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One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Netherlands
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One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Dear readers,

We are planning a trip to Shetland in summer.

Last summer we had to cancel our trip for sad reasons. But now we will try our luck again. First we will visit Shetland and after that we will travel for five days to Harris (we love it so much).

We will arrive on a tuesday. We've already read a lot and seen several videos on YouTube so we are in the mood.

But, we are in doubt. Should one week (from tuesday to tuesday) do or is it better to book another four days. We will stay in a selfcatering home just south of Lerwick.

Thank you for reading our email.

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

It's up to you. Do you have a lot of things you want to do?

A week would, I think, give you time to visit most of the sights, but if you want to spend more time at some places, then obviously more time would be better.

Netherlands
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2. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Hi Peterscot,

Thank you for your reply.

To be honest, I am a peron who cannot stay long at one place. Actually, this will be the very first time in 25 years that we stay in a selfcatering. Because of recovering of a serious illness we hope we will find some rest. We don't want to rush and that's why we are longing for a stay at Shetland.

The plan is:

Tuesday: Arrival and visit Lerwick and Sumburgh

Wednesday: Walking around in the area (Fladdabister) and Spiggie beach

Thursday: West Mainland

Friday: Eshaness

Saturday: Noss/Mousa

Sunday: A day off

Monday: Hermaness

Tuesday: Leaving

And now the dilemma.

Stay a few days longer and sit down for hours and try to spot otters.

Leave on friday or saturday instead of the tuesday?

Stanley, Falkland...
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3. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Sounds wonderful. I would fit in the otter watching sometime. You are sitting down a lot of the time, so it should be restful.

When at Spiggie, also see the tombolo nearby. (St Ninians Island?).

Unst is worth a visit if you like to see Bobby's bus shelter and breeding skuas, and Muckle Flugga! Easy ferry connections.

Netherlands
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4. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Thanks again for your fast reply.

Difficult to say, but do you recommend us to stay a bit longer and breath a bit longer the Shetland air or do the most visitors stay for a week?

Edinburgh, Scotland
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5. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Bare in mind that you may only be able to book full weeks at self-catering accommodation so it would have to be 1 week or 2 weeks and not 1 week and a few days. Self-catering owners often only rent by the week so they will only have to do change overs once a week.

Of course you could always stay a week in self-catering and then a few extra days in a hotel if you want to stay longer than a week but not the full 2 weeks.

Netherlands
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6. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Hi,

Thanks for your comment.

In this case, we can stay from tuesday till whatever we want.

So that makes it rather attractive but on the other hand difficult to choose.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

If you look at other Shetland posts on here there is someone from the tourist ofice who often posts. They would be able to answer the question about length of stay.

Normally, I would say - stay as long as possible. There is nowhere else like it.

Scotland
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8. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

There is plenty to occupy you in Shetland for longer than a week, especially if some of your time is devoted to walking. Something you might consider is spending a week at Fladdabister and then moving up to Unst for two or three nights. Unst itself has some very worthwhile things to see (Hermaness you mention, and there's some excellent walking on both the east and west sides, plus a very nice little boat museum, the world's only fully-furnished bus shelter and Britain's most northerly brewery, chocolatier, etc, etc).

However, from Unst you can also easily reach Fetlar (unusual bird life, including red-necked phalaropes, plus some nice walking and a very informative small interpretive centre) and Yell is also just a short ferry ride away; again, more nice walking, an art gallery and a good local museum centre. At the time of writing, ferries between Unst, Yell and Fetlar were completely free of charge, though you do have to pay to cross from the mainland to Yell - currently £17.50 return for two people and a car.

Looking at your itinerary, I'm not sure if you are thinking of Noss and Mousa as alternatives, but if you want to visit them both, you'd be best not to try doing them in one day. You could do a morning cruise around Noss with Seabirds and Seals, then go to Mousa in the afternoon, but if you actually want to land on Noss and walk up to the top of the cliffs (a very easy walk, but you need to allow 3 or 4 hours on the island) then you'd be pushing things a bit to fit that in on the same day.

Do be sure to fit in a visit to the Shetland Museum in Lerwick - unmissable!

Keep an eye on the Visit.Shetland.com website (note the dot in the middle); they have a good newsletter with up-to-date news and ideas.

Lerwick, United...
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9. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Hi from Shetland!

Very pleased to hear you are planning to visit this summer. You've had some good advice already and mine is simple - please stay for 2 weeks if you can. You mention you are recovering from serious illness - well, this is a great place for peace, quiet, clean air and wonderful places to visit. But Shetland is also alot bigger than some visitors realise, so please give yourself lots of time to enjoy it all. There is some lovely self-catering accommodation in Fladderbister and you may want more time there just to chill out there or visit some of the other local beaches in the south mainland as well as Spiggie (Scousburgh), theres St Ninians Isle, Levenwick, Quendale, West Voe to name a few - all a short drive from where you will be staying. Then theres the seabird colonies, wildlife to watch (whales and dolphins if your lucky). And theres always a chance of seeing otters - they are not uncommon, especially near the inter-island ferry terminals. Mousa is great for birds, seals and the historic Broch - and don't try Noss the same day, they deserve a day each! The boat trip around Noss is great and very informative, but actually landing on the island, walking around is a special experience too - do try it if you have time. As always (and I don't work for the tourist office!) I recommend you go to www.shetland.org for lots of information. Hope you have a great visit.

Edinburgh...
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10. Re: One or two weeks for a first visit to Shetland?

Another possibility might be to combine a week in Shetland with further time in Orkney. They may be geographically close, but they're very different places. Each has a history well worth exploring. If accommodation is difficult for part-week, maybe a week in Shetland followed by a few days in an Orkney Hotel?

You could hop from one to the other by ferry. But you may be flying both in and out from Shetland?

And, for the Harris part of your trip - you can take the ferry down the island chain to North and South Uist and see a fourth aspect of Island life.

I know I'm not really answering the question you asked, so feel free to ignore all this! It may involve too much travel for you to consider.

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