This stunning group of islands located off the northeast coast of Scotland are known for their rugged landscapes, rich history, and unique wildlife, here are the top five things to see and do:
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival: If you happen to visit Shetland in January, don't miss the world-famous Up Helly Aa Fire Festival in Lerwick. This Viking-inspired event involves a torchlit procession, the burning of a Viking galley, and lively celebrations throughout the night.
Shetland's Natural Beauty: Explore the dramatic landscapes of Shetland, which include rugged coastlines, picturesque cliffs, and rolling hills. Take hikes along the breathtaking coastal paths and nature reserves, such as Eshaness Cliffs and Sumburgh Head, for outstanding views and birdwatching opportunities.
Shetland Ponies: Meet the iconic Shetland ponies, a breed native to the islands. You can spot these adorable creatures grazing in fields across Shetland. Many pony trekking centres also offer opportunities to ride these gentle animals through the scenic countryside.
Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement: Visit the ancient settlement of Jarlshof, which contains ruins dating back to prehistoric times, the Norse period, and the Middle Ages. Explore the remains of houses, workshops, and Viking longhouses, providing insight into Shetland's rich history.
Shetland's Wildlife: The Shetland Isles offer excellent wildlife-watching opportunities. Join guided boat tours to see seabird colonies, including puffins, guillemots, and gannets. Additionally, Shetland's coastline is a great place for spotting seals, otters, and even whales and dolphins in certain seasons.
Bonus: Attend Shetland's annual festivals, such as the Shetland Folk Festival or the Shetland Nature Festival, to experience the islands' culture, music, and nature in a more immersive way.