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Getting around is quite straightforward—the roads are good on both Shetland and Orkney. A fast and frequent interisland passenger- and car ferry service makes island-hopping perfectly practical.
If You Have 1 Day
From Inverness take a day trip to Orkney—though it will be a long one—via the bus and ferry. Start by visiting the historic sites in Kirkwall, then visit Skara Brae and Skaill House, Maes Howe, and the Ring of Brodgar.
If You Have 5 Days
Get a good taste of Orkney by taking in the main sights—St. Magnus Cathedral, Earl Patrick's Palace, and the Bishop's Palace in Kirkwall —then go south, across the Barricades to the Italian Chapel. Take a full day to see Stromness, including its cornucopia of a museum, Skara Brae and Skaill House, Maes Howe, and the Ring of Brodgar. You could also see a bit of Shetland in this length of time. Don't miss Mousa Broch, the Shetland Croft House Museum, Old Scatness, Jarlshof and Sumburgh Head, and St. Ninian's Isle. Stay overnight in Lerwick and make a quick exploration of Lerwick itself, not missing the Shetland Museum and then travel north to Eshaness to get a flavor of the north of Mainland. If you have enough time on your fifth day, you might visit the Scalloway and the Bonhoga Gallery in Wesidale or take a boat trip to the Noss National Nature Reserve.
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