Sorvagsvatn, the lake ABOVE the ocean, Faroe Islands

Sørvágsvatn (or Leitisvatn) is the biggest lake of the Faroe Islands, situated on the island of Vágar. It covers an area of 3.4 square km, more than three times the size of the second biggest lake Fjallavatn, which also lies on the island of Vágar.

The picture you see below is actually an optical illusion. It appears as if the lake is significantly higher than the ocean. In real, the lake is only 30 meter above the sea level, but the cliff facing the camera is 100 meters high. The position of the camera and the angle of the shot makes it seem like the lake is about the same level as the cliff.


Here is an aerial shot of Lake Sørvágsvatn that gives a better picture.


The lake itself is nothing spectacular, other than being the biggest one on Faroe Islands. It’s over 6 km long. The headlands on either side of the Lake drop precipitously from heights of 252 and 376 m. into the North Atlantic. From this perspective, we also have a head-on view of the Bøsdalafossur waterfall, which is the Lake’s outlet into the ocean. Distant north and east of the Lake provide vistas of rugged parts of the island of Streymoy.

Among the locals there is a fierce debate regarding the name of the lake. The inhabitants of Sørvágur take pride in the fact that the lake is named after their village. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Miðvágur want to name the lake Leitisvatn, since, on their side of the lake, the land alongside the body of water is called Leiti.

Today it may seem strange to call the lake Sørvágsvatn given the fact, that the village of Miðvágur is situated closer to the lake, than the village of Sørvágur. The explanation to this is that the village of Sørvágur was settled before Miðvágur.

The locals mostly refer to Sørvágsvatn/Leitisvatn simply by calling it ‘the Lake’ (Vatni). Among the inhabitants on the island everyone knows what ‘the Lake’ is, and it is mostly when people from other parts of the Faroes refer to the lake – either by calling it Sørvágsvatn or Leitisvatn—that the debate will occur.





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