The diverse and dramatic landscapes of the Faroe Islands seem to beg to be hiked, but the unpredictable and largely rainy Faroese climate can make hiking unpleasant and rather hazardous.
Lake Sørvágsvatn is a fairly easy hike, but despite this, I wouldn’t recommend doing it in the rain. This is partly due to the slippery rocks and thick mud, but mostly because this hike leads to one of the most stunning and iconic views in all of the Faroes, and you’ll certainly want clear weather with which to appreciate and photograph the stunning views.
We spent five days in the Faroes, four of which involved torrential rain and gale force winds, but we were lucky enough to get one clear and (somewhat) sunny day, which meant that we were able to do the Lake Sørvágsvatn hike in the most ideal conditions imaginable!
Getting to the trailhead
Getting to the starting point for this hike is super easy. Lake Sørvágsvatn is located on the island of Vágar, next to the town of Miðvágur. This town is just ten minutes away from the airport, so it is an easy hike to do on the way to or from the airport. To get to the trailhead you can either make your way to Miðvágur church and follow the signs directing you to Trælanípa/Bøsdalafossur or you can simply put the coordinates into Google Maps.
Trailhead Coordinates: 62°02’30.9″N 7°11’58.5″W
You will need to drive on gravel to get to the carpark, but it is easily doable in any car. We had a tiny 2×2 that was barely big enough to carry both our backpacks and we managed fine. There is enough room for 8-10 cars in the carpark, which was more than plenty when we were there, but it may prove quite squishy if you visit in peak season.
The trail itself is reasonably easy to traverse. It is quite well marked and only 3km each way. There are however, patches of seriously slippery mud, as well as numerous small streams that you’ll need to walk over or through. To do this hike safely, you really should don waterproof hiking boots with good grip on the soles!
Eventually, you’ll come to a sort of ‘break’ in the cliffs, where there is a kind of gap in between the jagged cliffs. This is where you need to veer a little way away from the more well trodden path.
You essentially want to hug the curve of the coast and ascend up the closest cliff face in front of you.
The iconic viewpoint
After just a few moments of mildly treacherous ascent (beware of the mud) you will make it to what is quite possibly the most well recognisable places in all of the Faroe Islands.
From this angle, the lake appears to sit way above the ocean, but this is actually a kind of optical illusion! It looks like it is about a hundred metres above, but in reality it is only about 30m above the water. The cliffs around the lake prevent the water from spilling into the ocean (except for in one spot, which we’ll get to later) – creating an utterly sublime and phenomenally unique landscape in the process.
When you reach this spot, you will be so unbelievably happy that you made the effort. It is a truly jaw-dropping patch of Faroese scenery. Honestly, if this was the only thing I’d have seen in the Faroes, I would have left happy.
We packed ourselves some sandwiches and snacks for the hike – we didn’t really need them (the hike was only 45 minutes each way) – but we spent so long enjoying the views that a 90 minute round trip turned into a four hour expedition!
It was amazing to watch the waves crash against the rocks and recede back in the flurry of white foam, and honestly, I could’ve stayed and watched all day!
After a short while, we were blessed with the most incredible rainbow that I’d ever seen! I excitedly started taking photos without a care in the world before Dan told me that “we should get going, if there’s a rainbow it means that there’s rain” – which is amazingly, something that completely failed to occur to me!
We proceeded to make our way down the steepest hill but by the time we had done this, the rain clouds seemed to have pulled back a little and we decided to proceed a bit further to Bøsdalafossur – which is the one place where the lake drains out into the ocean.
Getting down the rocks was mildly treacherous, but the glorious views and unbelievable blue skies made it well worth the effort! After the past few days I’d honestly started to think that clear skies just didn’t exist in the Faroes, so this was a special surprise.
This spot also shows just how much of an optical illusion the previous viewpoint was. The lake hardly looks high above the ocean from this angle!
We left a little while later to start the trek back to our car, and I was filled with such happiness. This hike had been the one thing I really wanted to do whilst in the Faroes, and it was even better than I had imagined – muddy boots and all.
Getting to the Faroe Islands: We flew with Atlantic Airways which services daily routes to Copenhagen, twice weekly connections to Edinburgh and regular routes to Reykjavik
Car Hire: We hired a small 2×2 through 62°N, the largest vehicle provider in the Faroe Islands
Turf House AirBnB: We spent five nights in this fabulous AirBnB, click here to get a discount on your first stay with AirBnB!
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Wear waterproof boots with decent grip and thank me later!