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Shetland Islands Tours

Go island-hopping to Scotland’s northernmost point! Experience a unique cultural heritage, abundant natural beauty and wildlife on Nordic Visitor’s Shetland Islands tours.

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Discover Scotland's Far North on Shetland Island Tours

Go for a journey off the beaten path… in fact, ditch the path altogether and hop on a boat! Do some proper island-hopping in Scotland on a tour of the Shetland Islands and experience the natural beauty, Old Norse heritage, great bird watching and UNESCO-worthy prehistoric sites of this remote region.

Located 168 km (104 mi) from Scotland’s mainland, the Shetland Islands are as far north as you get in the British Isles. Wondering about the best way to travel for Shetland Islands tours? While it’s possible to fly to Shetland from airports on mainland Scotland, a self-drive tour with ferry connections is the ultimate way to experience Scotland’s diverse scenery, wildlife and culture.

For road trips in Scotland with expertly planned routes, quality-checked accommodations and other personal touches, look to the local travel experts at Nordic Visitor. Enjoy a driving tour of the Scottish Highlands and isles with a custom-made itinerary, arranged by your own dedicated travel consultant based in Edinburgh.

Keep browsing below for our suggested Shetland Island tours and other tips about what to see and do in Shetland.

 

— WHY US?

Why book with Nordic Visitor

  • Hassle-free & seamless travel experience
  • Flexible & customisable tour options
  • Value for your money
  • Professional service from local experts

 

Take road trip to the Shetland Islands

Take a journey through the Scottish Highlands and northern islands on these recommended self-drive tour packages. You do the driving, we handle all the accommodation booking, route planning and more.

Scotland
Self-drive

21 days / 20 nights

Apr - Oct

Ultimate Journey of Scotland

2962GBP

Eur

View map

21 days / 20 nights

Apr - Oct

Ultimate Journey of Scotland

2962GBP

Eur

Close map view

Local travel agency

As a local travel agency, Nordic Visitor knows how to make the most of your time in Scotland. We offer a variety of tours—both independent and guided—that include the must-see attractions as well as lesser-known highlights that are hand-picked by our own Scottish travel experts. To ensure a stress-free trip, we handle all the local details for you—accommodations, activities, rental car (for self-drive tours) and other services.
 
Oh, and all of our itineraries can be customised! So if you decide you want to spend more than the number of days specified in the packages or add some activities, for example, your personal Nordic Visitor travel consultant will be happy to make suggestions and modify your itinerary.

Different ways you can experience Scotland

We have tours for all varieties of travel styles and interests. See our options for exploring Scotland below.

WHY VISIT THE SHETLAND ISLANDS?

Go to Shetland to experience a place that’s ancient and wild. Of the roughly 100 islands that make up Shetland, only 15 are inhabited today. Yet Shetland has been inhabited as far back as Neolithic times – over 4000 years ago – and it has the evidence to prove it. Numerous archeological sites dot the islands, including the collective ruins of “The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland” that are tentative World Heritage Sites.

Later settlers also left an indelible mark on the islands. Shetland was under Viking rule from the 8th to the 15th centuries, which makes sense seeing as Shetland is actually closer to Norway than the Scottish mainland. Today you can still see traces of Old Norse in town names, cultural traditions and even the local dialect.

Just like its Nordic neighbours, Shetland offers an abundance of stunning scenery and wildlife experiences for visitors. Head to the rocky coastline for a glimpse of seals, otters and cliff-dwelling seabirds including Atlantic Puffins. Shetland is also home to the adorable Shetland Pony, which you can see grazing in pastures throughout the countryside.

If this all sounds good, read more about Shetland’s must-see attractions below.

WHICH ARE SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT THE SHETLAND ISLANDS?

For the must-see prehistoric and natural sites, here’s what our Scotland travel experts recommend to see in Shetland:

  • Lerwick: Capital of the Shetland Isles. Get to know this charming harbour town with visits to the Shetland Museum and Archives, the 17th-century Fort Charlotte, and the Shetland Textile Museum.
  • Northern Isles of Yell and Unst: The most northerly islands of Shetland, great for a day trip. On Unst, check out Britain’s most northerly castle, the 16th century Muness Castle, or head to the Hermaness National Nature Reserve on Unst to spot otters and seals. On Yell, visit the Iron Age settlements at Sellafirth and Da Birrier.
  • Jarlshof: Ancient settlement including remains of an Iron Age broch, Pictish wheelhouses, Norse dwellings, and a medieval farmstead.
  • Mousa Broch on Isle of Mousa: One of the best preserved Iron Age roundhouses, dating back to around 300 BC. Along with Jarlshof, is it part of the “Crucible of Iron Age Shetland” sites.
  • Sumburgh Head Nature Reserve: Check out its birds exhibition and famous lighthouse overlooking the cliffs. Great for spotting birds like puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars, as well as marine life like dolphins, harbour porpoises and killer whales.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SHETLAND?

The summer months in Scotland – June to August – are the most popular time to visit Shetland, when you can experience the best weather, hiking, wildlife encounters and availability of tourist attractions. Around late June you can even experience the “simmer dim”, the locals’ term for the nearly 24-hour daylight of midsummer.



Scotland’s winter months are not an ideal time for a road trip to Shetland – as some rural tourist attractions be off limits and the weather can make ferry trips a bit rocky – but Shetland in wintertime is still a unique experience. The Up Helly Aa festival, or “the Viking fire festival”, in January is a popular event and a great way to see Shetland’s Norse traditions in action.

WHAT IS THE BEST DRIVING ROUTE FOR A SHETLAND ISLANDS TOUR?

If you’re picking up your rental car in Edinburgh, start your journey up the east coast through Fife and Aberdeenshire. This route allows you to stop in the historic city of St Andrews and take in the old royal residences along the popular “Castle Trail”. From the city of Aberdeen, take an overnight ferry to the port town of Lerwick on the Shetland Mainland.

Instead of reversing the same route back to Edinburgh, why not do some more island-hopping? Take a ferry from Shetland to the Orkney Islands and spend a few days exploring the “Neolithic Heart of Orkney” World Heritage Sites. From Orkney, ferry back to the mainland and drive the stunning North Coast 500 route – aka "Scotland’s Route 66".

Then travel down from the northern Highlands, maybe with a detour to the Isle of Skye and further west to the Isles of Harris and Lewis. On the way back to Edinburgh, take in some of Scotland’s most famous sites, like Eilean Donan castle, Loch Ness and Trossachs National Park. Back in Edinburgh, enjoy city landmarks like the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle.

Nordic Visitor offers a wide range of tours in Scotland that can be customised to your liking, with extra nights, day tours and more added to your itinerary on request. We can also arrange privately guided tours for individuals and small groups.

 

— SHETLAND FACTS

Fun facts about Shetland Islands

  • The Shetland Pony was domesticated around 500 B.C.
  • Shetlanders call the Northern Lights “Mirrie Dancers”
  • Chilly? Pick up a Fair Isle knitted sweater, a top Shetland souvenir

 

Our Services

Whether you travel independently or with a guide in your Nordic Visitor package, you will receive personalised service from a designated travel consultant and high-quality travel documents. What's more, all self-drive clients receive a hand-marked map that outlines the driving route, overnights and highlights along the way. Travel with ease knowing that Nordic Visitor has close professional relationships with local service providers, which are carefully selected by our staff for their consistently high standards.

Book With Confidence

  • 97% of customers say they’d recommend us to friends.
  • Unexpected change of plans? You won’t lose your deposit.
  • We work closely with trusted, high-quality suppliers.
  • Enjoy personal service from Scotland travel experts.
  • Get peace of mind with a 24/7 helpline during your stay.
  • We’re here for you in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Contact us

Whatever your travel needs, we are here to help. If you have any questions about our Scotland travel packages or services, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our local phone is  is
+44(0)131-344-4630
Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM (GMT)

Or, you can reach us by e-mail.

What do our customers say?

The reviews speak for themselves. See what Nordic Visitor travellers said about their experience with us.

Timothy, United States

Grand Tour of Scotland, June 2018

Incredibly helpful

Annie was amazing! She put together a fantastic package. We visited Annie in Edinburgh before and after we traveled the country. She was incredibly helpful.

Suresh & Karolyn

North Coast 500 & Orkney, June 2018

The entire trip was exceptional

The entire trip was exceptional....hotels, breakfast meals were wonderful and the hotel dinners were great........ We were so pleased with our consultant Agne Dobrovolskyte, we called her and she answered our questions, and concerns Without hesitation.......overall a "Fabulous Trip"

Vanessa, Australia

Orkney & the Highlands, April 2018

Wonderful to be meet by wonderful friendly people.

Airport transfers were great arrival and departure were perfect. Both drivers were full of information and advise. Wonderful to be meet by wonderful friendly people. We had a hotel and a guest house among our accommodation much preferred the B & B experience. Host at B & B were very welcoming with lots of information on their area.

Mary, United States

The Outlander Trail, September 2018

I cannot say enough good things about Nordic Visitor

I cannot say enough good things about Nordic Visitor. Information given was thorough, accommodations were very comfortable (very friendly hosts) and tourist sights suggestions were incredibly helpful. Agne did a wonderful job! I highly would recommend her to anyone. If anyone has any doubts about booking with Nordic Visitor I would simply suggest reading the reviews...You'll find that the positive reviews are accurate!

 

Wilson, United States

Classic Scotland, June 2018

You guys are the best and truly have a good grasp of what you are doing

Please increase your reach to other destination sites! You guys are the best and truly have a good grasp of what you are doing. We would like to go world wide only with Nordic Visitor... though, I guess it wouldn't be called Nordic Visitor then! lol, but seriously, if would be great! :)

Suresh & Karolyn

North Coast 500 & Orkney, June 2018

The entire trip was exceptional

The entire trip was exceptional....hotels, breakfast meals were wonderful and the hotel dinners were great........ We were so pleased with our consultant Agne Dobrovolskyte, we called her and she answered our questions, and concerns Without hesitation.......overall a "Fabulous Trip"

Rodger, United States

Orkney & the Highlands, June 2018

Very good experience

Very good experience. Annie was very good at answering questions and getting everything we wanted. She did a great job.

Laura, United States

Complete Scotland, August 2018

We were very impressed!

AMAZING. We stayed in hotels we probably would not have booked on our own and the host were fabulous and told us that Annie was a pleasure to work with when booking our stay. All the hotels knew who we were and expected us. When our ferry got cancelled Annie made sure to call the hotel and notify us of a change of plans and gave us a very detailed route and got in contact with our next hotel to notify them that we would be late. We were very impressed!

Research Your Trip

Find out where to go, what to know, and more: read our Scotland travel guides.

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