Visiting Sørvágsvatn: Our Failed Hike to the Hanging Lake

October 29, 2018 10 Comments

The Faroe Islands have a famous Hanging Lake (also called Sørvágsvatn or Leitisvatn because there’s a disagreement about the name) near the airport, so Matt and I planned to hike to it before our flight back to Copenhagen. We are NOT expert hikers, so the hike to the Hanging Lake didn’t go quite as planned! Thankfully, we finally found the famous spot, and we got to see some amazing views of Sørvágsvatn along the way 🙂 

Visiting Sørvágsvatn: Our Failed Hike to the Hanging Lake (And How to Avoid Our Mistakes!)

Getting to Sørvágsvatn

Sørvágsvatn lake

Things started off rough when we couldn’t even find the lake. We drove to where Google Maps said it was, but it was wrong and we didn’t have service to look anything up (thanks, Skyroam…). So we asked some people who probably thought we were crazy and their directions didn’t help very much, so we drove to the airport and asked someone at guest services (and used their Wifi). Thankfully, we budgeted lots of extra time and finally found the lake! There aren’t any clear signs there and we even passed the spot where to park because it’s on a curve in the road, so just look for where cars are parked off the road and you’re probably in the right place. 

Houses on Sørvágsvatn

Hiking to Sørvágsvatn

The person at the airport who gave us directions also told us that you can hike down along Sørvágsvatn or along a higher peak. We couldn’t find where to walk on the peak so we walked along the lake. The views were beautiful, but the other hike probably would have been easier in the long run! See that pointy peak in the photo above? That’s where you need to go to the best views of the Hanging Lake. We didn’t realize that at the time and had to climb up the steep hill at the end to get there (which would be even harder if it’s raining). 

Sørvágsvatn

Faroe Islands lambs

Sørvágsvatn hike

Sørvágsvatn

The water in Sørvágsvatn was so blue and beautiful!

Sørvágsvatn hiking

Faroe Islands bird

Faroe Islands seagull

Sørvágsvatn

Faroe Islands sheep

House on Sørvágsvatn

Sørvágsvatn house

Faroe Islands sheep

Faroe Islands lambs

Boat on Sørvágsvatn

Boat on Sørvágsvatn

Faroe Islands flowers

Faroe Islands ocean view

Sørvágsvatn

The hike along the lake is pretty easy. It’s fairly flat with some rocks and uneven parts, but it’s not too bad. We hiked ALL the way to the end of the lake, and that area had a lot of rocks to climb over. Walking to the end isn’t where the view of the Hanging Lake is, but you can see out on the ocean and it’s gorgeous! I definitely recommend hiking down there if you have the time, or if you get lost like us 🙂 

Sørvágsvatn view of the ocean

Sørvágsvatn with mountains

Faroe Islands sheep

Sørvágsvatn

Sørvágsvatn panoramic photo

This panoramic view of Sørvágsvatn is actually three photos that I put together 🙂 

Sørvágsvatn

Faroe Islands ocean view

Hiking to Sørvágsvatn

Hike to the Hanging Lake

Hike to the Hanging Lake

Matt and I were very confused at this point, so we asked some other hikers, and they told us we had to climb all the way to the top where these people are shown. It was more steep than this photo shows, so I highly recommend wearing good hiking boots! My sneakers were barely making this hike. 

Faroe Islands cliff views

Faroe Islands ocean view

Faroe Islands cliffs

We finally made it! The view of the ocean from the top was AMAZING! It was so quiet and relaxing, and I could have stayed up there for hours. There were some photographers at the top in the spot where you can get photos of the Hanging Lake, so Matt and I took photos of the beautiful ocean and ate our lunch while we waited our turn.

Also, the hike to the Hanging Lake is not the best for people afraid of heights. The cliff you’re standing on has very steep drop offs and you have to stand on the edge for the best photos, and even I was getting a little nervous!

Faroe Islands boat

Faroe Islands Hanging Lake

Faroe Islands Hanging Lake

We finally got photos of the Hanging Lake! It’s called the Hanging Lake because it’s an optical illusion and looks like the lake’s edge is right on the edge of the cliff, but it looks that way because of the way the land slopes down. People have better pictures where the lake looks like it’s right on the edge of the cliff, but you probably have to get even closer to the edge of the rocky cliff and that was a little too far out of my comfort zone (especially considering how clumsy I am!). Still, it was a cool sight to see! 

Faroe Islands Hanging Lake

Faroe Islands Hanging Lake hike

Hike to the Hanging Lake

Hike to the Hanging Lake

You can get a better view of the optical illusion in this photo

Faroe Islands hike

Hike to the Hanging Lake

You can see that the lake actually isn’t on the edge of the cliff! It slopes down a lot, so you actually have to hike down quite a bit to get to Sørvágsvatn

Hike to the Hanging Lake

Faroe Islands cliffs

Faroe Islands cliffs

Faroe Islands cliffs

Faroe Islands cliffs

Sørvágsvatn

Faroe Islands sheep

Faroe Islands lamb

Faroe Islands lamb

Hike to the Hanging Lake

Faroe Islands lambs

Faroe Islands geese

Faroe Islands geese

The way back was much easier since we knew to just follow the lake! (We did get dive bombed by a group of birds though, and I saw my life flash before my eyes. I think we got too close to a nest without realizing it!). We budgeted about four hours for the hike to the Hanging Lake since we had time to kill before our flight, and it took about three hours round trip, including getting lost and taking a break at the top to eat our lunch. The hike to the Hanging Lake may have been more confusing than we expected, but I definitely recommend visiting Sørvágsvatn when you’re in the Faroe Islands 🙂  

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10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kay

    November 2, 2018

    HAAHAHHAHAAH “failed hike” is literally my middle name. I had never heard of this one before though! I would have done the exact same!

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 2, 2018

      Yeah I’m really not great at hikes! I definitely recommend this one though if you get the chance!

  2. Reply

    John Saeger

    November 2, 2018

    Amazing photos! I love the first one that shows the divide between the cliffs.

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 2, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Clazz

    November 2, 2018

    Oh my gawd, this looks beautiful!! Even with the failed navigation skills (which would 100% happen to me) you still got some amazing views even if you hadn’t made it to the end! The whole thing looks incredible! And as always your photos are absolutely stunning. The Faroe islands are definitely on my list.

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 3, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂 Yes the views were amazing!!

  4. Reply

    Suzanne Fluhr

    November 2, 2018

    I know what you mean about the difficulty of climbing up rocky slopes with sneakers in the rain because I did exactly that on the Isle of Skye. I was the person who fell into a puddle because I lost my balance on a rock. It was a muddy puddle. I’m glad you were there on a sunny day because I was very curious about what a hanging lake would look like. You can really see it in the photo you made by splicing 3 together.

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 3, 2018

      Yes I definitely need to invest in some good hiking boots! The lake was really pretty in the sun! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Anshula

    November 3, 2018

    All these pictures look so stunning! I’m such an expert in failed hiking (this could be a new job title). I’m so glad you put the warning about being scared of heights because I’m absolutely terrified of them!

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 3, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂 Yes the cliff drop offs were even making me pretty nervous!

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