Mykines: The World’s Most Unspoiled Island

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

The Faroe Islands are famous for their exquisite beauty and isolation.  Yet of all the islands and villages and regions, one place stands out as the most unspoiled, most unique, and perhaps even the most beautiful.

That place is a little island called Mykines.

Mykines (pronounced MEE-chin-ness) is the westernmost point in the Faroe Islands, and a popular destination for the Faroese.  There is no bridge or tunnel leading there, so you must travel either by boat or helicopter from neighboring island Vagar.

I arrive by boat and meet Harald, a septuagenarian guide with the legs of a mountain goat.  Right away, he takes me up a hill; an hour later, I realize we’re in the middle of a four-hour hike.

The landscape is breathtaking.  For what seems like the hundredth time in the past few days, I marvel at the scenery before me.  How can a place this beautiful be completely unknown to most of the world?

Sure, Mykines is incredibly to look at.  But it has something the other islands don’t: THOUSANDS OF PUFFINS!

How cute are these little critters?

You see puffins throughout the Faroe Islands, mostly from a great distance.  But on Mykines, you can sidle up right next to them.

I quickly fall in love with three adorable puffins whom I name the Three Stooges.  It takes a while, but eventually they all turn their heads in the same direction!

The hike on Mykines leads us up and down steep hills surrounded by thousands of puffin holes.  This is one place not to step off the path.

Joining Mykines to its westernmost half, Mykineshólmur, is a bridge built over the inlet, or Holmgjogv.  This bridge was built in 1909 and is one of very few of its kind in this part of the world.

Harald turns to me as we make it to the other side.  “We just crossed the North Atlantic,” he says with a nod.

We continue our hike — up hills, past sheep, and finally to a lighthouse looking out into the vast expanse of nothing.  The closest land is Iceland.  Here, I’ve finally made it to the end of the world, I think to myself.

The hike back takes us along the same route.  At this time, I learn that puffins, while adorable, can also be quite scary.

One of the puffins gives some sort of signal, and suddenly they are swarming in the air, flying in every direction, nearly divebombing the few hikers on the path on the hill.

You don’t know fear until you’ve seen thousands of puffins swarm at once around you.

We make it back to Mykines village, and Harald congratulates me.  “I like hiking with young people,” he tells me.  “We hiked in three hours…older people, it takes four.”

Back in town — the cluster of houses at the bottom of the hill — I wander the streets, admiring the brightly painted houses and traditional grassy roofs.

While cruise ships occasionally stop here, bringing as many as 500 people on the island at any given time, only 10 people live here year-round.  There is a tiny schoolhouse, and it is attended by exactly one child.

Could you imagine in such a small place?  As beautiful as it is, being so far from everything could take a huge toll — particularly during the cold, dark winter.

A few years ago, National Geographic Traveler named Mykines the world’s best island, putting it on the map for the first time ever.  The magazine chose Mykines for the reasons I’ve mentioned earlier: the beauty, the unspoiled nature, the isolation.  It goes to show that not all perfect islands have to be situated in a warm climate!

The Faroese are very proud of this honor.  But even after the recognition that comes with a major travel magazine cover, Mykines is still largely unknown to the masses, as are the Faroe Islands as a whole.  This fantastic island will remain secret to only those in the know.

Consider yourself among those privileged few.

Many thanks to Visit Faroe Islands and Travel PR for hosting my trip to the Faroe Islands.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Get email updates from KateNever miss a post. Unsubscribe anytime!

56 thoughts on “Mykines: The World’s Most Unspoiled Island”

  1. Kate, can’t believe how much these pictures look like Northern Ireland (minus the puffins and the little houses). Scenery is incredible, very similar to the area surrounding the Giants Causeway.. We even have a bridge across an island too at Carrick-a-rede. Glad you had a good time!

      1. Hi Kate:

        Based on your description I just did the Mykines hike with Harold and it was a heck of a lot more punishing than you let on. Did you know three people died on the island this year? (death by selfie, I heard –fell off the island). Anyway, beautiful as the island is, it is not for folks in poor shape or without the proper hiking gear. I would suggest you might want to add these details (possible warnings) to your website. The place is crazy beautiful and more and a little dangerous.


        1. Hi Ken — thanks for your comment. I’m sorry you struggled with the hiking.

          I’m not going to change my own information, because at the time I was extremely out of shape (far more so than now) and was still able to finish the hike quickly and comfortably. But I will leave your own comment up so others can see it.

          I suggest anyone concerned about the difficulty contact the guides directly with their own questions.

  2. Ahhhh PUFFINS!!! So cute. And so many of them!!

    That’s crazy that there are only 10 people who live there, though. And only ONE KID at the school? That’s insane.

    But I totally want to visit this place now.

      1. I just got back from Newfoundland and as a part of a whale watching tour saw thousands of puffins nesting on cliffs and skipping across the water. They’re way smaller than I thought they’d be. The landscape looks very much like your pictures Kate, although I would say a little less severe in the area I visited, more trees. Mind you, the more northern area of Gros Morne has deep fjiords and bare flatlands. Also, Candice, nice article about you in this weekend’s St. John’s newspaper (Kate: it was a half page/front of section/full color picture in the lifestyle section about travel blogging!) I read it while waiting in the airport. What a place!

  3. I am with Candice and Annie.
    I want to live there forever.
    With a puffin for a pet.
    What an amazingly beutiful place!

  4. Great pics, especially the puffin ones (with two and three respectively). Keep them coming. Safe Travels !!!

  5. Well, you’ve convinced me! I am seriously considering adding the Faroe Islands to my RTW itinerary next year. I literally stared at your photos and laughed aloud at the puffins (which, by the way, I thought were extinct. Shows how much I know!). And I responded aloud to the fact that the schoolhouse is attended by one child…what!

    Anyway, many many thanks for taking us along on your journeys through these stunning islands. I love the stories!

    1. Thank YOU, Becky! I’m very happy to share this place with the world. You would LOVE the Faroe Islands — I highly recommend them to people searching for a destination off the beaten path.

  6. That landscape is stunning and looks like something out of Lord of the Rings or Braveheart. Really beautiful and I would love to visit there. You always add more places to my bucket list. I need a lifetime to travel to all these places. 🙂

  7. Wow, I’ve never heard of Mykines before, Kate – I thought you’d mis-spelled Mykonos at first haha! This island looks absolutely beautiful- and how cool that you can say you crossed an ocean with that bridge?! Now, I can’t believe that the puffins can be scary. You must have spooked the adorable little things – or, as I suspect, you tried to kidnap one as a pet?

      1. Hi Kate,

        I’ve been following your blog for some time after I learned about your visit to our islands.
        It is a blessing to see how guests view us. For better or for worse.


  8. I think I want to go to Mykines! Those puffins look adorable! Although I would have the strongest urge to pick them up and squeeze them – that dive bombing thing sounds alittle scary. Although it probably would make for GREAT photos! I love the isolation of it.

  9. these island are a place to visit for sure and there is not much tourist! If you are looking for a truely real place get there! I would like to go and i envy you!

  10. Thanks for this great post (and awesome pics)! Mykines is definitely on the agenda for our trip to the Faroes next summer. However, I am having a hard time finding HOW I can get to get to Mykines. I know there’s only one place to stay on that island — Kristianhus. But I can’t find anything about a boat (or helicopter?) that can get us there. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

    1. You have to contact Atlantic Airways [email protected]
      i mailed them and they said that there is only a helicopter flight at fridays
      unfortunately we are not on a Friday at the faroer islands
      good luck nelleke

      1. i got an email from vagar tourist information

        The Helicopter transport to Mykines is: Sunday 12:20 a.m., Monday 09:45 p.m., Wednesday 09:45 a.m.,Friday 09:45 a.m. and 15:21 p.m. and if
        You want to book tickets you can send a mail to [email protected]

        have a nice flight

        1. Thank you SO much for following up with more information. I had all but forgotten I had asked you the question so this new piece of information would greatly help me plan my trip for next summer (2014). I very much appreciate it and look forward to more posts and photos from you! Happy travels and thanks again!

          1. we have booked the helicopter flight to mykines and the ferry back, looking forward to it
            greets nelleke

        2. Hooray for you! Have a great time. Please keep me posted on your trip after you return. It would be fun to hear what you thought of the experience. We are headed to Norway this year.

          1. Norway is very beautiful too, enjoy the beautiful lanscapes and hope not a lot of midgets

          2. we are back from our holiday to faroer and Iceland and it was unforgettable
            the helicopter flight to mykines is great, we had good weather and could see the Cliffs very good. the walk to the puffins was very muddy but the puffins are flying around your head. they are hard to get on picture because they disappear in the holes in the ground.
            we went on whale watch in husavik and saw humbacks jumping, so beautifull despite of the high waves and seasickness.

            bye bye nelleke

  11. we are going to the faroer islands this summer and also want to visit mykines. do you know if there are shorter walks to see the puffins?
    best regards Nelleke
    the netherlands

  12. Hi Kate!

    I am planning a solo roadtrip to the Faroe Islands at the end of May 2015 and after reading this post, there is no way I could miss this island! I have a couple of questions if you have the time!

    #1 – Can you stay on the island overnight (is there accommodation available for travelers) or do you have to return the same day on the ferry?
    #2 – What is the name of the ferry company you used? Or where you bought the tickets?
    #3 – Can you use a car there or is the hike the only activity available?

    Sorry to bombard you with questions! I am doing tons of research but, like you say, very few people have heard or been there! You are the number 1 expert in my book!

    1. Hi, Cristina —

      There aren’t any hotels on Mykines, but there might be a homestay somewhere. That would be the only overnight accommodation (and you don’t need to stay there overnight, as it’s very small).

      I can’t recall the name, but there’s only one ferry company. It’s actually more common to take the helicopter there, but there was some reason why I couldn’t take the helicopter that day. I’m sure a Google search would bring you to it.

      The ferry is a speedboat, not a big car ferry, and there are no cars on Mykines. You’re pretty much limited to walking!

      Good luck and have a wonderful trip! I loved it there.

  13. Hi, Kate,

    Have been reviewing your Faroe post obsessively – I have completely impulsively booked a trip leaving in two and a half weeks. Everything I read tells me Mykines is the place to be, but I wonder if you can give me a hand with any specifics?

    I’m there mid-April, before the ferries are running – I was sure I saw something, somewhere, that indicated intermittent winter ferry service, but I can’t find it now, or any other confirmation, so it looks like it’s the helicopter for me. I can go there and back in a day, staying for just over five hours, or go Friday morning and return Sunday afternoon. I only have 8 days in the Faroes, and spending two and a half on Mykines seems like maybe a bad idea (open to suggestions!)

    Where did you connect with your guide? I see that nimble you could do the lighthouse hike in 3h..I’m likely to be older and slower. I’m worried that if I get there and it takes me an hour to rustle up a guide that I’ll be cutting my return short. I can’t find a website or other contact info…any guidance?

    Thanks, and I love your pictures.

  14. Hey Kate – The hike on Mykines… how difficult is it? Going there with my 1 year old who’ll be secure in a backpack but very steep drop-offs may give me a heart attack 🙂

    We have 3 full days there. Any other favorite spots?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to the blog: