The Faroe Islands

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The Faroe Islands – A Transformative North Atlantic Retreat
Few European destinations can match the mesmerising natural beauty that is the Faroe Islands. Nestled in the north Atlantic abyss, this picturesque archipelago hosts a group of Nordic people whose culture and language is as distinct as the landscape on every isle. The unique thing about visiting this Nordic retreat is that all of life’s worries can be dispensed with as you soak up and revitalise yourself with the envious yet freshest air one could imagine. Your overall experience of the Faroe Islands will be a transformative one leaving you with an itching desire to return at the first opportunity.

Getting to and Around the Faroe Islands
Getting to this Viking territory doesn’t have to be a challenge. Currently, there are only two ways to travel here – by plane or by ferry. The only airline that services the airport at Vagar is Atlantic Airways, flying from a limited range of destinations; most of which are predictably either in the UK or Denmark. However, while the timely convenience of flying may confer such an advantage, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most entertaining way to begin your journey. The main ferry that services the capital, Torshavn, is Smyril Line, and boarding this liner is, by far, the most entertaining way to commence your experience of the Faroe Islands.

Smyril offers the visitor the first opportunity to meet and greet with the Faroese people who’ll invariably all speak a sufficient amount of English; indeed, you’ll be surprised at their proficiency! This gives you the first glimpse into their language and culture as well as furnishing the opportunity to peek from the decks to marvel at these volcanic isles on the approach to Torshavn. Furthermore, this two-day trip to the Faroe Islands also includes the chance to see the splendid Shetland Islands as you pass further into the chilling waters of the north Atlantic.

When you first touchdown at the Faroe Islands, you’ll be first struck by the intense Nordic rural charm that permeates every grass-topped building in the land. This rugged verdure panorama proudly wears the scars from its volcanic birth as you find yourself mesmerised by brilliant bluffs and ridges. To witness the true splendour of these geological wonders, you’re compelled to get right into the heart of the islands soaking up spectacular vistas and villages along the way – the pleasant communities in Klaksvik and Fuglafjordur will leave you with a reflective sense of modesty and calm.

Understanding the Faroese
Spending your week traversing the Faroe Islands would not be as profitable should you not make the effort to learn about whom they are and where they’re at as a society. The Faroese people are a proud people with a rich heritage that stretches back to Viking times. This Nordic legacy still pervades much of Faroese society today and is represented at the annual St. Olav’s Day festival in July. The typical style of dress chosen for the occasion brings together young and old alike as they participate in age old events to celebrate their fascinating cultural endowment.

The Faroese language, though distinct, is etymologically linked to Danish and the Old Germanic tongue. Almost all of the 50,000 Faroese who inhabit this archipelago speaks Danish but the Danish themselves will not understand Faroese. This link with Danish comes as the Faroe Islands remains a solid part of the Kingdom of Denmark even though the former have attained powers of devolution in their own parliament, known as the Løgting. This link with Denmark plays an influential role with the Danes contributing up to 13% of the Faroe Islands national income through national aid.

Even though the Faroe Islands has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, this statistic should be treated with caution. Thousands of young people have migrated to Denmark for educational and work opportunities leaving a disproportionate number of older adults on the isles. Furthermore, the Faroe Islands and Denmark are also tightly linked when it comes to healthcare. In this case, basic health care is covered by the three minor hospitals in place. However, serious ailments or mental health difficulties are treated in specialist facilities usually offered by neighbouring countries.

Understanding this historical, social and linguistic link is crucial to appreciating your experience in the Faroe Islands. The aforementioned economic dependency on Denmark is also coupled entertainment wise with the vast majority of substantial TV stations owned by Denmark. In other words, it’s difficult to separate the Faroe Islands from Denmark when trying to appreciate the culture and society of the Faroese people themselves. In this sense, it’s worth taking the time to comprehend these links and how they shape Faroese life.

The Faroe Islands offer the tourist a unique opportunity to witness some of the most startling natural beauty to be found in the north Atlantic. This getaway, rather than involving the ‘big city’ experience, instead focuses on the interaction of a people and their challenging environment. This is what makes the Faroe Islands a unique and memorable experience.

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