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Shetland: The Strangest Place I’ve Ever Been


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Caro Rector



Welcome to the enchanting world of Shetland, a place where reality merges seamlessly with the extraordinary. Nestled in the heart of the North Atlantic Ocean, this archipelago of islands is unlike anywhere else you’ve ever been. From its awe-inspiring landscape to its rich history and vibrant culture, Shetland is a treasure trove of weird and amazing experiences.


Picture yourself standing amidst rugged cliffs, gazing out at the vast expanse of the sea. The breathtaking beauty of Shetland’s landscape will leave you in awe. With its dramatic coastline, rolling hills, and pristine beaches, this place offers a surreal sense of tranquility and isolation.


But Shetland is not just known for its natural wonders; it’s also home to a remarkable array of wildlife. From puffins and seals to elusive otters and majestic whales, the rich biodiversity of Shetland’s flora and fauna will captivate your senses. Explore the untamed wilderness and immerse yourself in a world where nature reigns supreme.


As you delve deeper into Shetland’s history, you’ll uncover tales of Viking conquests, ancient ruins, and mythical folklore. This land holds secrets from centuries past, waiting to be discovered. Immerse yourself in the past and uncover the mysteries of this historic land.


No trip to Shetland is complete without indulging in its traditional cuisine and beverages. Sample delectable seafood dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients, and sip on a glass of authentic Shetland ale. Allow your taste buds to embark on a journey of their own as you savor the unique flavors of this gastronomic delight.


But be warned, the weather in Shetland is as mercurial as the island itself. From bright sunshine to misty rain and howling winds, you never quite know what to expect. Embrace the unpredictable nature of Shetland’s weather, and let it add to the charm and intrigue of your journey.


Shetland is a place where traditions thrive and merge with modernity. Witness the Foy, a ceremonial burning of a Viking longship, or experience the exhilaration of the Up Helly Aa, an annual fire festival that celebrates Shetland’s Viking heritage. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and embrace the quirky traditions that make Shetland truly one-of-a-kind.


Throughout the year, Shetland hosts a range of events and festivals that showcase its unique identity. From the Up Helly Aa in January to the Shetland Folk Festival in May, there’s always something happening to captivate your senses. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere and embrace the spirit of celebration.


Getting around Shetland is an adventure in itself. Whether you choose to explore by car, bike, or foot, you’ll be met with breathtaking vistas at every turn. The well-connected infrastructure ensures that you can easily navigate the islands and unravel its hidden gems.


When it comes to accommodation, Shetland offers a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Whether you prefer the comfort of a hotel, the coziness of a bed and breakfast, or the freedom of self-catering, you’ll find a perfect haven to rest and rejuvenate after a day of exploration.


But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Shetland is its people. The warmth and hospitality of the locals will leave a lasting impression on your heart. Their tales, jokes, and anecdotes will make you feel like a part of the community, and leave you yearning for more.


Visiting Shetland brings its own set of challenges, from the unpredictable weather to the remote nature of the islands. But the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. This hidden gem, tucked away in the midst of the Atlantic, offers an experience unlike any other, filled with surprises, wonders, and memories to last a lifetime.


The Unique Landscape of Shetland

Prepare to be mesmerized by the otherworldly beauty of Shetland’s landscape. This archipelago is a land of extremes, where rugged cliffs meet gentle rolling hills, and deserted white sandy beaches lie in harmony with dramatic sea stacks.


From the moment you set foot on Shetland’s shores, you’ll be greeted by an awe-inspiring environment. The islands boast an abundance of untouched natural wonders that will take your breath away. Imagine standing atop Sumburgh Head, overlooking the vast expanse of the North Atlantic Ocean, as waves crash against the towering cliffs below. The sight is both humbling and exhilarating.


As you venture further inland, you’ll encounter heather-covered moorland, dotted with sparkling lochs. These expansive open spaces provide a sense of freedom and solitude that is unmatched elsewhere. Marvel at the wildflowers that carpet the landscape in vibrant hues during the spring and summer months, creating a patchwork of color as far as the eye can see.


Shetland’s coastline is a true marvel, with its rocky outcrops and secluded coves. Explore the breathtaking sea caves along the cliffs, carved by the relentless force of the ocean over countless millennia. These hidden havens are teeming with marine life, providing a glimpse into an underwater world filled with wonder and fascination.


One of the defining features of Shetland’s landscape is its network of winding coastal paths. Lace up your walking boots and embark on a journey of discovery along these rugged trails. Each step offers a new perspective, revealing hidden beaches, hidden lakes, and breathtaking viewpoints that will leave you in awe.


But it’s not just the land that captivates visitors; Shetland’s seas are equally enchanting. Take a boat trip to witness the mesmerizing sight of whales breaching the surface, or dolphins dancing in the waves. The waters surrounding Shetland are home to a diverse range of marine life, providing abundant opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.


For those seeking a truly unique experience, make your way to the Isle of Noss. This uninhabited island, with its dramatic cliffs and abundance of birdlife, is a designated National Nature Reserve. Witness vast colonies of seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, and fulmars, nesting and soaring above the towering cliffs.


Whether you choose to explore by land or by sea, the unique landscape of Shetland promises an adventure like no other. Lose yourself in the untamed beauty of this remote archipelago, and let it awaken a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world.


A Closer Look at Shetland’s Wildlife

Prepare to be amazed by the rich diversity of wildlife that calls Shetland home. This remote archipelago offers a sanctuary for a variety of unique species, both on land and in the surrounding waters. From charismatic seabird colonies to elusive mammals, Shetland is a nature lover’s paradise.


Shetland’s coastline is a haven for birdwatchers and ornithology enthusiasts. The towering cliffs provide nesting sites for thousands of seabirds, creating bustling colonies that fill the air with their calls and cries. Keep your eyes peeled for puffins, with their vibrant beaks and distinctive waddling walk. These adorable creatures are a highlight of any visit to Shetland, and their presence is truly enchanting.


Another iconic seabird species you may encounter is the graceful gannet. Look out for their elegant flight as they dive into the water with remarkable precision, hunting for fish to sustain themselves and their young. The sight of these powerful birds in action is a true spectacle.


Shetland’s waters are teeming with life, making it a hotspot for marine wildlife enthusiasts. Keep your binoculars handy as you scour the waves for the playful antics of harbor seals and grey seals. These charismatic creatures are often seen basking on rocks or popping their heads above the water, curiously observing their surroundings.


If you’re lucky, you may even spot an otter as it navigates the shoreline with skill and stealth. These elusive creatures are known for their playful nature and agile swimming abilities. Patience and a keen eye are essential when attempting to catch a glimpse of these fascinating mammals in their natural habitat.


As you venture further into Shetland’s waters, you’ll have the chance to witness the majesty of whales. Keep a lookout for the graceful dorsal fins of orcas as they glide through the waves, or the blows of minke whales surfacing to breathe. These awe-inspiring creatures are a testament to the rich biodiversity of the North Atlantic Ocean.


But it’s not just the marine life that captivates visitors to Shetland. Inland, you might spot the graceful flight of golden eagles or the fleeting glimpse of a red deer bounding through the heather-clad hills. Shetland’s terrestrial fauna is just as remarkable as its marine counterparts.


To truly appreciate and understand Shetland’s wildlife, consider joining a guided tour or excursion led by knowledgeable experts. These local guides possess a wealth of knowledge and can provide valuable insights into the behavior and habitats of Shetland’s fascinating creatures.


As you explore the natural wonders of Shetland, take a moment to appreciate the delicate balance of ecosystems that support such a diverse range of wildlife. Each encounter with Shetland’s creatures is a reminder of the fragile beauty and resilience of the natural world.


Exploring Shetland’s Rich History and Culture

Journey through time as you delve into the fascinating history and vibrant culture of Shetland. This remote archipelago carries remnants of ancient civilizations, Viking warriors, and a proud heritage that is celebrated to this day.


Shetland’s history stretches back thousands of years, and evidence of its ancient past can be seen in the numerous archaeological sites scattered across the islands. Visit Jarlshof, a remarkable archaeological site that spans more than 4,000 years of history. Explore the ruins of ancient dwellings, stone circles, and brochs, and imagine life as it once was in this captivating place.


Shetland’s Viking heritage is deeply ingrained in its culture and traditions. Step into the past and envision the ferocious Viking warriors who once roamed these lands. Visit the Up Helly Aa exhibition in Lerwick to learn about the annual fire festival that pays homage to Shetland’s Norse heritage. Marvel at the intricately crafted Viking longships and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this unique celebration.


As you wander through the charming streets of Lerwick, Shetland’s capital, you’ll notice a blend of architectural styles that reflect the island’s history. From the quaint cottages of the Old Town to the grand Georgian buildings, each tells a story of the past and contributes to the distinctive charm of the island.


Shetland’s culture is as rich and vibrant as its history. Traditional music plays a significant role in the island’s identity, with fiddle tunes and folk songs echoing through the air. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of a Shetland folk festival, where local musicians showcase their talents and invite you to join in the revelry.


The craftsmanship of Shetland’s artisans is renowned worldwide. Delve into the world of wool at the Shetland Museum and Archives, where you can learn about the traditional craft of knitting and the famous Shetland wool industry. Admire intricate Fair Isle patterns and marvel at the skill and precision required to create these timeless pieces.


No exploration of Shetland’s culture would be complete without indulging in its culinary delights. Sample traditional dishes such as Shetland lamb, fresh seafood, and the iconic reestit mutton soup. These flavorsome dishes showcase the island’s connection to its natural surroundings and its reliance on locally sourced ingredients.


Throughout the year, Shetland hosts a range of festivals and events that celebrate its history and culture. From the Shetland Folk Festival, where musicians from around the world come together in celebration of traditional music, to the Simmer Dim Rally, a gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, there’s always something happening to captivate your senses and immerse you in the local way of life.


As you explore Shetland’s rich history and vibrant culture, you’ll discover that the island’s past and present are intricately intertwined. From ancient ruins to lively festivals, Shetland invites you to delve into its captivating heritage and experience the essence of what makes this place truly unique.


A Taste of Shetland: Traditional Cuisine and Beverages

Prepare your taste buds for a culinary journey as you indulge in the flavors of Shetland’s traditional cuisine and beverages. This remote archipelago boasts a rich culinary heritage, deeply rooted in its natural surroundings and the bounty of the surrounding waters.


Shetland’s proximity to the sea means that seafood takes center stage on the island’s menu. Immerse yourself in the taste of the ocean with dishes such as Shetland mussels, hand-dived scallops, and succulent langoustines. Each bite offers a burst of freshness and flavor that will leave you craving more.


One iconic dish that cannot be missed is the Shetland reestit mutton soup. Made with locally sourced mutton, the meat is traditionally salted and dried, then simmered with vegetables and served piping hot. The unique flavors and hearty nature of this dish provide a true taste of Shetland’s traditional fare.


For meat enthusiasts, Shetland lamb is a must-try. Raised on the lush green pastures of the islands, the lamb is known for its tender texture and delicate flavor. Whether roasted, grilled, or used in a traditional stew, Shetland lamb is a culinary delight that showcases the island’s agricultural prowess.


No exploration of Shetland’s cuisine would be complete without sampling its delectable baked goods. Traditional oatcakes, made with locally grown oats, provide the perfect vehicle for enjoying a variety of toppings, from local cheeses to smoked salmon. And for those with a sweet tooth, indulge in Shetland bannocks, scones, or the famous Black Bun, a rich, fruit-filled cake that is a favorite during holiday seasons.


To complement these tasty dishes, be sure to try the unique beverages that Shetland has to offer. Start your day with a cup of tea made from Shetland-grown seaweed, known as “kelp tea.” This savory drink is believed to have health benefits and provides a distinct taste that is unlike any other tea you’ve tried.


Beer lovers will delight in the locally brewed ales of Shetland. From traditional pale ales to robust stouts, the flavors reflect the island’s rugged landscape and independent spirit. Raise a glass and savor the unique qualities of Shetland’s craft beers, brewed with pride and passion.


For those who prefer a stronger tipple, Shetland is famous for its Scotch whisky. Sample the unique flavors and aromas of the island’s single malt whiskies, crafted with skill and precision by local distilleries. Let each sip transport you to the windswept landscapes and ancestral traditions that shape the character of these remarkable spirits.


With its rich culinary heritage and unique flavors, Shetland offers a journey of the senses that will leave a lasting impression. From seafood delicacies to hearty traditional dishes and a selection of excellent beverages, the island’s cuisine is a true reflection of its natural abundance and the passion of its people.


Unpredictable Weather: Shetland’s Atmospheric Charm

Shetland’s weather is as diverse and dynamic as the landscape itself. From bright sunshine to wild winds and sudden downpours, the ever-changing weather adds to the island’s unique charm and creates an atmospheric experience like no other.


One of the defining features of Shetland’s weather is its unpredictability. It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in a single day, making every moment an adventure. The cloud patterns play a mesmerizing dance in the sky, casting beautiful shadows on the rugged terrain below.


Be prepared to embrace the elements during your visit to Shetland. Whether it’s the invigorating mist on your face as you stroll along a windswept beach or the refreshing rain that clears the air, the weather becomes an integral part of the experience. Dress in layers, keep a waterproof jacket handy, and be ready to adapt to the ever-changing conditions.


The shifting weather patterns create a dramatic backdrop for exploring Shetland’s natural wonders. The interplay of light and shadow on the landscape creates a captivating atmosphere that photographers, artists, and nature lovers can’t resist. Whether the sky is filled with dramatic clouds or illuminated by the soft glow of the sun, the beauty of Shetland is magnified by the ever-changing weather.


The unpredictable weather also contributes to the rich biodiversity of the islands. Shetland’s flora and fauna have adapted to thrive in the challenging and varied conditions. The damp and misty weather sustains vibrant mosses and lichens, which add a surreal green hue to the landscape. The strong winds create unique habitats for hardy plants and provide an ideal environment for seabirds to soar through the air.


Despite its reputation for inclement weather, Shetland offers moments of breathtaking serenity and clarity. The calm stillness that follows a storm can reveal a landscape transformed, as raindrops glisten on flowers and sunlight breaks through the clouds. These moments of tranquility amidst the tempestuous weather are magical, reminding visitors of the power and beauty of nature.


One of the joys of visiting Shetland is witnessing the locals embrace and adapt to the unpredictable weather. It’s not uncommon to see individuals donning waterproof jackets and wellies in all seasons, ready to face whatever Mother Nature throws their way. This resilience and acceptance of the elements are deeply ingrained in the island’s culture and add to its enduring charm.


Embrace the atmospheric charm of Shetland’s ever-changing weather and let it enhance your experience on the islands. Whether it’s the exhilaration of a gusty walk along the cliffs or finding solace in a cozy café as the rain pours outside, the weather becomes an integral part of your journey, leaving memories that will forever be etched in your heart.


The Quirky Traditions of Shetland

Shetland is a land of traditions, where quirky customs and age-old rituals are still cherished and celebrated. From fiery Viking events to whimsical festivals, these traditions give Shetland its distinctive personality and offer a glimpse into the unique spirit of the island.


One of the most iconic traditions of Shetland is the Up Helly Aa festival, held annually in Lerwick in January. This fire festival pays homage to the islands’ Norse heritage, with a procession of costumed Vikings marching through the streets, culminating in the dramatic burning of a replica Viking longship. The atmosphere is electric, as locals and visitors alike come together to witness this spectacular event.


Another fascinating tradition is the Lerwick Boating Regatta, which dates back over 150 years. This quirky event sees teams of men donning themed costumes and racing in wooden boats through the harbor. With creative themes and humorous antics, the boating regatta is a delightfully entertaining spectacle that showcases the islanders’ sense of fun and camaraderie.


Shetland’s agricultural heritage is celebrated during the annual Shetland County Show. This event brings together farmers, breeders, and enthusiasts from all over the islands to showcase their livestock, produce, and crafts. From sheep-shearing competitions to traditional handicraft displays, the County Show is a true celebration of rural life and a testament to the island’s strong agricultural roots.


Shetland also boasts a rich musical tradition. The traditional music of Shetland, infused with Norse, Scottish, and Celtic influences, is celebrated through vibrant festivals and lively sessions. Join in the merriment of a spontaneous jam session, where fiddle tunes and lively reels fill the air, or attend the annual Shetland Folk Festival, which attracts musicians from all over the world.


Community spirit and cooperation are central to many of Shetland’s traditions. The “Simmer Dim” runs, a series of long-distance road races held throughout the summer, showcase both athletic prowess and the supportive nature of the islanders. Participants and spectators come together to cheer on the runners, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and encouragement.


The Viking influence is further celebrated through the tradition of the “Foy.” This ceremonial burning of a Viking longship takes place at various locations around Shetland, symbolizing the end of the winter season and the coming of spring. The Foy is a mesmerizing display of fire and spectacle, drawing locals and visitors alike into the mystical world of Norse mythology.


These quirky traditions, deeply rooted in Shetland’s history and folklore, offer a glimpse into the island’s vibrant and resilient community. They showcase the islanders’ love for celebration, their respect for tradition, and their unique ability to fuse the old with the new.


Experiencing these traditions firsthand allows visitors to truly immerse themselves in the essence of Shetland. Whether you find yourself dressed as a Viking, cheering on a boat race, or reveling in the sounds of fiddle music, these traditions will capture your imagination and leave you with cherished memories of this captivating place.


Shetland’s Annual Events and Festivals

Shetland is a vibrant and lively destination that hosts a range of annual events and festivals throughout the year. These celebrations showcase the island’s rich cultural heritage, bring communities together, and offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the spirit of Shetland.


One of the most iconic events on Shetland’s calendar is the world-renowned Up Helly Aa festival. Held annually in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January, this fire festival celebrates the islands’ Viking history. Witness the dramatic torchlit procession through the streets, as costumed Vikings lead the way, culminating in the spectacular burning of a Viking longship. The atmosphere is electric, filled with music, dancing, and a sense of shared excitement that captivates both residents and visitors alike.


The Shetland Folk Festival is a highlight for music enthusiasts, attracting artists from around the world to perform in venues across the islands. This four-day extravaganza features an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary folk music, showcasing the vibrancy and diversity of the genre. Take part in intimate concerts and lively sessions, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, and discover the enchanting sounds that permeate Shetland’s rich musical heritage.


If you’re visiting Shetland in midsummer, don’t miss the Simmer Dim Rally. This unique gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts takes place during the summer solstice, attracting riders from far and wide to celebrate their shared love for two wheels. Enjoy thrilling bike displays, live music, and the camaraderie of like-minded enthusiasts at this lively and spirited event.


Experience the spirit of rural Shetland at the annual Shetland County Show. Held in August, this agricultural show celebrates the island’s farming heritage and showcases the best of Shetland’s livestock, produce, and craftsmanship. From cattle and sheep competitions to handicraft displays and local food stalls, the County Show offers a delightful insight into the agricultural traditions that are deeply ingrained in Shetland’s identity.


For those with a passion for literature and storytelling, the Shetland Noir festival is not to be missed. This crime fiction festival brings together renowned authors, aspiring writers, and avid readers for a weekend of thrilling events. Attend author panels, writing workshops, and crime-themed tours that take you to the dark corners of Shetland’s literary landscape.


Throughout the year, Shetland also hosts various art and craft exhibitions, showcasing the talents of local artists. From pottery and painting to textile and jewelry work, these exhibitions offer a fascinating insight into the creative spirit that thrives on the islands.


Attending these annual events and festivals allows you to witness the vibrancy, passion, and community spirit that is deeply ingrained in Shetland’s culture. Whether you’re dancing at Up Helly Aa, tapping your feet to traditional folk music, or cheering on competitors at the County Show, the experience of these events will leave you with lasting memories and a deeper appreciation for the unique cultural tapestry of Shetland.


Getting Around Shetland: Transportation and Infrastructure

While Shetland may be a remote archipelago, getting around the islands is surprisingly accessible and convenient. Whether you choose to explore by land, sea, or air, there are various transportation options available to help you navigate this captivating destination.


Shetland’s main town and capital, Lerwick, serves as a central hub for transportation within the islands. Lerwick boasts a well-connected road network that makes it easy to explore the surrounding areas by car. Renting a car allows you the freedom to discover the hidden gems of Shetland at your own pace, from the rugged coastal cliffs to the picturesque villages nestled in the hills.


If you prefer a more sustainable and eco-friendly mode of transport, cycling is a popular option on Shetland. The islands offer scenic routes that cater to all skill levels, allowing you to traverse the countryside, enjoy panoramic views, and experience the unique tranquility of this remote destination.


For those who prefer public transportation, Shetland has an efficient bus service that connects various towns and villages across the islands. The bus routes provide access to popular tourist sites, such as ancient archaeological sites and stunning natural landscapes. Sit back, relax, and let the skilled local bus drivers guide you through the winding roads of Shetland.


Shetland’s intricate network of ferries offers a delightful way to explore the archipelago by sea. With numerous inter-island ferry routes, you can hop from one island to another, discovering hidden coves, deserted beaches, and remote communities. The ferry rides themselves are an adventure, with breathtaking views and the possibility of spotting marine life along the way.


If you’re pressed for time or prefer a faster mode of transportation, Shetland has regular flights connecting the islands with mainland Scotland. The Sumburgh Airport, located at the southern end of the mainland, offers flights to and from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness. Flying allows you to maximize your time and experience the vastness and beauty of Shetland from a unique aerial perspective.


As for infrastructure, Shetland’s roads are well-maintained, ensuring a smooth and comfortable journey. However, it’s important to note that due to the islands’ remote location and rugged terrain, some roads may be narrow and winding. Caution and careful driving are advised, especially when venturing off the main roads and into more rural areas.


Accommodating the needs of tourists, Shetland offers a range of car parks and facilities, making it easy to park and explore on foot. Signposts and information boards are also strategically placed to guide visitors and provide valuable information about the area’s history, culture, and natural attractions.


When planning your visit to Shetland, it’s always a good idea to research and book your transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This ensures that you have the flexibility and ease of exploring the islands to the fullest.


Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, traversing the lands and waters of Shetland offers a sense of adventure and allows you to immerse yourself in the raw beauty and tranquility of this remarkable archipelago.


Accommodation Options in Shetland

When it comes to accommodations, Shetland offers a variety of options to suit every traveler’s preferences and needs. From cozy bed and breakfasts to comfortable hotels and self-catering cottages, there is something for everyone in this remote archipelago.


For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying at a bed and breakfast. Shetland’s bed and breakfasts offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, often run by friendly and knowledgeable hosts who can provide insider tips and recommendations for exploring the islands. Wake up to a hearty Scottish breakfast and enjoy the personal touch of a home-away-from-home environment.


If you prefer the convenience of a hotel, Shetland has a few options to choose from. Ranging from boutique hotels to larger establishments, these hotels provide all the amenities and services you would expect, such as comfortable rooms, on-site dining, and helpful staff who can assist with arranging tours and activities.


For those seeking a bit more independence and flexibility, self-catering options are plentiful in Shetland. Rent a cozy cottage or apartment and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Most self-catering accommodations offer fully equipped kitchens, allowing you to prepare your own meals using fresh, local ingredients sourced from nearby markets and shops.


For campers and outdoor enthusiasts, Shetland has several camping sites offering stunning views and a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the islands. Whether you prefer traditional tent camping or bringing your own camper van, these campgrounds provide basic facilities and the opportunity to truly connect with the rugged landscape.


Another popular option is staying in a hostel, which offers budget-friendly accommodations for solo travelers or those looking to meet fellow adventurers. Shetland’s hostels provide communal areas, kitchen facilities, and often organize social activities, making them a great choice for those seeking a social and lively atmosphere.


Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Shetland is a popular destination, and availability can be limited at times. Planning ahead ensures you secure the option that best suits your preferences.


When considering accommodations in Shetland, keep in mind the location of your chosen establishment. Whether you prefer to be situated in the heart of Lerwick, allowing easy access to shops, restaurants, and attractions, or prefer a more remote location closer to nature, there are options available to suit your preferences.


Shetland’s accommodations often offer breathtaking views, regardless of their location. Wake up to the sight of shimmering seas, rolling hills, or picturesque harbors, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the islands.


Whether you’re searching for a cozy retreat, a comfortable hotel, or an adventurous camping experience, Shetland’s diverse accommodation options ensure you’ll find the perfect place to rest, rejuvenate, and create cherished memories of your time in this remote and captivating destination.


The Hospitality of Shetland’s Locals

One of the most remarkable aspects of visiting Shetland is the warm and genuine hospitality of its residents. From the moment you set foot on the islands, you’ll be greeted with open arms and a welcoming smile. The locals’ genuine kindness and willingness to go the extra mile will make your stay in Shetland truly unforgettable.


The people of Shetland take great pride in sharing their home with visitors, and their warm hospitality is deeply ingrained in the island’s culture. Whether you’re seeking directions, recommendations for the best sights to see, or simply engaging in friendly conversation, you’ll find that Shetlanders are always eager to help and make you feel at home.


The islands’ strong sense of community creates a welcoming atmosphere that is felt throughout Shetland. Locals are often involved in community activities and events, and this sense of unity extends to visitors as well. You’ll find yourself quickly embraced as part of the community, whether it’s joining in on a traditional dance at a local festival or enjoying a pint at the pub while swapping stories with friendly locals.


Shetlanders are known for their warm and friendly nature, making it easy to strike up conversations and create connections. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself engrossed in a lively discussion about local history, folklore, or the best places to spot wildlife. The islanders’ passion for their home is infectious, and their enthusiasm can inspire a deep appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of Shetland.


Many visitors to Shetland recount stories of the genuine acts of kindness they have experienced during their stay. Whether it’s an offer of a lift to a remote location or an invitation to a local gathering, the islanders’ generosity and willingness to extend a helping hand leave a lasting impression.


The traditional concept of “hamefarin” further demonstrates the hospitality of Shetland’s locals. Hamefarin refers to the tradition of welcoming back individuals with Shetland heritage who have returned to visit their ancestral homes. This tradition celebrates the connection between Shetlanders and their diaspora, showing that the spirit of hospitality extends beyond the islands.


The local tourism industry also reflects the genuine warmth and hospitality of Shetland’s inhabitants. From the friendly staff at hotels and bed and breakfasts to guides and tour operators, you’ll find individuals who are passionate about their island home and dedicated to providing exceptional experiences for visitors.


The hospitality of Shetland’s locals goes hand in hand with the island’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Together, they create an immersive and enriching experience that leaves a lasting impact on those who visit. The kindness, openness, and warm reception of Shetlanders ensure that your time on the islands is not just about the stunning landscapes and vibrant festivals but also about the connections made and the friendships formed.


Prepare to have your heart captivated by the genuine warmth and genuine hospitality of Shetland’s locals. Their kindness and friendliness will not only make you feel at home but will leave a lasting impression that you will carry with you long after you’ve left the captivating shores of this remarkable archipelago.


The Challenges and Rewards of Visiting Shetland

A visit to Shetland is a journey filled with both challenges and rewards. This remote archipelago offers a unique and captivating experience that comes with its own set of hurdles and moments of pure delight.


One of the challenges of visiting Shetland is its remote location. Situated off the coast of mainland Scotland, reaching the islands requires careful planning and coordination. Whether you opt for a flight or a ferry, it’s important to consider travel times and availability, especially during peak seasons.


Shetland’s ever-changing weather presents another challenge for visitors. The unpredictability of the weather means that you need to be prepared for all conditions. Layered clothing, waterproof gear, and sturdy footwear are essential to navigate the wild and beautiful landscapes, where rain and wind can suddenly transform into calm and sunshine.


Exploring Shetland’s varied terrain can present its own challenges. The rugged coastlines and winding country roads may require careful navigation, especially for those unaccustomed to driving in such environments. It’s important to drive cautiously, allowing ample time to reach your destinations and to expect the unexpected.


However, the challenges of visiting Shetland are overwhelmingly surpassed by the rewards that await. The island’s awe-inspiring landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and abundant wildlife are a feast for the senses. Indulge in the serenity of secluded beaches, marvel at the towering sea stacks, and witness majestic wildlife in their natural habitats.


Shetland’s deep sense of heritage and rich cultural traditions provide moments of genuine connection and fascination. From witnessing the fiery spectacle of Up Helly Aa to immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere of a folk festival, the island’s traditions and events offer a glimpse into a world that is both enchanting and deeply rooted in history.


The warmth and hospitality of Shetland’s locals are among the greatest rewards of visiting the islands. Engage in conversation with friendly islanders, hear their captivating stories, and be welcomed into their close-knit community. The lasting friendships and connections formed during a visit to Shetland are cherished memories that will stay with you long after you’ve left.


Shetland offers a sense of escape and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere. The opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and immerse oneself in the raw beauty of nature is a reward in itself. Stroll along deserted beaches, hike through picturesque landscapes, and find solace in the peacefulness that permeates the islands.


Visiting Shetland is undoubtedly a journey of challenges and rewards. Embrace the unpredictability of the weather, embrace the twists and turns of the roads, and open yourself up to the unique experiences that await. The challenges ultimately enhance the sense of adventure, making the rewards all the more meaningful and unforgettable.



A journey to Shetland is a voyage into a world of weird and amazing wonders. From its unique landscape and diverse wildlife to its rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, this remote archipelago offers an experience that is both transformative and unforgettable.


As you explore the rugged cliffs, rolling hills, and pristine beaches, let the breathtaking beauty of Shetland’s landscape leave you in awe. Immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness, and witness the abundance of wildlife that thrives in this remote corner of the world.


Discover the secrets of Shetland’s past as you delve into its ancient ruins, Viking heritage, and captivating folklore. The island’s history is tangible, offering a deeper understanding of the rich tapestry of this unique destination.


Indulge in Shetland’s gastronomic delights, savoring traditional cuisine and beverages that reflect the island’s connection to its natural surroundings. Let your taste buds embark on a journey and experience flavors that are both comforting and unique.


Embrace the unpredictable weather, letting it add to the charm and intrigue of your journey. Whether it’s rain or shine, the ever-changing weather becomes an integral part of the Shetland experience, creating an atmospheric backdrop that enhances the allure of the islands.


Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Shetland, where traditions thrive and quirky customs are celebrated. Embrace the lively spirit of festive events and connect with the warm-hearted locals who embody the island’s sense of community and hospitality.


From the iconic Up Helly Aa festival to the Shetland Folk Festival and the Shetland County Show, you’ll find a calendar packed with events that showcase the island’s unique identity and offer a glimpse into the life and traditions of its people.


Navigating Shetland’s transport networks and finding the perfect accommodation provides its own challenges, but the rewards of experiencing this captivating archipelago are immeasurable. Whether you choose to explore by car, bike, ferry, or simply by foot, Shetland opens doors to hidden treasures and breathtaking vistas at every turn.


And perhaps the greatest reward of all is the genuine warmth and hospitality of Shetland’s residents. The locals’ kindness and welcoming nature make you feel like a part of the community, leaving a lasting impression and a yearning to return.


Visiting Shetland is an adventure of challenges and rewards, a journey that will forever be etched in your memories. So go forth, embrace the weird and amazing, and let Shetland’s magic captivate your heart and soul.