Rich culture on a remote Scottish island
At Azamara Club Cruises®, we’re all about exploring unrivalled destinations—so how about somewhere as far north as Anchorage or St. Petersburg, that’s still part of the United Kingdom? That’s the Shetland Islands. Secluded and seaswept, this archipelago of 100 small islands (only 16 of which are inhabited) is equally influenced by Scandinavian and Scottish culture. The people here are made of strong stuff, but they’re eager to share their cuisine and music, and the story of this remote, remarkable place.
Pulling in to port, you’d assume Lerwick is just like any other quaint British town, but there’s so much more to discover beyond the tall stone buildings and winding lanes. Listen closely and you’ll hear old Norse phrases spoken in Scottish brogue. Island hop and you’ll find some of the world’s best-preserved archaeological sites—including a 2,000 year-old round tower that’s almost completely intact.
As for the scenery? Stunning doesn’t even begin to cover it. To the north, pastoral farmland stretches to the edges of red granite cliffs that once formed an ancient volcano. Explore FurtherSM. On the southern islands, experience an inner calm you can only find when you leave the ordinary behind. Discover coves carpeted in wildflowers, where whispers of buried treasure echo along soft sand beaches.
Since the island was developed by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, sea life has been central to the cuisine and culture of the Shetland Islands. Common fish like haddock and halibut can be found, but challenge your palate with local specialties of lithe or the flatfish meagrim. Local lamb is a must-try. It’s got an exceptionally unique flavor due to a diet of salty grass and seaweed.
You’re sure to see Shetland ponies when you visit. These pint-sized, shaggy horses have become synonymous with the islands. If you’re keen to see wildlife, take a boat tour to Noss Nature Reserve. Home to colonies of countless seabirds nesting on rocky outcrops, it’s one of the most amazing places in Europe for birdwatching. Cast an eye to the sea and you might spot killer whales, porpoises, and otters.
Shetland Museum & Archives
Shetland Museum & Archives
5,000 years of human history are on display at this award-winning museum on historic Hay’s Dock. From early Pictish culture through to the modern era, discover immersive, interactive exhibits that give you a new perspective on fishing, crofting, textiles and knitwear, and more. For a hands-on experience, check out the boat-building workshop.
Featured Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland
Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland At a glance