Renting a car and driving in the Faroe Islands is one of the best ways to see the beautiful country.
The Faroe Islands are an amazing place to road trip. With every twist and turn in the road comes a new breathtaking view. Any chance you have to be in the car enjoy it because the views our the window are going to be priceless.
If you want to see the most amazing spots in the Faroe Islands on your terms, it means renting a car. Renting a car is an easy thing to do right from the Vágar Airport as soon as you land. Here, we list our tips for renting a car in the Faroe Islands, making the process easier for you!
Tips for Renting a Car in the Faroe Islands
Planning your trip to the Faroe Islands
Having a rough idea of where and when you want to go to the Faroe Islands before leaving home will make the process of renting a vehicle a whole lot simpler when you get there.
At this stage, you don’t need to have an hour by hour breakdown, but knowing the significant destinations you’re desperate to visit is a huge plus. That way you can map our your itinerary, and all the different places you want to see.
In doing this before you get there you can properly choose what kind of rental car you want, and how long you need it for.
Is it safe to drive in the Faroe Islands?
The Faroe Islands is one of the safest destinations in the world! You can venture out day or night without worrying about much of any crime. This makes it an ideal places to travel to for solo female travelers.
However, do not be lulled in by low crime rates because Mother Nature could easily be your number one enemy. Clueless tourists find themselves in life-threatening situations when they go hiking or are unprepared in inclement weather. The Faroe Islands weather is notoriously unpredictable and life-threatening, especially if you traveling in the winter.
The roads in the Faroes are well maintained, paved, and in general very fun to drive. However if road conditions are bad it’s best to drive extra cautiously.
Arriving in the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are not a big place. There are really only two places to pick up and drop off your rental car. One being the Vágar Airport and the other in the capital, Tórshavn.
It’s best to book your Faroe Islands rental car for pick up at the airport. That way as soon as you land you can grab your car and be on your way. Vágar Airport is NOT near Tórshavn. There’s actually not much near Vágar Airport or the town of Sörvagur, like most of the Faroe Islands. So when you arrive you’ll probably want to get to your accommodation right away. You’ll need a car or have to rely on public transport.
Yes, the Faroe Islands have public buses. There are several opportunities to shuttle to Tórshavn by bus. Check the bus schedule here. However if you did not book you accommodation in Tórshavn, you’ll need a car.
If you choose to pick up your rental car in downtown Tórshavn you can either take the public bus from the airport, book a shared taxi, or arrange a private airport transfer with your accommodation provider.
Booking your rental vehicle
It’s advisable to pre-book your rental vehicle in the Faroe Islands. It’s straightforward to do online before landing. If you wait to book a rental car until you arrive you’ll likely face higher charges and run the risk of having the rental vehicles sold out.
If you’re traveling as a group, it’s worth considering whether to name more than one driver. Doing this, you can divide up the driving time – but most rental agencies will charge you more for the privilege.
So, if you have specific requirements (see choosing your rental vehicle below), or want to keep costs to a minimum (and who doesn’t?), it’s doubly important to pre-book! There aren’t as many rental car options in the Faroe Islands as you might be used to. 62°N is the main car rental company in the Faroe Islands. 62°N overlooks SIXT, Hertz, and Europcar. You can also check out Avis, Vest Car Rent, Arctic Rental Cars, and Reyni Service.
You can drive in Faroe Islands with a latin license
All you need to rent a car and drive in the Faroe Islands is a valid drivers license. You do not need an exclusive International Drivers License, but your license does need to use the Latin alphabet.
Choosing your rental vehicle
Drivers in the Faroe Islands drive on the right-hand side of the road, same as North America, with the steering wheel on the left-hand side of the vehicle as a result.
Most vehicles in the Faroes – including rental cars – are manual transmission, with a gear shift. If you don’t think you’ll be happy driving a manual car, automatics are typically available, generally for a higher price. Make sure you make this desire clear when booking.
Faroe Islands Car Rental Tips
Manual vs. Automatic
You should be prepared to drive a manual car and van in the Faroe Islands. As with the rest of the world (besides the US), most of the cars in the Faroe Islands are manual, but there are a few automatic vehicles. If you do require one an automatic car make sure to book well in advance and expect to pay a premium for it.
Consider the size of your car before you book. With a larger car comes reduced fuel economy so you’ll be paying more for that larger vehicle in more ways than one. Gas is really expensive in Faroe Islands so think carefully about the model of car you choose.
A 4×4 car rental is not necessary for driving around the Faroe Islands
The network of roads in the Faroe Islands are in really great shape. Most of the islands are connected by modern tunnels with two lanes. Roads are well paved and clearly marked. There’s really no need for a 4×4 in the Faroe Islands.
Upfront costs with renting a car in the Faroe Islands
Arriving without a booking will almost certainly cost you more. Understandably, the larger the vehicle, the higher the price will be.
Making life a little more complicated, most prices you see online will be a ‘from’ price. In other words, the lowest possible price your rental could be theoretically. You’ll only find the actual cost (generally somewhere close to the ‘from’ price) when going through the booking process to the end.
As is the case when renting a car almost anywhere in the world, you are responsible for fuel costs when renting in the Faroe Islands, which means returning your rental car to the agency with a full fuel tank or at least what they gave you the vehicle at.
Car rental insurance in the Faroe Islands
You should not drive a rental car in the Faroe Islands without collision damage waiver insurance. What this means for those renting a car in the Faroes is having the additional cost of CDW insurance added to any rental car check. The upside is that if you have any sort of accident, you’re covered, and will not have to shell out any more than an excess of a couple of hundred dollars.
If you have a US credit card, it’s possible you already have CDW insurance and don’t know it! It’s worth it to check your documentation and call your credit card to find out. It’s even worth considering signing up to a new credit card that does offer this. It’s up to you to check with your credit card about your rental car insurance privileges.
If you’re already covered, take a copy of paperwork as proof.
Get the right credit card
Bringing me to my next point – credit cards with primary rental insurance. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is my favorite travel credit card for many reasons, but the primary rental insurance is one of its best perks (including Priority Pass membership). When you put your rental car on your Chase Sapphire Reserve card you get primary coverage around the world up to $75,000.
That works out great for us since we are nomadic and don’t have a car or home. Car rental companies in the Faroes and around the world love to scare customers and upsell all their insurance packages. You need to make sure if you need it or not before falling victim to their trap. Call your credit card company and always find out before you get to the Faroe Islands.
Make sure you don’t have mileage limits
It can be common for car rentals around Europe to have mileage limits. Usually, this is something like 200 km/day can be driven.
Of course, they can’t know which day you are driving 200km/day and what days you are not, so it all totals up to the end.
Say you rent a car for six days and it has a mileage limit of 200 km/day. That means for your total rental you have 1200 km of free driving. If you return the car having driven 1300 km you will be charged for the overage of 100 km.
If you want complete freedom when driving around the Faroe Islands, make sure you choose a rental with unlimited mileage.
Expect a hold charge for your Faroe Islands rental car
Every single one of our forty or so rental cars has put a hold on our credit card for the rental period. Holds can range anywhere from a few hundred bucks to $1000+ in some countries. The “excess charge” as it is called is typically stated in your reservation details, but it is easy to miss.
We are aware that they must put this hold on our card, but it can be a massive shocker if you are unsuspecting and end up over your credit limit on your credit card. These excess charges are for scenarios where you disappear with the car and are never seen again, or get in a crash and refuse to pay — stuff like that.
It’s worth mentioning that distances and speeds in the Faroe Islands are recorded in kilometers rather than miles. This can make sights seem further away than they actually are, although the winding country roads you’re likely to encounter means travel times are a little longer than those in the US.
It’s unlikely your rental vehicle will have a built-in GPS navigation system, however, it is likely that you will be offered a separate GPS (at additional cost, of course), instead. The good news is that the Faroe Islands don’t have a ton of roads to get lost onl
Still – whether you are traveling on your own or as a group, we think navigation – of whatever sort – is a must. It takes much of the stress out of driving on roads you aren’t used to and having to rely on road signage.
You might be happy using paper maps, but it’s not normal for them to be supplied with a rental car, which means you may as well opt for the GPS instead.
Smartphone apps such as Google Maps are a brilliant free alternative, which give you the additional advantage of knowing up to the minute traffic and road conditions. You should download a map of the Faroe Islands to your phone from Google Maps while you’re in good WiFi. If you forget to do this, Vagar Airpot has free WiFi where you can download Google Maps to your phone before you hit the road.
Car rental pick up and drop off
After all the paperwork is sorted with the rental company, you’ll be asked if you want to be shown around the vehicle.
When the agent shows you around, make sure you ask them to show you how all the essential systems function. When you depart, you should be completely happy with using the vehicle – remember, you are legally responsible for it. So, make sure you know how to operate the headlights, indicator lights, hazard lights, and windscreen wipers. Also, be sure to understand how to engage reverse gear.
Inspect and take photos
If you run into a guardrail with your rental you’re going to be charged for damages. If someone else ran into a guardrail before you and you don’t note it when you pick up the rental car you could also be charged for damages. Always, always, always, inspect every single rental car you get with great detail – inside and out.
Note any damages with the company and take photos just in case. Cam and I are both meticulous with rental car dings, scratches, windshield cracks, and cigarette burns. Never assume that a scratch or ding is not important or big enough to note. When you return your rental make sure you get a slip signing off that all was okay on the car so they don’t come back and try to charge you later.
If no one is available to do this (they weren’t for us because our flight left at 6am) make sure to take more photos upon return just in case.
Drinking and driving in the Faroes
This should go without saying, but drinking and driving is a grave offense in the Faroe Islands. The threshold blood alcohol test (BAT) level is extremely low. Drivers can be charged with DUI with a BAT as low as .05%, and yes, foreigners can be charged too.
The Faroese people take this very seriously, and most do not drive if they plan on drinking.
Seatbelts and safety in the Faroes
It’s a legal requirement for all passengers to wear a seat belt/safety belt at all times when the engine is running.
Likewise, it is not permitted to use a cell phone when driving in Faroe Islands to make calls or send/receive SMS text messages. You can use your smartphone for navigation purposes, but it must be hands-free only (such as safely stowed on the windscreen), and you must not program navigation while the vehicle’s engine is running. I recommend getting a phone holder for your car dashboard for your travels.
The Tunnels in the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are made up of almost 800 islands, islets, and skerries. There are 18 major islands. The islands are connected mainy by sea tunnels.
There are over 20 tunnels in the Faroe Islands. Most of the tunnels are free of charge, except the two sub-sea tunnels which will charge you about 15 USD per crossing. If you’re on a budget you’ll want to pay attention to how many times you cross these tunnels. The sub sea tunnels are Vágatunnilin which connects Vágar island and Streymoy island whilst Norðoyatunnilin connects Eysturoy island and Borðoy island. The new modern tunnels have two lanes and are well lit.
However, the old tunnels only have one lane and they can be scary to drive through. On the northern islands of Kalsoy, Bordoy, and Vidoy is where you’ll find these tunnels. They are dark and as an unsuspecting tourist can really give you a fright. Always keep those headlights on!
There are turnouts in the old tunnels every 100 meters. Turnouts are on the right-hand side of the tunnels, and a driver who is on the right has to give way to oncoming traffic. In the case of meeting a truck in a one-lane tunnel, a car has to drive into the turnout whether it is on your right or left.
Paying for the Tunnels
All rental cars will offer to include a sub sea tunnel add on to your car rental booking. This is typically a one off fee of 300 DK ($45) added to your rental agreement that gives you unlimited entries for the duration of your rental vehicle. It’s a great option if you’re doing a lot of driving around the Faroe Islands.
The other option is to have your rental car company activate the “toll chip” which automatically registers your trips through the tunnels. They will automatically bill you after you return your rental car. This is another fantastic option for those renting a car in the Faroe Islands.
Lastly, the most complicated way to pay for your tunnel trip is at a petrol station within three days of your trip. I do not recommend this option as if you don’t pay it in time, or forget, the ticket price goes up.
Roads in the Faroe Islands
Besides navigating the tunnels the roads in the Faroe Islands are fantastic and well signposted. The speed limits are 50 kph in built-up areasa and 80 kph on main roads.
Pay attention to the “Buttercup Routes” in the Faroe Islands. These are marked scenic roads that are particularly beautiful. If you see a green sign with a yellow flower buckle up cause you’re in for a real treat.
How Much will a Rental Car in the Faroe Islands Cost?
Depends on the season! In the summer your rental car will likely be higher than between October – March. I found renting a car in the Faroe Islands to be extremely expensive (we were there in September). We paid about $100/day for a basic car rental, which is far higher than elsewhere in Europe. To save money book early (you can always cancel) and do multiple comparison searches on sites like AutoEurope, Skyscanner Car Rentals, Kayak, and Momondo and see what the best deals are.
Mind the sheep
There are plenty of sheep to keep you entertained in the Faroe Islands. Most of them are pretty friendly and will let you take your photo with them.
If you see a sheep that you want to take a photo of remember to pull over safely and to the side to do it. Don’t stop traffic for a photo – there is nothing more annoying or dangerous!
Also – sometimes these fluffy creatures may make their way into the road. Give them their space and respect and wait patiently for them to cross. This also means driving in the Faroe Islands at night can become dangerous with animals in the road. So try to get an early start and plan your journey so that you can avoid driving at night.
Also be on the lookout for sheep in the sea tunnels when the weather is bad. They hide there which can cause accidents.
Do You Need to Drive in Faroe Islands to Have a Good Time?
I’m not going to sugar coat this one. Not having a rental car in the Faroe Islands is like not having hiking shoes on a hiking trip. It’s possible, but not at all comfortable or convenient.
There is a bus system to take you around the islands however it runs on a schedule and you will pretty much need to base yourself out of the capital to utilize it.
Buses are recognizable by their blue color and with a little planning getting around the Faroes on public transport is doable. You can buy a Travel Pass at the airport for $109 USD for 7 days. This Travel Card can be used for all public busses as well as ferries and is unlimited (except for the Mykines ferry).
For the ultimate road trip around the Faroe Islands I think a rental car is essential. Especially if you are a group of two or more and can split the cost.
What to Pack for a Faroe Islands Trip
Travel Credit Card
It should go without saying that the weather in the Faroes can be a bit rainy, this is the most important item in your suitcase. You have two options for styles of rain jackets. The first one we recommend is a classic packable rain jacket made for hiking that is a solid choice for outdoor adventurers. The second option being a trench coat jacket for travel for those looking to maintain style while dodging puddles.
The fleece sweater is a perfect layer when combined with an outer shell to keep you warm. We purchased wool sweaters from independent retailers in the Faroe Islands, and good ones were fairly easy to find for a decent price. For those with less time, a little bit of online shopping for wool sweaters will suffice. We picked up sweaters from Smartwool and love our stuff from Marine Layer.