The Faroe Islands! Not everyone recalls the name, but when you show them a picture of houses with a rooftop fully covered in grass, they’ll know which place you mean.
All the breathtaking views definitely make it a destination worth visiting and driving around the islands only adds to the adventure! Whether you are up for active hiking or just admiring nice views, renting a car will make it easier to reach your destinations. Before you hit the road though, we got some insider tips regarding driving around the islands.
Experiencing driving through a two-way tunnel with only one lane is a unique experience you can get in Faroe. Oh, and did we mention it’s dark? No need to be scared though, as it’s only the few old tunnels that are like that. The other modern tunnels are well lit, have two lanes and are a great way to hop from island to island.
As for the single way tunnels, as far as you follow some simple rules and common sense you will be fine:
Before you enter the tunnel there will be a sign showing which side has priority in passing and which has to give way;
Always keep your lights on! (that goes for driving also outside the tunnels);
Be extra cautious when exiting or entering, as there might be a car coming out of the tunnel or going in;
In the tunnel you will see passing places where the car that gives way should ‘hide’ to let the one with priority pass. Basically, if you see the passing places on your right, you’re the one to give way. The places are placed every 100 meters and clearly marked. Don’t wait till the last moment though, if you see a car approaching use the closest passing place and don’t go further till you get passed;
If you see truck lights, forget the priority rule, you must give way! So cuddle into one of the passing places, no matter on which side they are;
Pay a toll to the troll
There are two sub-sea tunnels in the Faroe:
Vega Tunnel connecting the islands of Vagar and Streymoy
Nordoya Tunnel with the length of 6km connecting Eysturoy with Bordoy
To cross any of the above a toll needs to be paid of 100 DKK (14€) for a return trip.
You can decide to pay yourself whenever you pass through one of the tunnels. Then you need to make the payment at one of the gas stations within 3 days of passing. You can also choose to have a ‘toll chip’ in your car and have the fee added to your rental bill or get the unlimited passage option that your rental company has to offer.
Depending on the option you decide on, you might want to think ahead about the order you will visit the islands, to make it more cost-efficient.
It’s not that far, but it ain’t cheap
The distances to drive from one breathtaking place to another are not that far. Everything is reachable within 1 – 2 hours drive (excluding taking a ferry). The bad news is that renting a car is not cheap in the Faroe Islands, but then again it’s not a low budget destination. The sooner you book your car the better, so don’t wait too long after booking your flight. You also don’t need a 4×4 to get around, so you can go for the budget option if it’s still available.
You encounter a lot of single-track roads, which add to a nice drive! Similarly to the tunnels, such roads will have a passing place on the side, where you can wait for the other car to pass. On such roads, the driver closer to a passing place on their right should give way. Remember to say ‘thank you’ or ‘you are welcome’ by nodding your head or raising your hand. Keep in mind, a car going downhill should always give way to a car going uphill.
Beware of the..sheep
Be prepared, the islands are dominated by sheep! They can walk freely on the roads and as you can imagine, do so unexpectedly. When you see one or a bunch, slow down and drive through carefully. If it happens that you will hit one, you are obliged to call the police.
Not all the Islands can be reached using roads or tunnels. For some, like Kalsoy in the north or the southern islands Skopun and Skuvoy, you’ll need to take the ferry. Luckily, you can take your car on the ferry too! Be prepared though, as the cars will be tightly packed on it. Also, space is limited, so the earlier you are in the waiting line, the more chances you’ll have to get a spot.
There is a special sign you might want to look for when driving around the islands. That’s a brown sign with a yellow flower, indicating a buttercup road. Those are special recommended scenic routes. Although on the Faroe Islands most of the drives feel like it, as stunning views are everywhere you look. So no matter if you choose a buttercup road or not prepare yourself to be amazed!