Shetland Island Holiday Guide

Explore the Shetland Islands, the most northerly point of Scotland, where islanders experience long, bright nights in summer and the northern lights in winter. This is a place of Celtic magic, and visitors will be entranced by its varied topography, stunning coastlines and warm, friendly people.

About the Shetlands

The Shetland Islands are an archipelago made up of more than 100 islands, with the Mainland, Bressay, Whalsay, Shetland Island, Unst and Yell making up the largest of them. From our map above you can see that these islands lie almost as close to Norway as they do to their Native Scotland, and indeed there are many elements that unite the two nations, primarily the oil industry which supports most of the 23,000 inhabitants of the archipelago.

Stay in the Capital Lerwick

Explore Lerwick, the only place in the Shetlands large enough to bear the moniker of a town. Originally founded by the Dutch, Lerwick has stood for over 400 years, and wears its past in the old town. This picturesque outpost sits in a harbour where you can find working fishing crafts, luxury yachts and historical boats littering the water. Despite its size, Lerwick has a lively night life, a well-established foodie culture and a friendly local atmosphere.

Island Hopping in the Shetlands

There are lots of things to see and do on all of the islands, so island-hopping around the archipelago is a must. Ferries run regularly from the larger islands, and are considered to be very reliable, and journeying by sea is a great way to see the diversity of the landscape.

See Unst, the most northern of the islands is the perfect place for ornithologists and novice bird watchers. Fetlar is south of Unst, and has earned the nickname the ‘Garden of Shetland’ because of its agricultural background and the beauty of gentle rolling pastures. Whalsay, on the eastern coast, has deep roots in fishing but its main draws are its architecturally important Georgian mansions, and its Hanseatic League Museum.

There are the more remote islands, like Fair Isle, Papa Stour, Out Skerries and Foula. The last of which has some of the highest cliffs in the UK, with some reaching over 1,000 feet over sea level. It is considered to be one of the most isolated communities in Britain, but this small island has been inhabited since Neolithic times, spanning between 10,000 BC to 2,000 BC. You can reach these islands by air, and hop on inter-flights to cover the distances in a short time.

Embrace Nature in the Shetlands

There are nature reserves on the islands that are sure to take your breath away, such as the Hermaness National Nature Reserve, rich in marine and bird life. Most famously for its seabirds that cross the two lines between sea and air. See spectacular gannets slice through the air, or small puffins bobble on the surface of the sea, or walk through the moorland and watch the island change from desolate winter to soft machairs.

Expedia’s Tools You Can Use the Shetlands

Browse and book using Expedia and you will find seaside bed and breakfasts, grand Georgian guesthouses, luxury spa hotels, and small, locally run accommodation that are all unique to the islands they inhabit in the greater Shetland area. What’s more, for ease you can book a rental car, or flights through us so planning and booking your holiday is a cinch! Let us help you organise a trip to one of the most spectacular parts of Scotland, so you get the most out of your holiday.

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