Faroe Islands

Capital City: Torshavn  Region: Europe
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Nearby:  Scotland Iceland Norway United Kingdom Ireland 
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Capital City: Torshavn
The Faroe or Faeroe Islands (in Faroese Føroyar) are 18 islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Scotland and halfway between Iceland and Norway. The Islands are a self-governing island territory of Denmark, although they politically aim for higher independence. The Islands have a population of nearly 50,000 (48.511 November 2010), and a language and culture of their own. When visiting the Faroes you are never more than 5 km (3 miles) away from the ocean. The countryside is dominated by steep mountains and there are about 70,000 sheep and some 2 million pairs of seabirds, including the largest colony of storm petrels in the world. The Faroe Islands are undeniably beautiful: green, rugged and wind-swept. Most visitors to the islands come between early July and late August.

Climate

The weather is maritime and quite unpredictable. It can change quickly and it varies extremely, from moments of brilliant sunshine to misty hill fog, to showers - there can be sunshine on one side of the mountain range, while it's raining on the other side. During the summer the islands are often overcast by summer fog. The Gulf Stream south of the islands tempers the climate. The harbors never freeze and the temperature in winter time is very moderate considering the high latitude. Snowfall occurs, but it is short-lived. The average temperature ranges from 3 C in the wintertime to 11 C during the summer, the temperature can be much higher, but the air is always fresh and clean no matter the season.

Landscape

With their volcanic origin the 18 islands are rugged and rocky. The average height above sea level for the country is 300 m (982 ft). The highest peak, Slættaratindur, is 882 m (2883 ft) above sea level. There are 1100 km (687 miles) of coastline and at no time is one more than 5 km (3 miles) away from the ocean. Mountains and valleys mostly characterize the inner landscape. The Faroese west coast is characterized by steep slopes and bird cliffs, that in the summertime are full of nesting seabirds such as puffins. Something that first meets the eye of a traveler is the lack of trees in the Faroes. The reason for this are the thousands of sheep that occupy the islands.

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