Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandoy, Faroe Islands: The Perfect Day Trip from Tórshavn

One thing I’ll never understand is why some people travel to a place to have the exact same experience as someone before them.  You can explain to me the logic and reasoning behind this, but I’ll never truly get it.  How can you plan an entire trip around everything you saw on Instagram?  How can one not seek out unique experiences and try to learn something interesting or unusual about their destination?  I love seeing people travel, but I have concluded that many people travel just to get the ‘oohs and ahhs’ from their friends, and not to learn about a country, its people, or its culture.  I’m a huge advocate for promoting various kinds of travel, but when you travel for the validation and acceptance of others, I’ll never understand you or your type.

So what is this getting at?  Well, basically, the Faroe Islands have become saturated with people all seeking out the exact same experiences.  Múlafossur Waterfall in Gásadalur?  Check!  Just make sure you can catch a solid long exposure on that to ensure your photo looks the same as everyone else’s.  The optical illusion at Lake Sørvágsvatn?  Yes, please risk your life to capture the exact same photo that someone has already risked their life for.  Kallur Lighthouse on Kalsoy?  This is an absolute must if you want to have the optimal Faroes experience.  And if you can’t catch it on foot, be sure to bring your drone so you can still get a rad photo (because who cares about the hike and nature itself… it is all about being able to upload that picture to Instagram to make your friends completely and utterly jealous).  When I was in Trøllanes, there was not a single soul aside from my group… and a drone.  Okay, and a super cute dog.

Dog on Kalsoy and me

<the super cute dog on Kalsoy and me>

Anyway, so why the rant?  Because the Faroe Islands consist of eighteen islands.  Eighteen.  Not three cute villages and seven dramatic landscapes.  There are so many grand experiences to be had in the Faroes that it is a shame and unsustainable to see everyone vying to recreate someone else’s experience.  You heard me.  UNSUSTAINABLE.  Meaning not good for the environment and future of the place (spare me talk about whales, please).  Getting to Saksun on Streymoy was no easy feat in March, but I can’t imagine how cumbersome it would be during summer.  Mykines is no different.  Did you know that you can watch puffins on several islands in the Faroes?  I bet you didn’t see that on Instagram.

So, what is all of this getting at?  Basically, this is what took me to Sandoy, one of the ‘southern’ islands in the Faroes that is pretty large area-wise.  Sandoy was merely a half-day destination as we made our way to Skúvoy, another southern island and one of the smallest in the Faroes.  Skúvoy is known for its bird-watching and wildlife.  Sandoy, amongst travelers, isn’t known for much.  Perhaps that was its appeal.  My partner and I looked at a map of the islands we don’t hear too much about and plotted trips to three of them (Skúvoy, Sandoy, and Nólsoy).  Turns out, the weather had it out for us, so the only one we ended up seeing was Sandoy.  And it was just perfect.

About Sandoy

Sandoy is the first of the southern islands and boasts a population of around 1,313 people.  Nearly 600 of those people live in the village of Sandur.  The reason we were so drawn to Sandoy was that it has such a different landscape to the other islands.  It is the only Faroese island that has sand dunes.  And after visiting the place, it reminded me so much of the famed Maritime islands in eastern Canada (always a good thing).

While the island doesn’t really have that many people, it has nearly 7,000 sheep.  I am pretty sure I photographed at least 65% of them whilst there.  I, personally, found the Sandoy sheep to be the finest in the Faroes… but probably because some of the ones on Streymoy wanted to kill me.  I suppose human interactions are rarer down on Sandoy.  The geese on the island are a whole ‘nother story…

A goose on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

<I did nothing that actually could have angered it>

Sandoy, the most fertile of all the islands, is also home to a large variety of birds.  On the island, you can find Northern Fulmars (50,000 pairs), Manx Shearwaters (5,000 pairs), European Storm Petrels (50,000 pairs), European Shags (150 pairs), Great Skuas (15 pairs), Atlantic puffins (70,000 pairs), and Black Guillemots (400 pairs).

The island is currently in the process of having a tunnel built that will connect it to Streymoy.  This behemoth project is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Most importantly, if you’re eating local Faroese potatoes, there is a pretty solid chance that they came from Sandoy as it is home to the largest potato farm in all of the islands.  Just something to keep in mind as you munch down on those fish and chips.

My Time on Sandoy

Our day started early as we took the ferry from Streymoy down to Skopun on the north side of Sandoy.  The ferry was anything but pleasant.  The sea was relatively calm, but the ride was nauseating, to put it mildly.  I blame Norway for this as she really should have done a better job training me to handle ferries.  Tsk, tsk…

Dalur

Once we arrived, we set off for the village of Dalur on the southeastern part of the island.  I figured this village would be easy to reach and that the island was pretty flat.  Boy, was I wrong!  The road in between Húsavík and Dalur (called Húsavíkarvegur) hugged an insanely steep cliff the entire way.  The sun was strong at this point and beamed in as my knuckles turned white from gripping my seat tightly while I sweated profusely.  Once we arrived in Dalur, we found a quaint village at the end of the road and not a single person in sight.  Not even a local.  This was the one time throughout the entire trip that I felt like I was on the edge of the world.  It was a remarkable feeling that only the Faroes can place upon one.  I think a lot of this feeling of never wanting to leave was due to my wanting to avoid Húsavíkarvegur.

Dalur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Dalur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Dalur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Dalur

Dalur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Dalur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skálavík

After Dalur, we stopped up in Skálavík looking for lunch options or a place to get a coffee.  We ended up at Hotel Skálavík, which was also offering a nice buffet.  I actually really liked Skálavík and this is where the Maritimes came to mind.  It was breezy, emerald, and striking.

Sandur

The next thing on our agenda was to get to Sandur to look around and catch our ferry to Skúvoy.  We hiked along the rocky coast near the harbor for an hour and breathed in the salty air.  We saw the locals leaving church and every single person we passed said hello and smiled at us.  What lovely people!  Somewhere during this trip, the sun went down and the clouds came out.  The winds began to pick up and we could just sense a patch of crappy weather coming our way (little did we know that this storm system would last three days!)  Due to some ferry miscommunications, we ended up not going to Skúvoy.  No one seemed too bummed about it and we continued back toward Skopun to catch our ferry back to Streymoy.

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sandur on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skopun

We had two hours to wait in Skopun which was ideal for us to explore and hike around a little bit.  The views did not disappoint and offered us visibility of both Koltur and Hestur.

Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA5Yq1DLSmQ

Sheep in Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Sheep in Skopun on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Closing Thoughts on Sandoy

I already ranted a bit above, but it just pains me to see how keen people are on trekking to the exact same spots as everyone else.  I am not saying that everyone needs to run to Sandoy, but there are other places in the Faroes that warrant tourism.  There is not too much happening on the island, but the views, hikes, and people were all lovely.  It truly is the perfect day trip from Tórshavn.

Getting to Sandoy

Getting to Sandoy is fairly easy by car.  You can check the ferry schedule here.  Just be sure you check the correct season as it varies depending on the time of the year.  The ferry itself is very large and holds many people and vehicles.  But still, try to show up about thirty minutes early to ensure your vehicle makes it on!  The ferry also has a cafe on board.  It does not leave from Tórshavn, however, but from Gamlarætt.

Where to Stay on the Island

If a day trip isn’t your thing, the only place we really encountered was Hotel Skálavík.  I am sure some guesthouses and Airbnbs exist, but if you’re looking for a hotel, I can recommend this one.  We took a break there and the staff was friendly, the place was spotlessly clean, and they seemed to have all amenities needed.  You can check their website here.

Hotel Skalavik on Sandoy in the Faroe Islands

Additional Resources

Want to read more about the Faroes?  Be sure to check out additional reading below:

Kirkjubøur: A Taste of Faroese History on Streymoy

Visit Faroe Islands

Visit Tórshavn

PIN IT!

Sandoy is one of the southern islands in the Faroe Islands and it is easily one of the most underrated and is the perfect day trip from Tórshavn.

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Megan is a digital marketing strategist and world traveler based in Frankfurt, Germany but hailing from Richmond, Virginia. She has traveled to over 85 countries and 45 US states and has a special love for the Nordics and Eastern Europe. Her passions are animals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ohio State football, craft beer, coffee, and copious amounts of concrete. She is also an advocate for removing dill from all dishes globally.
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32 Comments
  • Vanessa Brune
    Posted at 21:56h, 22 May Reply

    It is SO refreshing to see the Faroe Islands from a different angle! I was starting to become desperate to find pictures for my Faroe Islands Pinterest board because I’ve probably pinned the same image a hundred times now :D Seriously though, your blog is inspiring me to visit the islands so much and I’ll definitely come back to your posts once I’ll actually head there! Thanks for the amazing work!!

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 22:59h, 22 May Reply

      Thank you so much, Van!!! I can’t wait for you to travel here, but I guess I’ll just have to settle for some Svalbard action until then (I actually may not even be able to read though as I’ll be insanely jealous the entire time hahah).

      But for real, everyone tries to copy everyone’s travel experiences and it is really a shame. I don’t know what kind of warped world we live in that we can’t think outside the box to create our own and do what interests us, regardless if it looks good on social media and what not. There is SO much to be explored in the Faroes and I wish I could have seen more (I was really looking forward to the Skuvoy and Nolsoy trips- guess I have to return!) Thanks for your comment <3

  • Phoebe Escott-Kenny
    Posted at 22:14h, 22 May Reply

    Duuuuuuuude well done! You’ve totally awoken the Faroe Islands beast within me! Can’t believe my journey begins this Sunday – Judging by what you’ve written, it would be a big loss to miss out on this island. Also, I can’t believe those sheep – some of them look batshit crazy though with googly eyes haha! Also, did you take these pics with your wide angle lens? I’m borrow a friend’s Nikon + wide angle lens this Thursday so fingers crossed I can create some beautiful content there too :)

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 23:03h, 22 May Reply

      Thanks lady!! Yea going through my photos this week made me nostalgic to go back. I can’t wait to see some of the places I couldn’t get to this trip (already have itineraries ready for those few and looking forward to it). You will really enjoy your time there!

      Some of these shots are with a wide angle and some with a zoom and then some with either my kit lens or 24mm (I can’t recall). A couple of these are Ed’s and I forgot to credit him and will do once I go back in to fix the inevitable grammar mistakes riddling the piece. That is cool you have a lens to borrow! I thought you had purchased one! Will definitely be useful when there!

  • Shing
    Posted at 22:26h, 22 May Reply

    MEGAN I LOVE THIS POST!!!! Hehe, isn’t the drive to Dalur awesome?! Eeer, and when did you become a professional photographer? These photos are INSANE!
    Shing recently posted..Riga, What’s Not to Love?My Profile

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 23:08h, 22 May Reply

      EEEE thanksss! Yes, the drive to Dalur is awesome(ly) scary as hell. Out of any drive we did, it was the most frightening for me. I think the drive from Eiði to Gjógv was scary as we were covered in fog going over Slættaratindur… but at least we weren’t hugging that cliff over the sea like on Sandoy. Thanks for the comments about the photos <3 Trying to improve! I think round two in the Faroes will call for a joint trip for us ;)

  • Emily
    Posted at 01:19h, 23 May Reply

    These views!! Woah! Your photo skills are on point. It helps that this place is just flat out gorgeous.
    Emily recently posted..Weekend ReadsMy Profile

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 07:27h, 23 May Reply

      Thank you! Oh yes, the Faroes lends itself to any photo just perfectly! Not a bad angle in sight! Except maybe the sheep shit on the ground :)

  • jay the viking
    Posted at 01:36h, 24 May Reply

    Ok, now you’re making me feel sad I didn’t check out the Faroes while in Norway. But still, thanks, it’s always good to add to the bucket list :)

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:07h, 28 May Reply

      Def one to add, Jay the Viking :):)

  • Victoria @The British Berliner
    Posted at 15:21h, 29 May Reply

    I love this post. Amaaaaazing views. Well done Megan!
    Victoria @The British Berliner recently posted..Fantastic news! I’m travelling to Sweden & Slovenia by bus. Now isn’t that just awesome. Eek!My Profile

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:24h, 10 June Reply

      Thanks so much, Victoria! I can not wait to get back there!

  • Thea
    Posted at 12:18h, 06 June Reply

    What a stunning landscape, no people or very few is probably a good thing from time to time.
    And no worries, geese or probably gander are known for such kind of bad behavior. It wasn’t your fault! :)

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:25h, 10 June Reply

      Whew- i definitely thought it was me :) That goose has personality to spare!

  • Eran @ The Laughing Traveller
    Posted at 15:09h, 09 June Reply

    Hey Megan,
    I just returned from the Faroes and got to this post… I tend to agree with you BUT assume its your one and only visit to the islands, would you give up in the Gasadalur fall or the optical illusion for example?

    • Megan
      Posted at 15:25h, 09 June Reply

      Hi!! Thanks for your comment!! So glad you got to see the Faroes!! I enjoyed Vagar but if I had to pick a single island, I would choose Streymoy :) i loved meeting the locals in Tórshavn and I loved the scenery on the island! Vagar was great too, as was Sandoy. All for varying reasons. (Btw i never said miss out on other places necessarily for Sandoy- just sometimes it is more fun to explore things that havent been done to death!)

  • Marita Gulklett
    Posted at 19:29h, 10 June Reply

    Hi Megan :)
    Nice post and I totally agree with you. As locals we travel a lot around the Faroe Islands and we have noticed, that most of the tourists are in the “famous” places. Of course we sometime meet a single visitor off-road, but it is not often, and these visitors are usually bird watching people.
    We have just had guests from England, and on the plane they noticed, that 98% of the travelers sat and pinpointed the famous places to each other. Nobody seemed to travel to the Faroe Islands where they would chose where to go by themselves, the only purpose for their journey was to see the famous places, that so many have seen before them.
    Incomprehensible …
    A part of the amazing and narrow road to Dalur http://jenskjeld.info/sandoy/sandoy44.jpg
    Regards Marita :)

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 04:11h, 11 June Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Marita!! So great to hear a local’s perspective on things as I only see things one-sided as a tourist :) I find it so strange, just as you mentioned, that everyone just wants to see landscapes they admired in photos and nothing else. There are so many great and friend people living on the islands and so many unique landscapes that I just don’t get it. I saw some of the more ‘touristy’ sights and some of the less ‘touristy’ sights. Such a good mixture. And I am SOOO glad to have done that. I think that is what made Sandoy such a surprise. I also heard that there are some cool experiences to be had on Nolsoy (particularly in regards to its underground music scene) from a bar owner in Torshavn. I love meeting people when traveling and even though the landscapes were JAW-DROPPINGLY BEAUTIFUL, the people are what made the Faroes for me.

      That road to Dalur photo gave me chills and made me sweat! Haha!! Good, and scary memories!! :P Thanks again for your comment! Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

  • Daniel Ryan
    Posted at 16:59h, 18 June Reply

    wow ! what a beautiful post ! second time reading your post !
    Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing post with us!
    Love your blog !
    Daniel Ryan recently posted..Best Air Mattresses for Camping 2017My Profile

  • Gale Falces
    Posted at 12:29h, 26 June Reply

    I love the scenery, very provincial. I lived in a small town with lots of animals around and this made me missed that. Thanks for sharing wonderful places that I myself would like to travel very soon! :)

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 14:09h, 27 June Reply

      I’d love to live somewhere where there are so many animals :) I feel deprived ;) Thanks for the comment!

  • Amalia
    Posted at 13:39h, 26 June Reply

    This came in the right timing as i’m planning a trip to the Faroe Islands and your photos are so inspiring I have no doubt in going now!
    Amalia recently posted..Staying at La Francesca Resort in Cinque TerreMy Profile

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 14:09h, 27 June Reply

      Lucky you!!! So happy to hear you’re planning a trip there!!! If you need any help, let me know :)

  • Cindy Collins
    Posted at 01:07h, 29 June Reply

    Great post, I agree getting out of the beaten path and going to places less visited is better than just getting than “same” Instagram shot as everyone else. The Faroe Islands seem amazing. I loved your photos, they are amazing. I especially loved the sheep haha I probably would have taken many photos of them too! Will definitely add this to the bucket list.

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:52h, 26 July Reply

      Thanks, Cindy!! Yea those sheep are photogenic little things, but they definitely weren’t always the friendliest so I stayed back a bit :P Hope you make it to the Faroes someday!

  • Edu
    Posted at 12:34h, 01 July Reply

    This is truly a wonderful place to visit

  • Leah Davis
    Posted at 18:40h, 07 July Reply

    Gorgeous photos! I honestly didn’t know much about the Faroe Islands prior to reading this so I had no idea people were always going to the same spots, but in this day and age I’m not surprised AT ALL. If I see one more photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunrise on Instagram I might vomit. I appreciate your desire to get off the well-worn trail and see something new :)

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:46h, 26 July Reply

      Yes! I totally agree with you. The Faroes are incredible- you would love their remoteness and beauty. Thanks for the comment, Leah :)

  • Jennifer Weltz
    Posted at 16:31h, 27 July Reply

    Love this. I was in the middle of planning a trip to the Czech Republic but the pull of the Faroes was too strong. Trying for May of next year. I will only have 7 days and after some research it does not seem likely I will get everywhere I want to ( which is pretty much the entire country) . How long were you there and where else did you go?

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 17:08h, 27 July Reply

      And seriously… the Faroes have that effect on people! It has pulled at me for years and I finally said ‘screw it’ and booked the tix :P I was there for six days. I found it to be a really good amount of days, but obviously, I could have stayed there way longer. I think I had a full five-days (the sixth was a travel day). The funny thing is that people don’t realize this, but you can cover a lot of ground whilst there as driving from Torshavn to ANY place in the Faroes takes like 1-2 hours tops. Not even joking :) So, if you do three nights in Torshavn and maybe two nights up in Klaksvik, you really can see SO much. If you have any questions, please let me know or send me an email :) I’d love to help!!!

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