They're calling it "voluntourism," and it's awesome

Over the last weekend of April this year, the Faroe Islands closed all its major tourism sites. The autonomous territory (which, like Greenland, is part of the Kingdom of Denmark) has quite a few. After all, the volcanic archipelago is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, near equidistant between Iceland, Norway and Scotland. There are cliffs, crags and crazy views of waterfalls. Youve probably seen Mlafossur make the social-media rounds before.

That weekend was the countrys first test run of voluntourism. A limited number of visitors were invited to join the Faroese Maintenace Crew to help maintain some of the archipelagos natural wonders. In exchange, the visitors were granted free food, accommodation and transport upon arrival. Plus friends for life (we like to imagine there was a celebratory party at the end).

Visit Faroe Islands, the countrys tourism board, was so pleased with the success of this year that theyre making it an annual event. Next April, volunteers will again have the opportunity to help clear walking paths, protect birdlife sanctuaries and repair ancient cairns, among other tasks. As more than 100,000 tourists come to the archipelago each year, double the number of full-time residents, the help is sorely needed.

Its already too late to get into Maintenance Weekend for 2020 (the site literally crashed yesterday as thousands of applications streamed in for just 100 spots), but you can bookmark this page, which will keep you in the loop for the 2021 iteration. Or, you could just go to the Faroe Islands when it sites are all open to the public. We recommend staying at Gsadalsgarur, a sweet guesthouse with views of the waterfall and eating at Koks, the islands own Michelin-starred restaurant.