Just 25 minutes from Kirkwall by boat, Shapinsay is a fertile and green land which is also home to the most northerly castle hotel in the world. Admire the turrets of this Victorian structure as you take a stroll, or head to the Mill Dam to see little grebes and whooper swans at the RSPB reserve.
Further north than the southern tip of Norway, but with a mild climate, North Ronaldsay is the furthest flung of the Orkney isles. Old traditions are still very evident here and you can discover a wealth of flora and fauna, from mammals and birds to beautiful wild flowers.
It is easy to get around on Westray and you can explore the whole isle in one day - either by bike, car or organised tour - although there is enough to see and do to warrant a longer stay. This was one of the earliest parts of Orkney to be settled by Vikings and the historical highlights include both Neolithic and Norse settlements.
Generations of settlers have been attracted to the peaceful calm of Papa Westray, which may be due to its small size. From the dramatic cliffs to the rolling agricultural land, the scenery is varied. Visit Holland Farm and the bothy museum for a fascinating insight into the history of this isle.
Rousay boasts some of the best preserved monuments in Scotland, earning a reputation as the ‘Egypt of the North’. The distinctive hilly scenery on the isle was carved out when glaciers spread across the land.
Egilsay houses a round-towered church in memory of St Magnus, on Wyre you can see a Viking chieftain’s stronghold and Eynhallow was once a holy isle with evidence of a 12th century monastic settlement.
Three large bays and several sweeping beaches define the character and shape of Stronsay. Whitehall village was formerly one of the busiest ports in Britain where herring boats landed their catch. Today you can glimpse this history with a visit to the heritage centre based at the old Fish Mart.
The largest of the Outer Isles, Sanday is perfect for wandering the beaches or fishing in the lochs, with an abundance of wildlife to discover as you explore.
Eday is a surprisingly hilly isle with beautiful panoramic views and farms and crofts adorning the coastal strip. The Setter Stone is an interesting landmark and Neolithic monument, standing out against the landscape. Points of interest include well-preserved chambered tombs and Iron Age houses.
With excellent ferry links and captivating discoveries around every corner, island hopping is an enjoyable and accessible way to discover all that Orkney's islands have to offer.