More than 600 miles (nearly 1,000 kilometres) from Denmark’s west coast lie the Faroes, a triangle of eighteen windswept islands, seventeen of which are inhabited. Only 48,500 people plus some 70,000 sheep roam these remote lands. Much of the islands’ heritage reflects a medieval past, beginning with the arrival of farmers from western Norway who settled here in the 9th century. Evidence of this Scandinavian heritage is preserved through centuries of isolation; ancient structures can still be seen in villages clustered around old churches.
Sheer cliffs and waterfalls carve Streymoy, the largest of the islands, where Torshavn is one of the world’s smallest capitals with about 12,400 inhabitants, plus another 5,000 living in the suburbs of Argir and Hoyvik. Visitors find interesting museums, churches, monuments and all the amenities of a modern town and thriving harbour here. The world’s oldest, still active parliament was founded in the Viking age. Today, it houses the main offices of the local government.
Many of the attractions are found outside of Torshavn in the rugged beauty of Streymoy. There are fields with grazing ponies and sheep, tiny hamlets where residents live in half-timbered houses topped by green grass roofs, and dramatic rock formations. Birds by the thousands populate the craggy seaside cliffs, which make an ideal stopover for migratory gannets, guillemots and puffins. The Faroes' climate is generally wet and windy. Because of the Gulf Stream, the temperature is a good deal more moderate than the latitude might imply; it also helps to keep Faroe harbours ice-free year-round.
Please Note: The weather in the Faroes is unpredictable and can change several times in one day. A sweater or jacket and a light raincoat are recommended when going ashore. Be aware that your enjoyment of shore activities is very much subject to weather conditions. Coaches are not equipped with air conditioning. Local residents serve as guides and their accents may be at times difficult to understand.
The ship is scheduled to dock at the East Harbour Pier, subject to weather conditions. The town centre is about half a mile away (one kilometre). Taxis generally have to be requested for pickup at local Terminal.
Shopping opportunities abound from Havnargöta and the main street (Niels Finsensgöta), and at the SMS Shopping Mall. Woollen sweaters in Faroese design are popular buys, as are local stamps and regional handicrafts. Two decades of independent postal administration has brought philatelic fame to these remote islands. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to noon or at 2:00 p.m. The local currency is the Danish and the Faroe kroner.
Meat, potatoes and fish are the common staples here. The meat is usually mutton - boiled, dried, stewed or roasted. Fish is typically dried or frozen, since most of the fresh fish is exported. For a snack, open-faced sandwiches are a good choice. Some of the best restaurants can be found in Tórshavn's hotels; more casual cafés are around the town centre.
The West Church is most likely the first building any visitor sailing into Torshavn will see. Built in 1975, its design is somewhat reminiscent of a Faroese sloop.
This is the site where the first Norwegian settlers established their parliament, the "Thing" where Christianity was introduced in the year 999 AD. The oldest houses of the town are found in this area; many buildings dating from the 17th century are still intact and inhabited.
This obelisk stands in the middle of Torshavn on a hill; it was erected in commemoration of the first visit by a Danish king to the islands in 1874.
A pedestrian street leads to one of the shopping areas from this town square, the hub of Torshavn.
This fort was originally built by Magnus Heinason in 1580; it was rebuilt and enlarged later. At the time it was the strongest fortification in Northern Europe. During World War II, the Faroes were occupied by British Forces, who made Skansi their headquarters.
Silver Shore Privato is unavailable in Tórshavn, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at Concierge@silversea.com for availability and price.