4. The Faroe Islands
Located roughly halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the North Atlantic, the Faroe Islands cover 18 ruggedly beautiful islands. The archipelago functions as an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark, but maintains its own unique language and culture. Most visitors arrive via Atlantic Airways, which operates daily flights from Copenhagen, as multi-day ferry connections are the only alternative. Upon landing at Vágar Airport, we recommended renting your own car to explore the sparsely populated archipelago and its imposing terrain. Six of the main islands are connected by sea tunnels and bridges, while the rest can be reached by ferry. Although driving the coastal road grants plenty of scenic views, it’s worth venturing out on the extensive hiking trails to access the most dramatic landscapes. Just miles from the airport, a short trail leads to Gásadalur waterfall, which plunges from rock cliffs into the Atlantic.
Other scenic treks include the fjord at Saksun, the Kalsoy lighthouse, and the cliffs at Sørvágsvatn. Meanwhile, the westerly island of Mykines hosts a thriving puffin community, while southerly Sandoy boasts black-sand beaches and bucolic fishing villages. The Faroese capital, Tórshavn, merits a stop as well for its traditional grass-roofed homes, innovative restaurant scene, and chic designers like Gudrun & Gudrun.