When thinking about the Faroe Islands, most of you will picture a landscape full of green prairies, giant rocks, wild ocean views and maybe some sheep. For a while now, the country has been attracting lots of nature-minded tourists, people who have been to Iceland before but want a change of scenery. Something a bit more off the beaten path. And even though the Faroe Islands become increasingly popular amongst tourists, they still have this sense of mystery a lot of us are looking for.
But from now on, nature is not the only reason to pay a visit to the archipelago. Since December tourists have been able to lay their eyes on a much more modern attraction: an underwater roundabout which does look a lot like a giant jellyfish. So yes, it’s still nature-themed and impressive but it does change from the usual hikes and road trips you would usually take on the islands.
1. Connecting islands
Of course, the roundabout is part of a larger project, a tunnel called the Eysturoyartunnilin connecting the Faroe’s most populous islands: Streymoy and Eysturoy. More even, the roundabout lies at the geographical center of the Faroe Islands. And as if the tunnel complex wasn’t enough, there’s a second one scheduled to open in 2023, connecting Streymoy with Sandoy. The project in its whole will cost about 360 million euros, or 50.000 euros per inhabitant.
2. Improving living quality
Looking at the cost, the tunnels and roundabout may seem like a very silly investment. But there actually is a very good reason why the country undertook this gigantic infrastructure project. The Faroe Islands – and mainly their capital Tórshavn – have seen an enormous rise in touristic activity over recent years. Even in times of the coronavirus the bed capacity in the capital is still being increased and the future after Covid-19 looks mighty good. The only problem consists of the fact that tourists are sticking to the easiest to reach destinations in the country, meaning the northern islands are being overlooked. These islands also have to deal with depopulation as inhabitants face a hell of a commute when they want to work in the capital. The new Eysturoyartunnilin will make the whole journey a lot shorter and smoother, which benefits both local residents and foreign visitors. “We hope this new infrastructure will help spread some of the tourism benefits more widely around the north-east of the Faroe Islands and perhaps encourage Faroese businesses to cater for visitors more”, said Visit Faroe Islands director Guðrið Højgaard to The Guardian.
3. Ring dancing
As for the roundabout itself: it was designed by the Faroese artist Tróndur Patursson and is meant to represent the local ‘ring dance’. The metal structure stretches over 80 meters and is definitely impressive to look at but it also has a deeper meaning. “The figures are walking from darkness into the light. They symbolize the very Faroese idea that by joining hands and working together we achieve great things”, Patursson told the Guardian.