Things to do in Shetland

Shetland, an archipelago situated in the Northern Isles of Scotland, comprises over a hundred islands, with just 16 of them inhabited. This remote and beautiful locale is known for its rugged coastline, rich Norse heritage, and diverse wildlife. The unique cultural blend of Scottish and Scandinavian influences is evident in everything from the local dialect to architecture, making Shetland a fascinating place to explore.

The islands boast an impressive historical tapestry that includes ancient ruins, traditional croft houses, and the famous Up Helly Aa fire festival celebrating Viking heritage. Shetland’s natural environment offers breathtaking landscapes, from dramatic cliffs to serene beaches, providing a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its distinct charm and myriad attractions, Shetland invites visitors into a world where tradition and natural beauty coexist harmoniously.

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  • Visit Shetland’s Nature Reserves: Explore the unspoiled beauty of Shetland’s nature reserves. From the Keen of Hamar’s unique geology to the birdwatcher’s paradise of Noss National Nature Reserve, these protected areas offer stunning landscapes and wildlife encounters.
  • Experience Up Helly Aa: Witness Europe’s largest fire festival, Up Helly Aa. Held annually in Lerwick on the last Tuesday of January, this Viking-themed celebration features a torchlight procession followed by the burning of a Viking galley.
  • Explore Shetland Museum and Archives: Delve into Shetland’s past at this comprehensive museum in Lerwick. The exhibits cover local archaeology, maritime history, social heritage, and more, offering insights into the islands’ unique culture.
  • Enjoy a Show at Mareel: Located in Lerwick, Mareel is Shetland’s cinema and music venue. It hosts a variety of performances ranging from movies to live concerts, making it a central hub for entertainment on the islands.
  • Discover Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement: Visit one of Scotland’s most significant archaeological sites. Jarlshof offers an extraordinary journey through time with well-preserved remains spanning over 4,000 years including Bronze Age structures and Viking longhouses.
  • Participate in Shetland Wool Week: Celebrate Shetland’s renowned textile heritage during Wool Week. This annual event features workshops, demonstrations, and opportunities to learn about traditional knitting techniques directly from skilled artisans.
  • Visit Sumburgh Head Lighthouse & Visitor Centre: At the southern tip of mainland Shetland lies Sumburgh Head Lighthouse. The visitor centre provides insights into lighthouse history while offering panoramic views where you can spot seabirds and even orcas.
  • Explore Old Haa Museum in Burravoe: This museum located in Yell showcases local history through artifacts related to fishing industry history as well as exhibitions on art works by local artists.
  • Hike Through Shetlandscape: Discover Shetlandscape by hiking its varied terrain which ranges from gentle walks along scenic beaches to challenging treks across rugged hillsides offering spectacular views across the archipelago.
  • Visit Bonhoga Gallery at Weisdale Mill: Set in a restored mill in Weisdale Valley Bonhoga Gallery presents contemporary visual art craft design showcasing both local international artists making it perfect spot for art enthusiasts explore creativity island setting.
  • Take Seabirds-and-Seals Boat Tour : Embark on memorable boat tour around Bressay Noss see incredible wildlife up close including puffins seals gannets knowledgeable guides provide insightful commentary throughout journey making unforgettable experience nature lovers all ages . < li >Tour Lerwick Brewery : Discover craft beer scene visiting Lerwick Brewery Learn about brewing process behind their award-winning beers enjoy tastings guided tours offered brewery itself giving visitors taste local flavors craftsmanship goes into every bottle .