This place is tucked between lush green fields and soaring rocky mountains, overlooking the sea and the majestic cliffs with one of the most surreal waterfalls in the world; sounds like paradise? Well, for 18 people living in Gasadalur it is nothing more than their everyday surroundings. This village is part of the Faroe Islands of Denmark, and by the sheer looks of it, it appears as if it was just spawned out of a fantasy tale. However, as blissful as it looks and sounds to be, the tiny village of Gasadalur was in danger of depopulating completely until a tunnel was built to connect it to the rest of the world.
Before 2004, there were only a couple of ways to get to the remote village; one was a hike over the mountain terrain which rises over 2,000 feet high, followed by a trek for miles before the village; and the other one was to climb up the cliff face from a ship that would be brave enough to get that close to the rocks. Before the tunnel, the only progress made to make the village more accessible was a staircase built into the cliff rocks in the 1940s.
Footprints of Giants, Corpse Stones, Blessed Springs and more; Gasadalur is brimming with epic folk tales and legends
Still, it’s not all as cumbersome as it sounds, the hiking route remains a somewhat popular endeavor among the enthusiasts, and it does have its perks. Some of the most magnificent views and landscapes are revealed through the hike. Notable interesting points include: Liksteinurin or ‘Corpse Stone’, which is the only spot where the coffin carriers could stop to rest while on their way to the usual burial grounds at Bour; another landmark is the spring Vigda where a priest blessed the water in order to baptize a dying baby on her way to the doctor. As you go on, you encounter other fascinating points inspired by folktales, such as Risasporio, said to be caused by a ‘footprint’ of a giant in Gasadalur, according to the legends. Finally, even though difficult, and somewhat dangerous, the trip proves to be worth it every step of the way. Astonishing views of and postcard-like landscapes are revealed behind every turn, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
there is a loneliness unique to the wintery Faroe Islands, in the evenings there aren’t people to socialize, share a drink or bite to eat. Even the sheep and birds go to sleep.
So, how do the 18 people live their lives in this small, remote village, you may wonder. Unlike the fast-moving, urban jungle lifestyle of the cities, people in Gasadalur take things slow. There is no church in the village, so the school is used for services, there is a cemetery from 1873, and the rest of the buildings are houses of the inhabitants, as for anything else, the locals would have to take a car or a bus ride to the nearby villages. Fishing is the predominant industry and source of export trade. Despite the spectacular landscape and mesmerizing stories, the harrowing fact there’s only 18 people in this place can be a burden. As the locals said in an interview, there is a loneliness unique to the wintery Faroe Islands, in the evenings there aren’t people to socialize, share a drink or bite to eat. Even the sheep and birds go to sleep.
Apparently the internet connection is pretty good despite the remoteness, so the locals can expand their window into the world at least through the powers of the world wide web. Gasadalur sounds like heaven to some, and like hell to others, depending on your perspective. But if you’re not scared of some isolation, living in a very small circle of people, and having maybe a week of sunshine each summer, this may be the place for you. You can have all the skerpikjøt (Faroese sheep legs) you can eat, spend your days fishing, hiking, and enjoying the beautiful scenery while immersing yourself in the folktales mostly including spirits and elves. Welcome to Gasadalur.