to the Hotel Foroyar, perched above the town and enjoying commanding views out to sea. In the evening you will be treated to the 5-course chef's choice menu at the Barbara Fish House, tucked between the turf-roofed houses in the historical part of Torshavn. (B,D)
Have the day free to explore Torshavn, a charming town where you can wander the narrow streets line with turf-roofed houses of the old town, where the Parliament is still based. In the harbour you can watch the local fishermen bringing in the day's catch and Torshavn is also home to the fascinating national museum, an intriguing art gallery and the Nordic House, a cultural centre which is often home to exhibitions and concerts. In the evening dine at the Michelin-starred KOKS restaurant (set menu) where the young chefs led by Poul Andrias Ziska, blend local ingredients and techniques to create breath-taking food. (B,D)
Today is free to explore. You could visit nearby Kirkjubour, one of the most important cultural centres in the Faroe Islands and home to the ruined St. Magnus' Cathedral. The farm here has been run by the same family for 17 generations - if you are feeling energetic you could choose to walk here and then take the bus back to Torshavn. In fine weather there are commanding views across the islands if you were to drive up the mountain road behind the town, or perhaps take the ferry to the island of Sandoy, known as the Saga Island. Visit the viallges of Dalur and Husavik where you will find the "Heimi a Gardi" ruin surrounded by fascinating legends. On returning to Torshavn there are lots of places to eat in the town centre, from casual cafes, to pub food and more formal restaurants. We can recommend the new tapas restaurant Katrina Christiansen but there is plenty of choice. (B)
Continue your exploration of the islands. We can recommend the short passenger ferry across to the island of Nolsoy, whilst it is only 20 minutes on the boat it feels a world away from Torshavn, with an altogether slower pace of life - even by Faroese standards. There is a museum depicting life on the island in one of the old houses, and underneath Maggie's cafe (a nice stop for some rustic fare) you can learn about local hero Ove Joensen who rowed single-handedly to Copenhagen, and see the boat in which he did it. Leading from the village are walking trails with views across the islands to one side and out to the open sea to the other. In the evening spend your final evening with a 3-course dinner at Aarstova, one of the best restaurants in the islands, famed for its Faroese lamb. (B,D)
Return your car to the airport in time for your flight back to the UK. (B)