The island of Kalsoy offers some of the most magnificent views on the Faroe Islands and it is one of the places I wanted to visit the most during my trip. With its huge cliffs, green fields and unpredictable weather, it is absolutely breathtaking and somewhat scary at the same time.
The only way to get to Kalsoy is via a ferry from the town of Klaksvik. The trip lasts only around 20 minutes, which are barely noticeable as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the surrounding islands. There are multiple departures per day, you can check the timetable here. I recommend having a car – it is by far the easiest and fastest way to navigate around Kalsoy. There is a bus on the island that stops at all of its four villages, but it does not go very often.
Somewhat annoyingly, the tickets to the ferry cannot be booked in advance and are paid for directly before boarding the ferry. The problem here is that the boat only has room for 15 vehicles and in summer that may not be enough to fit everybody. That’s exactly what happened to us. We were planning to go with a morning ferry at 10 a.m, but even though we showed up 25 minutes prior to departure, we ended up being 17th or 18th car in the line and did not make it. Luckily for us, as cars continued to queue behind us, the ferry company decided to arrange for an additional trip right after the first one. Even so, we had to wait for another hour until the boat made its way to Kalsoy, unloaded all the cars and came back to Klaksvik to pick up the remaining people. So during busy season it pays to come early.
Getting lost on Kalsoy is pretty much impossible. There is only one main road you can follow. It goes all the way north to the village of Trøllanes, where the hike to the Kallur lighthouse begins. That’s where the most dramatic views are. As you drive, feel free to stop along the way if you see a great view. One stop I do recommend making is in the town of Mikladalur, known for its statue Kópakonan (Seal Woman) commemorating the local legend. There are also a few waterfalls in the area. I didn’t find them particularly interesting, but stick around and explore if you feel like it.
Other than that, there really isn’t much to do in Mikladalur. It had been raining steadily ever since we got to Kalsoy so we thought of finding a place to get some hot coffee and wait out the weather. Turns out that Mikladalur has nothing of that sort. Despite being the largest settlement on the island, its population is still only 44 people. So after taking a few pictures of the famous statue, we decided to head further north ihoping that the rain would stop by the time we reach Trøllanes.
Finding the village is very easy. Just keep going north on the main road until you arrive to a T-shaped crossing and a bunch of buildings. That’s Trøllanes. On your right there will be a small parking lot to leave the car and a restroom. On the left, you’ll see a red house. That’s where you need to go to start the hike. Follow the road past the red house and you will eventually reach a fence with a red wooden gate. After that, just follow the path all the way to the lighthouse.
I’ve read reports of people actually losing the trail and failing to find the lighthouse altogether. Personally, I find it hard to believe. It must have happened before the hike became popular. These days, the path is clearly visible and is quite impossible to lose track of. But in case that does happen, just make sure you always head in the direction of the closest sheep shelter or a ruin. There are quite a few scattered along the way and they will also lead you to the lighthouse.
The hike is quite easy and should take no longer than 40 minutes. It would come as no challenge to anyone in good health. Having good hiking shoes is recommended, but I’m pretty sure it is easily doable even in sneakers if you really want to. The views are splendid all along the path, but once you reach the lighthouse, just take a moment to enjoy and really soak in the beauty of the place. It is truly magnificent.
From here, there are two ridges or promontories that you can walk. The western lies right behind the lighthouse and offers a breathtaking view back at the lighthouse and the huge cliffs that surround it. That’s where the now famous National Geographic photo of the Kallur lighthouse had been taken. It is reachable by a narrow path with cliffs dropping hundreds of meters on each side. That’s the place that gave me the most chills as I was looking through the images on the web in preparation for the trip, the photographer inside me wrestling with the survival instinct. Just looking at it is quite scary. It seems that any misstep here could well be your last.
Luckily, in reality it is much less intimidating that it looks on the photos. Surely, you can still fall to your death if you are not careful enough, but there’s definitely some room for slipping and tripping. It was wet and windy as we got there, yet both of us still managed to cross it without any real difficulty or ever feeling uncomfortable. Obviously, consider your own fitness and weather conditions before going for it, but if you take your time and step carefully, you should be totally fine. And boy, is the view worth it!
The promontory to the east is much longer and much less intimidating. So if the western one is too scary for you, at least walk the eastern. The view back to the western ridge with the lighthouse on the left and the silhouettes of Streymoy and Eysturoy far in the background is absolutely stunning.
Unfortunately, by the time we got there, the weather started to turn on us once again. I almost lost my drone due to increased wind, so if you bring yours take some time to observe the wind direction and velocity. The huge cliffs may compress the wind and cause some nasty gusts, so be careful. The sky turned into a grey mass of water and fog, and all the light was gone. Streymoy and Eysturoy in the distance got git by heavy rain and for a while it seemed as it was coming to us, so I tried my best to create some moody dramatic images, hoping that the light would improve.
Sadly, It never did, so after spending more than an hour at the top we had to call it a day and head back down. I am more than happy with the images I brought back, but just imagine how this place could look like in better conditions! It would just be truly and undeniably magical. And that is what makes Kalsoy so special. I definitely recommend including it into your itinerary if you’re heading to the Faroe Islands. I know I definitely would do so, if I ever go there again.
And if you liked this article, please also check out my youtube video about Kalsoy.