The forgotten Faroes are just a short flight from the UK and the rest of Europe, yet they’re way off the standard traveller’s radar. Adrift in the frothing swells of the north Atlantic, this mysterious 18-piece jigsaw puzzle of islands is at once ancient and very modern.
Multicoloured cottages and grass-roofed 18th centuries wooden churches add focus to the grandly stark, treeless landscape.
Even the tiniest once-inaccessible hamlets are now linked by a remarkable series of road, bridges and tunnels.
Faroes are a paradise for fell-walkers and ornithologists who accept the unpredictable climate.
Pastures gleam with the greener-than-green hue of divine billiard tables. Peeping puffins, dive-bombing skuas and wheeling fulmars glide over dizzying chasms. Wave-battered headlands end in plunging cliffs that are as breathtaking as the wild winds that threaten to blow unwary hikers off them.
Streymoy is the biggest island of the group, and home to the capital Tórshavn, as well as dramatic scenery galore and the unmissable bird cliffs of Vestmanna. While the Southern Islands aren't quite so dramatic in terms of landscape, islands like Suðuroy and Skúvoy are appealingly low on tourists and high on friendliness.