As a matter of principle, I need to start this Faroe Islands elopement guide with a big disclaimer:
There is a practice in the Faroe Islands called grindadráp, or “the Grind.” It’s an annual whale hunt that goes back centuries. Understandably, it’s controversial for both foreigners and locals alike and has drawn criticism from environmental protection agencies.
I am, in no uncertain terms, personally against this practice. I adore whales, do not condone this kind of violent behaviour, and will donate a portion of my fee to the Sea Shepherds. Their “sole mission is to protect and conserve the world’s oceans and marine wildlife,” which includes supporting those Faroese locals who are against the Grind.
If you’d like to elope somewhere else with a similar vibe to avoid this practice entirely, I totally get it (hence the inclusion of this disclaimer in the first place). Ireland, Scotland, Norway, and Iceland all have semi-similar scenery (and are in the same part of the world), and I can personally recommend all four!
I will say that I’m heartened to see the ever increasing number of locals who want to see the practice done away with, and I’m sure that one day it will be.
It really is a beautiful, wild place for an elopement.
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The name “Faroe Islands” means sheep islands. Fun fact. It’s an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands between Iceland and Norway, part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Interestingly, the first known settlers to the islands were Irish monks, of all people, way, way back. The islands were later settled by Vikings, then became part of the Kingdom of Norway. Directly from https://www.faroeislands.fo because there’s no way I can summarize this better: “The Faroe Islands joined Norway into the dual monarchy with Denmark in the late 14th century. When this union was succeeded by a Norwegian-Swedish union in 1814, the former Norwegian territory of the Faroe Islands remained under the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark.”
Partly due of the archipelago’s location away from mainland Europe, the Faroese have always maintained a distinct culture and language. And, since 1948, they’ve been under self-governance.
As with pretty much everywhere else on the planet, the “best time of year” for someone else may not be the best time of year for you. I’ll give you the information, and then you get to decide which details are most important to you.
Have you ever traveled somewhere, got talking to a local, and heard, “We get all four seasons in one day”? The Faroe Islands archipelago is one of those places. There in the North Atlantic, cold Arctic water mixes with warm Gulf water. What may come as a shock to you is the relative mildness of the weather. Winters are warmer than I expected for somewhere so far north, with an average temperature of 37 F. Summers are quite cool, with an average temperature of 54 F.
I’d recommend you visit in the summer for the best chance at decent weather.
Most of the year, you can expect cloudy, windy weather. I love a windy day, me. Most photographers do. Creates all kind of movement and brings life to your photos. Especially for somewhere rugged like the Faroe Islands. Much like Ireland, you should plan for rain throughout the year.
It’s an interesting place: the weather can vary pretty drastically from one place to the next throughout the Faroes.
Because the Faroe Islands are so far north, the amount of daylight throughout the year varies a lot. The longest day of the year (21 June) will get you almost 20 hours of daylight. Whereas the shortest days in winter may have just 5 hours. And by daylight, I mean daylight. In the summer, those remaining hours are essentially twilight; it doesn’t get fully dark. Kind of like its neighbour, Iceland.
The Faroe Islands are still in the “ramp up” phase of their tourism efforts, but ramping up they are. The Faroes aren’t nearly as busy as Iceland, but if privacy is of the utmost importance to you, “other tourists” are something to consider.
As with most places in the northern hemisphere, the high season is during the summer. Better weather, hours more sunlight, and more people. Keep that in mind when you’re planning your trip!
As I mentioned above, there are eighteen islands making up the Faroe Islands archipelago. So you’re spoiled for choice!
With some caveats.
Some of the hiking trails in the Faroe Islands are restricted. They require either a fee ($11-80 per person) or a guide. Some areas are also subject to close depending on the weather conditions. After seeing how overrun so many of my favourite, wild places have become…I’m fully on board with the Faroese nipping this in the bud.
If you’re looking for somewhere picturesque to stay and explore, these are some charming towns in the Faroes:
I’ll not get too specific (those secrets are for my booked couples), but here are some beautiful places to visit:
This stunning, pristine place deserves our respect. Please follow the Leave No Trace principles when visiting. Use the hiking trails, take a tour if you want to get close to certain areas, don’t disturb the bird nests, close the gates behind you, leave the animals alone, don’t disturb or build new cairns, and leave every place better than you found it.
In the Faroes, it’s customary to pick up loose wool dropped by sheep, but it’s prohibited to pick plants or take stones or eggs.
It’s also worth noting that the cliff edges are extremely dangerous. Keep back from the edge!
Building your custom elopement timeline won’t come until much closer to your date, but it’s helpful to see some examples written out ahead of time. You need an idea of how many hours of photography you’d like to book. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person, so here are just a few simple timelines for you.
If you’d like to read more about timelines and what all-day elopements are like, I have an article just for you.
12:00 PM – You and your partner get ready for your day, enjoying your morning together, then getting dressed separately.
1:00 PM – Near your cute rental, you share a first look, seeing each other in your wedding clothes for the very first time.
1:30 PM – We walk through the town, taking both candid and artistic photos in the quiet streets.
2:30 PM – We leave to drive to the trailhead, meet up with your loved ones, then hike to your ceremony location.
4:30 PM – You have your ceremony, followed by group photos and a wee celebratory picnic.
6:30 PM – Your loved ones head back to the trailhead while you explore a wee bit farther for sunset.
8:00 PM – Photography coverage wraps up.
12:00 PM – You get ready together this time, helping each other get dressed and fix all the details.
1:30 PM – We head out for a kayak tour, starting at the largest lake in the country.
2:00 PM – We kayak down the length of the lake, towards the ocean
3:00 PM – Taking a break to go ashore, you take in a huge waterfall dropping into the ocean below. We take portraits and explore. You exchange private vows.
4:00 PM – We paddle back to the starting point.
5:00 PM – After kayaking, you head into town for a cozy dinner.
7:00 PM – Photography coverage wraps up.
5:00 AM – You get ready at your cabin rental overlooking the sea, together. You take the morning slowly, making coffee or tea, having a bite to eat, and getting dressed together.
7:00 AM – We head off in the pre-dawn light to a viewpoint nearby.
8:00 AM – You watch the sun rise together over the mountains, making everything glow as you share your wedding vows.
8:30 AM – We explore around the area, taking portraits and taking in all the views.
10:30 AM – You set up a picnic overlooking the sea and read letters from your loved ones back home.
11:30 AM – We hike back down to the town.
12:30 PM – You explore around the town with its grass-covered roofs and historical buildings.
1:30 PM – Photography coverage wraps up.
4:00 PM – We all meet up at the trailhead, hike up to your ceremony location, and choose the perfect place on the fly.
6:00 PM – You exchange your vows with the mountains as witness, wind whipping through your hair.
7:00 PM – The sun starts to go down over the sea as we explore and take portraits.
9:00 PM – We arrive back at the trailhead. Photography coverage wraps up.
Because the weather in the Faroes is so changeable, packing a variety of layers is a smart move. There’s an Ireland packing list here, which is so similar to what I recommend for the Faroe Islands that I’m linking it instead of re-typing.
Make sure you’ve got warm layers, waterproof outer layers, and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots. With the wind being what it is, gloves and a hat are also a good idea to keep you comfortable.
And bring your passport with you! You’ll need to have at least three months left on your passport. If you’re from the U.S., you won’t need a visa. Here’s a list of countries requiring one.
Lodging on the Faroe Islands ranges from luxurious, boutique hotels to simple hostels. There are great hotel options here and neighbourhood info here. Airbnb has some super cute private stays, and you can also find guesthouses in most towns. If you’re so inclined, you can rent a camper van if you’re looking to stay a little more off-grid!
When booking your lodging, take into account proximity to activities and hikes you’re interested in, whether you like the style (for photos!), and accessibility.
There are a number of activities for you in the Faroes, from chill to high energy. Here are some things you can do during your visit:
I realize I’m saying “this is a lot like Ireland” a lot, but…it’s true! Driving in the Faroes is remarkably similar to driving in Ireland.
The islands are connected by bridges, roads, and tunnels, so you can easily drive between them. There are three tunnels running under the sea throughout the islands, with varying toll rates. The major roads are paved, but smaller towns often have narrow, gravel roads.
Some rules to be aware of: you’re required to use headlights 24 hours a day; the lay-bys are for passing, not parking; off-road driving is prohibited
You can get legally married in the Faroe Islands if you aren’t a local. The City of Tórshavn provides civil ceremonies at no cost. You’ll need to bring your birth certificates and, if needed, divorce papers or death certificates for a former spouse. You’ll need to sort all of this out at least four weeks prior to your wedding. For the ceremony itself, you’ll need two witnesses, either people you bring with you or folks provided for you.
My recommendation is that you deal with the paperwork at home though, either before or after your trip to the Faroes. Your elopement day and paperwork day don’t have to be one and the same. You can read more about courthouse weddings in this article, and there are all kinds of ceremony ideas for you in this one.
The cost of your Faroe Islands elopement is going to vary depending on what you value and what you want your day to look and feel like. I know that sounds like something of a cop out, but it’s true no matter where you elope. I’ve done my best to give you a breakdown of things to consider, as well as likely price ranges.
Bear in mind that the currency in the Faroe islands is the Faroese króna, linked to the Danish krone. As of early 2023, 1 DKK is about $0.15, but credit cards are accepted throughout. Bring a credit card with no foreign travel fees, and you’re good to go.
To save yourself some money, book whatever you need to book in advance! Flights, lodging, tours, etc. It’s always cheaper to book ahead of time than last-minute. You can also travel during the low season, between October and April. Just be aware of the weather over the winter, and some reduced options for tours.
You can get to the Faroe Islands by flight or by ferry. Atlantic Airways is the local airline. They have pretty good baggage allowances and flights from several places in Europe.
If you’re flying from the United States, you won’t be able to get a direct flight to the Faroes; you’ll have to stop over in Europe first.
As of early-ish 2023, I’m seeing round-trip flights in the high season from Seattle or Los Angeles for $1800, and from New York for $1500. Flights vary wildly depending on where you’re flying from, what time of the year you’re traveling, and how far out you’re booking your trip.
You have a lot of lodging options! From guest houses to hotels to Airbnbs. Average hotel rooms are about $150/night. Airbnbs are around $110/night. It all depends on the level of comfort or luxury you’re looking for.
Similar to Iceland, dining out in the Faroes can be expensive. Alcohol is heavily taxed, so keep that in mind.
There are some fairly inexpensive grocery stores, like “Bonus.” Making meals yourself rather than eating out is a great way to save money.
The tap water is free and delicious, so bring your water bottle!
Rental cars during high season cost between $100-225 per day, depending on the type of car. Camper vans are available for rent at around $375 per day, which may be a good option if you’re looking for a more rugged experience. You’ll also need to take into consideration tolls, parking, and petrol. As of early 2023, petrol is just under $6/gallon.
This may be the most varied part of your wedding budget. Some folks hire a photographer and no one else, some hire a full team of vendors. And each vendor “type” has a range of prices too.
For international elopements, most experienced photographers will be in the $5-8k range. I’m leaving that broad because the industry is broad. I can’t speak specifically to other vendors, but you can read more about the elopement vendors available to you here.
I will say this, though: if you post online that you’re looking for vendors in a “cool location,” you’ll likely get people saying they’ll do it just for the cost of travel. While that seems appealing at first, I strongly recommend you do not go that route. It never works out for both parties, ever, and this is your freaking wedding day. Hire vendors who are good at what they do, align with your values, and have the systems and experience to back it all up.
Folks offering to work for free may not be operating legally, don’t have backups in place for your photos, don’t have much experience, may or may not even show up for your elopement… I wouldn’t risk it, loves. I’ve heard too many horror stories.
If you’re looking for an elopement photographer with travel experience who can find all the best locations for you, I’m your human. Read more about who I am here, and book a free vibe check to see if we’re a good fit!
You can read all about my elopement packages here. I’m based in Washington and Ireland; if you book a Faroe Islands elopement around the time I’m home in Ireland, you get the special Ireland pricing (:
Faroe Island elopement packages include full days of photography, a full digital gallery, help with locations, custom timeline building, a roll of film, and a bespoke, storytelling album.