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Comparing the Delights of the Scottish and Faroe Islands

Comparing the Delights of the Scottish and Faroe Islands

Both the Scottish and Faroe islands share similarities in their landscape and richness in wildlife. However, each island group has unique qualities that make exploring them so intriguing, and a cruise holiday is an ideal way to do so. Below, we explore these beautiful, remote islands in more detail.

The Scottish Islands

It may surprise you to know that there are around 900 off-shore Scottish islands, although many are remote and rarely visited. Even the most popular of them have a sublime peacefulness, where much of the landscape remains undeveloped and home to an incredible array of wildlife. Here are a few of the most visited:

Orkney

Orkney alone is actually made up of 70 islands. The islands are famed for the Standing Stones of Stenness, built about 5,400 years ago. They also offer stunning beaches, captivating wildlife and an enthralling Viking heritage.

Shetland

The Shetland Islands (consisting of over 100) are home to some remarkable prehistoric sites, such as the extraordinary Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement, which includes oval-shaped Bronze Age houses, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses and Norse longhouses. Shetland is also a haven for bird enthusiasts. You may see puffins, kittiwakes, fulmars, razorbills, and even the rare ‘Bonxies’ or Great Skuas.

Skye

Another island loved for its glorious beaches, picturesque fishing villages, and rugged landscape with infamous ‘Fairy Pools’, the Isle of Skye entices visitors who enjoy hiking in the great outdoors. It’s the largest island in the Inner Hebrides, and while it is home to wildlife, such as red deer and sea eagles, it has also attracted filmmakers with various films and series like the Netflix original Outlaw King, the BFG, Macbeth, and Stardust being recorded here. 

Arran

With its own highlands and lowlands, Arran offers sandy beaches and waving palm trees close by to verdant green glens and soaring mountainous peaks. Visit Brodick Castle and Gardens to see an impressive collection of paintings, silverware and treasures. Meanwhile, foodies can discover the region’s specialities at the island’s chocolatier, brewery, smokehouse or creamery.

Mull

If you enjoy sea life spotting, then a visit to the Isle of Mull is for you. As puffins nest in large colonies in the cavities of the cliffs, seals bask on the rocky islands, and whales, dolphins, and basking sharks frequent the waters around the Western Headlands in the summer. With its breathtaking scenery and charming towns, Mull is a perfect place for an island escape. 

Above is just a small selection of the Scottish Islands. Other favourites for visitors include Harris, Islay, Barra, Lewis and Iona. 

Fred. Olsen Cruises is one of the leading cruise lines that sails to some of these amazing islands. However, if you’re looking to spend more time here, it’s worth exploring some of the smaller Scottish cruise lines’ itineraries.

The Faroe Islands

Although the Faroe Islands are found secluded in the North Atlantic Ocean, positioned between Iceland, Norway and Scotland, they are actually a self-governing territory belonging to Denmark. Consisting of 18 volcanic islands connected via road tunnels and ferries, they offer a rugged beauty that attracts wildlife-lovers from around the world. 

With towering cliffs, waterfalls, lagoons and rocky coastlines, the spectacular landscape of the Faroe Islands is a wonderful place for hiking. With a population of just 50,000, you can soon be out in the wilderness, enjoying this landscape’s tranquillity. For another extraordinary outdoors experience, take a boat trip to the Vestmanna bird cliffs, where rock walls stretch 2,000 feet above the ocean, creating hidden shelters for the thousands of nesting birds. Or, if you’re visiting between November and February, keep your fingers crossed for clear skies to get a sighting of the wondrous aurora borealis. 

In the capital city of Tórshavn, the brightly painted houses are reminiscent of those found in Copenhagen, while the eighteenth-century churches, old town and small museums provide places to learn more about this region’s fascinating and hospitable culture. 

The Faroe Islands may not always be as quiet as expected. With a vibrant music scene, it hosts five live festivals during the year that sees line-ups of folk, pop and electronica performances.

A number of leading and smaller cruise lines have itineraries that visit the Faroes Islands; these include P&O Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises. 

If you love the outdoors, exploring wild and secluded landscapes and discovering fascinating heritage, then both the Scottish and the Faroe Islands are great options for a holiday. Furthermore, being relatively close to the UK, you can enjoy them during a long weekend or mini cruise break over a few days.

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