The archipelago is part of Scotland and lies between the Orkneys, Norway and the Faroe Islands, taking up an area of 80 x 120 km. It is the northernmost part of Great Britain and lies between the 59th and the 61st latitude, just like southern Greenland or Bergen . Although the islands are regularly battered by rain and wind, the Gulf Stream ensures moderate temperatures with only slight fluctuations. The islands consist predominantly of slate, forming bizarre landscapes and coastal formations with breathtaking cliffs. Heather and gorse grow on the hills of the larger islands, which is a nice contrast to the gray-blue sea, the brown moors and the green, agricultural plains. The islands, especially the uninhabited ones, are havens for sea birds, rare otters and seals.
Culturally and historically the Shetlands are closer to Norway than to Britain. This is particularly evident on the last Tuesday in January, when the Midsummer Fire Festival is celebrated in Lerwick. In “Up Helly Aa” a replica of a Viking Ship is burned. The 24,000 islanders inhabit a total of 12 islands, more than half of them live on the main island of Bressay. Main source of income is sheep farming, which produces the still sought-after Shetland wool.
At the beginning of your stay on the Shetlands, it makes sense to visit the Shetland Museum in Lerwick. A special attraction is the Broch of Mousa. The prehistoric tower on the island of Mousa dates back to around 100 BC. At the southern tip of the main island lies the Jarlshof, probably the most remarkable archaeological site in the British Isles, the oldest foundations go back to the Bronze Age 2500 BC.
Those who are looking for sun, gourmet cuisine and luxurious accommodations during their holiday, should rather go somewhere else. But everyone who can delight in solitude, rugged wilderness and an archaisch nature, will fall in love with the archipelago at the outer edge of Europe.