The Faroe Islands
The smooth road between continental Europe and Iceland has more to offer than its reputation. The sweet to rugged archipelago in the North Atlantic, ahead of us – not just sheep, but a thriving capital, unique nature experiences, of unsurpassable bird life.
The capital Tórshavn (15,000 inhabitants) proudly bears its name after the Germanic god of Thor. Founded as early as the Viking Age, it has developed into a small thriving metropolis, free of traffic, not hectic, no real street canyons. Within a radius of only 1km the Old Town
to the harbor, with tiny pedestrian streets and winding, hilly streets.
Tinganes is still reflected today in the name of the district Tinganes. Obviously, the flat crag protrudes into the harbor basin. Red and black wooden houses with grass roof characterizing the picture. It has been made for the country. Not only in Viking times were held here residents’ meetings (Ting), which ruled this place or right spoken.
Only a few kilometers northwest of the metropolis, Vestmanna invites to a coastal tour by boat (www.puffin.fo). Cliff coast with sea caves is on the program. Along the still protected Vestmannafjord to the open North Atlantic, steep, green mountains dominate the picture, on which, like chamois, sheep graze just before the edge. From the ship we discover fixed climbing ropes. Without them, the shepherds could not get to their herds.
Soon after we swing out onto the open Atlantic. Here begins the actual rocky coast with its several hundred meters high cliffs. During the trip in the fjord yellow helmets are distributed. A must, because we often glide into the caves with the sky-high rock pillars, we chug under the rocky outcrops or slowly approach the shaved, rugged rock walls.
Wind and weatherproof, warm clothing is highly recommended to enjoy the views of the rugged cliffs with their bird cliffs as trouble-free as possible. Countless seabirds, such as Gannets, Fulmars or even Puffins plunge down from their rocky gullies on the flight to prey.
Puffins accompany the hiker (8km mountainous steep round trip) on the island of Mykines – one of the top destinations. In the village of Sörvagur (Vágar Island), the ferry leaves to drop off their guests on the bird protection island (extra entry). A good 100 steps from the natural harbor are to be overcome, the rocky coast up to the island village.
After that, it is relatively steep to climb a grassy slope up to the first puffin colony. Attention: In order to be able to take pictures, you have to approach the cliff edge with a direct view vertically down to the sea. So, you should be free from giddiness. They look cute, those doltish beaks. Following this, you will hike down several stone steps down a few meters, right rock face, safety rope on the left. The gulls nest above their heads. But you should rather focus on the narrow path. To hear the birds are not anyway. And if something white-gray splashes on your head, well …….
The continuation of the hike is now more like a climb, into a valley. Sometimes with, sometimes without stairs, I climb steadily down. In fact, the puffins present in fact as a constant companion, as the way leads through two more nesting colonies. Not only individual animals show up, but whole extended families peep out of the grass, on some hillocks, over overgrown rock edges. So it zigzags down to a suspension bridge, 35m above sea level. Do you feel butterflies in your stomach as you cross the swaying planks? Calm your stomach and turn your attention to the hillsides with puffins, boobies, kittiwakes or fulmars. So I pass the probably only pedestrian bridge over the North Atlantic. As I said – a top attraction of every Faroe Islands visit.
Wolf Leichsenring – Travel Journalist