The Shetland Islands lie off the north west of Scotland and are the furthest most northerly point in the United Kingdom. There are more than a hundred islands that make up the Shetlands. With just 22,500 people spread over 15 inhabited islands but boasting nearly 1700 miles of coastline and an abundance of wildlife, archaeological sites and open countryside, this is a part of the country, once discovered, you will come back to time and time again.
This is a truly wild and natural place, where you can explore the Nordic influence on the islands villages, traditional music and food. The Shetlands is a world that was shaped by ice many millions of years ago but has left its mark in the shape of the landscape and the wide open skies that are still an inspiration to its visiting artists.
The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds which, along with the North Sea oil and gas fields, has provided well for the Shetlanders and conserving their natural environment.
Life is led out in the open air here and visitors can also enjoy a part of this - over 500 square miles of open countryside to hike or cycle through. Or take to the open water to try some fishing or scuba-diving. There are also many vibrant festivals held across the Shetlands annually, including the internationally known Shetland Folk Festival and the winter Up Helly Aa held in the capital, Lerwick, every January. Hostel accommodation is popular for these events.
Want some ideas on where to visit?
Every favourite location must be visited for the first time. Want some ideas, why not check out the below small selection of coastal locations, including beaches, activities, things to see and do, places to stay and eat: