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Árnafjørður -Toftaskarð – Katlarnir Hike, Borðoy, Faroe Islands 

The Árnafjørður – Toftaskarð – Katlarnir circuit trail is an adventurous hike on Borðoy Island in the Faroe Islands. 

Starting in the village of Árnafjørður, the trail leads northeast to Svartidalur valley and then climbs up steep crags to Toftaskarð pass.

The trail continues west and eventually drops down a steep mountainside via Uppi á Gjógv pass. Next, the trail heads to Katlarnir, the historic gathering place for the ancient Thing of the Northern Isles. From here, the trail continues southwest and loops back down to Árnafjørður. 

By far, this was the most exciting and difficult hike we did during our trip. It was challenging because the trail wasn’t completely marked (as of August 2022). Since this is a trail promoted by Visit Faroe Islands, we informed them that it was difficult to follow. So, hopefully, they’ll invest some resources in making this excellent trail more accessible. 

I have detailed our route to the best of my ability. But, to be candid, we were often confused about where to go, even with this trail description and following

GPS is vital. You can download GPX files from the link above. Click on the map icon and the downloadable files are just below the map. 

Update | In April 2023, this trail was formally waymarked with red timber poles during the “Closed for Maintenance” Voluntourism project.

Árnafjørður -Toftaskarð - Katlarnir Circuit Hike, Borðoy, Faroe Islands

 Árnafjørður -Toftaskarð – Katlarnir Hiking Map

How to Get to Árnafjørður 

Árnafjørður, Faroe Islands

Árnafjørður is located on the east side of Borðoy Island. 

From Klaksvík, drive north along route 70. When the road divides, stay right. Drive through the single-lane Árnafjarðartunnilin tunnel, which is operated by a traffic light during the day.

When you emerge from the tunnel, make a sharp right and drive down to Árnafjørður village. Don’t drive through the second tunnel: Hvannasundtunnilin.

Árnafjørður -Toftaskarð – Katlarnir Trail Description 

Árnafjørður to Toftaskarð Pass (1:30 hours)

Árnafjørður - Toftaskarð trailhead,  Borðoy, Faroe Islands

From the car park at the church in Árnafjørður village, follow the main road into town. Just before house #23 (Viðurbyrgi 23), the trail leads up the field to a fence.

There are rocks strategically placed on both sides of the fence to help you cross. 

Árnafjørður outfield fence crossing, Faroe Islands

After crossing the fence to the outfield, continue hiking straight up the field. 

As you ascend, aim for the eastern shoulder of Tólvmarkaknúkur – the pyramid-shaped mountain directly ahead. 

Árnafjørður - Toftaskarð hiking trail, Faroe Islands

The path continues east towards Svartidalur valley, traversing grassy, heather slopes. 

When you get to Svartidalur valley, the trail turns north.

The ascent continues up the west (“left”) side of the valley, initially clinging to the slopes of Tólvmarkaknúkur. 

Árnafjørður - Toftaskarð hiking trail ascent, Faroe Islands

The terrain gets increasingly rugged and difficult to follow. There are a few scattered cairns, but not many. 

The trail climbs up a few vertical crags to reach the upper part of the valley. Some scrambling is needed.

Hiking up crags to Toftaskarð, Borðoy, Faroe Islands

When you reach the upper valley, cross the stream and follow the old wooden utility poles (not in use). 

Upper Svartidalur valley, Borðoy, Faroe Islands

Ascend another crag to get to Toftaskarð pass. 

The Toftaskarð mountain pass connects Norðtoftir village with Árnafjørður village.

Hvannasund Strait Viewpoint 

Toftaskarð, Hvannasund Strait Viewpoint, Faroe Islands

Hike in the direction of Norðtoftir for a few minutes, until you have a brilliant view of the Hvannasund strait and the island of Vidoy.

The path is rugged and unstable because of the loose rocks. Extra caution is needed.

Toftaskarð Pass to Uppi á Gjógv Pass (40 minutes)

Uppi á Gjógv Pass, Borðoy, Faroe Islands

With your back towards Krúnufjall mountain, continue west. The trail continues to widely loop around Tólvmarkaknúkur mountain. 

This part of the hike is far easier. The trail is mostly level and there are more cairns to follow. 

Maintaining the same direction, cross the tussock, rock-studded plateau. 

Eventually the cairns will lead to Uppi á Gjógv pass, which is your gateway back to Árnafjørður.

Uppi á Gjógv Pass to Katlarnir (30 minutes)

Uppi á Gjógv Pass to Katlarnir hiking trail, Faroe Islands

The trail abruptly descends over the craggy pass. It feels like you’re tipping over the edge of the mountain.

The path continues steeply downhill in a westerly direction, amidst a field of boulders, towards Katlarnir. At this point, Katlarnir looks like another high valley bisected by cascades. 

Uppi á Gjógv Pass descent, Árnafjørður fjord, Faroe Islands

Árnafjørður and the fjord are visible below (on your left). 

Continue crossing the boulder-studded slopes. 

Look for the short wooden posts

Uppi á Gjógv Pass to Katlarnir hiking trail, Faroe Islands

Descend more crags and cross several streams to reach Katlarnir, the location of the ancient thingstead (governing assembly) of the Northern Isles. For centuries, this local parliament met here to pass sentences on various disputes and crimes. 

This historic place is marked with a large boulder called Tingsteinurin, which means “moot boulder” or “Thing stone.” 

Katlarnir to Árnafjørður (1 hour)

Katlarnir to Árnafjørður, fence crossing, Faroe Islands

Cross Katlarnir. 

The trail follows the contours of the mountain, curving southwest.

Just beyond a stream, there’s a fence. 

You have to cross this fence, even though there’s no gate. 

To find out where to cross, look for the cairn just beyond the fence. Trace the path back to the fence and you should see rocks stacked on both sides of the fence to aid crossing (just like in the very beginning of the hike).

Árnafjørður fjord, Faroe Islands

The views of the fjord are wonderful. 

Keep following the cairns

The path is supposed to lead up to Áarskarð pass through an area called Niðari Snæhjalli. We didn’t quite make it to the pass. I think we maintained the same level gradient, instead of hiking uphill. 

We intersected with the trail for the descent down to the village. 

Ovarustígar trail, or Uppi í Jørnunum trail, Árnafjørður, Faroe Islands

A series of cairns lead you to the start of the steep and slippery Ovarustígar trail, or Uppi í Jørnunum trail, which is secured with iron railings

Ovarustígar trail, Katlarnir to Árnafjørður, Faroe Islands

After the secured passage, cairns and poles guide you downhill.

Eventually, you’ll drop down to the road after navigating through another steep, boulder-ridden passage. 

Árnafjørður hiking trail, Faroe Islands

A metal gate welcomes you back to civilization. We followed the road back to the village.

Where to Stay near Árnafjørður

Klaksvík, Borðoy Island

Klaksvík, located on Borðoy island, is the second largest town in the Faroe Islands. Klaksvík is the best base for exploring the Northern Isles. We recommend staying here for 2 nights, so that you can hike up to Klakkur, visit Kallur Lighthouse on Kalsoy Island, and hike to Villingardalsfjall on Viðoy Island.

Midrange | The welcoming and cozy Romantic Klaksvik apartment is a one-bedroom apartment with a fully-equipped kitchen, living room, garden, and private parking. The apartment is walking distance to the Kalsoy ferry. 

Midrange | Spacious City Center Home by the Sea is located in the heart of Klaksvík, close to Fríða Kaffihús, tourist office, Kalsoy ferry terminal, and grocery store. This roomy and bright 3-bedroom apartment has a fully-equipped kitchen (with dishwasher and microwave), a washing machine, balcony, and free parking. 

Top Choice – Luxury | Set along Klaksvík bay, Panorama boathouse stands out with its crisp, modern aesthetic, new furnishings, and idyllic setting. This beautifully converted boathouse has 3 bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, a washing machine, a spacious dining area, and a living room. 

Look for accommodation in Klaksvík.

Tórshavn, Streymoy Island

Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, is located on Streymoy Island. Not surprisingly, it’s also the largest and liveliest city in the Faroes, with the highest concentration of accommodations, restaurants, and bars.

Many travelers decide to base themselves in Tórshavn for the full duration of their trip and take day trips to Saksun and Tjørnuvík, Vágar Island (Múlafossur Waterfall and Trælanípa Cliff Trail to the Floating Lake), Eysturoy Island (Gjogv Village and Hvíthamar Viewpoint), and the Northern Isles.

From Tórshavn, you can also take ferries to Nólsoy Island, Sandoy Island, and Suðuroy Island.

TOP CHOICE – Midrange-Luxury | Hilton Garden Inn Faroe Islands is a fresh-faced hotel set in a quiet location, 1.6 km from the city center (20 minute walk, or 4 minutes drive). Stay here for the impeccably-designed rooms with comfortable beds, the on-site restaurant and bar, great breakfast buffet, and fitness center. Free on-site parking. 

Luxury | Hotel Brandan is a 4-star hotel with quiet rooms, an on-site restaurant, a fitness center, a sauna, and on-site parking. Guests love the breakfast and the hotel bar, which serves local craft beers. The hotel is located 1.4 km from the city center (15 minute walk, or 3 minute drive).

Luxury | Havgrím Seaside Hotel 1948 is a boutique hotel set on the seashore, walking distance to the city center (10 minutes). A fantastic breakfast is included. Free parking is available on-site. Guests can also enjoy the garden hot tub facing the sea. 

Luxury | Traditional Faroese house in Tórshavns city center is a 4-bedroom turf-roofed house with stylish, renovated interiors, two bathrooms, and a well-equipped kitchen. Free on-site parking. 3 nights minimum stay.

More Charming Holiday Homes: Cosy house in the heart of Tórshavn (Á Reyni) and Luxurious House in Downtown Tórshavn

City Center Apartments: City center, Tórshavn (2-bedroom apartment),  Central apartment in Tórshavn (1-bedroom apartment), Penthouse Apartment in Downtown Tórshavn (3-bedroom/5 people apartment)

Look for accommodation in Tórshavn

Faroe Islands Travel Essentials

Faroe Islands Rental Car

The most practical way to travel between destinations in the Faroe Islands is with your own car.  Plan your trip with our Faroe Islands road trip itinerary.

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals in the Faroe Islands. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

You can also book a complete self drive vacation package, which includes accommodation, car rental, and various guided day tours:

Adventurous Faroe Islands Tours

Faroe Islands Guided Day Trips

Here are some popular guided day trips starting and ending in Tórshavn.

Outdoor Photographer Gear

More Faroe Islands Travel Guides

Read Best Hikes in the Faroe Islands for a summary of the top hiking trails across the archipelago. Our favorite Faroe Islands hiking trails (north to south):

Trip Planning Guides

Árnafjørður -Toftaskarð - Katlarnir Hike, Borðoy, Faroe Islands 

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

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