Cruising to the Faroe Islands


The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self government was attained in 1948.


Location: Northern Europe, island group between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about one-half of the way from Iceland to Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 7 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 1,399 sq km


1,117 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 3 nm
Continental shelf: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm or agreed boundaries or median line


Mild winters, cool summers; usually overcast; foggy, windy


Rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Slaettaratindur 882 m


The Faroese economy has had a strong performance since 1994, mostly as a result of increasing fish landings and high and stable export prices. Unemployment is minimal and there are signs of labor shortages in several sectors. The positive economic development has helped the Faroese Home Rule Government produce increasing budget surpluses, which in turn have helped reduce the large public debt, most of it owed to Denmark.

However, the total dependence on fishing makes the Faroese economy extremely vulnerable, and the present fishing efforts appear in excess of what is a sustainable level of fishing in the long term. Oil finds close to the Faroese area give hope for deposits in the immediate Faroese area, which may eventually lay the basis for a more diversified economy and thus lessen dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by a substantial annual subsidy (about 15% of GDP) from Denmark, the Faroese have a standard of living not far below the Danes and other Scandinavians.


Airports: 1 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1
Roadways: total: 458 km; note: no roads between towns (2003)

Merchant marine

Total: 19 ships (1000 GRT or over) 93,905 GRT/58,764 DWT
By type: cargo 9, container 2, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 2
Foreign-owned: 9 (Germany 1, Iceland 3, Norway 4, UK 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals



Because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland disputes the Faroe Islands' fisheries median line boundary; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Arctic Ocean - Bermuda - Spain and Canary Islands - Cape Verde Islands - Faeroes Islands - France - Greenland - Iceland - Ireland - Portugal, the Azores and Madeira - United Kingdom

Further Reading

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