Shetland is an absolutely stunning part of Scotland, or rather the world for that matter. A Shetland holiday comes at the cost of going somewhere extremely remote, however, the remoteness is precisely what makes a Shetland holiday the finest! Being unprepared for Shetland can ruin your trip, so we’ve come up with nine tips for your Shetland Holiday.
1) YOUR SHETLAND HOLIDAY SHOULD BE AT LEAST ONE WEEK
Shetland may be a small cluster of islands, but man is there so much to see! To really take in all the history, culture, and amazing sites in Shetland, your holiday should be at least one week! We were in Shetland for six weeks exploring every weekend break, and we still didn’t see it all. With loads of walks, birdwatching on all the islands, and the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, you really need 7 days to soak it all in!
2) RENT A CAR IN ADVANCE OR BRING YOUR OWN CAR
The last thing you want to happen on your Shetland holiday is getting to the islands and not having a car! To ensure you have a car to explore Shetland, either bring your own (read about ferrying your car here) or arrange a car hire before you arrive (find out all the possible car hire options here).
3) FILL UP YOUR PETROL TANK
If you’re bringing your car up to Shetland, be sure to fill up your gas tank before you board the ferry in Aberdeen. Gas is about 20 pence more per litre up here, and depending on how long your holiday is, you probably won’t have to fill up while being in Shetland. Save yourself some cash, and fill up while still in mainland Scotland!
4) GO TO A SUNDAY TEA
One of our absolute favorite parts of Shetland we sadly found the last week of our visit. Don’t let this happen to you! If you take anything away from this post, let it be this one. Go to a Sunday Tea. Sunday tea happens in community centers throughout the island. They’re a chance to mingle with the locals and get an idea of what island life is all about. You either pay a £3-4 entrance fee and get all the tea/coffee/treats you want, or you pay for what you eat… around 50 pence per sweet/pastry. The baked goods are made from the locals, and sometimes there’s raffles, car boot sales, or craft markets at the teas as well. This link here will show you all the local events including Sunday Teas that are going on during your Shetland Holiday.
5) ALWAYS CARRY FOOD ON YOU
This may be the second most important thing you take away from this post. Some parts of the island have stores like the co-op or Tesco, while most of the island have small markets or gas station shops. These small convenient stores aren’t always open, are typically closed on Sundays, and really have just the strangest hours! Always, always, always have some food on you. It’s not fun being stuck on a small island with nothing to eat!
6) BE READY FOR LOTS OF OUT AND BACKS
A Shetland holiday consists of loads and loads of out and backs. You know, when you drive down a road and have to drive back the same road to get somewhere else?! You’re going to be retracing your steps a lot to get out to the cliffs and gorgeous walks. Don’t let this deter you from driving down each and every road! You’ll typically find something worth seeing, and having to come back on the same road just means you get another view of all the beauty around you!
7) BRING EXTRA CLOTHES AND HIKING BOOTS
The locals here in Shetland believe “the weather’s never bad, you’re just not dressed for it”. And man, do you need to take on that local belief! If you let a bit of rain or clouds ruin your day you’re most likely not going to enjoy half of your holiday. Just be prepared for some wet weather. Bring extra clothes with you as the weather is always changing, and definitely pack some waterproof hiking boots! You’ll be glad you did when you’re out walking through wet heather or muddy sheep trails!
8) CELL SERVICE IS LIMITED
Locals have got to have more cell service than we did throughout the island. We use the cell phone carrier 3, and literally only had service in Lerwick. Although we hope you have more service than us, be prepared to not! Research different walks in Shetland and where you want to explore before hitting the road. We suggest getting this free offline trusty map app. It allows you to use a map without service, and you can even make pins on the map of the different things you want to see. Before you leave, research different walks and archeological sites you want to visit throughout Shetland, and then pin them with your personal notes for future use!
9) BE PREPARED FOR EXTREMELY FRIENDLY PEOPLE
Shetland folk are extremely nice and genuinely interested in ensuring your Shetland holiday is the best. If you ever get lost, want some local advice, or have any questions about what you should see and do, just pop in a community center, visitor center, or really any public building and we guarantee someone will be willing to help you out!
Take in the relax island life, dive into the culture, and really sit back and enjoy the beauty of Shetland. We hope these nine tips make your Shetland Holiday the very best! If you have any questions about Shetland or want some tips on things to do and see on the island, shoot us an email at email@example.com or comment below! We’re happy to help you make the most of your Shetland holiday!