Let’s start with the basics, since there are a lot of place names in that title:
- Kalsoy: One of the 18 islands in the Faroe Islands. It’s only accessible by ferry, but you can take your car on the ferry. Or there is bus service if you don’t have a car or decide not to take it.
- Trøllanes: One of the towns on Kalsoy. It’s the northernmost town on the island, which makes it the furthest from the ferry port. You can only get to Trøllanes by going through four one-way tunnels!
- Kallur is the name of the land area at the very very top of the island of Kalsoy. There’s a lighthouse on that land, and so the lighthouse is called the Kallur Lighthouse. Kallur further north than even Trøllanes, but the road stops at Trøllanes. That’s why we’re hiking!
We’ll cover the rest of Trøllanes and Kalsoy in a future post. For now, let’s cover the basics of the hike. When you come to the end of the road in Trøllanes, turn right and park by the ocean. The parking lot is just past the old schoolhouse, which is now where you can use the restrooms before the hike. Or after! Here’s the stone schoolhouse:
Once you’re ready, the hike starts to your left. GPS coordinates are 62.361387, -6.789843. It’s not completely obvious that this is the way to the hike, but it is indeed:
That red Wrong Way sign to the left is for cars only, but it’s a good reminder of what’s happening here: this is private land, owned by the same person (Jóhannus) who lives in that house. He and his father Mikkjal also run a blacksmith museum on the property, which we’ll cover soon.
As you walk up the narrow paved path you see in the picture, you’ll come to a mailbox and a sign asking for donations. For now, you are not obligated to pay. But the landowner can change the rules, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a fee becomes mandatory next summer.
So you can choose to make a donation, or hike without making a donation. You can also choose to pay for a guided tour if you’d like; you’ll be guided by Jóhannus. The guided tours only happen on certain dates and times, so you need to make arrangements. Here are 2 ways to do this:
- If you will provide your own transportation arrangements and food, you can just book with Jóhannus directly. Call him at 00298 270255, or e-mail him at email@example.com. (Yes, that’s his father’s name, but I think Jóhannus handles the e-mail.) Jóhannus prefers phone calls, which seems to be fairly common among Faroese people. Just remember that this takes some preparation; The ferry only holds 17 cars, and it can fill up in the summertime. See the ferry schedule here. (Syðradalur is the southernmost town on Kalsoy, and it’s where the ferry port is.)
- If you want someone to handle everything, I recommend you work with MMTours. Jóhannus will still be your guide, MM will provide transportation from Tórshavn, book ferry tickets for you, provide a lunch and water, and get you back to Tórshavn. And they’ll teach you a lot about the Faroe Islands along the way.
You can also book a package with MM that includes the Kallur Lighthouse hike and a tour of the North.
On to the hike. This was a harder hike than I expected, for two reasons. First, it was muddy. It’s worse at the very beginning, but you still need to slow down and make sure you don’t slip. Second, much of the time you’re walking sideways on a slope, and you’ll need to lean to the side and slow down to keep your balance.
I ended up more or less joining a group that was being led by hiking.fo. They had a 7-year-old child with them, but I don’t think that slowed us down very much. We averaged an hour each way; about 5 minutes more than that going up, and 5 minutes less going back down. I’ve seen people say the hike takes 30-45 minutes each way, and maybe it can if you’re a very good hiker. But plan for longer, and bring water. And warm clothes!
It may also be less muddy at different times of the year. I went in October 2019, after several days of rain.
The good news is that you’re hiking through an amazing part of the world. Going up you’ll have to turn around to appreciate the views back down to the village:
And as you get higher, you’ll start to get views of the neighboring islands:
Keep walking and eventually you’ll catch glimpses of a tiny lighthouse off in the distance.
Notice that you can see several paths leading to the lighthouse; the whole hike is a process of finding a path that looks good and walking. And then finding another one if that path doesn’t work for you. Often you’ll see a “backup path” that’s a foot or so higher, but also much drier, than the original path. Keep an eye out and be ready to switch.
Finally you reach the top and you’re at the lighthouse. The lighthouse itself is cute, but it’s not really the main attraction.
Instead, and this shouldn’t be a huge surprise, the attraction is the amazing views in just about every direction. Careful turning around to look, though; it’s windy up here!
There is a bit of land past the lighthouse, and many famous photos online show the lighthouse with this land beyond it.
Here’s what it looks like up close; this is taken from just behind the lighthouse itself:
There’s a path there, but there’s also a lot of wind there. If you’re with a guide, and there isn’t much wind and the guide says it’s okay, you could give it a try. But if you’re not with a guide, I would skip this– that’s what we did. Just a picture is fine with me!
You’re more tired for the hike back down, but what I think is the prettiest scenery is now right in front of you.
The Kallur Lighthouse hike is a wonderful hike. You can hike without a guide and without a fee (at least for now), though donations are appreciated.
You’ll need to look down a lot, to watch your steps and make sure you have solid footing, But you’ll also need to look up a lot, to take in the stunning surroundings.
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