Múlafossur waterfall in Gásadalur
June 30, 2019 8 min read
One of the most visited locations in the Faroe Islands is the small village of Gásadalur. The reason to come here is to see the Múlafossur waterfall with the backdrop of Gásadalur and Árnafjall (722m), the highest mountain on Vágar.
The drops from the waterfall spread in the wind while falling into the wild Atlantic ocean. In the summer, the landscape is green while in the autumn it turns yellow, orange and brown. The windswept village is protected by the towering mountain to the north. Can it get more picturesque than this?
Gásadalur is one of the smaller villages in the Faroe Islands with around a dozen inhabitants. That’s tiny, but it could have been even fewer, the village once risked turning into a ghost town. Because of its inaccessible location, sandwiched between two mountains in a remote corner of Vágar, the village population decreased year by year. It was just too much of a hassle to access the village.
The picturesque location making Gásadalur so unique, was also its curse. To reach the village you had to walk, go by boat or fly in with a helicopter. Walking included crossing the Eysturtindur mountain on a steep path. Add bad weather into the mix and it’s not a walk in the park.
Gásadalur translates to Goose Valley and according to Wikipedia the name originates from the wild geese coming to the valley each year.
The situation improved in 2006 with the completion of the long-awaited tunnel through Eysturtindur. Gásadalur was finally connected to the road network on Vágar.
Not only the villagers should be thankful for the tunnel, travelers should likewise praise this investment in infrastructure. Without it, much fewer of us could see the remarkable Múlafossur.
Most visitors head straight to the Múlafossur viewpoint to look at the waterfall. The viewpoint is just before arriving in Gásadalur, it’s marked on the map below (coordinates 62.106055, -7.434870). From the main road, a 300m long gravel road leads to the viewpoint. A few cars can park at the side of the road where the gravel road starts, but for a proper parking, continue a few hundred meters to Gásadalur and walk back to the viewpoint.
The road to the viewpoint passes through a gate, close it after entering so the sheep cannot come through. The viewpoint is near the gate and while you can see the waterfall from this spot, you will not get the best angle for photos here. Instead, continue until the end of the road where a narrow staircase goes down to the water. From here you have a nice viewing angle.
You can walk down the stairs to see the waterfall from a lower vantage point (not better in my opinion). A sign says it’s forbidden to enter the stairs, but people do it anyway. Be careful, the steps are slippery when wet and the handrail is coming loose. No wonder, the stairs were built in the 1940s during the British occupation of the Faroe Islands.
If you are up for a walk, there is a path with good views of the island of Mykines. It starts before the gate on the road to the Múlafossur viewpoint. The path crosses the waterfall stream on a small bridge and passes Gásadalur while following the cliff edge. It then turns right and back to the village.
Despite its small size, Gásadalur has some facilities for visitors. There is a public toilet at the parking and a guest house with a café, Gásadalsgarður. The café serves Faroese bread with different toppings, cakes and something warm to drink for chilly days.
A notable thing about the establishment is that it functions both as a café and a slaughterhouse! Luckily not at the same time. The building is converted into a slaughterhouse one week each year in the autumn when it’s time for the slaughter. They serve the meat at the café, so it’s a truly local product. Is this the only combined café/slaughterhouse in the world? Yes, probably!
This reminds me of the old song Abbatoir by X Marks the Pedwalk which I have in my Electronic Road Trip playlist.
Today, with the tunnel in place, it’s easy to reach Gásadalur. That’s if you have a car, otherwise it’s still a bit of a hassle. From Tórshavn it’s a 1h drive and from the airport on Vágar it’s only 15–20m.
Múlafossur is the most accessible of all the top sights in the Faroe Islands. It’s just a flat walk from the parking, no need to hike through steep terrain with the wind and rain whipping your face.
If the weather is bad when you come here, you can for example go back as a short detour on the way to the airport on your departure day. We stayed two nights in Bøur, the village closest to Gásadalur and we went to the waterfall a second time as we had low clouds and rain the first time.
The local name of the tunnel is Gásadalstunnilin, and it’s a single-lane tunnel, 1.4km long and 3.5m wide. Construction of the tunnel started in 2004 and finished in 2006. Unlike some other single-lane tunnels, this one is lit and not totally dark. If this is your first time driving through a single-lane tunnel, this guide has good information.
The single-lane tunnels have turnouts every 100m (328ft). When you have the turnouts to the right, you must give way to the oncoming traffic. An exception is when you meet a truck, then you should give way also if the turnout is to your left. It’s easy to drive in the tunnels, just keep the headlights on and don’t drive too fast.
So how can you get to Gásadalur without your own vehicle? It can be done, but it will cost you either in energy or in money. Having a car in the Faroe Islands makes life so much easier.
The problem is that there is no public transport to Gásadalur. The bus will only take you as far as to Sørvágur. From Sørvágur it’s still 9–10km left to Gásadalur.
The easiest is to take the bus to Sørvágur, the airport or Sandavágur and then a taxi the rest of the way. I don’t know how much they charge, but only ferries and helicopter rides are cheap in the Faroes. See Visit Vágar for information about taxi companies based in the area.
If you just want to take a quick look at the waterfall and snap some photos, you can take the taxi and let it wait while you walk to the viewpoint. Another option is to walk from Sørvágur and do the scenic hike to Gásadalur on the trail over the Eysturtindur mountain. In this case you can book a taxi for pickup in Gásadalur to take you back after the hike.
If you are ok with hitchhiking, you can also catch a ride with a local or a tourist. I couldn’t find any helicopter departures for Gásadalur so that option isn’t available anymore.
Before there was a road to Gásadalur, the village mailman hiked to Bøur several times per week to deliver the mail. The path he followed, the old postal route, is now popular among hikers. The trail runs close to the edge of the mountain and on a clear day you have great views of Sørvágsfjørður, Tindhólmur and Mykines.
We didn’t have time in our schedule to do this hike, but if you can do it on a day with decent weather, I think it’s worth the time and effort. You can do it with or without a guide, see hiking.fo for more information and photos from the hike.
There is no shortage of scenic roads in the Faroe Islands, they are everywhere. The most beautiful sections of road are called buttercup routes. They are marked in green on the road map you can pick up for free at the airport when you arrive.
The road between Bøur and Gásadalur is a buttercup route so when you drive to see Múlafossur you have great scenery on the way. The road flanks Sørvágsfjørður and around the point where it turns inland towards the tunnel, Tindhólmur and Drangarnir are right across the fjord.
Vágar has several of the best sights in the Faroes and it’s worth spending two days on the island. You just have to see Lake Sørvágsvatn, a unique and magic location. The Drangarnir sea stacks is a half-day hike with amazing views. The Trøllkonufingur viewpoint is close to Sandavágur.
A popular activity is to make a day trip to Mykines to see puffins and hike to a lighthouse. It’s not on Vágar, but the ferry to Mykines departs from Sørvágur.