The far-flung Faroe Islands regularly rank high on lists of the world’s top undiscovered destinations thanks to stunning sea cliffs and fjords, cute colonies of cliff-dwelling puffins, quaint grass-roofed cottages, one of the world’s most remote Michelin-star restaurants and the odd cartographer sheep. You’ll also find one of the coolest prisons in the world there with criminally beautiful views (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
In case you are not familiar, the Faroe Islands comprise a volcanic archipelago of 18 islands in the North Atlantic about halfway between Norway and Iceland. They belong to Denmark but have self-rule.
The name Faroe might come from the Old Norse word for sheep. So basically the name means “islands of sheep,” which is pretty apt considering the woolly creatures outnumber their 50,000 or so human compatriots by a good margin.
Despite their northerly location, the islands are warmed (sort of) by the Gulf Stream, which keeps the climate temperate, if not terribly sunny. Over half the islands’ electricity is produced from sustainable sources like wind power.
Like the Faroese capital of Tórshavn, the jail is on the archipelago’s largest island of Streymoy. It lies in an area called Mjørkadalur, which means the “Valley of Fog” since clouds tend to form near the surrounding mountain peaks above the fjord of Kalbaskfjør∂ur. Seriously, that is how you spell it. This part of the island is mostly known for a massive NATO radar array up on the mountaintop that’s now used for civilian air traffic.
But about halfway down the valley along the major road that traverses Streymoy, you might notice a set of low-slung white buildings with turf roofs and incomparable views of the fjord. This is the prison.
Like many of the traditional houses in the Faroe Islands, the prison’s roof has a layer of grass on top. Historically, the Faroese built this way to provide temperature insulation and protection from rain and the elements. You might even see one or two roofs being “mowed” by roving sheep during your visit to the islands.
The prison only has room for 12 inmates, one of whom recently attempted an escape but was caught in an abandoned house nearby. The jail is actually more like a short-term detention center since is only used for nonviolent offenders serving brief sentences. Serious criminals and those serving longer terms are sent to Denmark for incarceration.
Those who do remain here, though, each get their own individual cell with a working television. They also have a mini-golf course out back to while away the hours. But would you look at those valley views? Not a bad place to contemplate your wrongdoing and plot your return as a productive member of society.
Even if you haven’t seen any terrifying episodes of Locked Up Abroad, getting arrested in the Faroe Islands is probably not a good idea, and I would never suggest or condone intentionally causing trouble to get in here. Rather, just rent a car or hire a guide and ask to stop along the viewpoint just next to the jail to see it for yourself.
More Info: www.forbes.com