Lonely Planet Writer

The Faroe Islands will temporarily close to tourists

The Faroe Islands have recently been trying – quite literally – to put the beautiful archipelago on the tourist map. But now, as visitors numbers start to rise, the island is closing to tourists for one weekend except for 100 lucky visitors who are willing to work. 

The islands are closing for maintenance – unless tourists want to help. Image by Visit Faroe Islands

The islands will close for maintenance from 26 to 28 April, but will open up to voluntourism. As part of a promotion from Visit Faroe Islands, only 100 visitors will be able to sign up for the “Faroese Maintenance Crew”. There will be a number of projects run by locals, like creating walking paths in popular areas, creating viewpoints to help preserve nature, and putting up signs that will help with wayfinding. The crew of travellers will be able to help out with these projects, and as a thank you for their hard work, they will be given accommodation and food for three nights, and get to enjoy a celebratory meal with locals and their fellow travellers.

A group hikes through the Faroe Islands. Image by Visit Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands are located halfway between Iceland and Norway and are home to rugged cliffs, waterfalls and plenty of birdlife and sheep. With only 50,000 residents, the islands manage to welcome about 100,000 people each year, seeing a 10% growth in tourists in recent years. While the islands are not struggling with the overtourism problems that can be found elsewhere in the world, they do have a fragile natural environment that is susceptible to increased visitor numbers.

An example of one of the projects in Gjogv. Image by Visit Faroe Islands

“For us, tourism is not all about numbers,” said Guðrið Højgaard, director of Visit Faroe Islands, in a statement. “We welcome visitors to the islands each year, but we also have a responsibility to our community and to our beautiful environment, and our aim is to preserve and protect the islands, ensuring sustainable and responsible growth.” Find out how to apply to volunteer here