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Hotels of Tórshavn

A hotel in Tórshavn is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Tórshavn hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Tórshavn are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Tórshavn hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Tórshavn hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Tórshavn have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Tórshavn
An upscale full service hotel facility in Tórshavn that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Tórshavn hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Tórshavn
Full service Tórshavn hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Tórshavn
Boutique hotels of Tórshavn are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Tórshavn boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Tórshavn may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Tórshavn
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Tórshavn travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Tórshavn focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Tórshavn
Small to medium-sized Tórshavn hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Tórshavn traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Tórshavn hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Tórshavn
A bed and breakfast in Tórshavn is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Tórshavn bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Tórshavn B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Tórshavn
Tórshavn hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Tórshavn hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Tórshavn
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Tórshavn hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Tórshavn lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Tórshavn
Tórshavn timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Tórshavn often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Tórshavn on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Tórshavn
A Tórshavn motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Tórshavn for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Tórshavn motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Tórshavn

Tinganes, Tórshavn old town
Tinganes, Tórshavn old town
Coat of arms of Tórshavn
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Havn
Tórshavn is located in Denmark Faroe Islands
Location in Faroe Islands
Coordinates:  / 62.01167; -6.76750  / 62.01167; -6.76750
State Kingdom of Denmark
Constituent Country Faroe Islands
Municipality Tórshavn Insigna.svg Tórshavn Municipality
Founded 10th century
Town rights 1909
• Mayor Annika Olsen (Fólkaflokkurin)
• Land 172.9 km (66.8 sq mi)
Elevation 24 m (79 ft)
Population (2015-01-01)
• City 12,648
• Density 78/km (200/sq mi)
• Metro 20,015
• Metro density 125/km (320/sq mi)
population-ranking: 1st
Postal code FO-100, FO-110
Climate Cfc
Website www.torshavn.fo

Tórshavn (Faroese pronunciation: [ˈtʰɔuʂhaun]; literally, "Thor's harbour"; Danish: Thorshavn [ˈtoɐ̯ˀshɑwˀn]) is the capital and largest town of the Faroe Islands. Tórshavn is in the southern part on the east coast of Streymoy. To the northwest of the city lies the 347-meter-high (1,138 ft) mountain Húsareyn, and to the southwest, the 350-meter-high (1,150 ft) Kirkjubøreyn. They are separated by the Sandá River. The town proper has a population of 13,000 (2008), and the greater urban area a population of 19,000.

The Norse established their parliament on the Tinganes peninsula in AD 850. Tórshavn thus became the capital of the Faroe Islands and has remained so ever since. All through the Middle Ages the narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea made up the main part of Tórshavn. Early on, Tórshavn became the centre of the islands' trade monopoly, thereby being the only legal place for the islanders to sell and buy goods. In 1856, the trade monopoly was abolished and the islands were left open to free trade.

Tórshavn: History

Tórshavn: Early history

It is not known whether the site of Tórshavn was of interest to the Celtic monks who were probably the first settlers in the Faroes. The Viking settlers in the 9th century established their own parliaments, called tings, in different parts of the islands, it being the tradition in each case to hold the ting at a neutral and thus uninhabited place, so no one location gave anyone an advantage. The main ting for the islands was convoked in Tórshavn in 825, on Tinganes, the peninsula that divides the harbour into two parts: Eystaravág and Vestaravág. The Vikings would thus meet on the flat rocks of Tinganes every summer, as the most central place on the islands, although there was no settlement at Tinganes at that time. The Færeyinga Saga says: "the place of the ting of the Faroese was on Streymoy, and there is the harbour that is called Tórshavn". The Viking age ended in 1035. The ting was followed by a market which gradually grew into a permanent trading area.

All through the Middle Ages, the narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea made up the main part of Tórshavn. It belonged to the outfield of two farmers. Unlike other Faroese villages, Tórshavn was never a distinct farming community. During the 12th century, all trade between Norway and the Faroes, along with other tributary islands to the west, became centralised in Bergen. In 1271, a royal trade monopoly was established in Tórshavn by the Norwegian Crown. According to a document from 1271, two ships would sail regularly to Tórshavn from Bergen with cargoes of salt, timber and cereal. Tórshavn therefore had more contact with the outside world than did the other villages. Under the Norwegian, and then Danish rule, government officials made Tórshavn their home. All of these things, combined with the fact that Tórshavn was the seat of the ting of the islands, influenced the town’s development.

Tórshavn: 1500–1800

Skansin has been rebuilt several times since it was first built in 1580. The current building dates back to 1790
Tórshavn Cathedral and Bryggjubakki street (left) and Undir Bryggjubakka street (right) at the centre of the city

Sources do not mention a built-up area in Tórshavn until after the Protestant reformation in 1539. In ca. 1580 a small fort, Skansin, was built by the Faroese naval hero and trader Magnus Heinason at the north end of the harbour. Later small fortifications were built at Tinganes.

In 1584 Tórshavn had 101 inhabitants. The population was divided into three equally large groups made up of farmers, their families and servants, trade and government officials and people who owned no land and therefore not much else; this included the landless proletariat from the villages that during this period came to Tórshavn in search of work. They were set to guard duty on Skansin without pay, and for clothing and food they depended on the bounty of the farmers.

In 1655 king Frederick III of Denmark granted the Faroe Islands to his favourite statesman Kristoffer Gabel, the rule of the von Gabel Family, 1655–1709, is known as Gablatíðin. It is the darkest chapter in the history of Tórshavn. Gabel's administration suppressed the islanders in various ways. The trade monopoly was in the family’s hands and it was not designed for the needs of the Faroese people. People across the country brought products into town and had to be satisfied with whatever price they were given. At the same time imported goods were limited and expensive. There came considerable complaints from the islands' inhabitants of unjust treatment by the civil administration in Tórshavn. These not only included the persons in charge of the monopoly trade, but also the bailiff and others. It was during this period, in 1673, that Tinganes was ravaged by a fire after a store of gunpowder kept at Tinganes had blown up. Many old houses burnt to the ground and old Faroese records were lost as were Gabel's documents.

Conditions improved in Tórshavn when the trade monopoly became a royal monopoly in 1709. The royal monopoly was supplied with goods from Copenhagen three times a year. However, in 1709 Tórshavn was hit by a plague of smallpox, killing nearly the entire population. The town had by this time reached a population of 300 and 250 of the inhabitants died. Still, it was during the latter half of the 18th century that Tórshavn started to develop into a small town. This was while Niels Ryberg was in charge of the trade monopoly. From 1768 and during the next 20 years onwards Ryberg was allowed to carry on an entrepot trade which was mainly based on smuggling to England. Because of the French-British conflict there was room for this kind of operation. In Tórshavn his warehouses filled up with goods. Ryberg was the first person who thought of making a financial profit from fishing, which later became the most important economic factor to the islands. He experimented with salted cod and herring but at this point in time nothing much beyond this happened.

Tórshavn Cathedral was first built in 1788 and partly rebuilt in 1865. Since 1990, it has been the seat of the Bishop of the Faroe Islands (in the Church of the Faroe Islands).

Tórshavn: 1800–present

Tórshavn in 1839

On 30 March 1808, during the Gunboat War, the Cruizer class brig-sloop HMS Clio entered Tórshavn and briefly captured the fort at Skansin. The fort surrendered without firing a shot as the landing party approached. Clio spiked the fort's eight 18-pounder guns and took all the smaller guns and weapons before leaving. Shortly after 6 May a German privateer who had assumed the name "Baron von Hompesch" plundered the defenseless city and seized the property of the Danish Crown Monopoly. The Admiralty Prize Court, however, refused to condemn it as a lawful prize.

Tórshavn in 1864, the Løgting is on top left

In 1856, free trade came to the Faroe Islands. By opening the islands to the world, it transformed the economy, with Tórshavn at its centre. The farming land was rented to townspeople who could later buy it if they wished. These small plots of land enabled people to keep cows and sheep.

In 1866, Tórshavn's town council was founded. The town has been the capital of the Faroe Islands ever since. Later, in 1909, Tórshavn became a market town with the same municipal charter as Danish market towns.

In 1927, Tórshavn had a modern harbour built. This made it possible for larger ships to berth.

During the British occupation of the Faroe Islands in World War II, Skansin was used as the headquarters of the Royal Navy Command and two 5.5-inch guns used aboard HMS Furious before World War II were deployed.

In 1974, the neighboring villages Hoyvík and Hvítanes were made part of the town area. Later, even more municipalities joined the Tórshavn municipality. In 1978 Kaldbak, in 1997 Argir, in 2001 Kollafjørður, and finally in 2005, Kirkjubøur, Hestur, and Nólsoy.

Tórshavn: Politics and government

Tórshavn Harbour Ferry Terminal, view towards Tinganes and 'Vesturbýur' The Western Town

Tórshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands, and as such is the seat of the Faroes’ self rule government. The government holds the executive power in local government affairs. Today a part of the government is located on the Tinganes peninsula of Tórshavn, the Prime Minister's office is here and the Ministry of Internal Affairs was here until it was closed in 2013. The other ministries are located in other office buildings in various places in Tórshavn, i.e. the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Affairs are located near the Hospital of the Faroes in Eirargarður, and the Ministry of Finance is located in Argir in a building called Albert Hall on the street Kvíggjartún. The parliament, the Løgting, which was originally located on Tinganes, was relocated to the town square, Vaglið, in 1856.

Tórshavn: Climate

Tórshavn features a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc) with average summer highs around 12 °C (54 °F) and average winter highs around 6 °C (43 °F), and with winter temperatures rarely dropping below freezing, and frequent cloudy skies. Average monthly precipitation is highest in fall and winter, peaking in January, owing to frequent, intense storms crossing the area from the North Atlantic Ocean, while May and June are markedly drier months. Tórshavn is among the cloudiest places in the world, with significant sunshine records at only about 2.4 hours of sunshine per day; however no data exists for places such as the Aleutian Islands or parts of southern Chile, which may have even less sun. Because of the cloudy weather and the ice-free water surrounding Torshavn, its winter temperatures are exceptionally mild for such a northerly location. Summer temperatures are much lower than those found in continental Scandinavia on similar parallels. The temperature amplitude in the period from 1961 to 2010 is a mere 33 °C (59 °F) between the absolute warmest and coldest temperatures.

Climate data for Tórshavn (1981–2010, extremes 1961–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 11.6
Average high °C (°F) 5.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.0
Average low °C (°F) 1.7
Record low °C (°F) −8.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 157.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 22 17 21 16 13 12 13 13 18 22 21 22 210
Average relative humidity (%) 90 89 89 87 88 88 90 90 90 90 89 90 89
Mean monthly sunshine hours 14 36 71 106 124 125 111 98 80 49 20 6 840
Source #1: Danish Meteorological Institute
Source #2: NOAA (sun, humidity and precipitation days 1961–1990)

Tórshavn: Sport

Tórsvøllur, the home stadium of the Faroe Islands national football team
A boat race at the Jóansøka Festival in Tvøroyri in June 2011.

Tórshavn, as the capital city, is the centre of sport in the islands; the largest sports centre is located in the Gundadalur district of Tórshavn. Also, the largest football stadium, Tórsvøllur, is located here, seating 6,000 spectators. The stadium serves as home to the Faroe Islands national football team. Around the city there are also two other football pitches, indoor tennis courts, badminton courts and a swimming pool.

The city has several football clubs, including three Premier League teams: HB Tórshavn, B36 Tórshavn and Argja Bóltfelag. Other football clubs with connections to the city are FF Giza (Nólsoy), FC Hoyvík and Undrið FF. Handball is the second most popular sport in Tórshavn. The city's handball teams are Kyndil, Neistin and Ítróttafelagið H71 and the Faroe Island's national handball team practice in the city. Tórshavn city has several popular rowing clubs, including, Havnar Róðrarfelag and Róðrarfelagið Knørrur.

Every year in July the Tour of Faroe Islands, which is a road bicycle race, is held around the islands. The race is called Kring Føroyar (Tour de Faroe / Around the Faroes), it starts in Klaksvík and ends in Tórshavn.

Tórshavn: Music

The Tórshavn Jazz Festival has been held annually since 1983. It attracts musicians from all over North America and Europe and has become a popular tourist event.

Tórshavn: Transport

A map of Tórshavn showing road links

The harbour is served by the Smyril Line international ferry service to Denmark and Iceland. The harbour is also used by domestic ferry services of Strandfaraskip Landsins within the Faroe Islands, chiefly on the route to Tvøroyri.

The town is served by Bussleiðin - a network of local buses. Buses also depart to villages throughout the islands.

There is a helipad in Tórshavn; the nearest airport is Vágar Airport.

Tórshavn: Sites of interest

Listasavn Føroya on a national stamp, 1995.
  • Tinganes, the old part of town, it is still made up of small wooden houses covered with turf roofs. The oldest one dates back 500 years.
  • Tórshavn Cathedral, the second oldest church in the country.
  • Tórshavn harbour.
  • Fort Skansin, a historic site dating back to the sixteenth century
  • Listasavn Føroya, the Faroese art museum.
  • The main church, Vesturkirkjan, with outside art work by Hans Pauli Olsen.
  • The Nordic House in the Faroe Islands, the most important cultural institution in the Faroes.
  • The historical museum in Hoyvík, with all its treasures.
  • The museum of Natural History, with a small botanical garden with 150 Faroese plants.
  • Niels Finsens gøta, Tórshavn's only pedestrianised street.

Tórshavn: Institutions in Tórshavn

  • Løgtingið and Landstýrið, is the Faroese parliament and government with all its national institutions.
  • Kringvarp Føroya (Faroese national television and radio) which is publicly owned.
  • University of the Faroe Islands, situated next to the national archives, a navigational college, a teachers college, etc.
  • Postverk Føroya is the postal service of the Faroe Islands.
  • A number of countries have a Consulate-General in Tórshavn, including all Nordic countries and several EU countries.
  • Føroya Studentaskúli og HF-Skeið is the largest and oldest high school in the country. It is located just outside Tórshavn.

Tórshavn: Notable natives and inhabitants

The writers William Heinesen and Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen, 1918 (both at the age of 18)
  • Niels Ryberg Finsen (1860–1904), winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology 1903.
  • Daniel Jacob Danielsen (1871–1916), a missionary and humanitarian who helped Roger Casement to expose the horror of Belgian rule in Congo.
  • Petur Alberg (1885–1940), composer, most famous for composing the national anthem.
  • William Heinesen (1900–1991), writer, poet, composer and painter.
  • Jørgen-Frantz Jacobsen (1900–1938), writer.
  • Høgni Reistrup (1984), musician, singer and songwriter.
  • Ingálvur av Reyni (1920–2005), painter.
  • Janus Kamban (1913–2009), sculptor.
  • Zacharias Heinesen (1936), painter.
  • Lisbeth L. Petersen (1939), politician.
  • Katrin Ottarsdóttir (1957), filmmaker.
  • Carl Jóhan Jensen (1957), writer.
  • Týr, folk metal band.
  • Óli Jógvansson (1969), songwriter and composer.
  • Bárður Oskarsson (1972), writer and illustrator.
  • Guðrið Hansdóttir (1980), singer, songwriter.
  • Teitur Lassen (1977), singer, songwriter.
  • Bárður Háberg (1979), songwriter and composer.
  • Christian Mouritsen (1988), footballer.
  • Gunnar Nielsen (1986), footballer.
  • Rógvi Baldvinsson (1989), footballer.
  • Súni Olsen (1981), footballer.
  • Greta Svabo Bech (1987), singer.
  • Helgi Dam Ziska (1990), chess player.
  • Magnus Jákupsson (1994), swimmer.

Tórshavn: Twin cities

Tórshavn is twinned with:

  • Norway Asker, Norway
  • Iceland Garðabær, Iceland
  • Iceland Reykjavík, Iceland
  • Finland Jakobstad, Finland
  • Åland Islands Mariehamn, Åland
  • Sweden Eslöv, Sweden
  • Denmark Birkerød, Denmark
  • Italy Riolunato, Italy

Tórshavn: See also

  • List of towns in the Faroe Islands

Tórshavn: References

  1. "Fólkatalið í Sandoynni veksur aftur". Kringvarp Føroya (in Faroese).
  2. "Tórshavn Municipality". Tórshavn Municipality.
  3. Gregoriussen, Jákup Pauli (2000). Tórshavn, vár miðstøð og borg II. Tekningar úr Havn (in Faroese). Velbastaður: Forlagið í Støplum. pp. 11–15. ISBN 99918-914-4-7.
  4. British 5.5"/50 (14 cm) BL Mark I
  5. "Ministry of Health Affairs". The government of the Faroe Islands. Archived from the original on 2015-07-11.
  6. "Ministry of Social Affairs". The government of the Faroe Islands.
  7. "Ministry of Finance". The government of the Faroe Islands.
  8. "Monthly means and extremes 1961–1990 and 1981–2010 for air temperature, atmospheric pressure, hours of bright sunshine and precipitation–Denmark, The Faroe Islands and Greenland" (PDF). Danish Meteorological Institute. pp. 16–19. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  9. "TORSHAVN Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  10. "Sunshine data for Tórshavn 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved November 15, 2012.
  11. "ISF.fo Faroese confederation of sports and Olympic committee". Ítróttasamband Føroya.
  12. "Effo Kring Føroyar (Tour de Faroe)". Tórshavnar súkklufelag (Bycycle club of Tórshavn) (in Faroese).
  13. [1]
  14. Maye, Brian (14 December 2014). "Daniel J Danielsen – a pioneering humanitarian who helped Roger Casement expose the horror of Belgian rule in the Congo". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  15. "Torshavn.fo, Vina- og samstarvsbýir". Tórshavn Municipality (in Faroese).
  16. "Mariehamns stads vänorter". Archived from the original on December 1, 2008.

Tórshavn: Other sources

  • Havsteen-Mikkelsen, Sven (1995) Føroyinga søga (Bjarni Niclasen, týddi; Jørgen Haugan, skrivaði eftirmæli. Tórshavn: Føroya skúlabókagrunnur)
  • Tórshavn Municipality website
  • Tórshavn travel guide from Wikivoyage
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