If you’ve been dreaming about visiting the Faroe Islands, it’s likely that you’ve seen photos of Lake Sørvágsvatn (also called Lake Leitisvatn), the floating lake above the ocean. 

From most perspectives, it’s quite an ordinary lake. However, if you walk up to Trælanípa cliff (142 m), Lake Sørvágsvatn appears to be hanging over the ocean. It’s an optical illusion. The surrounding sea cliffs create the impression that the lake is hundreds of meters above sea level. In reality, the elevation difference between the lake and the ocean is only 30 meters. 

It’s a short and straightforward hike to the Trælanípa cliff viewpoint on Vágar Island. To start the hike, drive to the Trælanípa/Bøsdalafossur trailhead car park in Miðvágur

After paying a hiking fee (200 DKK) at the trail entrance, follow the path, which runs parallel to Lake Sørvágsvatn. After 2.7 km, the trail swings to the left and climbs up to the Trælanípa cliff viewpoint. 

From the famous floating lake viewpoint, you can continue the hike to Bøsdalafossur, the waterfall which flows from Lake Sørvágsvatn into the North Atlantic Ocean. Looking beyond the waterfall, you can also see the Geitisskoradrangur sea stack just off the coast. 


How to Hike to Lake Sørvágsvatn (Floating Lake above the Ocean) Viewpoint, Faroe Islands

Trælanípa Trailhead, Faroe Islands

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Lake Sørvágsvatn Hiking Map


Where to Start the Trælanípan Cliff Hike

Trælanípa/Bøsdalafossur car park, Miðvágur, Faroe Islands

The hike to the Sørvágsvatn floating lake viewpoint starts at the Trælanípa/Bøsdalafossur trailhead car park on the outskirts of Miðvágur on Vágar Island.

Exact Location: Google Maps

Follow the Trælanípa/Bøsdalafossur signs to the car park. 


Trælanípan Cliff Hiking Fee 

Trælanípa Hiking Fee, Faroe Islands

The Trælanípan trail traverses private land. In recent years, the landowner instigated a hiking fee to pay for the continous upkeep of the hiking trail, toilets, and car park. Part of the maintenance requires renting a helicopter to fly-in bags of gravel for the trail. 

The Trælanípan cliff hiking fee is 200 kr (200 DKK) per person (ages 16+). Children between the ages of 0 and 15 are free. 

The hiking fee is collected inside the turf-roofed black hut at the car park. It’s also possible to purchase drinks here. 
You can pay with cash, or with a credit card. Fees are collected between 8 am and 10 pm.


 Lake Sørvágsvatn Floating Lake Trail Description 


Trælanípa Cliff Trailhead/Car Park to Trælanípa Cliff Viewpoint (35-40 minutes)

Trælanípa Trail, Lake Sørvágsvatn, Faroe Islands

From the black hut, follow the obvious track leading south to the coast. The trail runs parallel, though at a distance, to the eastern shoreline of Lake Sørvágsvatn. 

The S-shaped Lake Sørvágsvatn is also the largest lake in the Faroe Islands. 

Lake Sørvágsvatn, Faroe Islands

Though hard to believe now, this is the very same lake that will appear to be hovering above the ocean from the Trælanípan cliff viewpoint.

The gravel trail cuts across the peat fields below Middagsfjall (343 m) and Ritubersgnøva (376 m), maintaining the same southwesterly direction the whole time. 

Sheep and highland cattle roam about freely. 

You’ll cross a few rivulets on the way. 

After 2.7 km, the trail splits in several directions near the cliff edge. 

Bøsdalafossur waterfall and Trælanípa Cliff trail junction, Faroe Islands

Trælanípa is the perpendicular sea cliff directly ahead. Pass the bench and follow the left trail which rises to the top of Trælanípa. 

The lower right trail leads to Bøsdalafossur waterfall. 

The Trælanípa trail is marked with short poles and bolstered with some timber reinforcements.  

Trælanípa Cliff Trail, Lake Sørvágsvatn, Faroe Islands

As you gain elevation, Lake Sørvágsvatn appears to get higher and higher. 

The popular Trælanípa viewpoints and photo spots are dangerously close to the cliff edge. Be very cautious. 

Lake Sørvágsvatn Floating Lake above the Ocean Viewpoint, Faroe Islands

Trælanípa translates as “slave cliff”, or “slave mountain.” During the Viking age, slaves were supposedly pushed off this 142-meter-high cliff to their deaths, when they were no longer capable of heavy labor.


Trælanípa Cliff Viewpoint to Bøsdalafossur Waterfall Viewpoint (10 minutes)

Trælanípa cliff viewpoint, Vágar Island, Faroe Islands

Retrace your steps back down to the trail junction. 

Turn left to the coast. The trail brings you to Bøsdalafossur, the 30 meter high waterfall which drains from the lake into the Atlantic Ocean. Views also extend to Geitisskoradrangur sea stack.

Note: There is a footpath which continues from Trælanípa Cliff Viewpoint directly down to Bøsdalafossur Waterfall. However, it’s unclear whether this trail is “official.” In the trail map, displayed at the start of the hike, no such shortcut trail is delineated. 


Bøsdalafossur Waterfall Viewpoint to Trælanípa Trail Entrance/Car Park (35-40 minutes)

Bøsdalafossur Waterfall and Geitisskoradrangur, Faroe Islands

Return along the same trail back to the car park. 


Lake Sørvágsvatn Faroe Islands Frequently Asked Questions 

Trælanípa cliff hiking trail, Faroe Islands

What’s the Name of the Floating Lake in the Faroe Islands?

The lake above the ocean has two names. The people living in Sørvágur to the west of the lake call it Sørvágsvatn, which translates as “the lake by Sørvágur.” The people living in Miðvágur and Sandavágur prefer Leitisvatn, which translates as “the lake by Leiti,” referring to the land on the east side of the lake (source: Wikipedia). 


Is the Lake Sørvágsvatn Trælanípa Trail Worth It?

It’s impossible to not feel that gravitational pull to the Sørvágsvatn floating lake viewpoint. It’s one of the most photographed places in the Faroe Islands. So, like everyone else, we wanted to see it. 

The hike itself is underwhelming. It’s a level walk along the lake for almost 3 km. The scenery is neither spectacular nor varied, when compared to these more exciting hikes, which cost nothing:

The whole point of the hike is to reach the viewpoint. Given the steep hiking fee, it doesn’t seem worth it. 

All that being said, we are very happy we hiked to Trælanípa, so that we could form our own opinion of it. Had we not, we would have always wondered about it. 


Do You Need a Guide to Hike to Trælanípa Cliff?

No. Unlike other places in the Faroes with hiking fees and restrictions, it is not mandatory to hire a guide. 


Are there Toilet Facilities near the Trælanípa Trail?

Yes. There are toilets at the car park next to the black turf-roofed hut.


Where to Stay near Lake Sørvágsvatn


Miðvágur, Vágar Island

Midrange-Luxury | Turf House near Airport is a 2-bedroom holiday home with a fully-equipped kitchen, dining area, living room, and 1 bathroom. 

Midrange-Luxury | Thor´s Guest house is a 3-bedroom holiday with fjord views. This comfortable house offers a large living space, a fully-equipped kitchen, and 2 bathrooms.


Sandavágur, Vágar Island

Budget | ​​The Atlantic view guest house offers very simple rooms with kitchenettes. Stay here for the unbeatable price.  

Budget | Cosy Guesthouse anno 1936 (3 nights minimum stay) is an old-fashioned guesthouse with small twin and double rooms. Sound insulation could be better.

Luxury | Luxurious Farm House / Á Snætu / Unique (2 nights minimum stay) is a 2-bedroom house with a fully-equipped kitchen and 1 bathroom.


Sørvágur, Vágar Island

Sørvágur is a coastal village between Bøur and the Vágar Airport. The ferry to Mykines Island departs from the Sørvágur port. Sørvágur is a great base for exploring Vágar Island.

Budget | Set along a tumbling stream, Gróthusið offers private and simple facilities. This tiny stone cottage has a kitchen, bedroom (below the roof), and bathroom. Everything is quite small. 

Budget | Pouls Airport Guesthouse offers basic, but nonetheless comfortable rooms. Guests have access to a shared kitchen. Bathroom facilities are shared. The breakfast is self-service. 

Midrange | Cosy old house Vágar is a charming holiday home with a well-equipped kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a washing machine, a seating room, and a garden. There’s a grocery store next door. 

Midrange-Luxury | Cottages by the Sea are a cluster of coastal cottages along Sørvágsfjørður fjord. Each cottage has 2 bedrooms, a kitchenette, dining table, and sofa.

Look for accommodation in Sørvágur.


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), Borðoy Island (Klaksvík and Klakkur Viewpoint), Kalsoy Island (Kallur Lighthouse), and even Viðoy Island (Villingardalsfjall Hike). 

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



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Faroe Islands Rental Car

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Faroe Islands Travel Guides

Faroe Islands Hiking Trails (north to south):

  1. Villingardalsfjall Hike, Viðoy Island 
  2. Árnafjørður – Toftaskarð – Katlarnir Circuit Trail, Borðoy Island
  3. Klakkur Hike, Borðoy Island
  4. Kallur Lighthouse Hike, Kalsoy Island 
  5. Hvíthamar Viewpoint Hike, Eysturoy Island
  6. Saksun to Tjørnuvík Hike, Streymoy Island
  7. Múlafossur Waterfall and Gásadalur Hike, Vágar Island
  8. Lake Sørvágsvatn and Trælanípa Cliff Hike (Floating Lake Viewpoint), Vágar Island
  9. Ásmundarstakkur Hike, Suðuroy Island
  10. Hvannhagi and Lake Hvannavatn, Suðuroy Island