15 Jun From Eiði to Gjógv: Exploring Northern Eysturoy
Before venturing to the Faroe Islands, I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave without doing the famed drive from Eiði to Gjógv that passes over the tallest mountain in the Faroes, Slættaratindur. I wasn’t likely going to have time to do an all-day hike around the area, mostly because there was still a bit of winter weather atop the mountain, but the drive itself was sure to offer some incredible views. I was also looking forward to exploring Eiði and Gjógv as I heard both were worthy of my time.
Eiði’s claim to fame is that it is home to Risin and Kellingin, two of the most renowned sea stacks in the Faroe Islands (you can get a killer view from Tjørnuvík over on Streymoy). The town of Eiði has 669 residents and the name itself means isthmus in Faroese.
From Eiði, you can hike across the highest peak in the Faroes, Slættaratindur, which proudly stands 882 meters high and offers the best view in the entire Faroes. From its peak, you are able to see all eighteen islands from Suðuroy in the south to Viðoy in the north. While we didn’t do the four-hour or so hike this time around, we did do the drive, which greeted us with fog so thick that we were unable to see even merely a few feet in front of us. I have driven in some thick fog before in Florida and other parts of the US, but nothing prepares you for the wrath of the Faroese fog. We crept across the mountain and crossed our fingers that a sheep wouldn’t dart out in front of our vehicle. That view of eighteen islands became a distant desire at that point. During the winter, this drive is evidently near impossible and the road can become blocked (for those of you reading this that are planning a winter trip to the islands).
We eventually made it out of the fog only to emerge to a road overlooking the picturesque village of Gjógv, population 49. Gjógv is fairly popular amongst travelers and I don’t know anyone who has been to the islands who has skipped this quaint place by the sea. Gjógv means ‘gorge’ in Faroese and represents the famed sea-filled gorge that photographers flock to in hoards to take a photo of. Here is a photo of the sea instead:
Despite being only 63km from the capital city of Tórshavn, the village can leave you feeling light years away from reality and society. There is not much happening there; nature is all one needs to keep occupied. Gjógv has one of the best natural harbors in the Faroe Islands and has a rich fishing history. Rich history doesn’t come without a tragedy or two, and Gjógv is no exception. In the village, you will undoubtedly see a memorial dedicated to the many fishermen who lost their lives at sea. We never saw another soul in Gjógv, not even a local, so this really humanized the place and reminded me that life on the beautiful Faroe Islands didn’t come without countless sacrifices. We paid our respects to the place and were incredibly humbled by it. The memorial is imaged by a female and two children looking out to the sea with the names of the lost fishermen behind them. The statue was created by Janus Kamban. His name is well-known across the Faroes for his commemorative statues throughout the islands.
Close to the memorial is the village church. This church dates back to 1929 and was the first in the Faroes to conduct a sermon in the Faroese language.
In Gjógv, one can stay at the renowned guesthouse (and one of the few places to stay at around there) Gjáargarður. The guesthouse offers free wifi and the owners are extremely knowledgeable about the area and hiking. The guesthouse also has a seasonal restaurant. If you’re looking for alternative places to stay in Gjógv, you can also check out Airbnb where a couple of listings exist.
Hikes are in abundance in and around the area. Ambadalur Valley is located to the northwest of Gjógv and offers a view of the highest free-standing sea stack in the Faroes and is known to locals as Búgvin. Seabirds are in abundance in this area and Búgvin is a safe haven for them. To the east of Gjógv, you will find Tyril and Middagsfjall, two tall peaks that offer some worthy hikes alongside their killer views of Funningur’s Fjord, or Funningsfjørður. To see more about the hikes in and around Gjógv, you can check out this link.
If you’re planning a day trip to Northern Eysturoy, I would definitely stock up on food before making the journey out there. Eiði offers more civilization and a place to purchase food, but Gjógv is smaller and a bit more remote.
The drive across Slættaratindur is windy and not for the weak. As someone who has a fear of heights, I am almost thankful that the fog blocked all views as I probably would have succumbed to a panic attack going down the mountain. Fog is ever-present on this drive, as is undesirable weather, so I do recommend being focused and prepared for it ahead of time and ensuring that you can drive it without any issues. Winter tires should be on all rental cars in the Faroes, so that shouldn’t be something of concern. If this drive isn’t your ‘cup of tea’, you can take an easier route back which will take you through the historical village of Funningur.
This blog has a great recap of some local hikes that are essential to outdoor lovers traveling to Gjógv
Visit Faroe Islands talks about the rugged island of Eysturoy
Melissa documents her hike to Ambadalur on her blog
Sidetracked Blog documents their Eysturoy experience with some killer photos (it was so green when they were there!)
To read more about my travels in the Faroe Islands, check out the following posts:
Latest posts by Megan Starr (see all)
- From Eiði to Gjógv: Exploring Northern Eysturoy - June 15 2017
- Sandoy, Faroe Islands: The Perfect Day Trip from Tórshavn - May 22 2017
- Craft Beer Guide to Frankfurt, Germany - May 17 2017
- Kirkjubøur: A Taste of Faroese History on Streymoy - April 26 2017