What's the best time to visit the Faroe Islands?
The best time to visit the Faroe Islands is during the summer, when the weather is milder with longer daylight hours, perfect for outdoor exploration. This season is filled with vibrant cultural festivals like Olavsoka and offers prime birdwatching opportunities, including puffin sightings. Additionally, summer provides calmer weather and more frequent ferry services, facilitating island hopping and various activities.
The Faroe Islands are a must-visit destination for lovers of nature and austere Arctic landscapes. These rocky volcanic islands are part of Denmark but are located thousands of miles away from the Danish mainland, in the northern Atlantic between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway.
Getting there is a bit of a trek since the islands are so far away from the European continental mainland, but visitors that make the trip are rewarded with beautiful Arctic landscapes and amazing biodiversity.
However, since a lot of the best things to do in the Faroe Islands are outdoors-based, you want to make sure you time your visit properly so that hikes are possible. Below, we’ll show you the best time to visit and why we love each season; let us be your guide!
Overall Best Time to Visit the Faroe Islands
The overall best time to visit the Faroe Islands is in the summer. Although the weather never gets hot, it still gets warm enough to enjoy the outdoor activities that make the Faroe Islands such a prized destination.
Summer is also when the islands come alive with human and animal life. The islands are located so far north that you can expect the weather to be cold and wet.
The best conditions are in the summer, especially during July and August. According to the official Faroe Islands website, the average high temperature in the summer is 55 degrees Fahrenheit (about 13 Celsius).
Although it is hardly bathing suit weather, it is still warmer than the rest of the year. The location of the Faroe Islands in the northern Atlantic Ocean, far away from any continental landmasses that may protect it from storms.
The weather in the Faroe Islands is often rainy with strong wind storms that make it impossible for ferries to operate or for hiking trips to take place.
The calmest weather is during the summer, when the winds calm down. You may still encounter storms, but the likelihood of a storm derailing your plans is much lower than during the fall or winter.
Another advantage of visiting the Faroe Islands during the summer is that the days are much longer, allowing you to pack in everything that you want to do. In June and July, the capital of Torshavn receives about 22 hours of daylight a day!
Everything in the Faroe Islands comes alive during the summer, even the infrastructure. Ferry departures (which you can check on the official website) are more frequent during the summer high season.
The ferry from Denmark, a prime slow travel opportunity, runs twice a week during the summer, as opposed to just once a week in the winter. The islands also feel much livelier during the summer. If you visit during the warmer months, you can also catch important festivals.
The national holiday of the semi-autonomous archipelago is Olavsoka, which happens on July 28th and 29th. The streets of Torshavn are full of people dressed in national costume, showing off folkloric customs, and participating in parades.
Businesses are usually open late for the festival. Surprisingly for such a small place, the Faroe Islands also has several music festivals that take place during the summer.
The ones listed by the local tourist board include:
- Festivalhöll Viking Festival (July)
- G! Festival (July)
- The Summer Festival (August)
Summer is also the best time of year for seeing life of a different kind—bird life. Between May and August, migrating birds come to nest on the Faroe Islands. Although there are birds on the island all year round, you can spot the most species during the summer.
Different bird species are more abundant during different months. If you are a serious bird watcher, then the Faroe Islands tourism board even published a full booklet with a guide for the best locations and times for birdwatching.
Even people that aren’t normally birdwatchers want to visit the Faroe Islands to see the famous colonies of puffins. Puffins are on the archipelago between April and September. The best time to go see them is during June and July, when the hatchlings begin to waddle around the cliffs.
Cheapest Time to Visit the Faroe Islands
The cheapest time to visit the Faroe Islands is the winter. During the off-season, prices for hotels and car rentals tend to be lower. Many businesses offer discounts for people coming to visit during the off-season.
The winter is the most affordable time to visit the Faroe Islands because not that many people come. Thus, businesses have an incentive to encourage tourists to visit, which they do by lowering prices.
Hotels are one of the biggest expenses when visiting the Faroe Islands because accommodation options are not that frequent, so their prices can be high.
In the winter, hotels often run steep discounts, making it more accessible to get to the Faroe Islands. To get around the Faroe Islands, you may want to rent a car. Car rentals also tend to have discounts during the winter season.
To save more money, you can rely on public transportation such as buses and ferries to get around the island, just be prepared for less frequent departures during the off-season.
Getting to the Faroe Islands at any time is going to be expensive. The archipelago is far away from any mainland and requires covering rough seas or landing in rough terrain, so not many companies are willing to operate flights or ferries there. There are no budget airlines operating flights to Torshavn.
During the winter, flight fares are lower than during the high season (although the tradeoff is that there are also fewer flights). The least expensive option is usually to fly to the Faroe Islands from Denmark.
Least Busy Time to Visit the Faroe Islands
The winter is also the least busy time to visit the Faroe Islands, which is part of the reason why it’s so inexpensive to visit then compared to during the summer.
You will find fewer crowds, but also fewer activities to do. The busiest time in the Faroe Islands is during summer, when the weather is the best for outdoor adventures.
Spring attracts visitors looking to catch the wildflower blooms, while early autumn sees passionate birdwatchers arrive to try and catch the seasonal migrations of birds. Winter has none of these benefits, so it also receives the least number of visitors.
It is still possible to see some of the most famous sights of the archipelago, but the weather will be less favorable, and logistics will be a bit more challenging due to shorter hours.
The good news is that even during peak season, The Faroe Islands aren’t very crowded. Getting to the island is so difficult that it puts off anyone except for people that are passionate about visiting the destination, so you don’t have to worry too much about crowds.
Capacities for accommodation and other necessities on the island are fairly low, though, so in the summer you will have a harder time finding a reservation.
Worst Time to Visit the Faroe Islands
The worst time to visit the Faroe Islands is the winter. The weather and daylight are the worst for exploring the archipelago. Winter in the Faroe Islands is a cold, windy time of the year. Keep in mind that the Faroe Islands are very far north, so it makes sense that the winters here are fairly intense.
However, they are not the typical Nordic winters thanks to the moderating effects of the North Atlantic Current, and high temperatures of up to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the temperatures are not as cold as they are in other destinations this far north, that doesn’t mean that Faroese winters are pleasant. The days are very windy with lots of rain, making it difficult to hike. Camping is often out of the question.
The winter days are much shorter, which is typical of locations at this latitude. You’ll only get about four hours of daylight each day to go exploring, making it difficult to go on longer hikes.
If you’re an animal lover, there is an even worse time to visit the Faroe Islands than during the winter. You’ll want to avoid locations in the Faroe Islands when there is a grindadrap, or traditional whale hunt.
There is no set season for this practice, although they are most common in spring or summer when there are more whales. Follow the news to see if there is a grindadrap going on as most tourists are put off by this bloody sight.
Faroe Islands by Month: Climate & Activities
Still unsure about the best time to visit the Faroe Islands? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:
In January, winter temperatures in the Faroe Islands range from 0 to 5°C (32-41°F). January is ideal for witnessing the Northern Lights, exploring the charming villages, and experiencing the authentic Faroese winter atmosphere.
Similar to January, February maintains cool temperatures between 0 to 5°C (32-41°F). Visitors can enjoy winter hikes to waterfalls like Fossá and Múlafossur, experience local music and art festivals, and explore the historical sites in the capital, Tórshavn.
As spring begins, temperatures range from 1 to 6°C (34-43°F). March is perfect for birdwatching, with seabirds returning to their nesting sites. It’s also an excellent time for hiking in the mountainous landscapes and exploring the scenic fjords.
Spring temperatures in the Faroe Islands range from 3 to 8°C (37-46°F). It’s an ideal time for witnessing the blooming wildflowers, exploring coastal cliffs like Cape Enniberg, and attending cultural events in Tórshavn.
In May, the Faroe Islands see temperatures ranging from 6 to 11°C (43-52°F). It’s a great month for hiking to iconic viewpoints like Sørvágur and Gasadalur, experiencing the Faroese music scene, and attending the Ólavsøka festivities in Tórshavn.
Summer arrives with temperatures between 9 to 15°C (48-59°F). June offers opportunities for boat tours to sea stacks like Drangarnir, exploring the picturesque village of Gjógv, and attending the Summer Festival in Klaksvík.
July maintains cool temperatures from 10 to 16°C (50-61°F). It’s a popular month for hiking to the highest peak, Slættaratindur, enjoying outdoor activities in the countryside, and attending the G! Festival in Gøta.
Temperatures in August range from 10 to 16°C (50-61°F). It’s an excellent time for exploring the historic village of Kirkjubøur, attending cultural events like the Summartónar music festival, and enjoying the long days of summer.
As fall begins, temperatures range from 7 to 13°C (45-55°F). September offers a pleasant transition, with opportunities for hiking in Tórshavn and experiencing the Faroese Sheep Festival, where sheep are gathered from the mountains.
October sees temperatures ranging from 5 to 10°C (41-50°F). It’s a great month for exploring sea caves like Risin og Kellingin, witnessing the autumn colors in the landscapes, and attending the Tórshavn Nordic House Literature Festival.
Fall temperatures range from 2 to 7°C (36-45°F). November is perfect for exploring the dark, moody landscapes, witnessing the migratory birdlife, and experiencing the Faroese St. Martin’s Day celebrations.
In December, winter returns to the Faroe Islands with temperatures ranging from 1 to 5°C (34-41°F). December brings opportunities for experiencing the unique Faroese Christmas traditions, enjoying winter hikes, and attending festive events in Tórshavn.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit the Faroe Islands?
The best time to visit the Faroe Islands is during the summer. The weather is the best during the warmer months for exploring, and it’s also the best time for birdwatching. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!