Orkney and Shetland Islands: Places to Explore


  • Birsay

    Birsay itself is a small collection of houses, but some interesting historic and natural sites are nearby.... Read more

  • Brae

    A thriving community, Brae is where you can see the spoils of Shetland's oil money. The rugged moorland and tranquil voes (inlets) of Brae are the home of Busta House, one of the best hotels on the island... Read more

  • Kirkwall

    In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. The cathedral and some museums are highlights.... Read more

  • Lerwick

    Founded by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, Lerwick today is a busy town and administrative center. Handsome stone buildings—known as lodberries—line the harbor; they provided loading bays for goods... Read more

  • Scalloway

    On the west coast of Mainland Island is Scalloway, which preceded Lerwick as the capital of the region. During World War II Scalloway was the port for the "Shetland Bus," a secret fleet of boats that carried... Read more

  • Scapa Flow Visitor Centre

    On the beautiful island of Hoy, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre explores the strategic and dramatic role that this sheltered anchorage played in two world wars.... Read more

  • The South Mainland

    The narrow 3- or 4-mile-wide stretch of land that reaches south from Lerwick to Sumburgh Head has a number of fascinating ancient sites (and an airport) as well as farmland, wild landscapes, and dramatic... Read more

  • Stromness and the Neolithic Sites

    On the southwest of the Mainland, on the shore of Hamnavoe, is Stromness, a remarkably attractive fishing town seemingly so unsullied by modernity that it evokes an uncomplicated way of life long gone... Read more

  • Unst

    Unst is the northernmost inhabited island in Scotland, a remote and special place, especially for nature lovers. On a long summer evening, views north to Muckle Flugga, with only the ocean beyond, are... Read more

  • Weisdale

    This tiny place is less a village than a group of houses, but it does have a worthwhile gallery.... Read more

  • Yell

    A desolate-looking blanket bog cloaks two-thirds of the island of Yell, creating an atmospheric landscape to pass through on the way to Unst to the north.... Read more