Visit the Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands may have just found their way on to Google Street View and be an easy flight from Edinburgh or Copenhagen but the reason why the 18 islands of this archipelago - part of the Kingdom of Denmark and equidistant between Norway, Iceland and Scotland - remain on must-visit lists is their emptiness. You can travel for hours among their 540 square miles of rocky, windswept, treeless landscape and not see a soul. What you will see are dramatic mountains, wave-battered cliffs, delightful fjords and waterfalls - some unexpectedly floodlit - and gazillions of sheep. So far, so very Instagrammable.

EAT LIKE A FAROE 

Google may be allowing curious would-be visitors to view the Faroes from their sofa but what has really put the islands on the map is the arrival of their first Michelin star in 2017 - an extraordinary notion for a country for just. 50,000 people. 

Koks, the recipient restaurant, comes courtesy of Poul Andrias Ziska, whose exquisite umpteen-course tasting menu is steeped  in the drying, fermenting, salting and smoking of Faroese tradition, and does ingenious things with intensely flavoured local ingredients - think seaweed mouse, and wafer-thin flatbread piled with rotten fermented lamb and flower maggots (divine - although it helps if you're a few glasses of wine in). It reopens in April in an 18th-century farmhouse in Leynavatn, a 20-minute drive from the tiny capital of Torshavn.

Torshavn also punches above its weight on the food front: sushi restaurant Erika showcases the country's fishing heritage, as does Barbara's Fish House, a cosy and cute as a button restaurant inside an old cottage. Wash it down with anything from brewer Foroya Bjor. It's been plying its trade since 1888 and is taking advantage of the 2012 repeal that now allows spirits to be produced on the island. Its much-anticipated in oak casks, will be available in 2020.

FESTIVAL FEVER

The Farose take their music very seriously. G Festival takes over the tiny village of Syrugota - population 400 - on the island of Eysturoy and is an atmospheric, multi-genre gem beside the ocean. The pop-tastic Summer Festival, in the country's second city, Klaksvik, is from Lucas Graham and Mika to Roman Keating and Roxette. 

EXERCISE IT ALL OFF

There's a surprisingly good public bus system that means you could do without a car but if you do hire one, the islands - linked by a fantastic series of toll and toll-free tunnels - are you oyster. Once you've avoided the sheep (which wander freely into roads), park up in one of the tiny hamlets and go hiking – There are 340 mountains on the islands.  Hiking.fo is your one-stop shop for info - routes can be from as little as a mile to as many as ten. It will also recommend guides.

topic: