Feel the hygge of the far-off Faroes
If there’s one Danish word you need to learn before heading for a Stay Unplugged experience at the Faroe Islands it’s ‘hygge’, which translates as ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being’
Regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture, hygge also perfectly describes the experience that awaits you on the Faroes.
As one of Stay Unplugged premium remote destinations, we’ve chosen the Faroes because they are a certain kind of special, and while not wanting to give too much away, we’ve put together a quick explainer to give you a glimpse of what lies in store when you arrive for your digital detox retreat.
WHERE ARE THESE SHINY JEWELS IN THE REMOTE TRAVEL CROWN?
North northwest of Scotland almost equidistant between Iceland and the Shetlands, while considered remote, the Faroes are only a one-hour flight from Reykjavik or Edinburgh, and two hours from Copenhagen.
This self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark comprises 18 islands, 17 of which accommodate the population of roughly 50 000, with the capital Tórshavn located at the southern tip of the main island, Streym.
Despite it’s northern location, the North Atlantic current helps keep the harbours ice-free and climate relatively mild, with summer day’s averaging 13C and winter around 3C. You can expect it to be generally cool, often windy and changeable, and for the rain to come often.
PACKING TIP: With average rainfall of 60 inches (1600mm), given you won’t have a digital device to check the weather, pack a light mac or rain jacket no matter what time of the year you head to the Faroes for your retreat.
TOP 5 THINGS THAT MAKES THE FAROES SO SPECIAL
Scenery straight out of GOT. While we’ve all seen some pretty speccy scenery on our travels, prepare yourself for landscapes that are off the page. Think Tolkien, George R R Martin, Pratchett, McCaffey or any other fantasy author you’ve read. And if you don’t read fantasy, take our word for it--the Faroese landscapes are just simply FANTASTIC. The Faroese volcanic archipelago offers sheer cliffs atop jagged coastlines; sparkling waterfalls and waterways, such as the renowned Múlafossur Waterfall; deep dark clear lakes like the eye-boggling, illusory Lake Sørvágsvatn; and windswept mountains perfect for hiking, such as the Faroes highest peak, the 800m-high Slættaratindur.
Google Sheep view 360. Yes, you read right, SHEEP VIEW, not Street View, which makes sense given humans are outnumbered by sheep 2:1! But it’s not just the native long-wooled, short-tailed fuzzballs that you’ll notice - it’s also the adorable local puffins, over 100 species of migrating birds that regularly visit and the whale pods that will get you reconnected to the amazing animal world we sometimes forget we exist alongside.
Northern Lights. We know it’s on your bucket list, and if you take your digital detox retreat sometime between September and March you might just be able to tick this luminescent natural wonder of the word off. Best seen from the villages of Gjógv on the northern tip of Eysturoy, and Klaksvík on Borðoy.
It’s oh so quiet. Given Bjork hails from just across the waters (OK, 690kms away but still), she would no doubt testify to the fact that the Faroes are a place of stillness and calm. With just on 50,000 residents, and only very modest flows of tourists, there’s plenty of room to ensure you never end up in a crowd and will never get stuck in the rush hour because there isn’t one!
Raest. As you would imagine in such a remote place, the pace of life is slower and more considered, evidenced in one of the Faroe’s signature food preparations - fermentation. ‘Raest’, as it’s called by the locals, is the ideal way of preparing a range of food thanks to the salty, brisk air, which provides the perfect environment for air drying meat and fish. Fear not vegetarians: there’s also plenty in the way of vegetable content, although it’s mostly root vegetables because not much will grow above ground.
MUST DO’S WHEN YOU VISIT THE FAROES
While Stay Unplugged will create a tailored package of activities for your digital detox retreat, we recommend adding a few extra days at the end of the retreat to enjoy all that the Faroes has to offer (just let us know when you’re booking so we can adjust your airline booking and recommend some places to stay.)
During those extra days, why not…
See Stunning Sørvágsvatn
You might have seen this incredible liquid freak of nature on Insta feeds, but getting an eyeful for yourself is without doubt the one absolute MUST when you’re in the Faroes. Located on Vágar, a shortish hour’s walk (5km round hike) gets you t this visually arresting lake, the sight of which will be forever stored in your ‘most beautiful places on earth’ memories. But wait, there’s more - while there, you can also view the Bøsdalafossur Waterfall as it plummets to the wild waves of the North Atlantic below.
Hang with the Puffins on Mykines
Like us, you’re probably already in love with those lil orange-billed cuties, right? Well, jump a ferry to Mykiines, the Faroes most westerly island with a population you can almost count on two hands, and take a hike through the puffin colony which especially during summer overflows with these adorable birds. Remember to be careful though and stick to the designated paths because this is Puffin territory #respect
Be blown away by the Magnificent Múlafossur Waterfall
Another one of those much Instragrammed beauties, the Múlafossur waterfall is a must-see for anyone who loves the wild and wonderful natural wonders of the world. South of the picture-postcard village of Gasadalur on Vagar, everything about Múlafossur is worthy of world heritage listing. And while all the pictures you google before heading to the Faroes might give you a feel for how majestic Múlafossur is, actually being there in the flesh is magic.
Meander around the capital Tórshavn
As with so much of the Faroes, while you wander the quaint cobblestoned streets of Torshavn past its famous sod-roofed houses you’ll feel like you’re on the movie set of a Danish fairytale. Comparatively HUGE when considered against other towns on the Faroes (population: 17,000), it’s easily explored in a day. Make sure you head to Tinganes, the historical old town in the heart of Torshavn that dates back as far as the 1400’s, and when you get the hungries from all the walking, feast on local Faroese cuisine in one of the top-notch eateries scattered throughout town.
Choosing the Faroes for your digital detox retreat will not only help your team disconnect so they can reconnect, but also give them a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see one of the more remote stunningly memorable natural landscapes on the planet., wrapped up in the unique Faroes’ hug...or is that hygge?
Oh and puffins.
All the puffins.