Discover the Hidden Gems of Torshavn: A Complete Guide to the Faroe Islands Capital

Imagine yourself standing amidst the misty Faroe Islands, gazing upon the vibrant turf-roofed houses that seem to breathe life into Torshavn, the captivating capital city.

Discover the unique history, stunning surrounding landscapes, and rich culture of Torshavn. Embark on an unforgettable adventure and immerse yourself in this enchanting destination.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the rich history of Tórshavn, birthplace of the Faroese nation.
  • Journey through time with a scenic hike along Oyggjarvegur trail and explore its array of unique buildings from Viking Age to 16th/17th centuries.
  • Enjoy cultural experiences at the National Gallery, traditional cuisine in renowned restaurants and modern flavors in historic settings while taking advantage of free public bus system for convenient navigation around city limits.

Unveiling Tórshavn’s Rich History

A view of the Faroe Islands capital Tórshavn, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean

Tórshavn, the Faroese capital city, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts with its roots tracing back to the Viking Age and its significant role as the birthplace of the Faroe Islands’ nation. Steeped in tradition and nestled on the south-east coast of the islands, the city’s vibrant houses and historic centre add to its charm.

From the bustling Tórshavn harbour to the city centre of central Tórshavn, every corner of this North Atlantic gem holds a story waiting to be discovered.

The Birthplace of a Nation

Venture into the heart of Tórshavn and find yourself transported back in time as you explore Tinganes, the historic center of the Faroese capital.

Tinganes in Torshavn
Picture by Aline Dassel.

The Norse established their parliament on the Tinganes peninsula in the year 850 AD, and it remains one of the oldest parliamentary meeting places in the world. Stroll through the turf-roofed maroon government buildings, which still house a branch of local government, including the prime minister’s office, and immerse yourself in the captivating history of this ancient site.

As you delve deeper into the birthplace of the Faroe Islands, consider joining the Thorshavn Walking Tour, which offers a guided journey through the historic district of Tinganes and beyond, including the prime minister’s office.

Or if you prefer, discover the city on your own pace:

Along the way, venture to Roykstovan in Kirkjuboargardur, a farmhouse-turned-museum believed to be the oldest still-inhabited wooden house on the planet. This remarkable location also plays host to popular supper club events, providing a unique opportunity to savor both history and culinary delights.

A Walk Through Time

Step off the beaten path and into the picturesque Reyn district of Tórshavn, where you’ll find:

  • Black, turf-roofed houses
  • Viking Age constructions that stand as a testament to the city’s rich history
  • A cluster of charming chocolate-box houses constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries

Marvel at these sights as you wander through this enchanting neighborhood.

Reyn district in Torshavn
Photo by: T. H. Jensen

Discover the unique architecture of the Faroe Islands in the Reyn district, where the tradition of building houses with turf roofs dates back to the Viking Age.

These distinctive dwellings provide insulation during the cold Faroese winters, making them as practical as they are beautiful. From the first church erected in Tórshavn in 1609 to the diminutive turf-roofed dwellings, a walk through Reyn is truly a walk through time.

Navigating the Heart of the Faroe Islands Capital

A view of the city centre of Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands
Photo by Andy Arbeit on Unsplash

Getting around Tórshavn is made easy by the city’s free public bus system, Bussleidin. Whether you’re exploring the city center or venturing further afield, the Bussleidin offers a convenient and cost-effective way to see the sights of Tórshavn and beyond.

For those craving a more adventurous excursion, embark on a scenic drive along the Oyggjarvegur road, offering panoramic views of the city and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Seven Free Routes to Discovery

Utilize Tórshavn’s seven routes, the complimentary bus system, to tap into the spirit of exploration, gaining access to the historic town of Kirjubøur and various scenic locations on the island of Streymoy.

Since 2007, the Bussleidin buses have been entirely gratis to the public, allowing you to spend the day boarding and disembarking at your leisure as you uncover the diverse charms of Tórshavn and its surrounding areas.

Click for a larger map with timetable.

To make the most of your journey, visit the Tórshavn Bus Terminal, located at the harbor in Tórshavn, where you can obtain up-to-date information on the bus routes and their schedules. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the Bussleidin offers an unparalleled opportunity to discover the beauty and history of the Faroe Islands capital without breaking the bank.

From Sea to Summit

If you’re seeking an elevated perspective, the Oyggjarvegur trail, a 21-kilometer long hiking route from Tórshavn tot Leynar, is an good choice. Although the trail is of a difficult nature due to its length and a landslide in steep Mjóstígg, it can be hiked year-round, offering breathtaking views of the city and the North Atlantic Ocean.

Check here for details about the route.

As you ascend, marvel at the ever-changing landscape that reveals the stunning beauty of the Faroe Islands from a bird’s-eye view.

Cultural Encounters at the National Gallery

A view of the National Gallery in the Faroe Islands capital Torshavn

Dive into the lively Faroese culture at the National Gallery of the Faroe Islands, which houses the archipelago’s premier art collection. This renowned gallery showcases paintings, sculptures, and other works of art created by local artists.

In addition to its impressive collection, the National Gallery also hosts occasional concerts, providing a unique opportunity to experience the rich artistic heritage of the Faroe Islands.

The Culinary Scene of the North Atlantic Ocean

A view of a traditional Faroese supper club in the city of Tórshavn
By: Unknown artist

Embark on a culinary journey through Tórshavn’s rich dining scene, melding traditional Faroese cuisine and contemporary flavors. From Michelin-starred Koks to cozy local eateries, there’s no shortage of delicious dining options to satisfy your cravings and introduce you to the flavors of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Check some of the best options.

Taste the Tradition

Experience authentic Faroese dishes at renowned restaurants like Barbara and Raest. At Barbara, indulge in tapas-style fish dishes, fish soup with cod and leek, langoustine, monkfish, and mushrooms, all showcasing locally-caught Faroese seafood. For a more immersive experience, visit Raest, a restaurant devoted to fermented food that highlights the traditional Faroese technique of preserving food through fermentation. Savor the unique flavors of these traditional dishes as you dine in the heart of Tórshavn.

Modern Flavors in a Historic Setting

Sample contemporary flavors at Etika, a popular sushi restaurant located in Tórshavn, offering a wide array of sushi options as well as grilled fish, seafood, beef, and lamb.

For a more casual dining experience, head to Mikkeller, a craft beer bar situated in a historic building. With a selection of 16 taps, Mikkeller offers a range of craft beers, including their own brews and beers from close and distant friends, providing a refreshing accompaniment to your culinary adventure in Tórshavn.

Restful Retreats: Where to Stay in Tórshavn

A painting of a hotel in the Faroe Islands capital Tórshavn

After a day of exploration and adventure, unwind at a tranquil retreat in Tórshavn, offering an array of accommodations to cater to every traveler’s preferences. From boutique hotels and guesthouses to Airbnb options, there’s a cozy haven waiting for you in this enchanting Faroese capital.

Choose from highly-rated hotels like Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands, Hotel Brandan, and Havgrim Seaside Hotel 1948, or opt for guesthouses such as The Bird / Guesthouse / 10 min Walk Downtown and Hotel Djurhuus. For a more personalized experience, consider unique Airbnb options like comfortable cottages, contemporary apartments in downtown Tórshavn, or traditional Nordic log cabins in the old town region. No matter your preference, you’ll find the perfect home away from home as you discover the wonders of Tórshavn.

Shop Like a Local: Unique Finds in Tórshavn

A view of the Tórshavn harbour, the capital of the Faroe Islands
View of a colorful harbour in torshavn’s historic tinganes district.

Explore Tórshavn’s captivating streets, shop as locals do, and uncover unique items crafted locally that embody the Faroe Islands’ spirit. From warm woolen clothing to artisanal crafts, there’s no shortage of treasures to be found in the city’s shops and boutiques.

Visit SMS Shopping Center, Ostrom, Ullvoruhusio, and Einfalt for a variety of locally-made items, including exquisite knitwear and handcrafted gifts or souvenirs. For the finest in local woolen products, head to Føroya Heimavirkisfelag, Guðrun & Guðrun, and Snældan, where you’ll find a wide selection of cozy sweaters, scarves, and mittens that embody the rich traditions of the Faroe Islands. As you explore Tórshavn’s shops, you’ll uncover the perfect mementos to commemorate your unforgettable adventure in the North Atlantic.

Tórshavn’s Architectural Marvels

A view of the government buildings and the Faeroese Parliament in the Faroe Islands capital Tórshavn
By: Erik Christensen, CC BY-SA 3.0

Tórshavn boasts a plethora of architectural wonders that highlight the city’s rich heritage and distinct character, including the Tórshavn Cathedral. From the striking modern design of Vesturkirkjan church to the historic Tinganes district, Tórshavn’s architectural highlights are sure to leave you in awe.

Constructed in 1975, Vesturkirkjan church stands as a testament to Tórshavn’s evolution, with its pyramid-shaped copper spire and simple, pure style. The interplay between the white stonewalls and black stone tiles adds to the church’s distinctive appearance, making it a must-see landmark during your visit to the Faroese capital.

In contrast, the Tinganes district serves as a reminder of Tórshavn’s ancient roots, with its turf-roofed maroon buildings and centuries-old parliamentary meeting place. As you explore these architectural marvels, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of history and design that makes Tórshavn so captivating.

Seasonal Splendors: Weather and When to Visit

A view of the city of Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands during the summer months
Photo by James Rathmell on Unsplash

When planning your Tórshavn visit, consider the city’s climatic patterns and optimal times to fully experience everything the Faroe Islands have to offer. With its mild summers and cool winters, Tórshavn provides a unique and ever-changing backdrop for your adventures.

The summer months of May to August offer the most consistent weather, with summer temperatures reaching up to 15°C. This is the ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the city’s many attractions. However, Tórshavn’s misty weather can be equally enchanting, with the fog rolling in during July and casting a dreamlike veil over the entire capital.

No matter when you choose to visit, Tórshavn’s seasonal splendors will provide a breathtaking setting for your Faroese adventure.

Beyond the City Limits: Day Trips and Excursions

Expand your horizons beyond Tórshavn’s city limits to uncover breathtaking attractions located just a brief journey away. From the awe-inspiring Vestmanna Bird Cliffs to the serene beauty of Sørvágsvatn Lake and Gasadalur Waterfall, there’s a wealth of natural wonders to explore in the surrounding areas.

Embark on a day trip to Vestmanna Bird Cliffs, where a 40-minute drive or bus ride from Tórshavn will bring you to the Vestmanna Tourist Centre, the departure point for boat tours of these magnificent cliffs, teeming with seabirds.

For a truly unforgettable experience, venture to Gasadalur Waterfall, where a charming village, delicious homemade cake, and ample hiking trails await.

Essential Traveler Information

Arm yourself with our vital travel information for hassle-free preparation for your Tórshavn trip. From currency and language to tipping etiquette, we’ve got you covered, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey to the Faroe Islands.

Currency Convenience

Before you set off on your Faroese adventure, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Danish krone, the official currency of Tórshavn and the Faroe Islands. With a variety of denominations, including:

  • 50 krone notes
  • 100 krone notes
  • 200 krone notes
  • 500 krone notes
  • 1000 krone notes
  • 50-øre coins
  • 1-krone coins
  • 2-krone coins
  • 5-krone coins
  • 10-krone coins

You’ll be well-equipped to navigate the local economy and make the most of your trip.

Language Literacy

A picture of the beautiful city of Torshavn, the capital of Faroe Islands, known for its high language literacy rate.

Although Faroese and Danish are the primary languages spoken in Tórshavn, English is widely spoken by locals and used throughout the tourism industry. With nearly every Faroe Islander fluent in English, you’ll have no trouble communicating with the friendly residents and making the most of your time in this enchanting destination.

For a more immersive experience, consider learning a few basic Faroese or Danish phrases to help you connect with the local culture and make your trip even more memorable.

Gratuity Guidelines

A view of the Tórshavn harbour, the capital of the Faroe Islands, with ferries, airport, villages, taxis, and buses
Photo by Jakob Søby on Unsplash

Tipping is not obligatory in Tórshavn and the Faroe Islands, as service charges are typically included in all stated prices. However, if you receive exceptional service at a restaurant, bar, café, or taxi, a small gratuity is always appreciated.

When it comes to tipping in Tórshavn, the choice is yours, allowing you to fully enjoy your experience without the stress of calculating gratuities.

Nautical Journeys: Ferries and the Harbour

Explore the Faroe Islands by sea, leveraging Tórshavn’s comprehensive ferry network reaching nearby islands and international destinations such as Denmark and Iceland. Whether you’re looking to explore the enchanting Nólsoy island or embark on a journey to the bustling ports of Denmark and Iceland, Tórshavn’s ferries provide an exciting and convenient way to experience the beauty and charm of the North Atlantic.


From its rich history and stunning landscapes to its vibrant culture and welcoming locals, Tórshavn is a captivating destination that promises an unforgettable adventure. As you explore this hidden gem of the North Atlantic, you’ll uncover the unique charm and beauty of the Faroe Islands, creating memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags, brush up on your Faroese, and prepare to be enchanted by the allure of Tórshavn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the capital of the faroe islands?

The capital city of the Faroe Islands is Tórshavn, which translates to ‘Thor’s harbour’. This modern yet traditional city is located on the southeast coast of Streymoy, the largest island in the archipelago.

What is the best time to visit Tórshavn?

The best time to visit Tórshavn is from May to August, offering warm weather and plenty of outdoor activities.

Are there any traditional Faroese dishes that I should try while in Tórshavn?

If you’re looking to sample Faroese cuisine, you should visit Raest for fermented dishes and Barbara for locally-caught seafood when in Tórshavn.

What type of accommodations are available in Tórshavn?

Tórshavn offers a range of accommodation options, including boutique hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb stays.

What are some must-see attractions in and around Tórshavn?

Tórshavn offers attractions such as the historic Tinganes district, Vesturkirkjan church, and the National Gallery. Day trip destinations include Vestmanna Bird Cliffs, Sørvágsvatn Lake, and Gasadalur Waterfall.