Island hopping in Shetland

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  • An inter-island flight at Foula airstrip
    An inter-island flight at Foula airstrip
  • The natural arch of the Gaada Stack at Da Ristie, Foula
    The Gaada Stack at Da Ristie, Foula
  • North Lighthouse, Fair Isle
    North Lighthouse, Fair Isle
  • Ferry arriving into Out Skerries
    Ferry arriving into Out Skerries
  • Sands of Breckon, Yell
    Sands of Breckon, Yell

With dramatic terrain, miles of unspoilt coastline and first-class facilities, Shetland is the perfect place to go island hopping. With good ferry links, there are plenty great opportunities to explore the region’s coast and discover the award-winning beaches, coastal paths, and more.

Shetland's islands boast a varied and spectacular landscape of over one hundred islands with scenery from heather-clad hills and fertile farmland to a 900 mile long rugged coastline boasting secluded sandy beaches, sea caves, rocky inlets and towering cliffs.

Whatever island you choose, getting there and around is straightforward, while the journey is often as memorable as the destination itself. Roll-on, roll-off ferries operate between all of the larger inhabited islands, including Bressay and Whalsay to name just a few, and are fast, frequent and reliable.

As the main port and capital of Shetland, Lerwick is the vibrant cultural and commercial heart of this remote, though easily accessible, cluster if islands. As well as number of great events held here and fantastic shopping experiences, Lerwick offers a great range of historic sites and arts and culture to explore.

However, should you find yourself wanting to escape the city life, hop on the ferry and visit some of the smaller islands.

If you’re here for some nature, visit the Isle of Yell which not only has some of the best beaches in UK, such as the award-winning West Sandwick and Sands of Breckon, but the island’s coastline is also teeming with wildlife including land and marine creatures.

Unst is Britain’s most northerly inhabited island, and it can be reached by a 10 minute ferry crossing from the neighbouring island of Yell. Explore its varied landscape with two National Nature Reserves - Hermaness and Keen of Hamar which are home to the highest number of rural Viking longhouses remnants in the world.

Did you know that Shetland also offers inter-island flights to some of the region’s more remote islands including Fair Isle, Foula, Papa Stour and Out Skerries?

Foula Island, for example, is a great place if you’re looking to completely reunite with nature. Often referred to as the most isolated community in Britain, Foula Island is home to some of the tallest cliffs in the country making is a great environment for outdoor activities. Challenge yourself with climbing some of the peaks, including Da Noup, Hamnafield and Da Sneug.