Eysturoyartunnilin – The First Sub-Sea Roundabout in the World

When the Faroe Islands opened the Vagatunnilin, the Vagar Tunnel, in 2002, ,it was a revolution in their infrastructure. The almost five kilometer undersea road tunnel connected the main island Stremoy with the island of Vagar, on which the Faroe Islands Airport (FAE) is located. It also helps to connect communities and commercial traffic on the islands. While there has just been the opening of the fourth tunnel of its kind, this Pictured Story has a look at the Eysturoyartunnilin (or Eysturoy Tunnel), which is likely the most iconic tunnel of all of them. The key reason: it holds the first undersea roundabout of the world. Let me take you there.


Eysturoyartunnilin – Location & Connections

The Eysturoyartunnilin comes with three exits. The Southern one on the island of Streymoy, just North of the capital Torshavn. The other two exists are connecting to the island of Eysturoy. The most relevant one is the Northeast one, at the city of Runavik. The Northwest exit is just North of the city of Strendur, which is located on some sort of peninsula.

The Eysturoyartunnilin has been the first undersea tunnel which is solely reducing travel time, while all other tunnels in fact enable road travel without the use of ferries. The islands are already connected by the Nordskala Bridge near Oyrarbakki. However, it is quite a detour. The Eysturoyartunnilin cuts down travel distance between the two largest cities on the Faroe Islands, Torshavn and Klaskvik, from 70 minutes / 75km to 40 minutes / 40 km, which is especially favorable in winter time and for cargo traffic.The route from Runavik to Strendur is even cut down from 28 minutes / 25km to less than ten minutes / 7 km.


Eysturoyartunnilin – Toll & Toll Payment

The tunnel is a toll tunnell. Toll is automatically registered by cameras. The toll from Stemoy to any of the Eysturoy’s exist is 175 DKK for a passenger car, roughly 23 EUR. I you just connect from Runavik to Strendur, the toll is 125 DKK. There are reduced rates for motorcycles (and higher fees for major vehicles like buses or trucks). In contrast to the Vágatunnilin and the Nordoyatunnilin between Leirvik and Klaksvik, you pay the toll in any direction.

If you are traveling with your own car or any kind of private car, you have to pay the toll online or at gas stations. If you travel by rental car, the company will charge you for he toll at the end of the rental. You shall not pay on your own, as this may result in double payment. If you don’t want to travel the tunnel by (rental) car, you may also use the express bus 401, which is going through the tunnel .


Eysturoyartunnilin – Impressions

During my trip, I went from Torshavn to Runavik / Klaksvik in December 2023. The three tunnel entrances look very similar, with a couple of bows before the in-fact entrance to the tunnel. The tunnel is a two-laned tunnel, i.e. there is one lane in each direction of travel with multiple emergency stop bays. The trip from Torshavn to Runavik is actually the longest you may travel, with a distance of roughly 7,400 meters from the tunnel entrance to the roundabout and some additional 2,150 meters to the Northeast exit. If you add up all three branches, the tunnel is 11.2 kilomters long and thus the second longest sub-sea tunnel in the world (the longest one is the Ryfast near Stavanger in Norway). The maximum depth of Eysturoyartunnilin is 189 meters below sea level.

Apart from its vast size and depth, the key feature is of course the roundabout. Even though the Eysturoyartunnilin roundabout has become some sort of tourist attraction, you of course must not stop in the tunnel for any “touristic” reasons. Thus, I have ben a bit of lucky to do so many shots of it. The roundabout is even an arts installation. Domestic artist Trondur Paturrson designed a mixture of light effects and an 80 meter metal plate creating human silhouettes. The latter are expected to oxidise in the future, so that the outcome of them will change in the future.

There are, by the way, not only positive impacts by the Eysturoyartunnilin. As, for example, it is now much easier and more reliable to get from Runavik to Torshavn, the housing prices there significantly increased. The comparably high tolls lead to the situations that the longer and thus potentially less environmentally friendly routes still have a certain importance and are used frequently.


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