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Visiting Mykines and puffins

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Mykines and its puffins are one of the best things anyone can experience in the Faroe Islands. A lot of people would come just to see them. For me, it was also one of the biggest attractions. And I really felt like I must see the puffins again. To be completely honest, Mykines really is one of the best places to see these little birds. Besides that, you will see here the beautiful scenery and the lighthouse that is quite famous from a lot of pictures. So really don’t miss this place.

One of many puffins that we met

Visiting Mykines and puffins – the ultimate guide

It might seem easy from the beginning. Just go to the island and start hiking. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. There are rules to what can you do on this island. Also how to get there and what else do you need for visiting it. I was surprised as well. But once you are there, you will surely appreciate every minute on this little island. The main thing you need to be careful about is how to get there and how to get back. A boat might seem easy enough but it really isn’t. Especially with the unpredictable weather that you can meet in the Faroe Islands. So let’s start with how to get there!

How to get to Mykines

Generally, there are two ways of getting to Mykines. Those are also the most common ways of getting around the Faroe Islands without a car. And that would be by helicopter or by boat. Both of these options have their pros and cons.

Getting to Mykines by boat

Ferry to Mykines

Boats are the most popular way of how to get to Mykines. They are relatively budget-friendly and especially in summer when it is the main season, they come quite often.

There are two boats that you can jump on every day during the summer months. One goes in the morning at 10.20 am the other one comes in the afternoon at 4.20. If you are planning to go there by ferry, you need to be there at least 30 minutes before the scheduled times. Also, the boats are very often full so it is necessary to book a ticket via Mykines.fo. In my experience it is best to do it as soon as you book the ticket, otherwise the ferry often gets too full.

Make sure you will also book the return ticket. The return boats are going at 11.00 am and 5.05 pm.

One ferry ride takes about 30 – 60 minutes, depends on the weather conditions. Make sure you have a good view outside when you are taking the ferry, it is a beautiful ride around Drangarnir island, and on your way back you can see the waterfall in Gasadalur.

And that is cause for a lot of trips. If that happens, sometimes you can ask for an extra trip, which is a bit expensive and will generally work only if a lot of people ask too. The additional ferry is organized only if the first trip is sold out 5 days before the travel and the weather conditions are good.

Price for the ferry: 60 dkk one way (so 120 for a return ticket)

Price for the extra trip: 100 dkk

And for little extra information on how to get to the ferry. The ferry goes from Sorvagur, one of the biggest villages on Vagar island. And if you are coming from Torshavn, the bus will take you directly to the ferry place. You should also know that if you are coming from Torshavn, the bus to Sorvagur takes about an hour so make sure you hop on the right one.

Getting there by helicopter

View from one of the cliff

Funnily enough helicopter ride is relatively cheap in the Faroe Islands. And Mykines has one of the heliports so it is quite easy to get there. The first station is at the airport at Vagár. The helicopters are operated by Atlantic airways and during the summer months, they have a regular schedule on when they are going to Mykines. It is possible to book the seat in a helicopter only 7 days in advance so make sure you would do that. Mainly because there are only 10 seats in the helicopter.

Even though the helicopter ride sounds perfect, there is only one ride every other day in summer. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday the helicopter goes from Vagár airport to Mykines at 10.15 am. You also need to be there at least half an hour in advance. There is no other ride than this morning one. So this might be for you if you want to stay on Mykines overnight.

One way ticket by helicopter costs 140 dkk.

On this site, you can check the schedules for the helicopter ride, and here you can also book the ride.

Be prepared for bad weather

Misty or rainy weather in Faroe Islands is quite normal

One thing that is here more important than anything else. You need to be prepared for the bad weather. And by this, I don’t mean that you should bring a rain jacket (although you absolutely should). When it comes to coming to Mykines and seeing the puffins getting there might be tricky.

The ferry might get canceled even at the last minute – that is usually due to high waves in the port where the ferry docks so it would not be possible to step on the land safely. The same might come for a helicopter if there is a storm or heavy rain, it will not be possible to fly as well. In case of cancellations, the money is refunded. But that is still the option here.

The worse that can happen is possibly the fact that your trip there is going just according to the schedule but the return trip got canceled because of bad weather or the boat broken. That sometimes happens. And yes, you can get strained in Mykines. For that specific reason make sure you have things like a toothbrush or any other necessities with you. Mykines does have several accommodations and they might have a spare room for you in case that happens. You should also get information on your mail when you can get on the next boat.

Mykines puffins and hike to the lighthouse

Puffins in Mykines

Mykines is mainly known for being the capital of puffins on the Faroe Islands but also for one of the best hikes that there is. The hike that you can take here leads to a lighthouse which is one of the most western points of the Faroe Islands. The hike to it is about 2,5 km long and starts right at the beginning of the village. Don’t worry, if you want to see puffins, there will be plenty of them on this hike. But there is one thing that you need to do even before you start hiking.

Hiking fee

Lighthouse in Mykines

While there are some places on the Faroe Islands when the hiking fee is still not applied, in this case, there is hiking fee on Mykines. You need to purchase the hiking pass online on Mykines.fo. While there is a general belief that many hiking fees are established for a bigger profit of local farmers, this hiking fee is there mainly to reduce the damage to the puffin colony that many people who are visiting them here every year can potentially cause.

Everyone who wants to visit any place beyond the village must purchase the hiking pass.

You will be asked to present your hiking fee when you are about to get to the ferry or to the helicopter so make sure you have downloaded the document that will be sent to you.

Hiking fee cost: 250 dkk

Hike to the lighthouse on Mykines

Group of puffins

Length of hike: 2,5 km

Difficulty: Medium – there are some steep passages but there are steps made for visitors as well

How long does it take? About 3,5 hours both ways, so there is plenty of time to explore and still make it back to the ferry.

And a little bit about the hike now. Basically you can choose where to start your hike. There is an official start right before you enter the Mykines village. But you can also go through the village and hike to a path that isn’t as steep as the official path begins. On the other hand, that way you will make it a bit longer by half a kilometer.

How to hike to the lighthouse

Cliffs around the hike

The beginning is the only place that is really steep. Otherwise, there are some passages that are steep as well but nothing comparing to the first part. The good news is that the first part that you need to hike is only 400 meters. But really steep ones. After that, you will have a relatively mild path when sometimes go up and sometimes go down.

Most of the paths are made by local sheep, so it is very easy to find the road. You will also meet a lot of sheep on your way. If you feel like you got lost, feel free to just follow where they go. Sheep rarely go too close to cliffs. And most of the path will be actually very close to the cliffs. So in case, it is mist all around you, watch carefully your steps.

Eventually, you will need to go down around the cliff, there will be doors that you will need to open and stares to help you. If you are afraid of heights, don’t worry, there is always something to hold on to. Once you are down there, you are entering puffins territory in Mykines. Make sure you have the camera with you!

There is a designated path all around that place simply because people don’t want you to watch on the new nests that puffins just made.

After this piece, there will be a piece that is basically just a bridge that is made to the last part of the island. It is a wooden bridge but it can still hold a lot. And then it comes to a normal path in nature all the way to the lighthouse with sheep all around.

Back to the village

Village on Mykines

Going back is in the same way you got to the lighthouse in the first place so nothing difficult. The whole village has only a couple of inhabitants. Here is a piece of advice – when you are going back, make sure you are taking your time. Not necessarily because it is more difficult to get back – it is not. But the whole hike is not long enough to fill up the whole day and there is only one place to get a coffee or a cake. So don’t worry if it takes you too long, there isn’t anything else to see than puffins and lighthouse.

But at the same time – make sure you go to the toilet before and after the hike. You can find the toilets in the village. There is literally nothing to hide behind in the village.

Important information about Mykines and puffins

Puffin from Mykines

How to be ethical to puffins and local community

Let’s start with how to be ethical to puffins. Puffins are very vulnerable creatures. And there is a lot of opportunities to meet them in Mykines. But you should always make sure you are with a safe distance with them because sometimes they are guarding their offsprings. Another thing that should be mentioned regarding of puffins is that they should not be fed. They are quite capable hunters the way they are and there is no reason to give them any more food that could be dangerous to them. Lastly, don’t stand too close to any cliff. The puffins are building their nest in the cliffs and it could be very dangerous for them if you step too close their nest. You can easily damage it by stepping on the edge so make sure you are always on the path that is designated for visitors.

Another thing that should be mentioned is that you should never leave your leftovers or any trash on the path. It should go without saying but I have seen a couple of trash on my way there. So really take everything you can.

When you are hiking to the lighthouse, you are basically stepping on local’s pastures. They have their own sheep there and we should be respectful to them. Even though the sheep there is nice, don’t feed it and don’t chase it. They can still fall down from the cliff.

Lastly – try to be responsible for the local community. The locals have a cool and old building but it would be respectful not to take pictures of what they have inside. A lot of people are doing pictures when they are too close. Try not to do that, it is still their privacy.

Best time to come

Walk on the cliff

I have mentioned the summer many times. That is because if you want to see puffins in Mykines, you will have to come from May to the middle of August. During that time puffins are nesting and are easy to visit in their little colony. After that, they are going back to the sea and you wouldn’t be able to see them for the rest of the year. Also, the weather is the best during the summer. Early spring or late autumn can be too windy and you can encounter here a lot of storms.

What to pack?

Puffins on the path

Rainjacket – whether it is summer or spring, you will always need a rainjacket in the Faroe Islands.

Cash – The coffee shop that you can find on Mykines also works as a little shop. Even though you can pay here by card, sometimes the connection doesn’t work due to bad weather

Things for one night – Just in case you will get stranded on Mykines

Binoculars – For a better look at puffins

And then a good mood. Happy trip!

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