Mykines in the Faroe Islands is easily one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and remote places in the world. Thousands of puffins, unspoiled cliffs and ridges as if designed for hiking and virtually no tourists. It is a dream come true for any adventure and animal lover.
If you want to see puffins during your trip to the Faroe Islands than Mykines is where you need to go to, granted you are there in the right season.
I’ve created this complete guide with everything you need to know about visiting Mykines and a story about our own crazy adventure there including how we got stranded overnight! Continue reading to find out how to get to Mykines in the Faroe Islands, where to see the puffins and more!
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How to Get to Mykines in the Faroe Islands
There are two main ways to reach the westernmost island of Mykines: ferry and helicopter. The most common way is by ferry as the helicopter is typically reserved for the locals. You can however book a ticket with the helicopter in advance if you prefer that method of transportation.
1. Take the Boat or Ferry to Mykines
The ferry to Mykines is run by Mykines.fo and departs out of the port in Sørvágur. If you don’t have a rental car there is a public bus that runs from Tórshavn. You can find the bus connections HERE. It is best to book your Mykines ferry ticket online to reserve your seat on the boat as this trip fills up quickly in the high season.
When I was there we didn’t need to book our tickets online, however tourism is increasing and so are visits to Mykines. The ferry seats about 20-30 people and is more of a high speed boat than a ferry. The journey takes about 45 minutes and can be a very rough ride if the weather is bad. Take dramamine or wear sea bands if you have motion sickness or sea sickness.
During the ride you will pass by many sea stacks and even the Múlafossur waterfall. However, due to our weather we were unable to see anything but waves crashing up onto the boat.
The harbor in Mykines isn’t really a harbor but more of a very narrow inlet surrounded by steep, towering cliffs. There is a slab of concrete, which is considered the dock, that the very skilled captain pulls up to so the passengers can jump off. This is one of the reasons that the boat cannot arrive in Mykines if the weather is bad as it becomes far too dangerous.
Ferry Schedule from 1 May – 31 August
- Sørvágur to Mykines: 10:20 and 16:20
- Mykines to Sørvágur: 11:05 and 17:05
» DO NOT VISIT MYKINES ON YOUR LAST DAY IN THE FAROE ISLANDS «
I cannot stress this enough. We did and ended up stranded on Mykines for the night with no place to stay. We actually had to charter a helicopter the next day to avoid missing our flight. Wouldn’t recommend and I’ll get into more on that later!
2. Get to Mykines by Helicopter
The helicopter is operated by Atlantic Airways. The cost to fly from Vagar Airport to Mykines on the regularly scheduled helicopter is 145 DKK ($21 USD). There is no scheduled afternoon departure back to Vagar Airport so you will need to arrange your return through the ferry.
You can find all the information on the helicopter HERE.
You can book your flights with the helicopter HERE.
The Small Village on Mykines
There is a small village on the island of Mykines where only a handful of people live year round. During our visit there were only 9 full time residents that lived on Mykines in the Faroe islands. There are a two cafes and a few B&B’s which can accommodate a small number of visitors who choose to stay overnight.
During the summer months between May and August many locals and tourists come to the island. For these four months there is a regularly scheduled ferry, however during the rest of the year you can only reach the island by helicopter.
Mykines Hiking Fee
When I was in Mykines there wasn’t a hiking fee. However, starting in July 2018, the government has implemented a hiking fee which is required to be paid online prior to your visit.
Since Mykines is a protected island, they only allow people to visit between May 1st and August 31st. The fee that is required for entry is used to help protect the land and the wildlife on Mykines. The fee is DKK 250 ($36 USD) and must be purchased online. You can purchase the hiking ticket on Mykines.fo.
You will need to bring a printout of the receipt or have it available on your phone to show as they will check it at the start of the hike.
Mykines Hike to the Lighthouse
After you arrive safely on the island you will begin your ascent up some concrete stairs towards Mykines village.
At the top of the stairs you will find a questionable map detailing the path you should take to reach the lighthouse. It is one of those maps where you take a picture for reference and think, “maybe this will become more clear along the way? ”
From the village, climb straight up the side of the steep hill to reach the ridge and began your hike towards the lighthouse. At the top of the hill you will have to show proof of your paid hiking fee so make sure you have either a printed copy or a picture on your phone.
As soon as you reach the top you will begin to see tiny puffin heads popping up from their perches and peaking out from their burrows. The puffins, called Lunder in Faroese, can be seen on Mykines in the Faroe Islands from May to August during the breeding season.
What makes Mykines so special is that you will have the opportunity to see thousands of these tiny birds up close during your hike to the Hólmur lighthouse. They will be diving into the ocean below, gliding into their burrows along the cliffside and furiously flapping their wings as they take flight.
Continue hiking along the upper ridge for quite some time, following the unmarked muddy trail and continuing up and down the mountainous hills.
The path to the lighthouse on Mykines takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours of walking once you leave the village. This takes into account all the times you’ll probably be stopping to photograph the cute puffins and the incredible scenery.
After hiking for some time, you’ll reach a small metal and wooden bridge. This bridge connects Mykines to the islet of Mykineshólmur where the lighthouse is. It is also the only place in the world where you can cross the North Atlantic ocean on foot!
Keep continuing along the path until you reach the lighthouse and explore around the area. This is also a perfect resting point to enjoy your packed lunch.
We stayed for awhile at the end of the island, photographing the steep cliffs that seemed to drop off into the ocean as well as the puffins and Gannets that were in close view.
Be sure to keep a close watch on the time while you are hiking to the lighthouse. You’ll want to make sure you give yourself enough time to make it back to the village for the ferry departure time.
Our Story of How We Got Stranded on Mykines
We had just finished our 6 hours of hiking to the Hólmur lighthouse and had arrived back in Mykines village. We were warming up in the village cafe for the last hour and at our expected departure time we made our way back down to the harbor with the rest of the group. We waited patiently and saw the high-speed ferry boat round the corner only to stop and discontinue its journey towards the dock.
Questions started rising about why the boat had stopped and soon panic set in. After about 45 minutes of bobbing in the ocean, just out of reach, the ferry turned around without us and started heading back to Sørvágur.
We all crowded back inside the small cafe where it was warm and dry as we waited for Katrina to give us further information. Katrina owns the cafe and lives on the island with her family, making up the majority of people who live there. Katrina and her husband informed the group that the ferry would maybe try to return later in the evening if the weather improved.
As the evening wore on we realized that the ferry wasn’t coming back. We were stranded on Mykines for the night and between rationing out our 15 peanuts for dinner and scouting out the church benches for potential sleeping arrangements all we could do was hope that the ferry would come in the morning.
While most of the others stayed in one of the rooms available for rent, we stayed in cubby hole beds in Katrina’s house since there wasn’t a place where all three of us could stay for 10 cents and she wasn’t going to allow us to freeze sleeping in the church.
In the morning we awoke, hopeful that the ferry would arrive that morning to take us back, but alas we received the bad news that the sea was still too rough.
Completely panicked, as we had a flight out of the Faroe Islands and back to Bergen that afternoon, we quickly began making calls to try and get a helicopter there as soon as possible to retrieve us from Mykines.
After many calls and a lot of stress the helicopter finally arrived at around 2:30 pm giving us about one hour to get back, get our car, pack up our apartment and get to the airport.
I’m pretty sure that we have never packed so quickly in our lives. Fortunately, we made it to the airport on time, exhausted and still in our muddy clothes.
In retrospect, this was one of our favorite and most entertaining memories from our trip. Also, it was my first time in a helicopter and the views were spectacular so it wasn’t all bad!
Important Things to Know Before You Go
1. Helicopter Flight Schedule
From the start, I would not plan to go to Mykines the day before you have a flight out of the Faroe Islands. It is also advisable to schedule your visit to Mykines around the pre-scheduled helicopter flights that are less expensive just in case something unexpected happens.
We paid €120 per person for the chartered helicopter to pick us up at the last minute. Thankfully, we were able to pay by credit card once after arriving at the airport since we did not have any cash on us.
Also, as I previously stated, the helicopter can only be booked 7 days out and you can only book a one-way ticket. Therefore make sure that if you book a helicopter to take you to Mykines you have checked to confirm the ferry is scheduled to pick up in the afternoon.
However, that is not always a guarantee either so you should plan on staying overnight on Mykines just in case. You don’t want to end up in our situation so be sure think all this through before going.
2. Bring Cash With You & Be Prepared to Stay Overnight
It is advisable to carry enough cash on you for dinner and possibly a place to stay. There are no ATM’s on the island and they didn’t take credit cards when we were there.
Pack any medications you may need overnight, some extra clothes and chargers for your electronics. The locals informed us that the ferries and helicopters get cancelled quite frequently based on the weather so be prepared.
3. Drones Are Not Allowed
Do not fly or even bother bringing your drone to the island of Mykines. There are hundreds of thousands of seabirds flying around the island, including puffins, and you could potentially injure one of them. You may be able to fly your drone outside of puffin season but I would confirm that just in case.
What to Pack & Wear in Mykines
When packing for a day trip to Mykines you’ll want to wear and bring all the essentials. The weather is extremely temperamental and can change at any moment. Wear sturdy and preferably waterproof hiking boots with silk socks. The silk socks will keep your feet warm but are better than wearing wool while being active. Wear hiking pants with waterproof coverings and a rain jacket. It is also wise to wear layers since the temperature can vary throughout the day.
Additionally, I recommend packing a lunch, snacks and plenty of water with you for during the hike. You will be on the trail for around 5-6 hours and the only restaurants are back in Mykines Village.
When is the Best Time to Go to Mykines
The best time to go to Mykines is during the puffin season. This time period is from the beginning of May till the end of August. Since puffins are seabirds they typically spend most of the year out at sea. However, starting in May they will begin coming to Mykines to breed. In the first month they will spend little time on land but will begin making their nests at the start of June.
If you’re main purpose is to see the puffins then I recommend going to Mykines Island mid-June. Around mid-July the baby puffins hatch and by the end of August the puffins will be back out at sea.
During this period there is a daily ferry that runs from Sørvágur to Mykines (weather dependent). Outside of May 1- August 31 you will have to take the helicopter to Mykines and spend at least one night on the island. If you are planning on taking the ferry, the schedule can be found here. Also, see above for all the details about taking the ferry.
We loved every minute of exploration on the island of Mykines and you will too. You’ll just be better prepared for unforeseen circumstances than we were!
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WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE?
- Main Camera: Sony A7III
- Wide angle lens: Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom lens: Sony 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3
- Prime lens: Sony 85mm f/1.8
- Secondary Camera: Canon 6D Mark II
- Canon wide angle lens: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L
- Canon lens: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
- Underwater camera: Leica X-U
- Camera with gimbal: DJI Osmo Pocket & Underwater Housing
- Drone: DJI Mavic Pro 2
- Camera Bag: Polar Pro Drone Trekker
- External Hard Drive: LaCie 2 TB rugged mini external hard drive