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Thursday, February 22, 2024
HomeHospitalityMainland Faroe just grew by quite a chunk—and probably the best cafe

Mainland Faroe just grew by quite a chunk—and probably the best cafe

Sandoy’s only bona fide cafe is found in neither of the two largest settlement of the island but somewhat off, if you like—in Skálavík, on the eastern coast. With that in mind, no surprise you would see hordes of people from all over the Faroes flocking to the place in the wake of the December 21st opening of the new undersea Sandoy Tunnel (Sandoyartunnilin).

Say you’d take your car through the new tunnel to visit the island the following day—the day after the keynote speeches and the official opening ceremony which more or less blocked the tunnel for much of the inauguration day.

So arriving on the island, you would at some point instinctively start looking for a decent cup of tea or coffee perhaps with some ambience, either in Sandur or Skopun. And oddly enough, you wouldn’t find any of it.

“Sorry, no, there’s no cafe here in town,” I’d be told by a Sandur shopkeeper. “But there’s one in Skálavík,” she would add with confidence. So I’d go back to the car and report to the passengers. Sure, we’d opt to continue to Skálavík a few minutes away—why not, since we’re already exploring the island on this early Friday afternoon.

After all, it’s December 22nd and the first day after the official opening of the Sandoy Tunnel, a gigantic piece of infrastructure and the Faroe Islands’ longest road tunnel. So call it the unfolding of modern Faroese history.

Not that expectations were high for any cafe around here, despite the obvious occasion. We’d been to Skálavík before, however, hadn’t bothered to visit the cafe, whose modest exterior didn’t do much to lure you in.

But don’t be fooled—you’ll be in for a nice surprise, to say the least. The moment you enter the Caféin á Mølini (‘The Cafe at the Shore’), the number of guests and the look of everything inside tells you this is a highly popular establishment—and for all the right reasons, you may add.

“Looks like a busy day,” I casually remarked after ordering for the three of us. “Yup,” replied owner-operator Martin Karl Olsen. “We’ve had a busy season.”

“We’re pleased that people seem to appreciate both the cafe and the guesthouse,” wife Birita Dalsgaard Olsen added. The two jointly own and run the place, including the top-rated Mølin Guesthouse next door, which opened for business a couple of years ago.

Moments later I bumped into an acquaintance who had just arrived from Klaksvík, passing three undersea tunnels in the process. “This is amazing,” we agree.

Motorists trying out the new undersea tunnel, Sandoy, December 21st, 2023. Image credits: Bui Tyril.

Indeed it is. As we left the cafe—great coffee by the way, and delicious cakes—a realization struck me like a lightning: the Faroe Islands just grew by quite a chunk with Sandoy now part of the Mainland.

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