The Unspoilt Faroe Islands

Book CoverBack in 2007, the National Geographic Traveler conducted a survey of 111 island communities around the world. The conclusion of the survey was published in the magazine, and proved a boom to the Faroes Islands tourism.


According to National Geographic Traveler, the reason for the island survey was that, "Islands symbolize vacation. escape! Their very insularity makes them attractive. They are worlds unto themselves, with their own traditions, ecosystems, cultures, landscapes. That's what attracts us But as micro-worlds, islands are the world’s most appealing destinations are the ones most prone to tourism overkill."


A panel of 522 well-traveled experts in sustainable tourism were asked to rank the 111 islands selected for the survey. The survey rated the qualities that make each destination unique, and a somewhere people will want to visit. Of the list of 111 islands, the panel members were asked to evaluate only the islands with which they were familiar with personally and do so so using six criteria weighted according to the importance dicated by the National Geographic Traveler. They were:

  1. Environmental quality
  2. Ecological quality
  3. Social and cultural integrity
  4. Condition of historic buildings
  5. Condition of archaeological sites
  6. Outlook for the future

In a nutshell, the results of the survey concluded that tourists will enjoy the Faroese Islands very much. The Faroe Islands draw are the museums, music venues, art galleries, natural beauty, the realsonably temperate weather, food, the friendly people and their unique culture. Basically, everything the Faroe Islands are the panel was sure tourists will be delighted with.


Tinganes photo by Jörg Schuricht

Faroe Island Facts

The Faroe Islands is a tiny country located in the North Atlantic, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway, at 62°00’N. The Faroe Islands archipelago is comprised of 18 islands that cover 1399 km2, is 113 km long and 75 km wide, roughly in the shape of an arrowhead. There are 1100 km of coastline and no one on any of the island more than 5 km away from the ocean. The highest mountain is 882 m above sea level and the average height above sea level for the entire country is 300 m.



The weather is typically maritime, meaning it changes from brilliant sun shine to misty fog, to rain showers, to gales. However, situated as it is, in the middle of the Gulf Stream, the island's climate is tempered to a great extent. The harbours never freeze and the temperature in winte is very moderate considering the high latitude. Periods of snowfall are shortlived, and the average temperature ranges from 3.5°C in winter, to 12°C in the summer. In the more sheltered areas the temperature can be much higher. regardless of the time of year, the air is always fresh and clean.

The population of the Faroe Islands is just over 48,000. Close to 20,000 people are estimated to live in Tórshavn, the capital city. Other cities are Kirkjubøur, Velbastaður, Nólsoy, Hestur, Koltur, Hoyvík, Argir, Kaldbak, Kaldbaksbotnur, Norðradalur, Syðradalur, Hvítanes, Sund, Kollafjørður, Signabøur, Oyrareingir and Klaksvík, the second largest urban center in the Faroe Islands where 4,600 people live.


Faroese is the national language and is rooted in Old Norse. Nordic languages are readily understood by most Faroese, and English is also widely spoken, especially among the younger people.

Since 1948, the Faroe Islands have been a self governing region of the Kingdom of Denmark. It has its own parliament and its own flag. It is not, however, a member of the European Union and all trade is governed by special treaties.

Fishing is the most important source of income for the Faroes. Fish products account for over 97% of the countries export volume. Tourism is the second largest industry in the Faroe Islands, followed by wool production.