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If you love getting ripped off, go to the Faroe Islands!

If you love getting ripped off, go to the Faroe Islands!

Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:02 AM
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If you love getting ripped off, go to the Faroe Islands!

The good news first: you don't have to pay for breathing. If you plan to do anything else but breathe you are in for a crippling, expensive ride.
Let's start with transport. I took a long time to research to what extent you can use public transport to get around the islands. There are few places you can visit and return on the same day. If you want to visit more than one place in a day and return, you have to spend a lot of time researching. And I'm talking regardless of whether these are places you actually want to visit. (This is not a complaint. I fully understand that you can't have busses go frequently in a place with a population of 55000 people.)
The next issue with public transport is a lack of information and a terrible level of reliability. When you check the schedule online, most places seem to have only one bus stop. There is no map that shows where the bus stops are. But even the small town of Sandavagur, which I spent the first days in, had at least 3 bus stops. And there are no schedules at the bus stop. So you have to wonder which bus stop the time, that is shown on the online schedule, corresponds to. Then I thought, well, it takes the bus 3 minutes max. from the first to the last stop. If I'm at a bus stop 15 minutes before the time shown on the online schedule, I should be fine, regardless of which bus stop is meant on the online schedule. I was at the main road 17 minutes before departure and 2 minutes away from the bus stop and the bus drive past me, so it was 15 minutes early. And I heard the same story from other travellers. The customer service of the public transport company is no help. I sent them messages on 4 different occasions and topics. I only received one useful answer, the rest was more or less "check the website". Their schedules are not easy to read because there are many asterisks (e.g. some busses only operate upon request) and at least once it seemed that contradictory conditions applied.
While we're on the subject of customer service, I made this experience with other companies too. I wanted to do a hike that requires a guide and tried all communication channels that hiking.fo offers but never received an answer. Same thing when I tried to book a Spa visit at Foroya Hotel in Torshavn.

Going back to the transport issue, It became clear that without a car, you will either spend several days visiting only one destination each or you have to hitchhike.
So I looked into rental cars. (This was when I planned the trip, not after I made the above mentioned experience. So it was early enough to hope for reasonable prices.) Prices start at 150€/day (without full insurance) and that is only when you take a small car and don't need anything specific. If you need a bigger car or the small ones are not available anymore, you may have to pay 200€+ per day. Anywhere else that I've been the prices were around 50€/day. One thing that bothered me with the rental is that the deposit you have to make is paid right away. In other places the credit card is charged and the deposit is "blocked/reserved" and released again when you return the car without damage. In this case the deposit was paid immediately and later paid back by the rental company. The problem with that is that the deposit was 1000€ and I have to pay 1,75% when I use the credit card in another country. So I basically lost 17,50€ for nothing. In the end I got a rental for 2 days only.
I had a late flight and arrived too late to catch the last bus to my accomodation. The taxi drivers know the bus schedules and charge you accordingly. For a 6 minute drive I had to pay 36€, easily 3 times what I'd pay for a cab at home.
One good thing about transport was the city busses in Torshavn that are free of charge. But there are some issues here too. Some of the schedules are again hard to read. And there is no service/tool (also for the SSL buses that travel between towns) where you can just enter your point of departure and destination that will then show which bus you need to take. It's tedious work to figure it all out. And it doesn't help that the bus drivers sometimes don't know the names of their bus stops.

I spent the first few days in a hostel in Sandavagur. Unfortunately booking.com did not properly inform me that my bed would be in a bus and that I have to bring a sleeping bag, otherwise I'd be charged for linen. When you go through all pictures of the hostel on booking.com you will see some of the bus' interior, but at no point in the booking process was it made clear that this would be my "room". Price was 34€/night (+ one time payment of 8€ for the linen), which is 2-3x what hostels cost in other countries I've been in. The host was very supportive and friendly and overall the stay was OK. There was no place you could lock your backpack in, though.
The rest of the trip I spent in an Airbnb in Torshavn. It was the only affordable one, costing 74€/night. But it was 45 minutes away from the city center and most of the way to the Airbnb is uphill. More central places started at 160€/night and the range was quite extreme, going to 450€/night.

Now if you want to say this may all be due to the war and inflation, there are 2 things to say about that. I ran into a former politician who was in parliament all his life and he told me the Faroe Islands are not that entangled in world politics and not quite as much affected by inflation as e.g. central Europe. Secondly, I can list some rip-offs that have nothing to do with inflation. Here goes:
A popular tourist attraction is the Island Mykines where swarms of poffins reside. What you are not told before taking the ferry to Mykines, is that upon arrival you are charged 36€ to be allowed to walk the island.
Among the most annoying things was the fee that you have to pay for using some hiking trails. The fee for the Trælanípan hike for example was 28€. And this is a short hike (1 hour one way). For this price you would expect a trail that is at least well developed. But there were only 60-70m or so that had wooden steps. You couldn't get lost because it's a short track and soon enough you can't go left anymore anyway (cliffs). But especially at the end, if you want to go down to the waterfall, you just have to find your way through a rugged stoney and dangerous landscape. On this hike and later on some other places I also realized the pictures are often misleading. Trælanípan is a spot where you are supposed to see an optical illusion. There is a large lake and behind it and 150m or so below it you can see the sea. However it turned out that the pictures were taken either from the other side of the lake or by a drone. (You can't get to the other side at the end of the trail, unless you walk ~12km around the lake. It's shorter if you don't take the trail.) Which is strange because on the one hand you are not allowed to use drones, but on the other they use them for misleading marketing pictures.
I had booked 2 helicopter flights. Good thing about this is that it's subsidized and affordable. Because of this, however, you can only book one flight per day and cannot use the helicopter to return (on the same day). That's understandable, they don't want the subsidies to be taken advantage of. Here you have to watch out. As far as I could tell there are only 2 places you can go to by helicopter and return the same day (by other means of transportation). If you want to stay the night and return the next day, be prepared to pay a lot for accomodation, because the accomodations know about the logistics predicament.
My first flight was cancelled due to weather conditions and you don't get your money back if it's cancelled for reasons that are out of the hand of the operator. So then I cancelled the second flight myself, because the weather didn't look like it would allow a flight, even on another day. Yes, the weather is unpredictable on the Faroe Islands and can change quickly, but I wouldn't speculate on it getting better. The weather is mostly the same all year round.
When the first flight was cancelled I tried to call the operator. After 21 minutes in queue the line was cut because the entire credit I had on my Faroese SIM card was used up while waiting. I also have never received a response to the email I had sent to the operator.

One more thing to be aware of if you're from the EU: while the Faroe Islands are somewhat connected to Denmark and the EU, the roaming policy does not apply there. So you have to get a local SIM card, otherwise using data e.g. for navigation is going to get expensive.

The best things that happened during the trip were:
I ran into a couple that had booked a Kayak tour and there was one spot left. They gave it to me for free. The tour was nice as the weather, while foggy, was good enough and the sea still enough to do the trip and also visit 2 extra locations (a cave and a small secluded beach).
My Airbnb host allowed me to wash some clothes.
I was able to hitch a ride 4 times.
I didn't make use of this, but you should know that there are only 4-5 dark/twilight hours a day. So this allows you to be very flexible with your activities and you can actually take pictures very early in the morning and late at night.

There is not a lot of variety in terms of landscape. If you've seen a few places you've seen most of what the Faroe Islands have to offer. Torshavn, Gjogv and Tjornuvik stood out a bit from other places. Other than that wherever I went I felt I had already seen the scenery before.

To sum it up, this was by far the worst trip of my life. Maybe in 8-10 years the Faroe Islands will turn into a place where tourists can travel mostly free of worries and (hopefully) get their money's worth. Though the weather and risk of cancelled activities will remain.
If you have money and time to burn and no other places you want to visit anymore, go ahead and let the Faroe Islands devour your money. Otherwise, if you haven't been to e.g. Iceland, Scotland or Switzerland yet, you should try that. There you can count on getting your money's worth. With the money I had to spend on 11 days on the Faroe Islands I could've gone to those countries for 2,5 weeks (including a car throughout the entire trip!).
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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plus you can get to see one of the most disgusting slaughters of dolphin and whale in the western world. Boycott Faroe!

Last edited by bilboburgler; Jul 13th, 2022 at 09:58 AM.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
plus you can get to see one of the mist disgusting slaughters of dolphin and whale in the western world. Boycott Faroe!
My thoughts exactly.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 10:05 AM
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plus you can get to see one of the most disgusting slaughters of dolphin and whale in the western world. Boycott Faroe!
Agreed!
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 10:19 AM
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I also agree with bilbo.
Much as I would like to go there I won't because of the dolphin slaughter. It's also why I won't go to Iceland. Though I am a bit of a hypocrite as I have been to Norway.

On another note my Dutch provider has EU roaming for the Faroes so it is not true that it is not covered by EU roaming, it depends on your provider. Vodafone don't include them. It is something that you should check before leaving.And of course it is an expensive place to visit, and barely caters for tourists (yet).
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
On another note my Dutch provider has EU roaming for the Faroes so it is not true that it is not covered by EU roaming, it depends on your provider. Vodafone don't include them. It is something that you should check before leaving.
I did check beforehand, that's how I knew it's not covered and I don't know of any provider in Germany that does. I can't imagine the option you had is a standard everywhere in the EU but Germany.
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Old Jul 13th, 2022, 01:29 PM
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Beat me to it Bilbo - I’ve seen some vile things in my time including a gang of lads taking a dead cow off their pick up in Perth WA loading onto a speedboat with shotguns with the sole intention of attracting Great Whites to shoot.

However……The Faroe Islanders should be boycotted - this year slaughter had to be curtailed because they killed too many dolphins (1400)

So The Faroes are a rip off , populated by a fair few vile individuals.
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 11:03 AM
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It's not that bad :)

The public transportation is hard here, because we are only 50.000 people. It's hard to fill the busses that are running currently and hopeless to add a lot more. I would recommend a rental car if you want to get around.

The bus schedule is listed on SSL.FO in English. Myself and tourists I've talked to find it easy enough to read. I have never even heard about a bus arriving 15 mins early, so not sure if that's true.

Usually it says that the bus is in Sandavágur at f.x. 15.00 and you should be at the bus stop at 15.00 regardless of which bus-stop it is. The bus stops for SSL have a blue marker.

Cars and rental cars on the islands are expensive. The import duty is about 200% on cars - a lot like in Denmark.

If the rental company wants the deposit up front or not depends on the rental company. Ask them beforehand and choose a different one. There are plenty.

I am sorry you saw pictures of a bus and booked it without realizing it was a bus. Maybe it should be made more clear on the website. I didn't even know you can rent busses like that

And trips etc. are charged. I have travelled all over the world and that is the case most places. Money is used for maintenance etc.

If Atlantic Airways cancels a flight you get the money back. I'm not sure what you are on about.

We can't really help if your phone company includes the Faroe Islands in your coverage. Often it's overlooked, because it's a small country. But that has absolutely nothing to do with the country and all to do with your carrier. Complain to them. There are companies that cover the Faroe Islands.

People are super friendly and helpful

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Thankfully most people have a great experience
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 01:50 PM
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You're misrepresenting a bunch of stuff I said.
I did not say I saw that the room was in a bus. I said there were pictures of a bus among all pictures. This does not mean that the booking process stated that the room would be in a bus. There are more than 20 pictures of different rooms. You can't tell from the pictures which room you get and there was no mention of a bus in the booking documents.

Whether you believe it or not, whether your or travellers' experience with the bus was better or not, the bus was too early and I waited 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time, so it couldn't have been late either.

The point about the deposit was not at which time you pay it. Every rental company in every country will require a deposit. No problem. The point is that any other place I was no money actually exchanges hands with regards to the deposit. Because the deposit was actually paid and not just reserved/blocked, I paid 1,75% both for the payment and the refund. So I lost roughly 35€ for nothing.

About the SIM card: I did not complain to the Faroe Islands. Actually I did not complain at all. I only stated that a local SIM card is probably needed.

What I'm "on about" about helicopter flight cancellations you can read here in the last paragraph: atlanticairways.com/en/about-us/eu-261

​​​​​​​About the trips, I'm not sure what you're on about. I clearly stated that the issue with the hiking fee is not the fee itself, but that the trail is undeveloped. And this doesn't make sense even from the view of the landowner. If the trail is undeveloped, people will go off trail to avoid spots that are muddy and slippery. When they go off trail they destroy more of the land.
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Old Jul 16th, 2022, 02:18 PM
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Just blood drenched.
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