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Streymoy

Photo © Utrecht

Travel Guide Europe Faroe Islands Streymoy

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Introduction

Green blanket with waterfalls near Saksun, Streymoy island

Green blanket with waterfalls near Saksun, Streymoy island

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Streymoy is the largest island in the Faroe Islands and contains the island capital of Torshavn.

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Geography

Streymoy is joined to Eysturoy by what is called the 'bridge over the Atlantic, one of the few underwhelming sights on the Faroe Islands - since the two islands are so close at this point. An undersea tunnel connects it to the airport island of Vagur and there are ferries to Suðuroy and Nolsoy from Torshavn and to Sandoy and Hestur from Gamlarætt. There are also helicopter links with other islands.

Although Kirkjubøur, and the bird cliffs of Vestmaana are well visited, possibly some visitors to Torshavn miss the delights of northern Streymoy. There are delights there indeed.

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Towns and Villages

  • Torshavn - claims to be the world's smallest capital, but in fact it's not (that honour goes to Adamstown, Pitcairn Islands).
  • Kirkjubøur - Once capital and most important religious site.
  • Vestmaana - northwest of the island and noted for trips to bird cliffs. The boats wind through stacks, caves and arches and, particularly in the breeding season, the seabirds are splendid. You may still se men climbing desperately difficult rocks to catch puffins, which are regarded as a delicacy in the islands.
  • Saksun - an idyllic village in north-east Streymoy with a lagoon, a church and an interesting museum
  • Kvivik - on a loop road from the road to Vestmaana - foundations of a viking settlement and a sad monument to a shipwreck.
  • Tjornuvik - at the north-east tip of the island with excellent views of north Eysturoy.
  • Haldarsvik - octagomal church and fine view southwards.
  • Gamlarætt - north of Kirkjubøur - ferries to Hestur and Sandoy.

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Sights and Activities

Føroya Fornminissavn

The Faroe Islands, aside from nature, have some culture to offer as well and the excellent Føroya Fornminnissavn (Historical Museum) is probably the highlight regarding culture and history. The museum is actually split between two sites in the Hoyvík suburb, north of Tórshavn. There are displays of Faroese artefacts from the Viking Age to the 19th century and the illustrations with photos and text are in English. Downstairs is a treasure room. A second site contains a well preserved 1920's farmstead complete with bell telephone and a full set of turf-roofed outhouses. The setting is marvelous as well.

Torshavn and surroundings

You'll find more information about the capital in the Torshavn article, but there are a few noteworthy options regarding daytrips from the capital. Just 15 minutes away is Kirkjubøur, but for nicer and longer daytrips, a short ferry ride takes you to either Sandoy (south) or Nolsoy (east). On Sandoy a car can take you anywhere and there are great hikes, especially in the southeastern corner of the island. You don't need a car on Nolsoy, just your legs and 5 hours of time to reach the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island and hike back to the ferry again.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Saksun is a wonderful place. There is a lagoon with a narrow inlet separating it from the open Atlantic. It is possible to walk beside this inlet but it may well take longer than you would think. There is a small church above the lagoon and on the other side of the lagoon is the small settlement, with part of one of the old farms now converted into a museum.
Waterfall at Saksun, Streymoy

Waterfall at Saksun, Streymoy

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

  • Tjornuvik - a delightful village in the far northwest where the road allows fine views of the sea staccks off Eysturoy, Risin and Kellingin.
  • Haldarsvik - a lovely octagonal church and a great view of the narrow straits between Streymoy and Eysturoy.
  • Kirkjubøur - cultural site on Streymoy, close to Tórshavn
  • Risin og Kellingin (The Giant and his Wife) - Two magnificant basalt sea stacks off the northern tip of the island of Streymoy, close to the village of Eiði
  • Tinganes - historic location of the Faroese løgting (parliament), located in Torshavn

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Events and Festivals

  • Ólavsøka -St Olaf's Day, the Faroese national day is celebrated in Tórshavn, end of July.

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Weather

Streymoy isn't the first place that comes to mind for its nice weather. Actually, you should consider yourself very lucky if you don't have any rain, even if you just visit for a few days. Even the somewhat drier months of June to August still have 20 to 22 rainy days a month! From October to March it rains on all but a few days a month. Temperatures are never hot but it rarely gets really cold as well. Winter (December to March) night time temperatures average around 2 °C while average summer (July-August) temperatures hoover around a chilly 12 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Atlantic Airways is the national airline of the Faroe Islands with its base at Vágar Airport. It has connections to major European cities, such as Aberdeen, London, Aalborg, Billund, Copenhagen, Bergen, Stavanger, Oslo, Reykjavik and Narsarsuaq in southern Greenland. Flights and schedules tend to change between cities though and also tend to variate throughout the year. Mostly Copenhagen, Billund and Reykjavik have year-round connections, while a few others only have flights between May and September.

By Car

Although obviously you can't drive to Streymoy from other countries directly, the ferry described below offers you to bring your own car. This gives you maximum freedom on the islands and you don't need to rent a car.

By Bus

Buses go to most places on many of the islands and the Bygdaleiðir long-distance bus service is a great way to get around. Most buses can be combined with ferries and there are 4-day or 7-day bus passes with can be great value if you want to cover a lot of the islands. For adults, a 7-day pass is 700kr, a 4-day pass is 500kr. Although fast and comfortable, the frequency of buses can be a bit of a nuisance. Even the most frequent one (Klaksvik to/from Tórshavn vv) goes less than once an hour. Outside of the summer season, frequencies are even lower and on some more remote routes you have to call a bus at least 2 hours ahead to let them know you need public transport.

By Boat

By boat your options are limited, time consuming and it's not a good deal at all unless you really want to bring your own car. Smyril Line ferries leave from Denmark, Norway and Scotland to Iceland, stopping en-route at Streymoy.

The Icelandic cargo ship Eimskip has two vessels, the Dettifoss and Goðafoss which travel the route Rotterdam-Hamburg-Göteborg-Århus-Fredrikstad-Tórshavn-Reykjavík. It takes 8 days in total and the return trip goes via eastern Iceland and Tórshavn only. The vessel can take a maximum of 3 passengers but only between mid-April and mid-October.

Church in Kirkjubøur

Church in Kirkjubøur

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

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Getting Around

Some buses are irregular but it's well worth buying a time-table if you are dependent on public transport.

Otherwise, cars are the way to go. Travelling around by car is a very pleasant way and gives you all the freedom to visit even the more remote corners of the islands. But it is only economical when you are with 2 or 3 people at least, as rental prices start at around €35-40 a day with a smaller local company when you are booking the car for a week. If you just want it for a day or several days, prices are more around €55-60 a day. Most of the international agencies like Avis have offices at the airport or in Torshavn. 62N represents Hertz, Europcar and Sixt on the Faroe Islands. For the best prices check smaller companies like BVK, Rentacar, Bilútleigan and Uni-Cars.

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Eat/Drink

Although one would expect that getting good fresh fish is easy, this is certainly not the case everywhere everytime. Tórshavn probably has the widest collection of restaurants with a wide range of options regarding meat, fish, chicken and foregin cuisine. One of the best sushi restaurants in Europe can be found there as well: Etika. Otherwise, the main dishes include lots of potatoes and of course lamb as the main meat. The opening of Burger King in Tórshavn was big news some years ago and there are quite a few take-away places offering pizza, pasta and burgers, mainly in Tórshavn.

Alcohol is expensive, even cans of Tuborg are €1.50 at the government stores. In bars a glass of 0.3L beer goes for around 30 kroner (around €4), while 0.5L is usually around 50 kroner (€6.50). Wine and hard liquor adds up even quicker, so fill up with a few beers from the government stores first.

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Sleep

Tórshavn by far has the widest collection of accommodations, ranging from a campsite and hostels to B&B's, guesthouses and a few upmarket hotels. Usually, the mid-range places like guesthouses offer the best value for money with relatively small but efficient rooms, usually including breakfast (see above under 'eat').

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This is version 11. Last edited at 8:22 on Jul 21, 17 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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