This May we took a deep dive into knowing the culture, food scene, incentive and congress possibilities in the Faroe Islands. I went together with Franziska Winkler, an experienced event planner from Meeting Point Berlin, to understand what makes the islands special and what groups might experience here when they visit. Here are our first 24 hours.
Travelling from Frankfurt to Copenhagen took one hour and 20 minutes for me and even shorter for Franziska who is based in Berlin. After a short stop in the beautiful airport of Copenhagen, we took a one hour and 15 minute connection from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands, destination Vágar Airport. The Danes have really created a paradise for shopping in the airport. For those of you who want to stay away from the temptation to buy everything, you can access the free Wifi in the Copenhagen airport. Just choose CPH Hotspot as a network, then open your browser and enter wifi.cph.dk, sign up with your email and you are set.
Atlantic Airways, the Faroe Islands’s own airline, makes a great job at showing you your whereabouts during the entire flight. You can see yourself passing close to Norway, then getting closer to the Faroe, that are located between Scotland and Iceland. Right from the airplane window while preparing for landing, the first thing you see are these impressive island panoramas. The airport is small, but the views are majestic. A cluster of 18 islands, inhabited by the Faroese. Recent DNA analysis have revealed that Y chromosomes, tracing male descent living in the Faroe, are 87% Scandinavian, while DNA, tracing female descent, is 84% Scottish/Irish.
Per Hansen was our great guide and we took a car rental at the Vágar airport and set to our first stop, west of the Islands and airport: the little village of Bøur. Surely, anyone would be amazed by now and this is why the guide took us here – we saw a wonderful waterfall and the island of Mykines in the close vicinity.
This trail is the first of the buttercup roads, a set of places that are specifically recommended for sightseeing and that you can find marked on the maps available at the airport. On our way to Bøur we were first introduced with the Faroese economy – their great production of salmon. There are 3 companies producing and exporting farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands.
They also harvest langoustines, which are known to be the best in the world. They are a rare delicacy, and rumor has it unless you are a Russian oligarch, it is highly unlikely that you will find them at your local fish market. Even at Noma in Copenhagen, one of the best restaurants in the worlds, Head Chef Matthew Orlando mentions getting his hands on a batch of Faroe langoustines “on very rare occasions”. However, if you are visiting the Faroe Islands, you might just get to be yourself, as the story is quite different – we were very lucky to have the famous langoustines at the Etika Restaurant and they are indeed amazing.
For all of those working in the fish or food sector, it is possible to visit the langoustine and salmon farms in a technical visit, just contact Annleyg Lamhauge.
Arrived in Bøur we ate at Anne Sophie’s a typical Faroese soup made with fresh cod fish and peach and served with a great homemade bread. We had coffee and cake outside, facing the sea, where people were rowing their boats and chanting together.
Anne Sophie’s place is perfect for a first stop – the house was built in 1861, and in the last 20 years was rebuilt by her husband, who is a carpenter. Groups of up to 30 people can stop inside for lunch, dinner or small meetings.
We then saw the houses where people typically dry their meats, usually, sheep and fish – almost everything in the Faroe is fermented. So much so that even if the islands have more sheep than people, Faroese even end up importing fresh sheep meat.
Houses all have names and if you were wondering, the grass on the rooftops was planted for practical reasons, at is was meant to keep warmth initially and the heavyness provided more stability against the strong wind.
We left Vágar through a 6 km tunnel, at about 105 m under the sea. It took 2,5 years to build this one and there is another one being built, estimated to open in 3 years.
We stopped on another buttercup road, close to the capital city, named Nordradalur. There is an amazing view there and a food event could be easily organized because we later found out that the Føroyar hotel, where we were accommodated, has a small cabin on wheels that fits 8 to 12 people and that is perfect for a welcome lunch or dinner.
Back when people didn’t have the internet, they used to tell stories. About Vikings, able to handle rough nature conditions, about trolls coming all the way from Island. Especially during the nights where it gets dark only at midnight, people still go up to the hills, with coffee and friends and dance and tell stories.
We shortly arrived in the capital city, Tórshavn, which has 18 000 inhabitants. We were accommodated at the Føroyar hotel, which was fully booked. All rooms are facing the sea, so the view is really cool.
Johannes Jensen, the CEO of the hotel gave us the tour. He is the man behind the Koks, Hotel Tórshavn, Hotel Vágar, Etika, Barbara Fish House, Tórshavn Mikkeller and many others, and he is also the man who came to our meeting right after going with his family to gather hay for his sheep.
The hotel is very versatile for events and it hosts many of them and very varied all year long.
We also liked the wine cellar, which looked really great as a meeting point for the evening. We actually crashed a party that was taking place in the event venue of the hotel – where we could hear a great Faroese song being played live by a group there and everybody in the big room singing along. I then understood why the Faroese kept repeating that they like music – even without understanding anything, the song made us want to sing along and join the party.
But our party continued 7 drive minutes away, in the city center – at the Barbara fish house. We first arrived in the harbor and saw the Visit Faroe Islands offices, a 2-minute walk to the restaurant.
We had a 5-course meal, which was just amazing. Home-made bread, only fresh fish, everything was bio, and served in a spectacularly diverse setting. The design is Spanish inspired and the serving is tapas inspired.
Each piece of decoration, dishes, tables, seemed to fit together especially because they were all so different from each other. As part of the meetovation design and to facilitate your meeting or convention in the Faroe Islands, the Faroese have developed six different bird personalities. We took the test as well during dinner, a text based on a few simple questions. The results would affect our Instawalk the next day, so follow up on the second part of the story to find out what each bird meant.
To also get a sense of the nightlife possibilities, we went to the Sirkus, a venue in the city that was perfect for night parties and drinks – with super cool dancing rock ballads. It also serves tasty vegan and vegetarian food.
With this, we were back to the hotel and done for day one. The greatest thing was that at almost 23:00 in the night, we still had light outside.
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