Torshavn is the capital city of the Faroe Islands. This small nation consists of a group of 18 islands and it’s north of Scotland and west of Norway. While the country is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, you won’t see many Danish flags here. This is a proud and patriotic country, a beautiful one and a special place to go backpacking in.
The country has a population of 49,000 and around 12,000 of them live in the capital city, Torshavn, After touring a few of the islands in the west and hiking to Traelanipa and Gasadalur, I based myself in the capital city of Torshavn. I stayed in the best hotel in the country which is the 4 Star Hotel Foroyar. The Northern Ireland and Faroe Islands football teams were also staying here.
As well as watching the Faroe Islands v. Northern Ireland football match, I toured the city of Torshavn, the centre of which is quite small. It is a cool city to visit, similar to Reykjavik in Iceland in many ways. Here are my personal top 6 sights, you’ll no doubt find a lot more to see and do here, but football was my priority on my visit.
1.Skansin Old Fort
Down by the seafront is the Skansin Old Fort. It’s small and you can visit it in less than an hour. The cannons still remain and you can get a view of the city from the top.
2. Tinganes (Government)
Without doubt, the official government and parliament in the Faroe Islands is the most quirky and unusual I have ever seen. Basically on a small peninsula in the main harbour in Torshavn, a series of wooden huts known collectively as Tinganes make up the government!
You can visit the Prime Minister’s Office, walk all around the government and read the tourist information boards. It’s a good looking part of the city and I was also amused by the “Backpacker’s House”, at least that’s what I translated it as.
3.Tórsvøllur (National Football Stadium)
The national sport in the Faroe Islands is football and since their first ever competitive match in 1990, a 1-0 win over Austria, the country has developed a number of excellent football stadiums. The largest of these is Tórsvøllur.
Indeed, my own country Northern Ireland have played the Faroe Islands away three times, and each time was in a different stadium (once they played in Sweden). Here in Torshavn is the largest stadium and a party atmosphere is evident here at home matches. They recently beat Greece 2-1 at home and 1-0 away – Greece a last 16 team in the 2014 World Cup do they mean business.
The stadium is just a 15 minute walk up the hill from the city centre and it holds around 6,000. When the Faroe Islands play at home, more than 10% of the country, will be at the match!
4.Seafront and Harbour
Take a walk around the pretty seafront in Torshavn. Here you will see large ships coming in from Denmark, Iceland and further afield. There are some smaller boats and the harbour front buildings are colourful and pretty.
There are also some cool handicraft shops in this area, plus a coffee shop (with WiFi) and the Cafe Natur Bar, which is where I met up with fellow Northern Ireland fans before the match.
5. Havnar Kirkja (Torshavn Cathedral)
There are lots of churches in the Faroe Islands and Torshavn houses at least a hat-trick. In fact, it’s almost a given that every large village on the Faroe Islands will have two things (1) A Church and (2) A Football Pitch/Stadium. The Havnar Kirkja is worth a look around.
It is an Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is the religion here. The church is pretty and prominent and dominant down by the seafront. It is painted white, and roofed with slate, with green tiles on the clock tower section and it was established in 1788.
6.Viewpoint Over the City
The Hotel I stayed in, Hotel Foroyar already offered a magnificent vantage point over the city. It was dreamlike for sunrise and sunset. However, if you are staying downtown, simply walk up and up the hills towards the Hotel Foroyar and you will get a great view of the city. Definitely worth it.
On top of this top six, the city centre itself is just easy on the eye. It’s a chilled out peaceful little city and I loved it. A country of fresh air, friendly people and peaceful vibes. Torshavn also has an Art Museum, a Park, a Large Swimming Complex, more Churches and some decent shops. All in all it’s a great city to visit, and one of few capital cities in the world still without an airport, so that alone makes it worth it!
Here are some of my videos from my time backpacking in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands: