Runavik, Faroe Islands
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The tiny archipelago of the Faroe Islands, located midway between Iceland and Scotland in the North Atlantic, may have been the “islands of sheep and the paradise of birds” referenced by 6th-century Irish monk St. Brendan. What is less disputed is that the islands were settled by the Norse in the 9th century and since then have been tied politically to Scandinavia. Today the islands are a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, yet they have a culture and language—most closely related to Icelandic—all their own.
Runavík, a quaint fishing village on the island of Eysturoy, is comprised of a chain of settlements along the Skálafjørður—the largest fjord in the Faroe Islands—and serves as a gateway to Eysturoy’s natural beauty. Only 4,000 people live in Runavík and there are more sheep than humans. The town has changed little since its founding in 1916, though in recent years Runavík has become a major cruise port as well as a base for exploratory drillings for North Sea oil.