Scotland travel update | New tours of the UK!

Menu
sumburg head shetland

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.

view tours

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.

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 tailored 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

What do our customers say?

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

Sharon, United States
Wonders of Scotland, September 2023

Highly recommend Nordic Visitor

This is our second tour with Nordic Visitor. Agents used before the tour were always very prompt with responses to our questions. During the tour, we found the accommodation perfect, guide very informative and friendly, and the driver got used to where we needed to go without any problems. We would definitely use Nordic Visitor again!

Alan, United States
Highlights of Scotland, May 2023

Smooth experience

Throughout the years we have travelled a lot, but never with a group tour. This trip was our first time and it did not disappoint. The tour guide, the bus driver, our fellow passengers, the weather, accommodation, variety of activities, and how smoothly everything went makes me question why we never toured like this before!

David, United States
Scottish Highlands & Isle of Skye, September 2023

An unforgettable holiday

It was an unforgettable holiday. They took care of everything, and we got to wonder and explore with little hassle. If you want to visit Scotland (or anywhere else Nordic Visitor has tours) they are the way to do it. Already talking about our next adventure with Nordic Visitor.

Carol, United States
Scottish Highlands & Isle of Skye - Private, May 2023

An indescribably fantastic experience!

We are two middle-aged women who had never been to the UK before. My sister-in-law always wanted to go to Scotland, so I started researching and came upon Nordic Visitor through internet searches. I checked for reviews and found the company to be highly recommended. I started corresponding with Kirsten. She was extremely kind, very helpful and was able to put my nervous mind at ease. The package she put together for us was perfect! From my first email, the airport pick up and drop off service, and the tour with Dave, it was an indescribably fantastic experience!

Andrew, United States
Classic Scotland, June 2023

Top notch

The tour package materials were top notch. Spiral bound itinerary, recommended activities, restaurant recommendations and the large-scale road map of Scotland were a nice touch. Magdalena, our Nordic Visitor representative, responded promptly to our questions. Accomodation was all great.

Bethany, United States
Classic Scotland, May 2023

Perfect vacation!

For our 50th wedding anniversary, we trusted Nordic Visitor to make our vacation a memorable one, and they made it beyond special. Chris, our tour planner, did everything to accommodate our needs and answered our questions quickly. It was an absolutely perfect vacation!

Barbara, United States
Best of Edinburgh - Loch Ness & Highlands, June 2023

We were in good hands

As first-time visitors to Edinburgh, and senior citizens, our choice to use Nordic Visitor was an excellent one. The welcome package we received at the hotel was really helpful, with our tour vouchers, maps and restaurant recommendations. We would not have known what hotel to select and the one selected for us was perfect. The choice of tours offered was perfect for a 5-day visit. So glad to learn about the Royal Mile and visit the castle. The trip through the Highlands and Loch Ness was beautiful. Our travel agent, Rebecca, always quickly responded to email questions prior to departure. Thank you! Nordic Visitor made our trip easy and rewarding. We were in good hands.

Noreen, United States
Complete Scotland & Ireland, April 2023

Highly professional service

Nordic Visitor is a highly professional tour company. From beginning to end, we have no complaints. Our travel consultant, Chris, was very quick to answer all our questions from start to finish. Could not be more pleased.

Research Your Trip

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

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

  • Protect your money & plans with our flexible booking terms  .
  • 97% of customers say they’d recommend us to friends.
  • 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

Whether you’re looking to add a night in Edinburgh, want restaurant recommendations or have questions about your tour, we’re happy to help so get in touch with our friendly team to answer any of your travel queries.

Call

Our Scottish phone number is
+44 (0)131 344 4630

Chat

How about a live chat with one of our local travel experts?

We are here to help

Whether you have a single question or a special request, we're here for you.

here to help