Small but perfectly formed is a good way to describe Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands and one of the smallest capital cities you can hope to visit during a cruise in the waters of Northern Europe.
Founded as a Viking settlement and named after the Norse god of thunder, Tórshavn sits on the southern end of the island of Streymoy; the largest and most populated of the islands that make up the Faroes.
When visiting the city, many people will head straight from the harbour to the area of Tinganes, which is the oldest part of Tórshavn and dates back around 500 years.
Here, you’ll be able to stroll through the narrow streets that split the red stone and timber buildings that have turfed roofs – a feature that is instantly recognisable as Tórshavn all over the world.
The Old Town is home to the main parliament buildings of the Faroes, as well as Tórshavn Cathedral, which is one of the oldest churches on the islands. The present building dates back to the 1860s, even though the church itself was established around 80 years earlier.
Elsewhere in Tórshavn, the Nordic House is one of the most important cultural centres in the Faroes, having been built in the 1980s as a place to celebrate and promote both Nordic and Faroese culture.
The actual building itself was designed to fit in with the scenic surroundings and also to be able to withstand the elements during the harsh winter months – with the end result being one of the most well-known structures in Northern Europe.
Other sites of interest in the city include various museums, as well as the historic site of Fort Skansin, which sits just outside Tórshavn and was used as a military base by the British during the Second World War. From here, you can take in views across the surrounding coastline and also back across the city and harbour areas.
Despite the small size of Tórshavn, there are various places where you can sample local dishes, many of which are based around mutton, or sample some beer from one of the local breweries.
You might also want to head out from the city to explore some of the surrounding landscapes, where you can take in the scenic beauty of the islands or head out on a special trip to spot the native wildlife.
That might involve taking to a boat for some whale-watching off the coast, or seeking out the famous puffins that are found across the islands.
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