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Expat Exchange - The Insider's Guide to Shetland Islands 2024
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The Insider's Guide to Shetland Islands

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Our Guide to Shetland Islands: Top Attractions, Culinary Hotspots, Nightlife, and More. Plus, Tips on Making Connections with the Locals and Finding Fun Recreational Activities

Welcome to Shetland Islands! If you're planning to move to Shetland Islands, congratulations on taking the first step towards a new adventure. While there are many things to think about before you leave, such as visas, housing, and transportation, it's important to remember that once you arrive, the fun really begins. In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the best sites, restaurants, and nightlife that Shetland Islands has to offer, as well as provide tips on recreational activities and making friends in Shetland Islands.

The Shetland Islands, located in the northernmost part of Scotland, offer a unique and fascinating experience for both tourists and locals. The islands boast a rich history, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant cultural scene. Some of the most popular sites of interest in the Shetland Islands include:

1. Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement: This archaeological site features remains from the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish era, and Viking era, providing a fascinating insight into the history of the Shetland Islands. Visitors can explore the well-preserved ruins and learn about the different cultures that inhabited the islands over the centuries.

2. Shetland Museum and Archives: This modern museum offers a comprehensive overview of the history, culture, and natural environment of the Shetland Islands. The museum features interactive exhibits, a boat hall, and an extensive archive, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the islands.

3. Sumburgh Head Lighthouse and Visitor Centre: Located at the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland, this lighthouse offers stunning views of the surrounding cliffs and sea. The visitor centre provides information on the history of the lighthouse and the local wildlife, including the famous puffins that nest on the cliffs during the summer months.

4. St. Ninian's Isle: Connected to the mainland by a tombolo (a sand and shingle causeway), this picturesque island is home to the ruins of a medieval church and offers beautiful coastal walks and wildlife spotting opportunities.

5. Scalloway Castle: Built in the 17th century, this impressive tower house is a testament to the power and influence of the Earl of Orkney and Shetland, Patrick Stewart. Visitors can explore the castle's well-preserved rooms and learn about its turbulent history.

6. Unst Heritage Centre: Located on the island of Unst, this small museum offers a fascinating insight into the island's history, including its role in the Shetland Bus operation during World War II. The centre also features exhibits on local crafts, such as lace knitting and straw-backed chairs.

The restaurant and nightlife scene in the Shetland Islands is relatively small but offers a range of options for visitors and locals alike. Some of the most popular restaurants and bars in the Shetland Islands include:

1. Fjara Café Bar: This stylish café and bar offers stunning sea views and a menu featuring local produce, such as Shetland lamb and seafood. The bar also hosts regular live music events, making it a popular spot for both dining and entertainment.

2. The String: Located in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, The String is a contemporary restaurant and bar offering a menu of locally sourced dishes and a wide selection of drinks, including local craft beers and whiskies. The venue also hosts regular live music and comedy nights.

3. Frankie's Fish & Chips: This award-winning fish and chip shop in Brae offers a traditional British seaside dining experience, with a menu featuring locally caught fish and seafood. The restaurant also offers takeaway options for those who prefer to enjoy their meal outdoors.

4. The Lounge Bar: A popular pub in Lerwick, The Lounge Bar offers a cosy atmosphere, a wide selection of drinks, and regular live music events. The pub also serves food, including traditional pub fare and locally sourced seafood dishes.

5. Da Haaf: Located in Scalloway, this seafood restaurant offers stunning views of the harbour and a menu featuring fresh, locally caught fish and shellfish. The restaurant is also home to a small art gallery, showcasing the work of local artists.

Recreational activities in the Shetland Islands are largely focused on the islands' natural beauty and wildlife. Some popular activities and locations for these activities include:

1. Wildlife watching: The Shetland Islands are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including seabirds, seals, otters, and even orcas. Popular locations for wildlife watching include Sumburgh Head, Noss National Nature Reserve, and Hermaness National Nature Reserve.

2. Walking and hiking: The islands offer a range of walking and hiking opportunities, from coastal paths to hill walks. Some popular routes include the St. Ninian's Isle walk, the Eshaness Cliffs walk, and the Ward of Bressay walk.

3. Sea kayaking: The Shetland Islands' rugged coastline and clear waters make them an ideal location for sea kayaking. Companies such as Sea Kayak Shetland offer guided tours and equipment hire for those looking to explore the islands from the water.

4. Boat trips: A variety of boat trips are available to explore the islands' coastline and wildlife, including trips to the island of Noss to see the seabird colonies and trips to the Mousa Broch, an Iron Age tower on the island of Mousa.

5. Fishing: The Shetland Islands offer excellent opportunities for both sea and freshwater fishing. Anglers can try their luck at catching trout and salmon in the islands' lochs or head out to sea to fish for cod, haddock, and mackerel.

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Insider Tips from Expats in Shetland Islands: Making the Most of Life and Connections

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Relocating abroad soon? Make your move with AGS! AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Our experience and expertise allows us to guarantee our clients the best quality moving services.

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Relocating abroad soon? Make your move with AGS! AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Our experience and expertise allows us to guarantee our clients the best quality moving services.
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Relocating abroad soon? Make your move with AGS! AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Our experience and expertise allows us to guarantee our clients the best quality moving services.

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Relocating abroad soon? Make your move with AGS! AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Our experience and expertise allows us to guarantee our clients the best quality moving services.
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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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