The Føroyar Islands of Denmark, also known as the Faroe Islands, are a group of 18 small, rocky, volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean.
They’re filled with beautiful scenic views everywhere you turn, but tourists are still rarely seen there. With a small population of less than 50,000, there are said to be more sheep than people — in fact, the name “Føroyar
” actually means “sheep islands.”
Photographer Kevin Faingnaert hitchhiked across the islands in February of this year, staying with welcoming locals in their small villages. “The Faroe Islands are an absolutely enchanting and moodily beautiful place,” Faingnaert told Business Insider of the experience.
Below, see his beautiful photos of the islands that have remained one of Europe’s best relatively hidden gems.
Located halfway between Scotland and Iceland, the islands are hardly visible on the map unless you zoom in.
To get to the Faroe Islands, there are direct flights from Denmark, England, Iceland, and Norway year-round.
For a more scenic route, there's a direct ferry from Hirtshals, Denmark, twice a week during the summer and once a week during the winter.
Although the 18 islands are separate, it's pretty easy to get around. Most of the islands are connected by roads, bridges, and underwater tunnels.
'The smallest villages enjoy a silent northern beauty and secludedness,' Faingnaert said. 'At first glance, all houses seem abandoned, and you feel like the only person around for miles.'
Faingnaert said that many of the people are hospitable, but shy until you get to know them. 'When somebody saw me outside, it didn't take long before someone invited me to warm up in the house,' he said.
'I started talking with them, and before I knew it, I was eating dinner with the whole family,' he said.
Faingnaert explained that in most villages, everybody knew each other. 'Either they are related, they are friends from friends, or they know each other's names through stories,' he said. 'Faroese people love to talk about each other, in a good way.'
One of his favourite moments from the trip was meeting Simun Hanssen, pictured below. Every morning, Hanssen collects bottles with messages, which he finds on the shores of the islands. He took Faingnaert in and showed him some of the bottles he had found. 'I have a fond memory of that day with Simun, reading messages from bottles and listening to his stories,' Faingnaert said.
Throughout the seasons, the Faroe Islands offer beautifully dramatic views -- intense greens and blues in the summer, and pure, icy whites in the winter.
'Every village is surrounded by a stunning landscape of rocky sea-cliffs, cloud-encircled mountains, and the restless Atlantic Ocean,' he said.
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