This New Nonstop Flight Brings Travelers Straight to Europe’s Best-Kept Secret

Atlantic Airways connects New York and the Faroe Islands in under seven hours.

The white Mykines lighthouse in grassy peninsula in the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands has been a relatively under-the-radar destination for tourism, largely due to limited connections.

Photo by Smelov/Shutterstock

Getting to the Faroe Islands, an archipelago of 18 islands in the North Atlantic, has never been easy from the United States, but a new flight route from New York is changing that.

On August 22, the country’s flagship carrier Atlantic Airways started to fly once weekly direct to Vágar Airport in the Faroe Islands, often called Europe’s best-kept secret, from New York Stewart International Airport, located about 90 minutes north of Manhattan. It’s the first time in the islands’ history there’s been a direct link with North America. Previously, flights to the Faroe Islands—a self-governing nation and an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark—were routed primarily via Copenhagen, with other more seasonal European routes.

Flight costs and schedules

Departures to and from Vágar Airport started on August 22 and stop for the season on October 4, 2023, to correspond with late summer and early autumn on the islands. Want to plan ahead for next year? Atlantic Airways has already announced its 2024 flight dates, which run from September 3 through October 9, 2024. Though those flights aren’t available to book just yet, Atlantic Airways says round trip fares in 2024 should start from approximately $895.

For the 2023 season, flights run to the Faroe Islands on a Wednesday (departing 10:45 a.m. and arriving 10:05 p.m.) and to New York on a Tuesday (departing 4:30 p.m. and arriving 6:50 p.m.), making it possible to spend six days and six nights on the islands, following ancient hiking paths, photographing waterfalls, and taking boat trips to wildlife-rich islands.

The eastbound flight time is around 6 hours 20 minutes, while heading west it’s scheduled to take 7 hours 20 minutes. Located between Iceland and the northern tip of the United Kingdom, the Faroe Islands is on Greenwich Mean Time + one hour (GMT+1) during the summer and standard GMT during the winter.

For those traveling from New York City without their own cars, public transit is available directly to Stewart International Airport. An airport express bus service timed for this flight connects with NYC for inbound and outbound flights at Stewart International Airport, reaching the Port Authority Bus Station in approximately 90 minutes. Fares cost $25 each way and include Wi-Fi and in-seat power.

White and blue Atlantic Airways Airbus A320neo plane on the tarmac in front of a snowy hill

Atlantic Airways flies Airbus A320neo planes from New York to the Faroe Islands.

Courtesy of Atlantic Airways/Nicolás Vera-Ortiz

What to expect flying Atlantic Airways

Atlantic Airways is the primary airline for the Faroe Islands, which has a population of just under 53,000 people. Its fleet comprises three airplanes and two helicopters only. For this route, the airline uses an Airbus A320neo with a capacity of 174 passengers in one cabin, with no first-class or premium-economy options. The Airbus A320neo is an upgrade of previous A320s, burning 15 to 20 percent less fuel than the older model.

Although the flight experience on Atlantic Airways is in line with European budget airlines, what travelers may lose in amenities and cabin options they will gain in a nonstop flight experience. Meals are available for purchase and passengers can choose from a snack menu or preorder food before travel from options, including a healthy breakfast along with vegan, gluten-free, and child-friendly options. The airline has a digital entertainment system, Atlantic Airfi, allowing travelers to play games, watch TV and movies, and download newspapers and magazines. Checked baggage up to 23 kg (about 50 pounds) is included in all fares; youth discounts are available for those aged under 26.

The airline’s primary route is from the Faroe Islands to Copenhagen. In addition to this new New York route, Atlantic Airways also flies year-round to Aalborg and Billund in Denmark along with Reykjavík, and Oslo. More limited seasonal flights link the islands with Edinburgh, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, and Grand Canaria.

Airbus A320neo Atlantic Airways interior, with no passengers

Inside the cabin of the Airbus A320neo planes operated by Atlantic Airways from New York to the Faroe Islands

Courtesty of Atlantic Airways/Benjamin Hansen

More indirect routes announced

For travelers located elsewhere in the United States and Canada, more access is coming: Icelandair has also announced it will launch flights to the Faroe Islands from Keflavik International Airport in 2024, offering an enticing option to combine a Faroe Islands vacation with a short break in Iceland. Icelandair currently offers direct flights to Keflavik from 14 North American cities: Vancouver, Seattle, Portland (OR), Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham, Baltimore, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

Icelandair’s routes will operate to Vágar airport in the Faroe Islands five to six times a week from the start of May 2024, running until October 2024. Flights from Iceland to the Faroe Islands take approximately 90 minutes. Current round-trip prices from Iceland’s Keflavik airport to Vágar start at $342.

What’s behind the interest in the Faroe Islands?

Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair, commented that a rise in interest in travel to the Faroe Islands is a key reason the route is being launched, saying, “The islands are an exciting destination and we have noticed great interest from our customers across the world in visiting them.”

That growing interest is in part thanks to the world-class hiking, local dining, and even surfing the Faroe Islands offer. (Photography is also a draw.) The Faroe Islands has also won awards for its sustainable travel initiatives, particularly with its “Closed For Maintenance” voluntourism scheme, which takes place in April each year.

The Faroe Islands has been a relatively under-the-radar country for tourism, largely due to limited connections and few chain hotels. Will these routes mark the start of a new kind of tourism in the country? Time will tell.

Good to know

Travelers from the United States do not need a visa to enter the Faroe Islands. Visitors from countries outside the EU and the Schengen Area must usually hold a passport valid for at least three months beyond the planned stay in the Faroe Islands.

This story was originally published in August 2023; it was updated on September 13, 2023, with new information.

Laura Hall is an award-winning author, travel writer, and journalist based in Copenhagen.
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