Introducing Shetland Islands
The rugged and remote Shetland Islands – a collection of mighty, wind-ravaged clumps of brown and green earth rising from the frigid waters of the North Sea – are Scotland’s northerly outpost and feel miles away from anywhere. Mainland is the biggest island with over 100 windswept and virtually treeless islands making up the archipelago. Far more desolate and cut off than Orkney, the light here is even more changeable than on mainland Scotland. Different parts of the island are variously illuminated at any given hour – the window for that perfect photo can be short. The setting is still uniquely Scottish, though, with deep, naked glens flanked by steep hills, twinkling, sky-blue lochs and, of course, sheep with no comprehension of the ‘right of way’ on roads.
The islands’ far-flung location is belied by the activity and charisma of the capital, Lerwick, causing you to forget the 60-plus oceanic miles between you and the mainland. But once you’re outside the humming capital, the isolation sweeps you off your feet – frequent thundering gales thrash across the raw landscape and mother nature whips up the wild Atlantic into white-cap frenzies that smash into imposing coastal cliffs.
Lonely Planet's top 10 regions for 2011
The lists are out and the crowns have been placed on the heads of our favourite upcoming cities, countries and regions. So, where will you be heading in 2011? Check out these regional recommendations taken from Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011. 1.
Shetland Islands destination guides
Shetland shines as 2011's Best in Travel
The Shetland Islands have been listed as one of the top regions in the world to visit next year in our new book, Best in Travel 2011. The book singles out the 'last untamed corner of the UK' for special praise, advising 'adventurous travellers to step this way'.
Cruise along the wild coastlines and hidden lochs of the Scottish Isles
Take part in a mystical North Atlantic journey and explore the various medieval towns of the Norwegian coast before heading north to the island of Spitsbergen. This is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ply the Norwegian Sea, keeping your eyes open for unique wildlife while searching for the elusive polar bear.