The hike to Drangarnir is another great and picturesque hike on the Faroe Islands and a definite favorite of mine. I would even go as far as saying that if I were to choose just a single place to experience on the islands, that would be it. Just as the hike to Trælanípa, this route can be found on the island of Vágar but, unlike the former, it is much longer and a lot more demanding.
This hike is not as famous as the one to Trælanípa. In fact, it only started gaining popularity during the recent year or two, mainly among the folks who are always looking for less beaten paths, such as photographers, hikers or travel bloggers. That’s why you probably won’t find a whole lot of information about it on the internet. At least I couldn’t, so I had to assume quite a few things during my preparation. Hopefully this article would make it somewhat clearer for those who consider taking the hike and are in a similar position.
The route starts at the town of Sørvágur, which is where the ferry terminal connecting Vágar to the island of Mykines is located. In fact, if you arrive by car, consider parking on the ferry terminal parking lot. Alternatively, if you drive past it and keep going as far as you can, you’ll eventually arrive to what looks like a large unpaved factory grounds. I’m not sure if that’s a good place to park when the factory is operating but on Saturday when we did the hike it was all but deserted, so we just left the car there and had no issues.
To start the hike proceed to the gate at the far end of the area. The gate, by the looks of it, allows for easy access to the route, but when we were there, it was closed. If that’s the case, you’ll have to go around and along the fence to the right of the gate and eventually climb over it to continue. It’s only hip high, so not a whole lot of climbing is going to be involved. Check out my video about the island of Vágar to see exactly how it looks. As a heads up, you’ll have to climb a couple more similar fences during the trip, so be warned. Luckily, they’re all very easy.
Once you reach the end of the fence, there’s two routes you can take. Either turn right and go along the fence up the slope until you find the path or just proceed forward towards the small wooden bridge and some old ruins and then follow the path from there. We took the higher route on our way there and the lower one upon return and personally I would recommend just using the lower one. It’s a bit more rough and difficult but it saves you the hassle of going up and then back down that comes with using the upper path.
The hike goes along the shore of the Sørvágsfjørður fjord all the way to its westernmost tip. If you look at the map, the distance doesn’t seem all that long, perhaps 3-4 kilometers at most. However, what makes this hike so difficult compared to the one I talked about last time, is the fact that most of it goes across the raw terrain with barely any path to walk on. Lots of times, there isn’t a path at all and you just have to make your own way stepping wherever makes most sense.
That probably sounds more intimidating that it really is. I actually found the experience quite easy and enjoyable. The only downside is that unless you are a very determined and experienced hiker, you speed is probably going to be slow. It took us about 3 hours to get there and another 3 hours to come back. We did not rush it and stopped a lot to take pictures, shoot video and fly a drone, so I would say it’s likely doable in 2 hours, but I’d definitely plan for more time. Throw in a couple of hours for actually exploring the end of the fjord and climb the mountain (more on that below) and you’re looking to spend pretty much an entire day on this hike. That’s really the only thing that makes it so demanding – it is in my opinion quite easy, just very long. But frankly, anyone who is generally fit should be able to make it without any issues.
Be mindful of the little streams that you’ll encounter en route – getting your feet wet is probably not a good idea. Having water-proof hiking boots will help, but isn’t really a necessity. Just watch your step, the water is easy to avoid. There are a couple of larger streams on the way – for those, just spend some time looking for the best spot to cross. We took this hike a couple days after heavy rain and were still able to keep our feet dry. Granted, that was in August, so conditions may vary in other seasons.
If you follow the path, you will eventually reach the very end of the fjord with the rock of Drangarnir protruding from the water right in front of you. The view is truly magnificent. Drangarnir is so close that it feels as if you can just reach out and touch it with your hand. Just standing there and looking at it is a completely surreal experience and for me that moment of true admiration makes all the effort of getting there absolutely worth it.
You can photograph it up from the hill or go down to the water level and take an image from there. Personally, I found this lower perspective to be the most dramatic and intimidating with the rock dominating the shot. If you go for it, make sure to watch the waves, as being swept into the ocean here by a rogue wave is probably the last thing you’d want.
I would also strongly recommend climbing the mountain closest to Drangarnir. It’s not shown on the Google Maps, but on Open Maps it is labeled Kvívíksskoranøva. It is the third large mountain to your left if you count from the start of the hike. If you decide to do so (and I hope you do) I would actually suggest doing it before going to Drangarnir itself, since the way to the top is pretty steep and is probably the hardest part of the entire hike, so doing it early on is probably better.
The views of the islands of Tindhólmur and Mykines behind it from the top are unbeatable. No words can possibly describe the feeling you get up there looking at all this beauty right in front of you. If you packed a lunch (and given the length of the hike you should have) this is the place to eat it, contemplating the views and enjoying silence and complete solitude, being one and alone with nature and feeling as alive as you can ever be.
From there, it’s just a matter of managing your time and energy and coming back before it gets too dark. Some general words of advice – pack enough water and food and bring warm and waterproof clothes. The weather on the Faroe Islands changes rapidly and getting soaked in the middle of the long hike is going to be an unpleasant experience. If you go alone, make sure you let someone know where you are – we met just a couple other people during the entire trip, so if something happens to you, you’re pretty much on your own. And of course be careful and take care of yourself. Goes for every hike really.