One of the most popular things to do in the Faroe Islands is to do a boat trip to the famous Vestmanna Sea Cliffs – home to spectacular caves, sea arches, towering cliffs, gravity-defying sheep, ghost villages and huge bird colonies.
The town of Vestmanna is big enough in Faroe Islands terms, with a tourist information centre, small restaurant, at the small Saga Museum, and a service station with shop. The views from the town of the surrounding landscapes, high cliffs, small harbour and rolling green mountains are stunning.
Vestmanna Bird Cliffs Tour
The scheduled boat Vestmanna Sea Cliffs tour leaves at 10.15am and 2.15pm each day and itinerary can change slight depending on weather. There are other tours too, depending on your interest but most are pretty similar and go to the same places near Vestmanna. The cost of the tour is DKK 295 per person.
The boat leaves from the Vestmanna Tourist Information centre, where you can also find a decent restaurant serving up seafood soup and hot meals to warm you up after you take your trip. You can find up-to-date tour schedules and book your tickets on their official site here
The sun was shining when we started our trip leaving Vestmanna harbour, but sadly once we left the harbour the weather deteriorated pretty quickly – which is pretty normal is the Faroe Islands!
Our boat was totally sold out, with everyone wrapped up in 4 or 5 layers of clothes, faces covered, hats on, multiple hats and scarves to be seen flying in the wind. Even in May, the weather has been very mixed with rain almost every day, snow some afternoons, gale force winds and highs of 8 degrees celsius.
The tour lasts about two hours in total, passing sheer cliffs, cute puffins nesting on the the top or swimming in the ocean nearby, and big colonies of razorbills, guillemots and fulmars to be seen.
My favourite part of the boat tour was when our boat sailed in and under huge, threatening sea arches and cliff tunnels – some so long they almost felt like we were sailing into an endless cave.
We also learned about the farmers that own the sheep living precariously on the sea cliffs, often defying gravity as they munch away at wild grass all day long. Apparently it’s SO difficult to get to the sheep by land, that the farmer actually reaches the cliffs by boat, and uses a rope to scramble and climb his way up the almost-sheer rock face to go check up on his sheep!
Sailing into Saksun
The tour also sails as far as the picture-perfect village of Saksun – one of the prettiest villages in the Faroe Islands. From the boat, you can see the pretty Saksun lagoon and small glimpses of the waterfall and colourful grass-roofed cottages.
Our Captain also told us that you used to be able to sail right into Saksun harbour, but a huge storm in 1620 pushed black sand that was under the sea into Saksun harbour closing off the lagoon from the ocean and creating a large black sand beach between the two.
Places to visit near Vestmanna
The coastal road leading to Vestmanna is a fun one to drive, with lots of beautiful viewpoints along the way.
We stopped off in the small village of Kvivik for some photos – as it has some very colourful houses, a bridge across a river and the spectacular backdrop of a towering mountain and a cascading waterfall that drops down and flows into the town under some picturesque bridges.
There’s also some mysterious alien-like pods that have been spotted on Airbnb in the past but now look quite unloved and abandoned. That said, pictures of these weird looking cabins are popping up all over Instagram so it’s a fun place to stop for some quick shots.