Located halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the remote and windswept Faroe Islands are becoming an attractive alternative to visiting Iceland itself. However, like many Nordic countries, the islands are often associated with being unaffordable -- but that doesn't have to be the case, especially if you follow this guide to a budget-friendly trip.
Searching for flights between New York and the Faroe Islands usually turns up fares around $1,000 for routes that require at least one stopover and take up to 30 hours each way. You can save some money and time by flying through the few cities -- including Copenhagen, Reykjavík, and Edinburgh -- that have direct routes to the islands. If you fly with low-cost carrier Norwegian, you can book a round-trip flight to Copenhagen in May for as little as $485. From Copenhagen, Atlantic Airways has $300 round-trip flights to Vágar, the Faroes' main airport. Alternatively, keep an eye out for inexpensive flights to Reykjavík or aboard Icelandair, which regularly runs promotions, or to Edinburgh -- from either city, it's around $300 round-trip to the Faroes with a travel time that's about 90 minutes.
Where to Stay
Hotel Føroyar is justly famed as the best place to stay in Tórshavn. The grass-roofed building is situated high above the city, with fantastic views of the harbor from every room. The hotel features Philippe Starck designs, original artwork by contemporary Faroese artist Edward Fuglø, and you'll see sheep roaming just outside. Rates start from $116 per night this spring with breakfast included.
Visit Faroe Islands, the official tourism organization for the destination, has a comprehensive directory of lodging options -- including guesthouses and B&Bs -- throughout the island.
Where to Eat
KOKS, one of the most popular restaurants in the islands, is currently hosting a pop-up in Copenhagen but will return to the Faroes' capital city of Tórshavn in May in a new location. It'll be closer to the harbor, and we expect that it will continue to offer its $160 tasting menu. But of course, there are lower-key dining experiences. Heimablídni, or "home hospitality," is an underground restaurant network offered in several households across the islands. Travelers can enjoy local insight and conversation, as well as homemade Faroese food, for as little as $50 per person.
If taking a helicopter ride is on your must-do list, the Faroes might be the best place to finally cross it off. Not only are the views wonderful, but helicopter travel is subsidized by the government so that the Faroese people can live on some of the archipelago's more remote islands. Happily, for tourists, this means that you can take a helicopter trip between islands for around $20. Good to know: the helicopter subsidy is a community initiative, so it is expected that tourists will only take advantage of it for a one-way trip (and take the ferry back).
Public transport around the islands is efficient and wallet-friendly as ferries are also subsidized and can cost as little as $3. If you purchase multi-day transport passes ($70 for four days), it can be used on all buses and ferries, with the exception of the one to Mykines. Additionally, you can catch a free bus that travels around Tórshavn, including the historic village of Kirjubøur. If you have the time to travel according to the pace of the timetables, you won't even need to rent a car -- an expense that may cost up to $100 a day, or more if you need an automatic.
July 2016 Update: In an effort to get the attention of Google Street View, the Faroe Islands are turning to rather unusual methods. Its official tourism arm is strapping a lightweight 360-degree camera to the back of sheep and letting them run wild to capture images of the destination. Dubbed "SheepView360," the video highlights the islands' beautiful, wide open spaces and grassy green hills.