United Kingdom

Why the fabulous Faroes is Europe's best-kept travel secret

Puffins, end-of-the-world landscapes, ancient burial grounds, turf-roofed buildings – and a thriving arts scene with plenty of Michelin-starred food. All this and more are on offer in the Faroe Islands, the wildcard on the UK’s green list for quarantine-free overseas holidays.

The 18 rocky outcrops in the North Atlantic that make up the Faroes are billed as Europe’s best-kept travel secret. They are part of the Kingdom of Denmark and can be reached in little over an hour on direct flights from Edinburgh, or via Copenhagen or Reykjavik in Iceland.

The perfect taster trip is an eight-day fly-drive booked through Regent Holidays. Packages include flights, a 4x4 rental car and accommodation booked across the archipelago.

Pastel perfect: Colourful houses in Torshavn, the capital of the Faroes, where visitors will find delightful handicraft shops

The Faroes is home to one of the world's biggest puffin colonies

Follow the company’s suggested itinerary and you’ll see one of the world’s biggest puffin colonies. Board ferries for side-trips to islands with some of the world’s sharpest cliffs and the oldest Viking settlements. Expect fjords, waterfalls and an optical illusion of a lake that appears to float above the sea.

Other unexpected sights include the rocking stones – offshore boulders you can see moving as they’re buffeted by waves.

Great food is guaranteed (it’s no surprise that fish is a highlight) while Danish pastries make breakfasts a joy before a visit to the handicraft shops of Torshavn, the quirky capital. Fly-drives from £1,465pp (regent-holidays.co.uk).

A series of five or ten-day self-drive trips are also on offer from Discover the World. On this trip you’ll see Seal Woman, a mysterious-looking waterside statue that ties in with the myths and legends that abound on the islands. Ten days from £1,108pp plus fights (discover-the-world.com).

If you prefer to be part of a small group, Responsible Travel has eight-day holidays that take in the islands’ biggest waterfalls and distant lighthouses. There’s also a ruined cathedral and an undersea tunnel that doubles as a massive art gallery. Tours from £2,865pp, including flights (responsibletravel.com). They also arrange photography holidays during which you can take pictures in incredible landscapes.

Tour managers look after guests every step of the way on a nature tour of the islands with Brightwater Holidays. It includes secret gardens, a private visit to a Faroese farm, bird-watching and lots of optional extras. From £2,195pp including flights for five days (brightwaterholidays.com). 

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