Faroe and Iceland - Facts and Information
Faroe - South Streymoy and Vágar
Mountains, old buildings and isolated villages
Some of the things we enjoyed in this part of Faroe

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  Tórshavn
  Kirjubøur
  Sydradalur & Kvivík
  Highway 10/Kaldbak
  Vágar





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Tórshavn area
Most visitors to Faroe's small capital seem to start by heading to Tinganes with its wooden buildings, still the seat of government after 1,100 years. Next call is Undir Ryggi, the old town with its little streets and houses, just to the north-west of Tinganes. Havnar kirkja, Faroe's cathedral, is here, but is only open briefly in the afternoons. This is a pleasant part of town to wander round. Skansin, the fort by the ferry terminal, is worth exploring for a few minutes and gives good views of the old town.

On the way out of town to the north is Kongaminni, the King's Monument off Hoyvíksvegur. This gives good views of the area. Near the SMS shopping centre is Vidarlundin on Hoydalsvegur. This, the only real woodland in Faroe, is planted with trees struggling against Atlantic gales. With a small network of paths it offers pleasant strolls.

Just outside Tórshavn at Hoyvík is Føroya Fornminnissavn, the Historical Museum. This is well worth a visit, especially for the 600 year old pew ends from Kirjubøur. Nearby is the open air museum at Hoyvíksgardur, a collection of traditional farm buildings. Worth a vist, but unfortnately the attendant when we were there spoke no English and information was not in English.

Kirkjubøur to Sydradalur
Highway 54 leaves Tórshavn and heads over the hill to the coast of Hestfjørdur. Kirjubøur was the original eccelsiastical centre and has the remains of St Magnus Cathedral (currently protected by a hangar to stop water ingress to the masonry). The present parish church of Ólavskirkjan is a pleasant white building, unlike most Faroese churches it is built of stone and always open. The Roystovan farmhouse, once the bishops' residence, is a private house occupied by the same family for 17 generations. The public are kindly allowed access to part of the building and it is well worth visiting.

There is a well marked path from Kirkjubøur over the hill to Tórshavn. The path is generally good and after a steep climb up the hillside is virtually flat. The track to the south of the village is a nice walk to Úti á Bø and (allegedly) continues as a path round to Tórshavn.

To the north-west of Kirkjubøur Highway 536 continues along the coast to Sydradalur, an isolated farm at the bottom of a steep hill below a waterfall. The road is worth a slow trip stopping to take in the views along the coast. We walked up the track through the fields at Fossdalur. (Fossdalur means waterfall valley - there are many places with this name in the islands.)

Highway 10
This is the old main road to the north from Tórshavn and is an exhilarating drive through the hills with excellent views. On the way out of Tórshavn call in at the car park by the Hotel Føroyar for the view. This is a good road, quieter and much more interesting than the new low level Highway 50 with its tunnel. Highway 538 drops steeply down to the very quiet settlements of Nordradalur and á Ytru Fløtum, from where there are good views back to Sydradalur.

About nine miles from Tórshavn a very steep, narrow and winding road goes up the slopes of Sornfelli. It was built to serve the military installation on the mountain but can be used by the public as far as a car park just off the road to the right (not signed in English - we nearly drove through the tunnel into the radar station and had to reverse a long way down). The road is surfaced and offers splendid views but does need care .

Kaldbak
Highway 523 leaves Highway 50 and runs along the deserted shore of Kaldbaksfjørdur to Kaldbak. The village is small, quiet and worth a visit for its timber church (the key is said to be available on request but we saw no one to ask). There is a pleasant walk along the coast beyond the vilage or up the valley of the Høgadalsá into the hills.

Kvívik and Vestmanna
Kvívik lies beyond the subsea tunnel to Vágar and is notable for events on New Year's Eve in 1855 when the priest, Venceslaus Hammerschaimb, gave his sermon in Faroese instead of Danish. The congegation were horrified and he did not repeat the experiment. (In fact no Faroese Bible was published until over a hundred years later). A pleasant village it is well set with Viking remains and an interesting old mill over the stream.

Vestmanna, once the ferry terminal for Vágar and still the embarkation point for good sailors on boat trips to see the bird cliffs, is a different story. A major fishing port we found it dreary - in fact the only place in Faroe we actively disliked.

Vágar
The island to the west of Streymoy has Faroe's airport on the only flat land available, and even so the runway is over the brow of a hill. Bøur just off the diminutive Highway 452 is worth a visit (park just after turning onto the village road). The open church is interesting, there are some nice old boathouses on the beach and views across the fjord are excellent.

The road continues and disappears into a single track, unlit tunnel for well over a mile until it emerges into Gásadalur. The tunnel had only just been opened when we were there in May 2006 and the village had been the last settlement in Faroe without road access, which until then had only been by path, sea or more recently helicopter. You can walk down to the landing stage (good views of the valley and cliff waterfall) and we walked beyond the village along the coast.

More information
A number of worthwhile web sites are shown on the external links pages for Faroe.

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