The city was founded in the 10th century and named after Thor, the god of thunder and lightning in Norse mythology. In the early history of the Faroes, Tórshavn became the political center of the Faroes, and it still is today. The first settlers established their own parliament called "ting" around 800. The main ting was established on Tinganes in Tórshavn and local tings where established in different parts of the islands. Tinganes drew people to trade, to attend court meetings, etc. Currently the city has a population of around 20,000.
For most visitors Tórshavn will be the point of entry to the Faroe Islands. Practically everything in that article's Get in section also applies to Tórshavn.
The Faroe Islands are served by Vága airport on the neighboring island Vágar. Atlantic Airways flies there on a regular basis from Copenhagen and operates flights from other Scandinavian and Western European cities as well. There is a bus connection to Tórshavn from the airport.
Smyril Line sails from Hirtshals in Denmark and Seyðisfjörður on Iceland to Tórshavn. If you are traveling with a car from Iceland to Denmark or vice versa, it is in principle possible to roll off your car during the several hours long stopover in Tórshavn for a little island ride. It is however necessary to consider this option in advance when getting your car on board and have it parked in the correct queue.
You can take the car with you on the ferry mentioned above. It is also possible to rent a car at the airport.
From elsewhere on the Faroe Islands.
City buses operate 4 routes which reach most of the city. All city buses are free to ride. They run every 30 minutes from the city centre on weekdays, hourly on Sunday and Saturday and weekday evenings. There is no bus service during Saturday or Sunday evenings.
- Faroese løgting (The Faronese parliament), Tinganes. An impressive dark red structure with a green roof located on the water front. The parliament has been meeting at this site since 900 AD.
- Tórshavn Cathedral. An attractive white building with clock tower - established in 1788.
- The Nordic House. The main cultural institution on the islands.
- The Historical Museum. Well worth a visit.
- Faroese Music Gallery. See, feel and hear Faroese music in the newest and most popular tourist attraction. Free live concerts Mondays to Fridays and on special occasions (see website for program) from 14th of June to 13th of August and free coffee.
There are many shops in Tórshavn, especially down town and in the shopping mall SMS.
- Brasserie Hvonn, Hotel Tórshavn, Tórsgøta 4, ☎ +298 350000. Central location and non smoking inside, American style menu and salad bar.
- Restaurant Glasstovan, Hotel Føroyar, Oyggjarvegur 45, ☎ +298 31 75 00. Located on a hill above Tórshavn with great views (if there is no fog), non smoking, buffet on Mondays evenings with traditional Faroese foods.
- Burger King, SMS Shopping Center, ☎ +298 32 34 20. A burger restaurant.
- Sunset Boulevard, SMS Shopping Center, ☎ +298 32 34 22. A Danish chain of sandwich restaurants located in the SMS Shopping Mall.
- Baresso Coffee, SMS Shopping Center, ☎ +298 23 34 32. A Danish chain of cafés.
- MIMIR, Varðagøta 2 (There's no sign but it's pretty obvious that it's a pub from the outside.), ☎ 31 37 48 / 28 37 48. An eclectic pub if there ever was one. This signless watering hole attracts a mixed, friendly crowd and has reasonably priced (35 kr) beers on tap. On the bottom floor there are pool tables.
- Tórshavn Camping, Yviri við Strond (It's about 1km from the harbor. Bear to the right as you exit and follow the seaside (Yviri við Strond) - it's on the right.), ☎ (+298) 302425. Pretty low-frills campsite catering to both tenters and trailers. There's a spartan kitchen, (free) hot showers plus coin-operated laundry facilities. A convenient walk to town and not too far from a large supermarket further up the road to the northwest. 70 DKK / tent.
Prices vary slightly from around dkk 250 to dkk 300 per night/person for adults.
- Hotel Føroyar, Oyggjarvegur 45, e-mail: email@example.com. There is an excellent view over Tórshavn.
- Hotel Hafnia, Áarvegur 4-10, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is situated right in the town-center.
- Hotel Tórshavn, Tórsgøta 4, e-mail: email@example.com. It is situated down by the harbour.