The Shetland Islands is an Archipelago of 100 islands out of which only 15 are inhabited by around 23,000 residents, off the coast of Scotland. Lying around 100 miles northeast of the Scottish Mainland, Shetland has over 1,700 miles of coastline, which results in plenty of different beaches that you can relax on. These islands split the Atlantic Ocean on the west side from the North Sea on the east side. The best time to visit the islands is summer, especially between May and August. The winter here can be quite cold and damp. However, during the winter, you may be treated to the wonderous sight of the Northern Lights dancing over the islands. The Shetland Islands Council does a great job of managing the cleanliness, public spaces, and schools of the islands.
You’ll find a lot of free-roaming flocks of sheep on these islands, and their uniquely soft wool is used by weavers to make the renowned Fair Isle patterned knitwear, and you absolutely must buy this knitwear on your visit here.
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Things To Do And Places To Visit In The Shetland Islands
Enjoy Stunning Views Of The Northern Lights
These islands are the best place to view the northern lights from in Britain as they are the closest to the north pole. Since it isn’t extremely common in this region, you can spot the lights anytime between mid-March and mid-October, so we wouldn’t recommend planning a trip around seeing them here. But, you might just get lucky if you’re traveling around this time.
Experience The Rich Wildlife Of The Shetland Islands
From seals, otters, orcas, and dolphins to the famous Shetland ponies, these islands have very rich and diverse flora and fauna largely due to the shifting nature f the land and sea in this area over the years. People from all over the world come here to indulge in some birdwatching to see the rare migratory birds, as well as the rich seabird colonies.
Jarlshof is officially described as “one of the most remarkable archaeological sites ever excavated in the British Isles”, and several of its remains date back to as long ago as the Bronze Agr and the early Iron Age. This is the most famous archaeological site in the Shetland Islands. You can visit a hut from the Stone Age about 4,000 years old, the remains of a tower from the Iron Age, and even a Viking village. Jarlshof had Vikings living there and you can even find some of the things that were discovered here in the Shetland Museum.
Shetland Museum And Archives
The Shetland Museum is the perfect place to begin your understanding of the history of the Shetland Islands. The museum is located on a waterfront 19th-century dock on Lerwick Island, and you can find over 3,000 artifacts from the museum and archives that are displayed here. You can experience the exact recreation of an 18th-century house here and also experience some of the best world-class textiles. The museum attracts over 86,000 visitors a year and to truly grasp the rich heritage of the Shetland Islands, visiting this museum is an absolute must.
Lerwick Island is also known as the Shetland Mainland. Famous for its seabird colonies, this is the largest island of all the Shetland islands. It features both stunning soft white-sand beaches as well as glistening pebble beaches strewn with sea glass. You’ll find towering rock formations that adorn the landscapes of Lerwick. This island dates back to the 17th century. While you can fly into Shetland through Lerwick by flight from the Sumburgh Airport, you can also take a ferry to Lerwick from Aberdeen. There’s a famous B&B here called the West Hall Bed & Breakfast that is raved about for providing a comfortable home-like stay.
Being part of the North Isles, Unst is the most northerly island of the Shetland Isles and is where the famous Shetland Ponies come from. The Shetland pony is a Scottish breed of pony that is short, has a gorgeous and fluffy mane, and has been roaming the hills and moors of Scotland for more than 4,000 years. They might look deceptively small and delicate, but they’re very strong and resilient, largely owing to the fact that they evolved in extreme weather conditions with barely any food. They were used in coal mines in the 19th century. The Shetland ponies look nothing like the ponies you’re used to, and we’re certain you’ll come across them on your trip here with ease.
The beaches in Unst have white sand and offer a lot of solace and spaces to relax in. The main place in which most tourists prefer to stay in Unst is the Bare village which is home to the famed Busta House Hotel which offers comfortable accommodation. There are parts of the hotel itself that are over 400 years old, making it an important part of the history of the region. You can enjoy local food here, and also revel in the breathtaking views of Busta Voe from here.
How many islands are there in the Shetlands?
There are more than 100 islands in Shetland, out of which 16 are accessible and inhabitable.
What are the main Shetland Islands?
Some of the main Shetland islands are Unst, Lerwick, and Jarlshof.
Which islands make up Shetland?
Burra, Fetlar, Foula, Trondra, Unst, and Whalsay are some of the main islands in Shetland.
Do the Shetland Islands belong to UK?
Yes, the Shetland Islands belong to the UK as part of Scotland.
How do I get to Shetland Islands from UK?
You can either take a flight to the Shetland islands, or you can go by ferry from any of the major Scottish cities, with the most commonly used ferry being from Aberdeen to Scotland.
How do I get to the Shetland Islands from Mainland Scotland?
You can take a ferry to Shetland from Aberdeen in Scotland to the islands. There are also other ferries from other major Scottish cities.
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