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The stunning Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic are closing for maintenance in 2023 – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime free trip to the volcanic islands…
The incredible 18-island archipelago between Iceland and Norway is home to green valleys, sky-scraping mountains and plenty of quaint villages as well as thousands of gorgeous species of animal and bird.
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Even puffins, whales and grey seals can be spotted on its rugged coastline – though you'll most commonly spot the 80,000 sheep that outnumber the Faroe Islands 54,000 human inhabitants.
Every year, the islands 'close' for maintenance – and now, they're calling on 'voluntourists' to sign up for a free holiday – but you’ll need to be ready to roll your sleeves up.
In the fifth year of the Closed for Maintenance scheme, volunteers will be asked to help maintain the islands’ highest mountain Slættaratindur.
You’ll be required to get stuck into two days of maintenance work on the paths up the peak making new, safer alternatives, adding wayfinding posts and repairing paths.
This will keep locals and visitors safe over the next year of tourism.
The Faroe Islands will offer just 100 people the chance to get stuck into the volcanic landscapes in return for free accommodation, food and transport on the islands.
You’ll stay for a total of three nights with projects taking place from 20 to 22 April 2023.
Tasks will be divided up by those that are most urgent in a mix of areas.
However, anyone who wants to join the volunteer project will need to stump up for their flights – though a discount code for Atlantic Airways will be provided.
At the end of the project, volunteers can get stuck into an exciting celebration evening with classic Faroese food, local beer and traditional folk dance.
In recent years, thousands of people worldwide have volunteered for the project representing more than 25 nations.
Says Jóhan Pauli Helgason, head of Development at Visit Faroe Islands: "The Closed for Maintenance initiative is a true example of how tourism can contribute to the regenerative development of a destination.
"People, both locals and international visitors are eager to make a difference and we have been amazed by how much can be achieved over two full days of work when everybody has the same goal.
"We believe that other destinations can benefit hugely from initiatives such as Closed for Maintenance."
Registration to become part of the 2023 Maintenance Crew will open on Tuesday 15 November at 11.00 hrs (UK time) and will remain open for 24 hours; 100 people will be chosen randomly to take part and will be notified by email in January.
Volunteers will be provided with basic food and local accommodation while on the islands, with a discount code to put towards flights.
Local transport to sites where maintenance projects are due to take place will be provided, too – by ferry and other forms of transport.
Walking boots are a must, as is a “can do” attitude, but there is no requirement for any particular skills. Sign up here: https://visitfaroeislands.com/en/closed/sign-up-for-2023
For more information about the Faroe Islands, see www.visitfaroeislands.com.
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