Today, my second full day on the Faroe Islands, I had decided to head to the second largest town of the Faroe Islands, Klaksvik. Here I had a couple of possibilities – a couple of walks that started from the town or a trip to the neighbouring island of Kalsoy.
After breakfast at my hotel I headed down to the bus station in Tórshavn in order to take the number 400 bus to Klasvik. Despite being two islands away (on the island of Borðoy), it is possible to reach Klasvik from Tórshavn by bus because the island I was staying on (Streymoy) is connected to the island of Eysturoy by a bridge whilst Eysturoy is connected to Borðoy by a tunnel, which opened in 2006, so it is possible to travel entirely by road.
The bus was not full so I was able to get a window seat and it was operated using a coach. The views on the way were stunning. I’m afraid that once more, I don’t know the names of these places as I was just snapping through the window – but the views speak for themselves I think!
All in all it was a stunning journey. 90 minutes later I had reached the town of Klaksvik. The town is located on a narrow spit of land between two Fjords. Normally the bus goes into the centre of the town but today the driver announced that there was an event on in the town and many roads were closed so when we reached the fjord at the south of the town (Borðoyarvík), this was the end of the route today.
This was not ideal as I’d have to walk the rest of the way but it is not a large town so it didn’t take long. On the plus side there was a supermarket beside where the bus stopped, so I could get lunch. As I headed into town the reason for the road closure soon became clear. There was some sort of music festival going to take place this evening. Music stands were being set up, beer tents, food stalls and so on and there were a lot of people about. Unfortunately crowds and loud music was the sort of thing I had come to the Faroe Islands to avoid!
I stopped at the tourist information centre in the hope they had the island-wide “hiking guide” which I had a download copy of but wanted to get a paper copy of as it’s easier to read that way (they did). I considered going for a walk right away from Klaksvik but soon came across the ferry terminal for the ferry over to Kalsoy and a ferry was about to depart.
The guide book I had been using had warned that the ferry is very popular and that it’s a good idea to get here an hour before the ferry if coming by car. I wasn’t sure whether to look around Klaksvik first or take the ferry now but since the ferry was in, it made sense to travel across to Kalsoy now. I asked the man loading the ferry (who had a ticket machine around his neck) for a ticket but he told me he was having trouble with the machine so it took a while to issue the ticket but I was just glad to find that it wasn’t already full.
Watching the staff load the ferry was fascinating. The ferry was old (it dates from the mid 1970s) and cars have got a lot wider in that time. This made it such a tight squeeze that the passengers in any car were instructed to get out (because the cars were parked so close the doors could not be opened) whilst the driver was directed into a very tight space. (The cars at the end even had to drive up onto the wire mesh at ground level you can see).
The men loading the ferry would often lean through the window and steer the car themselves if the driver didn’t go exactly where they wanted. In a couple of case they got frustrated with the driver, told them to get out and drove the car where they wanted it themselves. Literally every inch matters, wing mirrors must be folded in, as it’s the only way they can get 3 cars in the width of the ferry.
Here is the scene a few minutes later. It really is a very tight squeeze!
Eventually the cars are loaded and we could set off.
Sadly the delay in issuing the ticket meant by the time I got to the passenger deck it was packed and I couldn’t get to enjoy the best of the views.
The town of Klaksvik was now behind us.
Soon the ferry was in the more open waters of Kalsoyarfjordur, which separates the two islands. It was very beautiful indeed and the weather was, once again, perfect.
The thing that puzzled me, having watched the chaos of loading the ferry and the long line of cars left behind is why so many people take their car over in the first place. The ferry takes 20 minutes but runs infrequently, with typically around a 2 hour wait between ferries. Given the number of cars left behind many would be waiting for 4 hours, since the ferry only takes around 30 cars.
The island of Kalsoy is long and thin and there is basically just a single road that runs the length of the island. The vast majority of people (myself included) are heading to the northern tip of the island (Trøllanes) where there is a lighthouse and a very beautiful view. The island of Kalsoy has a population of just 76. However despite the small population meeting the vast majority of ferries (I think all of them in the day time) is a bus. The bus runs the length of the road that goes the length of the island. This means you can get to anywhere on the island if you travel over as a foot passenger and take the bus. Which made me wonder why more don’t do it and choose to take their car over instead.
Anyway talking of the bus it was ready and waiting at the ferry arrived.
The bus was small but had enough space for everyone to sit down and so we soon set off for the far north of the island. The only down side was that the bus had tinted windows, which made it much darker inside (and harder for taking photos) and gave all my photos an odd colour cast.
The ferry is at Syðradalur and the bus heads north through the settlements of Húsar, Mikladalur and finally to Trøllanes. The geology of the island is spectacular. The settlements are small and all on the east coast because behind the land heads up incredibly steeply, with sheer vertical cliffs on the west side. Even then the terrain is so steep that the road has to go through many tunnels to reach Trøllanes. The photos below are taken from the bus.
I got off the bus when it reached the centre of the village and it’s terminus point. Having done so it quickly headed back and all was now quiet.
The main attraction of the village is the walk to the lighthouse. The scenery of this island is spectacular and the northern part perhaps the most. Indeed I’m told that the scenery is used as location in the forthcoming James Bond film No Time to Die (and was filmed a month after my visit).
Having taken in the harbour I soon set off on that walk. I suspect this might be another to soon be subject to a “hiking fee” as there were hints of many signs warning the path was over private land etc.
The route was obvious and busy, initially over grassy hills and soon heading out onto spectacular cliffs.
Here you can see the neighbouring island of Kunoy and Vidoy the latter of which has the highest cliffs on the Faroe Islands.
There are two ridges as you approach the lighthouse.
At the lighthouse the ridge goes further out. However the path was extremely narrow and the land fell away very rapidly, straight to the sea on both sides. It was windy and exposed and you had to try and move aside when people came the other way. I’m afraid, despite a couple of attempts I couldn’t pluck up courage to walk out to the final part of the narrow strip of land. One slip and it is unlikely you would be able to prevent yourself falling to the rocks or sea below.
Here is the path out to the very tip (note the people on the top to give an indication of how narrow it is).
Still I took in the view from where I had got to was simply amazing.
Also looking to the left you can see how the land rises incredibly steeply, and the sheer drop of the cliffs on the north coast of the island.
I think the view from here must be one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world.
It really is astonishingly beautiful, though I did have to zoom in a long way to take some of these photos (hence the slightly washed-out colours due to the haze).
Heading away from the crowds at the lighthouse I found a lovely spot with a wonderful view for lunch. Having enjoyed the view at the lighthouse (and decided against doing the last part over the narrow ridge), it was time to head back to Trøllanes so I retraced my steps the same way I had come.
The return journey was no less spectacular!
The village is very small. Probably 15 or so buildings and other than an information sign and toilets there is not much in the village to detain you. However what I did find was some steps down to the shoreline, an old harbour I believe but I don’t think it is used any more. Here the full force of the Atlantic crashes into the island, causing impressive spray.
I love watching the sea like this.
I was not the only one enjoying the view, since there were also quite a number of puffins sitting on the various rocky ledges!
Having enjoyed it down by the water, watching the crashing sea and the puffins, it was soon time to head back up to the cliffs. There was the start of a path heading the other way up the cliffs, but it soon seemed to fizzle out. I didn’t need to go any further because I’d got as far as I wanted – the cliffs ahead were covered in more puffins (who I didn’t want to disturb) by getting close and was enthralled to watch them coming and going, they are such beautiful and characterful birds.
I don’t think any of the other visitors here had even noticed the puffins, so I could watch them undisturbed. Sadly I soon had to drag myself way for the bus back to Syðradalur and the ferry.
Once again, it was a spectacular ride.
Back at the ferry I could be quite smug that the line of cars (mostly visitors) lining up waiting for the ferry meant many would have a wait of over 2 hours. I was glad I had opted to use the bus since as a foot passenger I could get on the first ferry, due shortly. Here it comes!
I did wonder if it had sailed all the way over with the front open like that (perhaps because the motor home was otherwise too large), but I didn’t find that out (perhaps that’s just as well).
This time there were fewer foot passengers so there was much more space on the upper deck, which was welcome. It made a good view point to watch the chaotic loading again!
This time I was in a prime spot to enjoy the views from the ferry on the way back and the views really are breathtaking.
Soon we were nearing Klaksvik (the crossing is only 20 minutes).
Klaksvik was noisier and more crowded than when I left but these things are relative, there was still plenty of space and some stunning views to take in.
Having explored the town I headed for the next bus back to Torshavn. I then explored the capital of the Faroe Islands a little more. It too is a very pretty place.
After dinner I explored a fort (called Skansin) at the mouth of the harbour which also had a lighthouse (presumably a later addition).
It had been a truly wonderful day. I had visited 3 different islands and had views of many more and all the time I had enjoyed stunning scenery. These islands really are breathtaking and unspoilt with outstanding scenery and beautiful wildlife throughout though the coastal scenery really was the highlight for me. The towns too are very pretty and I especially like the numerous grass-roofed buildings too. I had very much enjoyed the day and had been really spoilt with another day of gorgeous clear blue skies and sunshine.
Details of all public transport (ferries and buses) can be found at the website of Strandfaraskip. The relevant services I used for this day are bus 400 (Tórshavn to Klaksvik), ferry route 56 (Klaksvik to Syðradalur on the island of Kalsoy) and bus 506 (Syðradalur to Trøllanes again on the island of Kalsoy).