In 2019 Lonely Planet, one of the world's most renowned travel publishers, named the Shetland Islands north of the 60th parallel as one of the ten best travel destinations in Europe. More than 100 islands stretch over 1.466 square kilometers between Scotland and Norway. Two thirds of the area is on Shetland's main island Mainland.
Interesting facts about the Shetland Islands
The Shetlands are 190 kilometers as the crow flies northeast of Scotland, and 360 kilometers west of Bergen in Norway. Currently, 23.000 people live on the fifteen inhabited islands of the archipelago. A good third of the population lives in Lerwick, the capital and administrative center of the archipelago.
The port of Lerwick / Shetlands
Shetland residents pride themselves on their Viking heritage; people have lived on the islands for more than 6.000 years. The archipelago has been linked to Scotland since the 15th century.
Lerwick - Clickimin Broch - Bronze Age building
Shetlands - Economy and Transport
The most famous export goods from the region are ponies and wool. Economically more important, however, are oil and gas. Since the discovery of the oil and gas fields of Ninian and Brent between the Shetlands and Norway, the raw materials extracted there have been processed and loaded in Europe's largest oil terminal in Sullom Voe Bay on Mainland. Another important area is the fishing industry. Salmon farms regularly provide replenishment on Europe's plates. Individual tourism is becoming increasingly important. It provides landlords and fishermen with an additional income.
How to get there? Night ferries operate between Lerwick and Aberdeen in Scotland. The archipelago has four airports. Tingwall Airport connects Lerwick with the rest of the world.
Lerwick - Commercial Street in front of Lodberrie
Shetland's climate and fauna
Shetland's climate is temperate: mild winters and crisp summers are the norm. It is always damp. One meter of precipitation per year, combined with storms and fog, affect the life of the islanders. The result of the precipitation is green landscapes as far as the eye can see.
Mainlands landscape - rocks and green land
The Gulf Stream creates the best climatic conditions for the biodiversity of the animal world. Countless sea otters, seals, porpoises and whales live in the sea off the islands. The number of sea birds is difficult to quantify. It is said that the rocky coasts are home to more than 50.000 gannets and 200.000 puffins, as well as other bird species. They are located on 2.700 kilometers of coastline and 138 sandy beaches. Fishermen offer tours to the breeding colonies of seabirds.
Bird rocks with residents
Shetland culture - yesterday and today
The Shetlands have a long cultural heritage. Regional poetry and prose are available in both English and the widely spoken regional dialect influenced by Norwegian.
The Shetland Folk Festival and the annual Up Helly Aa Viking Festival are known beyond the borders. And there is even a BBC TV series set in Lerwick. This is the exciting crime series with Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez.
Cruise ship Brilliance of the Seas in Bressay Sound
The Shetland Islands and the cruise ships
Lerwick is an interesting cruise destination because of its unique landscape. In 2019, almost 80 small and large cruise ships called Lerwick's port. The shipping companies offer interesting excursion programs on the Mainland. Under Lerwick sightseeing and A day in Lerwick and the Shetlands let's describe the highlights of the island's capital Lerwick.
Update July 2020