The Orkney Islands are the more southerly of the two island groups, being just off the Scottish coast. There are about 70 islands, of which about 20 are inhabited. They have many prehistoric sites, as well as Viking remains
North of the Orkney Islands, there are around 100 islands, of which 15 are inhabited. Magnificent unspoilt scenery and its people are more Scandinavian than Scottish
Lerwick, the capital is the most northerly town in Britain. For centuries its economy was tied to fishing, but in the last quarter of the 20th century servicing the North Sea oil and gas fields has dominated the economy. There are the remains of an Iron Age tower, Clickhimin Broch, once 40 feet high, on the outskirts of the town
Jarlshof - an impressive archaeological site. The village grew in various phases, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Viking with a 17th century laird adding his house too.
Mousa - off the south coast of the main island, it is amazingly an almost complete Iron Age fort at around its original height of 40 feet and with the internal chambers complete
St Ninians Isle - another island off the main island, a church dating from the 6th century when Christianity first came to Shetland. Excavations unearthed 9th century jewels that appear to have been hidden to prevent Viking raiders removing them
Scalloway Castle - built in 1600 by Earl Patrick Stewart, when the Earl forcibly introduced Scottish feudal law to replace the existing Viking laws. He was hanged in Edinburgh in 1615. The castle was briefly garrisoned by Cromwellian soldiers, but then fell into ruin.
Unst - the most northerly of all the British Isles. Beautiful, wild and wind swept in winter.