Holiday rentals in Shetland Islands

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Popular amenities for Shetland Islands holiday rentals

Your guide to Shetland Islands

Welcome to the Shetland Islands

Around 560 square miles in size, the Shetland Islands sit slightly closer to Scotland than to Norway, though you’ll spot traces of both Scottish and Scandinavian influences on the region and its people. The Shetlands are truly unique, perfect for adventure seekers and imperative for nature lovers. There are around 100 islands in this archipelago, with about 20 of them inhabited (by humans—there’s outstanding wildlife everywhere). The Shetlands feature some of the finest landscapes in the United Kingdom, with rugged coastlines, sweeping lush hills, and wonderful beaches. The main island of Mainland is home to the capital Lerwick, a grand 17th-century town that’s teeming with history, including the Shetland Museum. Across the bay from Lerwick are the isles of Bressay and Noss, a nature reserve where you’ll find puffins and guillemots. If you travel north from the capital you’ll reach Ronas Hill, the highest point on the islands, which features awe-inspiring views.

The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Shetland Islands

It says something about the personality of Shetlanders that their big annual festival is held in January each year. But with the winters particularly long, dark, and stormy here, the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival is designed to provide some much-needed cheer and heat. The winter months also provide your best time to see the Northern Lights. This far north, the summer months are never quite dark, and the perpetual overnight twilight is something to be experienced. The archipelago-wide folk festival takes place in April and May, followed by the Folk Frenzy festival in July. From a wildlife perspective, seals have their pups in November, while orcas and porpoises have been known to swim by during the summer.

Top things to do in Shetland Islands

Noss National Nature Reserve

As it’s a relatively short hop from Lerwick, Noss is the perfect spot to start your nature-loving Shetlands visit. This island is considered one of the finest wildlife sites in Europe. The cliffs are home to a variety of seabirds, including puffins, gannets, and kittiwakes. There are several walking trails and a visitor centre with history and information about the island.

Unst Heritage Centre

Unst is one of the most northerly spots in these most northerly of islands, and it really does feel like the end of the earth. It’s a spectacular place, one of the richest Viking heritage sites in Europe. The Unst Heritage Centre provides a fascinating insight into life in the area and a great place to start your exploration of this fascinating location. Plus the quirkily furnished and decorated Unst Bus Shelter is considered the finest in the United Kingdom!

Sands of Meal

There are so many wonderful beaches around Shetland, it’s difficult to just pick one. But Meal Beach, on the island of West Burra, is one that the locals favour. Beautiful white sands meet turquoise waters with dunes providing some protection from the wind. It’s the perfect place to just stroll on the sand and relax or enjoy a barbecue on the beach followed by a quick brisk paddle.

Destinations to explore