Monthly Archives: February 2016

Denmark to Iceland for sailing

Iceland is busy headlining countless travel blogs, design magazines and social-media feeds. The country’s position near the top of global bucket lists seems rock-solid. If you haven’t yet visited, you’re probably planning to; if you’ve been, you likely want to return. Fancy making your journey north more noteworthy? Take the ferry from mainland Europe.

Most visitors to Iceland fly into Keflavík (the country’s international airport) to begin their vacation. Fans of slow travel who are looking for a point of difference, a super-scenic voyage, or a means to reduce holiday costs (by bringing their own car or campervan), should consider sailing on Smyril Line’s Norröna, the only ferry that cruises from Hirtshals in northern Denmark to Seyðisfjörður in east Iceland, via the spectacular Faroe Islands.


The journey

Sailing time is around 36 hours from Denmark to the Faroe Islands, and 19 hours from the Faroes to Iceland. The ferry’s home port is Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, a small archipelago with a population of just 50,000 that’s a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark.

All journeys pause in Tórshavn, and stopovers range from six hours to three days, depending on the season’s schedule. Since the ferry runs weekly, there’s also the option of staying a full week or two for a more thorough Faroe foray.

It’s worth noting that seasickness it’s a possibility on the voyage, especially on the open seas northwest of the Shetland Islands. The boat is large and has good stabilisers but this is the North Atlantic Ocean, after all, and the weather can turn nasty. It’s a good idea to pack remedies.


Scenic highlights

Binoculars and cameras at the ready: a sail past the Shetland Islands (part of the UK) en route between Denmark and the Faroes is a treat, and in clear weather you’ll see distant oil rigs and tankers while sailing the North Sea.

Arriving into and sailing out of Tórshavn is magical. As the boat pushes northwest to Iceland it travels a relatively narrow passage between the islands of Eysturoy and Kalsoy, and for two hours the views of emerald peaks will leave you entranced.

Snow-topped peaks and waterfalls welcome you to Iceland in dramatic style as the ferry sails 17km up Seyðisfjörður to the small, artsy town at the head of the fjord.

Throughout the voyage be on the lookout for birdlife, and possibly whales, especially in the warmer months.