The island of Kalsoy offers some of the most magnificent views of the Faroe Islands. It is one of the places I wanted to visit the most during my trip. With its huge cliffs, green fields, and unpredictable weather, Kalsoy is absolutely breathtaking and somewhat scary at the same time. And, on top of that, it is home to one of the most incredible hikes on all Faroes – the hike to Kallur Lighthouse.
The only way to get to Kalsoy is via a ferry from the town of Klaksvik. The trip lasts only around 20 minutes. The time is 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. You have to pay for them directly before boarding the ferry. The problem here is that the boat only has room for 15 vehicles. In summer, that may not be enough to fit everybody.
That’s exactly what happened to us. Our plan was to go on a morning ferry at 10 a.m. We arrived in Klaksvik about 25 minutes prior to departure thinking we had plenty of time. Instead, we discovered we were the 17th or 18th car in the line. Obviously, we did not make it onto the boat. 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 while the boat made its way to Kalsoy, unloaded all the cars, then came back to Klaksvik to pick up the remaining people. So during the busy season, it pays to come early.
It is pretty much impossible to get lost on Kalsoy. There is only one main road you can follow. It goes all the way north to the village of Trøllanes, where the hike to 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. The one stop I do recommend making is in the town of Mikladalur. The village is famous 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 was raining steadily ever since we arrived in Kalsoy so we decided to find 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 hoping 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 at 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 to Kallur Lighthouse. 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. If that’s not the case, just make sure you always head towards 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 to Kallur Lighthouse is quite easy. It should take no longer than 40 minutes and would come as no challenge to anyone in good health. I do recommend good hiking shoes, but am pretty confident you would be fine even in sneakers (of course if you don’t mind them getting dirty). The views are splendid all along the path, but it’s the Kallur Lighthouse that really steals the show. Once you reach it, 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 one lies right behind the lighthouse. It 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 preparing for the trip. The photographer inside me had to wrestle a bit 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 than it looks in the photos. Surely, you can still fall to your death if you are not careful enough. However, there’s definitely some room for slipping and tripping. It was wet and windy when we were 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. In my opinion, 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 Kallur 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. 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. I tried my best to create some moody dramatic images, hoping that the light would improve.
Sadly, It never did. After spending more than an hour at the top we had to call it a day and head back down. I am very happy with the images I brought back, but I would love to see Kalsoy in different conditions as well! I’m sure it would just be truly and undeniably magical. And that is what makes Kalsoy so special. I definitely recommend including it in your itinerary if you’re heading to the Faroe Islands. I know I definitely would do so, if I ever go there again.
Also, if you liked this article, be sure to check out my youtube video about Kalsoy and the hike to Kallur Lighthouse below. I’m sure you will enjoy it as well.