Moving to an island location may seem daunting but travel to Shetland is straightforward and extremely accessible. You have two options from the UK mainland: ferry or flight, and there are discounts for residents.

Ferry travel to Shetland

The ferry from Aberdeen or Kirkwall to Shetland is the most practical route if you are travelling with your family and belongings. It takes 12-13 hours and you can relax in the comfort of a cabin, available in two-berth, four-berth or single occupancy, or book a sleeping pod or reclining seat. There are purpose-built cabins for those with restricted mobility.

On board facilities include a restaurant, bar, children’s playroom and cinema. You can take your own car or motorhome and there are dog-friendly cabins and kennels on board for dogs.

Ferries depart all year round, seven nights a week in both directions on the Aberdeen-Lerwick route, with three calls a week at Kirkwall, Orkney, en route.

For full details, prices and booking visit the Northlink Ferries website.

Fly to Shetland

Flying is the quickest way to get to Shetland. There are several flights per day, to and from the major Scottish airports, and regular summer flights from Bergen. Flights to Sumburgh Airport in Shetland’s South Mainland are operated by the Scottish airline, Loganair. Hold baggage and on-board refreshments are included in your ticket price.

For the latest flight times, prices and details how to book, visit the Loganair website.

Islander travel discounts


Residents of Shetland receive a discount on standard NorthLink Ferries fares when using an Islander ID to book. To qualify, you must be over 16 and be a full-time resident in Shetland. Register online at the NorthLink website.

Shetland residents can also nominate family and friends who live outside Shetland to receive 30% off their NorthLink fares. To apply, visit the Family & Friends Discount page on the NorthLink website.


Anyone who is over 16 and a full-time resident in Shetland can apply for the Air Discount Scheme, which is a Scottish government initiative to make services more affordable for people living in the Highlands and Islands. You will get a 50% discount on the core air fare, excluding taxes, on eligible routes. To apply, visit the Air Discount Scheme website.

Transporting your belongings to Shetland

If you need to transport your furniture and belongings, the following freight haulage companies provide services to Shetland…

Shetland Transport offer reliable and efficient freight and shipping services throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond. It has depots in Shetland, Aberdeen and Glasgow. Visit the website for more information, or call +44 (0)1595 695792.

Streamline Shipping offer freight and shipping services and has depots in Glasgow and Aberdeen, where goods can be dropped off before being transported to Shetland. Visit the website for more information, or call +44 (0)1224 211506.

Ian Reid Removals is a Shetland-based, family-run business that specialise in home removals to and from the islands. The business covers the UK and beyond. Visit the website for more information, or call +44 (0) 1957 711474.

For more advice on the logistics of moving to Shetland, see our Living and Working in Shetland Facebook group. You can search the thread for lots of first-hand moving experiences and ask any questions you might have.