5 August 2019:
Torshavn, Faroe:
Retracing the Route of the Vikings

By Corey Sandler

From Iceland, we sailed east to a place of great reputation not often visited: The Faroe Islands, a trip of 311 nautical miles, equivalent to 358 statute miles or 576 kilometers.

The Faroe archipelago consists of 18 islands and islets of varying size that are about midway between Iceland and Norway. Over the past 14 centuries or so, they have come under the influence of Irish and Scots, Nordic people including the Vikings, Denmark and Norway, and the Brits.

Not much grows here on these isolated rocks. There are not many people, and even fewer trees. Oh, and fog and rain visit for extended periods of time.

Today I went with a group of guests up to the north end of the main island to Vestmanna, a set of dramatic nearly vertical cliffs populated with sheep hanging on for dear life. The captain of our boat navigated into narrow sea caves and between sea stacks as if he were driving a rental car. Here is some of what we saw:

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved 2019


The greater metropolitan area of Torshavn, a rather grandiose description, is home to about 21,000 people. The town itself, about 13,000.

That makes Torshavn one of the smallest capital cities in the world.

The Norse established their parliament on the Tinganes peninsula in AD 850. The Vikings established parliaments, called tings, in different parts of the islands; the tings were supposed to be located in uninhabited places to maintain neutrality.

Near Torshavn, the Vikings would thus meet on the flat rocks of Tinganes every summer. That old part of town is still made up of small wooden houses covered with turf roofs.

The Viking age ended in 1035, but Tórshavn has remained the capital of the Faroe Islands ever since.

Denmark is a member of the European Union but does not use the Euro. The Faroe Islands is a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, but it is explicitly not part of the EU. Is that foggy enough for you?

All photos and text Copyright 2019 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. See more photos on my website at http://www.coreysandler.com


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