What do you know about the Faroe Islands? For many the answer is ‘not a lot’. This small group of islands in the North Atlantic receives relatively little attention in the world news. It even gets omitted from the odd map.  Yet there is a lot more to the Faroe Islands than their tiny size and remote location suggests.

Here are a few facts about the Faroe Islands that may surprise you, but that help support the islands’ claim to being one of Europe’s most dramatic and overlooked destinations.

1. There are three traffic lights on the Faroe Islands. All are in the capital Torshavn, and are very close to each other.

2. Streymin bridge is the only bridge over the Atlantic Ocean in the world, connecting the island Streymoy to Eysturoy.

3. There are 77 nationalities living in the Faroe Islands – and that’s from a total population of only 48,000 – a real cultural melting pot!

4. The Faroe Islands are one of very few countries in Europe to have no McDonalds outlets. You can  however find a Burger King in Torshavn (if you’re so desperate for a fast food fix).

5. There is no prison on the Faroe Islands. Long-term prisoners get sent off to Denmark.

6. The Faroese language, spoken by all Faroese people, is most similar to Icelandic and the now extinct Old Norse language.

7. Fishing industry is the single most important industry providing more than 97% of the total exports (ok, maybe that one isn’t so suprising). Tourism is the second largest industry.

8. On the islands, you are never more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the ocean.

9. Trees do exist on the Faroes. None are native, but in recent years imports from Alaska and Tierra del Fuego have done well in this windy, unsheltered landscape.

10. The Faroe Islands football team won their first competitive match with Austria in September 1990. It was an excuse for a very big Faroese party!

And if that’s not enough to whet your appetite for visiting the Faroe Islands, take a look at this clip from the BBC series Coast, which reveals some of the natural beauty that can be found on a visit. 

And I didn’t even mention the possibility of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights!

To learn more about visiting the islands visit our special Faroe Islands site:

by Andy Jarosz with a nod to Tripwolf for a few of the stranger facts listed above.