Getting around Shetland

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Journey Planner
  • Cycling between Asta and Scalloway, Mainland
    Cycling between Asta and Scalloway, Mainland
  • Cyclist on the B 9074 road beside Loch Asta near Scalloway, Mainland
    Cyclist beside Loch Asta, Mainland
  • An inter-island flight at Foula airstrip
    An inter-island flight at Foula airstrip
  • Ferry arriving into Out Skerries
    Ferry arriving into Out Skerries
  • An aerial view of the coastline on West Mainland from the window of a small aeroplane on a scheduled flight to Isle of Foula
    The coastline on West Mainland from the window of a small aeroplane on a scheduled flight to Isle of Foula, Shetland

Once in Shetland, you can easily explore the Mainland or explore the many beautiful islands – there is a wide variety of transport options available. Hop on a ferry, drive along the quiet roads, or if you haven’t brought your car, you can hire one or a bike once you arrive.

By land and sea

By road

With relatively low levels of traffic and good quality roads with plenty of signposting, driving or cycling around Shetland is simple, relaxing and fun. Shetland is part of the National Cycling Network and the North Sea Cycle Route passes through the islands. Make sure you pop into VisitScotland Information Centres as soon as you arrive to find out about hiring a taxi, car or bicycle, and pick up a map and leaflet for more detailed information.

You can find up-to-date traffic information from Traffic Scotland and plan your route with Transport Direct.

By bus

Once in Shetland, there are local bus services which can take you to different locations throughout the islands. In Lerwick, the bus station is less than a mile from the ferry terminal. For up-to-date timetable information, check Shetland's transport Zetrans sites. Bus timetables are also available from VisitScotland Information Centres.

By ferry

With so many islands worth visiting as part of a touring itinerary, it is often a pleasant surprise to visitors how simple it is to travel around Shetland. Drive-on, drive-off ferries operate between all of the larger inhabited islands, including Bressay, Whalsay, Yell and Unst, and are fast, frequent and relied upon by locals just as much as they are by visitors.

Booking is advisable, particularly at peak times. For further information on ferry times visit the Shetland Islands Council site.

By air

Within Shetland, there are inter-island flights with Directflight which take off from Tingwall, 7 miles west of Lerwick. These flights go to Shetland's more remote islands including Fair Isle, Foula, Papa Stour and Out Skerries. Information for all inter-island services is available from VisitScotland Information Centres.

Tours

A great way to make the most out of your time when exploring Shetland is to take tour. Why not have a look at the tour operators available in the area so you can experience this breathtaking part of Scotland with a knowledgeable guide?

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