Faroe Islands

Tórshavn sights and tips, Faroe Islands

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Tórshavn is the capital of the insanely beautiful Faroe Islands. A charming city with a rich, fascinating history. Also, Tórshavn is the place from which most people set out to explore the 18 islands. But there is also plenty to do and see in Tórshavn itself. In this special city you can enjoy culture, wander around in the old Reyn and eat really good food in traditional restaurants. In this article you will read about the history of the city, find sights to see in Tórshavn and read about what you really shouldn’t miss in this city.

Where exactly is Tórshavn located?

Tórshavn is located on the island of Streymoy, about a 40-minute drive from the Faroe Islands’ (only) airport, Vagar Airtport(FAE). Streymoy is connected by a submarine tunnel to the islands of Vagar and Eysturoy. Tórshavn is also the place where the ferry from Denmark arrives (Smyril Line), where ferries to the islands of Suðuroy (Smyril Line) and Nólsoy (Ternan) depart and where is the starting point of almost all day trips and tours. All this makes Tórshavn the perfect base for exploring the Faroe Islands.

Uti a Reyni Torshavn sights faeroer islands - Reislegende.nl
Traditional houses in the Faroe Islands

History of Tórshavn

History goes back more than 1,000 years in Tórshavn. The story of Tórshavn begins with the arrival of the Vikings on the islands in the 9th century. The Vikings, mainly from Norway and Denmark, settled on the Faroe Islands and created several settlements. Tórshavn was originally a small Viking village called Tórshavn or Thorshaven, which means Port of Thor. It refers to the Norse god Thor, who was worshipped by the Vikings. The settlement was conveniently located on the east coast of the island of Streymoy, surrounded by sheltered bays and fertile farmland.

In the 13th century, Tórshavn became the seat of the bishop of the Faroe Islands. This brought more influence and power to the city, after which it grew into an important religious and political center. In 1271, Tórshavn was officially recognized as a city with city rights, making it one of the oldest surviving parliamentary cities in the world. Tórshavn was an important trading center during the Middle Ages. Ships from all over Europe visited the port, which contributed to the city’s economic growth. Traders brought goods such as wood, salt, grain and textiles to the Faroe Islands and brought back products such as wool, fish and seal fur. This thriving trade brought prosperity and development to Tórshavn.

In the 16th century, the Faroe Islands came under the rule of Denmark and Norway. Tórshavn became the administrative center of the islands, and Danish rule had a strong influence on the city. Despite these external influences, Tórshavn managed to retain its unique character and traditional Faroese culture. In the 20th century, Tórshavn grew steadily and began to modernize. Infrastructure was improved, there was a lot of new construction and the town expanded to accommodate the growing population. Today, Tórshavn is a modern city with all the amenities you would expect.

Torshavn sights port faroe islands - Reislegende.nl
Port of Tórshavn

Tórshavn highlights and tips

Although Tórshavn is not very large in terms of area, there is plenty to do and see. No punishment to return to every evening, after a day full of discoveries in the Faroese archipelago!

Tinganes and Reyn

Tinganes is the small peninsula that lies between the two ports. This is where the Faroese government sits, in old red-colored warehouses. If in many other countries you cannot even get close to parliament buildings, here you can stroll between them at your leisure. Reyn (Úti á Reyni) is the neighborhood on the peninsula. Reyn is the oldest district of Tórshavn and here you will find many traditional, centuries-old peat houses. It is definitely worth visiting Tinganes and Reyn. It is only a small area, but you really feel like stepping back in time.

Heima í Havn

At Reyn you will find a number of very good restaurants together in a place called Heima í Havn. If you want to taste real Faroese food, for example with fermented ingredients, this is the place to be.

Reyni old town Torshavn sights faroe islands - Reislegende.nl

Skansin Fortress

The Skansin fortress in Tórshavn was built in 1580 to protect against the increasing number of attacks from the sea. The fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1677 and then restored. During World War II, the fort was the headquarters of the British Royal Navy. There is not very much left of the fort as it once was, but it is a beautiful historic site in Tórshavn. You have a nice view of the neighboring island of Nólsoy and the harbor from Skansin. From Tinganes you can walk there in a few minutes.

Skansin Fortress Torshavn Faroe Islands - Reislegende.nl
Skansin fortress

Listasavn Føroya

Listasavn Føroya is the Faroe Islands’ art museum, which features changing exhibitions by artists. In addition to pictures of nature and culture, you can see unique objects made from local materials (such as Faroese horsehair, for example). The main attraction of the musuem is a huge mirror room. You will also find a café, a store and a workshop space where activities for children are organized, among other things.

Port of Tórshavn – Eystaravág

Tórshavn has two main ports: Eystaravág (eastern port) and Vestaravág (western port). The eastern port is located east of the Tinganes peninsula and is the oldest port in Tórshavn. This port has traditionally been an important trade hub and was originally Tórshavn’s only port. It is still a busy port where fishing boats and cargo ships dock. Ferries to nearby islands and to Iceland and Denmark also depart from the eastern port.

Tinganes and port Torshavn sights Faroe Islands - Reislegende.nl

Port of Tórshavn – Vestaravág

The western port, Vestaravág, is located on the western side of Tinganes. This port has expanded considerably in recent decades. There is now a decent marina here along with the place where the daily fish market used to be: Vágsbotnur. Cozy cafes, pubs, restaurants and stores can be found in the former, colorful warehouses on the quay. Fresh fish is still sold here every week. Today, this part of Tórshavn is considered one of the city’s most lively spots.

Torshavn sights port Torshavn faroe islands - Reislegende.nl

The Nordic House

A busy cultural center in the Faroe Islands is The Nordic House in Tórshavn. More than 400 cultural events are held here every year. Think exhibitions, concerts and festivals for children. More than 120,000 people attend these every year. Should you not specifically want to attend an event, it is always a must to visit The Nordic House, or just look at it from the outside. It is a beautifully designed building; modern, yet truly Faroese.

The Nordic House Tórshavn highlights and tips Faroe Islands - Reislegende.nl
The Nordic house

Dómkirkjan (Havnar Kirkja)

Dómkirkjan, also known as Havnar Kirkja, is the second oldest church in the Faroe Islands. It was built in 1788 on the Tinganes peninsula and has been rebuilt and restored several times since then. The current building dates from 1865. The Dómkirkjan is one of the most famous sights in Törshavn.

Good food in Tórshavn

As you have read above, there are many good restaurants in Tórshavn where you can eat real traditional Faroese food. Restaurants I hear good stories about include those in Heima í Havn: Barbara Fish House, Áarstova, Ræst Fermented, Mikkeller Tórshavn and ROKS. I myself have a good experience with Skeiva pakkhús; a cozy restaurant in the harbor with delicious dishes. Paname Café is also an incredibly popular place.

What is there to see around Torshavn?

Run out of sights in Tórshavn itself? Then look for it a little further away! There are also many great things to see near Tórshavn, several of which are a short distance from the city. Here are some tips near Tórshavn.


The National Museum of the Faroe Islands bears the name Tjóðsavnið and can be found in Hoyvík, next to Tórshavn. In Tjóðsavnið is a permanent exhibition about everything related to the Faroe Islands. Think history, geology, botany, archaeology, folk life and much more. The museum houses a number of cultural gems, including 15th century pews from Kirkjubøur, historical finds (from the time of the Vikings) and traditional Faroese clothing.


Centuries ago, Svartafoss was located a long way outside Tórshavn, in the middle of nature. Today, the waterfall is located in built-up area, on the old border between Tórshavn and Hoyvík. In wet periods there is a considerable flow of water to admire, but in dry periods the waterfall is almost dry. If you are going to visit Hoyvík be sure to visit the waterfall!

The Svartafoss Waterfall in Torshavn, Faroe Islands - Reislegende.nl


From Tórshavn you can walk through hilly countryside in just under two hours (7 kilometers) to beautiful Kirkjubøur. Throughout the town are the well-known traditional, black-tiled houses with grass roofs, and you can also see the ruins of the Gothic St. Magnus Cathedral here. You can return to Tórshavn on foot, but you also have the option of boarding a bus to the capital in Kirkjubøur.



If you have a rental car at your disposal, you can drive from Tórshavn to the beautiful Norðradalur within 20 minutes. If you descend into the valley you drive on the most winding road of the Faroe Islands; a picture!

Nordradalur Faroe Islands - Reislegende.nl

Törshavn as a base for exploring the Faroe Islands?

You might think that driving from accommodation to accommodation in the Faroe Islands is a good idea. It certainly is; especially if you want to stay overnight in beautiful, special places. However, if you want a permanent place to return to every night, then Törshavn is a very good base for exploring the archipelago. Because almost all the islands are connected by tunnels are connected, you won’t have long travel times. For example, from Törshavn you can be in an hour in Viðareiði, the northernmost village on the Faroe Islands. You could say that most places can be reached within an hour, apart from the islands that use a ferry service. Having a fixed spot in Tórshavn as a base can be quite nice then!

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