Vágar and Mykines

Vágar and Mykines are the two western islands of the Faroes. Vág­ar hosts the mo­­­dern inter­national airport, which is situated on a level plain outside Sørvágur.

Up­on arrival, the air­line pas­senger is off­ered a specta­cu­lar intro­duc­tion to the bea­u­­ty of the Faroes, es­pe­ci­­ally when landing from the west and the plane slips past the rugged splendour of Myki­nes, then along­side the tow­ering basalt sea stacks at the entrance to Sørvágs­fjørður, then over the picturesque village of Sørvágur and onto the runway.

There are few airports in the world which offer such im­pressive vistas to the arriv­ing visitor. These pano­ramas, how­ever, provide only a hint of what visitors will soon discover on their exploration of these wes­t­ern isles.

The tunnel under the Vest­manna Sound (4,900 metres) is of major impor­tance for tour­ism as well as for everyday life in Vágar. At present it is possible to live in Vágar and benefit from all the possibil­ities and options on the islands that are now con­nected: Vágar, Strem­oy, Eyst­uroy and Norðoyggjar. Even if you do not live on Vágar, the options of the islands are that much closer and you are not dependent upon the clock. It is possible to drive to the picturesque village of Gásadalur now that the tunnel is open. The film ‘1700 metres from the future’ about the lack of a road connection made Gásadalur and the post route over the mountain world famous, but now the future looks bright for the survival of the village.

Mykines is the perfect hav­en for solitary retreat. The home of thousands of migra­tory sea­birds during the summer months, Mykines is con­sidered to be the mys­teri­ous “paradise of birds” that the adven­­turous sea­faring Irish monk, St. Bren­dan, describ­ed in the middle of the sixth cen­tury.

The foremost resident of Myki­nes in the summer is the puffin. This intriguing little creature is one of the main attractions for visitors. Its brightly coloured bill and its willingness to re­main po­sed with fish in its beak, makes the puffin the ideal photo oppor­tunity for any budding ornitholo­gist.

Yet it is the splendid hi­king that makes Mykines the desti­na­tion of choice for many visitors. Because of the quick changes in the weather, the visitor is advi­sed to visit Mykines whenever favour­able wea­ther is predicted.

Most people opt for spend­ing several days on Mykines for there is too much to see in just one day. Apart from the excursion to the stone forest in the val­ley Korka­dalur, the towe­ring summit of 560 metre Knúk­ur awaits the hiker. It is on­ly some three kilo­met­res away from the village, but the climb can be dif­fi­cult. Less stre­nuous is the delight­ful trek out to Myki­neshólmur, a small islet on the western side of Myki­nes. Gui­ded tours can be arranged from the guest­house. A foot­bridge con­nects Mykines­hólmur with the island of Myki­nes over a 35-metre deep gorge. The sea stacks sur­rounding the lighthouse at the far end of the cape are a sight of stri­king beauty.

The most singular expe­ri­ence on Mykineshólmur, however, is the colony of gannets. These majes­tic birds have chosen this west­­ern outpost of the Faroes for their home, the only one in the islands, and from a long distance you can see the birds sitting on top of the stacks with their young ones.

Vágar, or the bays, has its name from the three bays of Sanda­vágur, Miðvágur, and Sørvágur with their villages of the same names. Sanda­vágur, voted the most well-kept village in the Faroes in 1997, 2003 and 2008, has an an­cient history. A stone has been found co­vered with thir­­teenth cen­tury runes indicating that the Viking, Torkil Onundar­son, was the first to settle in Sanda­vágur. The rune stone is on display in the pictu­­resque village church. Á Steig in Sanda­vágur was the resi­­dence of the Lagman, the chief judge and leader of the Faroese parliament. Here V. U. Hammers­haimb, the foun­d­er of the written Faroese language, was born in 1816.

On the hillside over­loo­k­ing Mið­vágur is the muse­um of Kálvalíð, one of the oldest buil­dings in the Faroes and once the home of Beinte Christine Broberg, wife of the priest of Vágur. She was the inspiration for Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen’s novel, Barbara, which was recently made into a film.

Kálvalíð is built into the hill­side with only one win­dow facing the bay below. From afar the house blends into the landscape because the roof is covered in turf and the front of the house and the side to the north are built with large stones taken from the fields around the old farmstead. It has only two rooms and a cowshed, an example of the old Faro­ese build­ing tradi­tion.

Many people seek out the mysterious Fjallavatn, or moun­tain lake, in the road­less north­ern half of the island. The beautiful scenery surrounding the lake pro­­vides a pleasant interlude on the long hike to the aban­doned village of Slætta­nes, which many consider to be the ultimate hideaway.

Another hike that is high­ly re­commended is the easy walk along Sørvágs­vatn, the largest lake in the Faroes, to the en­chanting cas­cade called Bøss­dals­fossur that falls from the lake into the ocean. An easier way to come to this special place is to take a comfortable return trip across the lake with the boat called ‘Lakeside’.

Even though it is now possible to drive to the village of Gása­dalur, you can still hike the old post route over the mountain.

The hike that may be strenu­ous, especially the climb up from Gásadalur. It starts a few hundred metres from the tunnel and rises up the mountain fairly quickly, but the view from the crest is spec­tacular and worth all the effort. Bøur and Gásadalur offer to the visitor the spectacular view to­wards the islets and stacks off the coast, Tind­hól­mur with its five castle-like peaks, the flat Gáshólmur and Drangar­nir, the two stacks, one of which has the form of an open arch.



SUMMER FESTIVALS

If you want to keep up to date with the Faroese rowing championships, then you’ll need to follow what happens at the Vestanstevna which takes place mid July. The villages on the island take turns in hosting the festival and the programme closely follows that of the other festivals around the country, with the nights still light for the midnight speeches and community singing. The festival is held at the weekend, there are plenty of exhibitions, concerts and sports competitions to see and in the evening there is dancing to while the night away.



EXCURSIONS

BOAT TOURS
Daily Tours: It is possible to take a boat trip to the bird cliffs south of Sørvágur, Vágar‘s west and north coasts and the coast of Mykines. Contact the Tourist Information in Vágar.

Vágar Tou­rist Information arranges a 6-hour tour to the pearl of the Far­o­es, Myki­nes. The passenger boat takes you from the quay in Sørvágur to the is­land where the scenery and bird­life are unique. Please contact Vágar Tourist Information.

The trip with the boat Lakeside on the Sørvágsvatn/Leitisvatn lake, is the only one of its kind in the Faroes. Here you will sit in comfort as in a conservatory with a fantastic view and glide across the large expanse of water. We sail from a jetty in the village of Vatnsoyrar, which was called ‘Lakeside’ by the English soldiers who were stationed here during the Second World War, over to the lake’s south side where we disembark and walk to the Bøsdalafossur.

Sea angling
Fishing trips are arranged around the island. Memorable trips where you have the chance to come up close to the beautiful mountains and bird life. Arranged in cooperation with local expertise.

Faroese food
Traditional Faroese food from the ’hjallur’ (outhouse), can be sampled at Eddie’s on Mykines.

Rappelling
There are plenty of opportunities to test your levels of courage and excitement by rappelling on one of the many beautiful mountains the island has to offer. Tours are arranged in cooperation with a guide and the level of difficulty, duration and place can vary.

Riding tours
Davidsens Hestar arrange rides according to your wishes, both short and long tours in the fantastic landscape with horses to suit all levels of experience. Duration and difficulty can be arranged to accommodate all.

Walking/hiking
There are good opportunities for hiking on Vágar, both easy walks and hikes in hilly terrain for the more experienced. Tours are arranged in cooperation with a guide and promise an experience for mind and soul.

Faroese evening
On request: Faroese evening with traditional food and culture. Contact the Tourist Information in Vágar.

For more information about all the tours, please contact the tourist information:

Vága Kunningarstova
Tel. +298 333455
fax +298 333475
vagar@vagar.fo
www.vagar.fo
www.faroeislands.com
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