Do not travel to the Faroe Islands

Normally my blog is in German language. However, today I have to write also in English because I have a general message. The version in German language can be found here.

In spring 2017 I visited the Faroe Islands. At that time, the Faroe Islands as a tourist destination were not so well known.

With the advertising from “Visit Faroe Islands”, “” and pics on Instagram the number of visitors has increased the last two years. With the increase of visitors, there were apparently also increasingly problems with the hiking trails.

In 2017 the trail beside the Leitisvatn was the only one, which was surfaced a bit. The most trails were just sheep paths.

Last year (2018) they started to take extra money from visitors for walking to Trælanípan (the trail beside the Leitisvatn). For this 3 kilometre walk visitors has to pay DKK 450 (67 USD). Could be that this is now the most expensive hiking trail on the world per meter…

In a German online group I have read that now many other ways fees are charged. And several ways visitors are no longer allowed to walk without a local guide.

For the way to the lighthouse on Kalsoy you have to pay DKK 450 (67 USD). For the walk near Leitsvatn you have to pay DKK 450 (67 USD). For the walk to the beach near Saksun you have to pay 100 DKK. For the walk to the lighthouse on the isle Mykines you have to pay 100 DKK. The walk on Vagar to “Dranganir” is only allowed with a local guide (which has to be paid / DKK 550 – about 85 USD). And there are also other walks which you are no longer allowed to walk without a guide or you have to pay extra money.

If I put together the spots that we visited in 2017, then we would have had to pay $ 300 to $ 500 extra for all the walks.

I understand that I have to pay a fee, if I want to visit a National park. I understand that I have to pay a small fee, if want to drive a private road. I understand that the construction of hiking trails need money. I understand that the farmers should get a compensation.

They calculate with 30.000 visitors at Lake Leitisvatn in 2018. That is a return of 2.010.000 USD in a year! Can someone explain the relation?

In the most cases the reason for the fee isn’t to build hiking trails or to give a compensation to the farmers. From this year on you have to pay also to visit the beach at Saksun. You can do the walk only on low tide and you are walking on the sand. At the next flow all footprints are away. The chairman of Saksun said: „Last time I saw two groups on the beach with a guide. A guide doesn’t guide the people for free. It can’t be that other people make money on our country and we got nothing“ (here the link – in German language). This is only greed for money.

I’m living in the southwest of Germany. I’m often in the alps. Thousands of people are earning money with the mountains. Alpin guides, which bring people up to mountains, guide hiking tours threw the alps, offer rafting tours, mountainbike tours and much more. But no farmer in the alps has the idea to take money, if people are walking on hiking trails over hers ground.

Last weekend I visited the “Sustenpass” in Switzerland. There I had to pay five Sfr (about 5 $) extra, for driving on a 3 kilometres long private road and using the parking place.  That is o.k. I understand that the construction of the road cost money and also the maintenance.

However, 67 USD for a three kilometre long hiking trail is a flagrant ripoff. I understand the decission of the people from Faroe Islands in this way: Do not travel to Faroe Islands. The way how the Faroe Island communicate the fee is saying: „You are not welcome“.

I thought about to visit the Faroe Island in 2020 but in this case I would not do it. Moreover, I give the recommendation to everyone: Do not visit the Faroe Islands.

4 Gedanken zu „Do not travel to the Faroe Islands“

  1. Apologies but my German is non-existent so this will be in English. I am planning a trip to the Faroes at the end of October this year and only after having booked flights, accommodation and car rental have I realised the many issues facing walkers/photographers.
    I can appreciate the need to manage tourism – I was fortunate to visit Iceland in 2001 when tourism was not a problem – very few flights, little or no accommodation and extortionate car rental prices BUT a real wilderness feel to the place with very few people or cars and a right to roam. I have returned every year since but will no longer visit as it has been ruined by tourism/poor management of tourists.
    What annoys me is that most photographers/walkers are genuine visitors who respect the environment but who would also (gladly) pay a reasonable fee for access to locations, I feel the current situation is simply a scam.
    The small numbers of visitors to the islands cannot be solely responsible for causing the degree of damage that many farmers are claiming. I think that this is just an excuse, along with damage to wildlife, to justify them charging for access. I emailed a guide regarding a guided walk to Dranganir only to be told that the walks finish for the season at the end of September. If I wanted a guided walk it would cost me 450 Euros per person! I certainly don’t think my visit would cause that much damage? I am convinced that eventually Faroese landowners will come to a sensible arrangement regarding fees for access but at the moment they see the opportunity for a get-rich-quick scheme?
    If all visitors to the Faroes were charged a tourist tax (like many European countries) then surely this would be money that could repair/make footpaths and also compensate farmers. This money could be paid upon arrival at the airport in Vagar?
    Although I am excited about my visit it is overshadowed by these issues.

    • My words…. Thank you for your comment and current information. In your place I would just do the tour without asking. In October the season is over. I know from Dranganir that the property belongs to a contractor. He himself has no interest in tourism. He is only concerned about some money.

  2. We visited Faroe Islands in the summer 2019, we also went on a hike to Lake Leitisvatn, the hiking fee was 200Dkkr, around 25 euro I think. 67euro is with a guide I think. I talked to the landowner, and they said now the fee is implied, the yearly visitors dropped to 10.000 visitors each year. This both stops the mass tourism and pays for pathwork, they said they have to rent a helicopter to fly the gravel out to make paths. It’s an island community, everything is expensive in our eyes, I think it’s worth it. 25 euro is a meal in the Faroe islands

    • Thank you for your experience report. Yes, I saw in 2017 that there was some gravel on parts of the way. It is a difficult discussion about the money. For the Patagonia Nationalpark you pay about 29 Euro, but than you can hike several days in the park. For the Yosemite Park you pay about 20 Euro per Person, but also for more than one day.
      I don’t know, how it is today. But in 2017 the way at the Leitisvatn was the only one, which was parttimes a paved way.
      What I want to say is: The big problem is, that the most area is private area and the Faroe landowners want to see money.
      It’s a little bit like Wilde West – and therefore the tourists, which are planing to visit the Faroe Islands don’t got any information about the additional costs in advance…


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