I understand there used to be lots of ferry options to Iceland via the North Sea. The one I really wanted to try was from Lerwick. I'm not sure if this ferry went directly to Iceland or if it stopped at the Faeroe Islands. You have no idea how badly I'd want to take this adventure, mainly so I can drive my car around Iceland, but let's not get too far from the point.

I've read a few comments online saying things like it was a 'hellish' journey, or just unpleasant and unpopular. However none of these people elaborated on why the service was poorly received. Could it be the distance? The cold? The price? The choppy seas in winter time? The lack of people on board?

  • The answer to the question in the title is probably just that the market for long passenger-carrying ferry crossings has declined severely after air travel has become increasingly affordable. Jun 21, 2018 at 18:28
  • – Henning Makholm I find that a bit sad (for me) because while airplanes are fast, they don't satisfy the same type of adventure you get from a ferry where you can bring back loads of souvenirs and all the freedom you get with your car... also I hate airports with a passion
    – Jalapeno
    Jun 21, 2018 at 18:30
  • While not an answer to your question - smyrilline.com operate a ferry from the faro islands to Iceland.
    – skifans
    Jun 21, 2018 at 19:32
  • @JonasBezzubovas If you hate air travel then perhaps you should look at cargo ships. Some/most(?) offer passenger accommodation. It's not fancy but it is different. And look what I just found: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/43840/…
    – Peter M
    Jun 21, 2018 at 19:54
  • 1
    smyrilline.com Am I missing something? This company claims to sail from Denmark, and vehicles are permitted. Or is this the company that suspended the route? Jun 21, 2018 at 21:53

1 Answer 1


Low cost airlines are what killed the ferry. Nowadays you can buy a round trip ticket from mainland Europe to Iceland for as little as 100 euros, so the vast majority of people would rather save time and money by flying and renting a car. And if you don't have a car taking the ferry is even less attractive.

Cheap airlines are also the reason why night trains are disappearing and routes such as the London to Istanbul train have long become a tourist attraction rather than a practical mode of travel (unless you're the guy from Seat61). And they're also why you no longer see boats full of immigrants landing in New York from Europe - nowadays you just take a relatively short flight :)

  • Plenty of boats full of immigrants are arriving in Europe, though…
    – gerrit
    Feb 20 at 18:08
  • @gerrit yep, border enforcement against illegal migration is extremely poor, but legal immigrants are a different story.
    – JonathanReez
    Feb 20 at 18:09

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