10 Things You Don't Know About The Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands make for some of the more picturesque scenes that one will find anywhere in the world. Odds are that you are likely aware of the climate around the Faroe Islands. You may not need to bundle up as you would during the northeast portion of the United States during the cold and brutal winter months, but you should also not plan on rocking shorts unless you are in the right place at the right time during your trip. It would not be all that surprising to learn that you have seen pictures of fog hovering over sections of the Faroe Islands if you have looked up the region via your favorite Internet search engine.

With that said, there are, without a doubt, things that those of you who have never been to the area do not know about the Faroe Islands. You probably, as an example, could not guess the amount of people who call the Faroe Islands home. Could you accurately guess the amount of traffic lights that are currently located on the Faroe Islands? Do you know how many prisons the Faroe Islands has as of the posting of this piece? These facts, along with other pieces of information, make for some interesting tidbits about a beautiful part of the world that could be an ideal vacation spot for you and your loved ones.


10 Not A Member of the European Union 

The list starts out with a piece of information that probably means little to somebody who would want to visit the region, but is nevertheless interesting. The Faroe Islands are not a member of the European Union despite the fact that it is a self-governing region. According to the Faroe Islands Tourist Guide, all trade that involves the Faroe Islands is governed by “special treaties.” All of this means that certain residents who were born and raised on the Faroe Islands may not be members of the European Union. There is something to be said for an entity having that kind of independence.

9 Population Under 50,000


The population of the Faroe Islands was, according to the Faroe Islands Tourist Guide, 48,308 as of February 1, 2014. That same website claims that roughly 20,000 people live in what is referred to as the “metropolitan area” of the Islands. There are, per a story posted on the Belfast Telegraph in November of 2014, 77 nationalities represented among the population of 48,000. That is quite the mix of nationalities and cultures for a population that would barely fill up some small towns located throughout the United States. Traffic must not be all that bad with so few people on the Faroe Islands. I'm glad you asked.

8 Three Traffic Lights 

You literally cannot walk a block throughout the heart of Manhattan without having a traffic light in your line of sight. Hoboken, known as the “Mile Square City” because of its small size, has traffic lights on every block on its main street (Washington). The Faroe Islands, according the Belfast Telegraph story, has only three total traffic lights. Three. All three of those, per that same story, are found in the capital Torshavn. The three lights are also apparently “very close to each other.” At least you know you'll be rather safe for a portion of your car ride in the capital.

7 No Prisons 


Those of you who are nervous about being a victim of a serious crime during your journey to the Faroe Islands should not have too much to worry about. The region does not, per the Belfast Telegraph, have even a single prison for long-term offenders. Such criminals are shipped off to Denmark rather than kept in a facility that is located somewhere in the Faroe Islands. According to the Numbeo website, the crime level in the Faroe Islands is “low.” That has to be somewhat reassuring for somebody who is planning on venturing to the Faroe Islands for a vacation.

6 No Big Mac 


Sometimes, you just want a Big Mac during your vacation to a place such as the Faroe Islands. We are not here to judge you. We are here to inform you, though, that you will be disappointed if you are hoping to get your McDonald's fix while you are visiting the Faroe Islands. Not a single one of those restaurants can be found in the region. Not one. Those of you who are determined to get some fast food while vacationing in the Faroe Islands are in luck if you happen to be in Torshavn. You can find a Burger King there. A Whopper is not a Big Mac, of course, but beggars cannot be choosers.

5 Whale Jail 


Whaling is a part of life for some who live in the Faroe Islands. The practice is regulated by authorities. You may, during your research of the Faroe Islands, have seen a report that tourists who do not report that they have seen what are known as “pilot whales” could be fined or even imprisoned. The government of the Faroe Islands released a statement on the matter, one that was updated in July 2015:

The important issue is the ancient Faroese concept at finna eina grind (to find pilot whales) and its definition. To find pilot whales, i.e. to locate them, is the first step of a drive. The obligation to report a sighting is therefore a necessary and crucial part of the activity. The intent of the provision is to prevent people taking the law into their own hands or to interfere illegally in a whale drive, for example by driving whales either towards land or to sea without permission from the local authorities.

It is therefore highly unlikely that an ordinary tourist, who has sighted pilot whales will be punished for not reporting this. It is also worth noting, that the whales are typically not located by people on shore, but at sea. In relation to custodial sentences it should be clarified that while the maximum penalty for breaching the Grindalógin is 2 years, the typical penalty will be a fine. The penalty of 2 years in prison may apply where the breach is intentional or due to gross negligence and has led to injury to people or whales, or damage to the environment or material property – or where there was immediate danger of such injury or damage. The penalty of 2 years in prison may also apply where the person in question has previously been convicted of breaching the Grindalógin.

4 Football 


The Faroe Islands are responsible for a national football (soccer) team that is recognized by FIFA. It will not take long for you to examine the noteworthy accomplishments that have been achieved by the nation's football program. The Faroe Islands have never qualified for a World Cup or for a European Championship. The first competitive match that was won by the Faroe Islands, per the Belfast Telegraph story, occurred in 1990 when the country defeated Austria. Want to have a little bit of fun while visiting the Faroe Islands? Tell a local football fan that you are from Austria, and wait for that person's reaction.


3 Sheep 


Sometimes, there is a little bit of truth in a stereotype. The idea that there are plenty of sheep in regions of the Faroe Islands is not all that far out there. According to the Belfast Telegraph, some farmers have decided to put reflective straps on the legs of sheep in the hopes that the animals will not get run over by vehicles. One Tripwolf user described the sheep in the region, saying that the animals “like to lick the salt off the roads” rather than locate salt that is nearer to the ocean. Be on the lookout for sheep if you happen to be operating a vehicle while in parts of the Faroe Islands.

2 Free Transportation 

Are you planning on visiting Torshavn, the capital and the largest city of the region, during your journey to the Faroe Islands? Here is something that serves as an added bonus to whatever it is you would like to do while there. There is, per the capital's official website, free bus service offered throughout the municipality. That website also provides visitors with bus routes and timetables that can be accessed via a computer or a mobile device. Even if you do not plan on making lengthy trips while in Torshavn, it is only a positive that the free transportation is there at your service.

1 Ocean Views 


Are you worried that your travels to the Faroe Islands will sometimes keep you from enjoying awesome ocean views? The Belfast Telegraph story offers the following piece of information: “On the islands you are never more than three miles from the ocean.” That is, for those of you who don't mind getting from place to place on your feet, a walk-able distance or, at worst, a short drive. Just remember to bring your camera or put your phone's camera in its “HD” mode if it has one, because you are going to want to snap some memories of the views that the Faroe Islands provide on a daily basis.


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