Kalsoy Island is by far one off the most beautiful places to visit in the Faroe Islands. The famous Kallur Lighthouse, located on the northern tip of the island, is an iconic site in the Faroes and is. every photographers dream.
A day trip to Kalsoy Island is easy to organise and the hike up to the lighthouse is a short and pretty easy one. Below is my quick guide to visiting Kalsoy, including how to get there, public transport options and some details about the hike and this village of Kalsoy.
VIDEO: Kalsoy Island Lighthouse Hike
Getting the Kalsoy ferry from Klaksvik
Getting “Sam” the Kalsoy ferry from Klaksvik is pretty easy and straight forward as long as you know the timetable – which changes from summer to winter and goes less frequently on Sundays. There are two waiting lanes so just show up about 15 to 20 minutes before scheduled departure then drive onto the ferry when directed.
They only take cash on board so be sure to have enough to pay for the car and driver, plus 60 extra per passenger in the car. The journey can be a little choppy, but it only takes 20 minutes so you’ll be back on terra firms in no time. You won’t get asked to show your ticket on the way back as there’s only one way to reach the island by car (this boat!).
Kalsoy Ferry Timetables
As said above, the timetable depends on whether you’re visiting during the summer or winter and is very reduced on Sunday’s I’ve copied it from the ferry site as of June 1st 2019, but be sure to check for up to date schedules here.
Torshavn to Kalsoy public transport
If you don’t have a car, you can take a bus from Torshavn to Kalsoy that lines up nicely with the ferry timetables, giving you enough time to walk from the bus stop to the ferry port and still have about 30 minutes before the ferry leaves. Same applied when travelling back, with the ferry arriving at 6pm in the evening, for example, and the bus to Torshavn leaving Klaksvik at 6.15pm.
You can actually buy a weekly pass for about 100 euro that gives you unlimited rides on all ferries and all buses for 7 days. Seems the easiest way to get around if you don’t have a car.
Bus transfers on Kalsoy Island
Once you arrive on Kalsoy Island, the ferry company actually has a small, blue bus that will take you up to Trollanes to to the Kallur Lighthouse trek. Which is lucky as otherwise it’s a 16km hike from the ferry port – to hitchhiking also seems to be an easy option here.
Kallur Lighthouse Trek, Kalsoy
The Kallur Lighouse trek on Kalsoy Island is one of the most famous treks in the Faroe Island – and also probably one of the easiest. It starts from a small parking area in Trollanes then winds its way up and along the mountain to the left of the village. There are some very wet patches so hiking boots or waterproof shoes are a must.
It only takes 45 minutes to get to the lighthouse, and then you will probably want about an hour there to wander around, take some photos and potentially wait for the weather to get better and the cloud / mist / fog / rain to clear so you can take in the spectacular views. Remember – the weather on the Faroe Islands changes every 5 minutes!
Some people say the Kallur lighthouse trek is dangerous but we didn’t feel like it was at all. The path seems pretty well marked, and once you get to the lighthouse, it’s up to you whether you do some of the ridge hikes out to the various viewpoints. If you suffer from vertigo or are in any way sacred of heights, then getting to the viewpoints might be a bit scary.
I’ve also read reports of people needing 7 or 8 hours in total to do this trip with the hike, which seems a little excess. We got the 2pm ferry over and the 5.30pm ferry back. This gave us ample time to do the hike, take hundreds of photos and take a quick stop to sea the seal woman statue on the way back to the pier. So in total we had 3 hours on the island, but our total Kalsoy trip time would have been 4 hours including ferry crossings.
I guess if you leave early in the morning and bring a packed lunch and snack, you could easily stay on the island for an extra hour or two as there are other cute villages and bird colonies to check out and you could also really take you time with the photos.
There are sheep, and baby lambs, absolutely everywhere and it was fun to watch the eat, play, sleep and of course to stop every 3 minutes to try take a candid shot of their crazy sheep eyes and their long, ragged hair blowing in the wind!
Bird life on Kalsoy Island
While Vestmanna Sea Cliffs and Mykines are the islands best known for bird watching (especially when on the look out for Puffins during the summer), there are also a very large bird colonies on Kalsoy Island and it’s considered a very important place for bird breeding.
You’ll see thousands of birds on the cliffs near Kallur Lighthouse and it is said that up to 40,000 pairs of Atlantic Puffins, as well as European storm petrels and black guillemots.
Villages on Kalsoy Island
Húsar is the oldest village on the island and the one closest to the ferry pier. It’s really tiny, with about 11 or 12 houses and a small church that’s almost 100 years old.
Mikladalur is the second village you will pass and the single winding road to Trollanes and it is famous for it’s “Seal Woman” statue. Kalsoy has many legends, the best known of which is the legend of the Selkie or Seal-Woman of Mikladalur. If you walk down to the water and then down some winding steps you’ll see her standing in the water with back to the island behind.
The legend goes: A young farmer from Mikladalur goes to the beach to watch the selkies (seal women) dance. He hides the skin of a beautiful selkie maid, so she cannot go back to sea, and forces her to marry him. He keeps her skin in a chest, and keeps the key with him both day and night. One day when out fishing, he discovers that he has forgotten to bring his key. When he returns home, the selkie wife has escaped back to sea, leaving their children behind. Later, when the farmer is out on a hunt, she kills both her selkie husband and two selkie sons, and she promises to take revenge upon the men of Mikladalur. Some shall be drowned, some shall fall from cliffs and slopes, and this shall continue, until so many men have been lost that they will be able to link arms around the whole island of Kalsoy.
Local legend says there are still occasional deaths occurring in this way on the island and revenge has always been taken seriously, not only in Kalsoy but in the Faroe Islands generally. The descendants of the “Seal-woman” are still known in the country by certain characteristics, especially their short fingers!
Syðradalur is the southernmost village on the island, home to about 3 o4 4 houses and just 9 inhabitants! A tunnel links Syðradalur the the pier and the other villages on the island.
Finally, Trøllanes is the largest and most visited village as it’s where the Kallur Lighthouse trek starts from. There are lots of colourful houses, a large barn yard and farm and gorgeous views across to some of the other larger Faroe Islands.
They say it is famous for it’s own speciality food called Garnatálg – made by kneading intestinal fat from sheep into lumps. It’s easy to see why this would be popular given the huge amounts of sheep to be found grazing on Kalsoy island!
Where to stay near Kalsoy
We booked into a beautiful Airbnb in Klavsvik overlooking the town and harbour, with gorgeous sunset views. This was our accommodation of choice for the entire trip, as Airbnb allowed us to find cute, local houses or apartments with up to 4 rooms to accommodate our group.
I know we saw one hotel in Klakvik called Hotel Klaksvik that might be worth checking out.
We also met a solo traveller making her way across to Kalsoy Island alone without a car, who had simply taken a bus from her campsite in Torshavn so you could stay as far away as there and just make the trip to Klaksvik to catch the ferry.
Packing tips because it’s COLD
No matter what time of year you go, it will be cold on Kalsoy Island. The weather in the Faroe Islands is extremely unpredictable – with days often bringing rain, sunshine, gale force winds and even snow within a few short hours.
We did the Kalsoy Island trek at the end of May and it was about 3’c outside. We made sure to layer up our clothes, bring gloves, hats, scarves and my friend Conor even brought a flask of tea.
You will need warm layers, a rain jacket and waterproof backpack with water and snacks, a camera with a wide angle lens and ideally a decent tripod that won’t be blowing over in the wind.
Have any tips about visiting Kalsoy Island in the Faroes?
Please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment below!