There's lots to explore during the summer in Shetland, particularly as the days are so long and the evenings so short. From amazing coastal scenery, action packed days out enjoying activities like kayaking and sea fishing, and the chance to see incredible wildlife – there's no shortage of things to see and do.

Experience 'da simmer dim'

At the height of mid-summer the sun never truly sets in Shetland. Instead, when it does briefly dip there is a magical glow known locally as 'da simmer dim'. It's a milky light that quietly makes the landscape sheen until the sun rises to beckon in a new day. Shetlanders love this time of year as the days extend long after the working day, making plenty of time to enjoy outdoor pursuits like walking, cycling, fishing and kayaking. Discover more about what 'da simmer dim' means to islanders in this blog.

Wonderful wildlife

Every summer Shetland welcomes around a million seabirds which return to the islands to nest on the cliffs and beaches. Perhaps the most iconic summer visitor is the characterful puffin – their colourful beaks and curious nature make the birds a popular attraction from Fair Isle to Unst.

The islands are also home to many other incredible species. Otters live in the voes and inlets around the islands and can be seen year round. There are several wildlife guides who specialise in otter spotting, giving you the best chance of witnessing one of these incredible animals.

If you are lucky, you may also spot whales and other marine mammals in the waters around Shetland. Orcas regularly pass the islands during the summer months, feeding on the seals which are common around the shoreline. There are occasionally sightings of humpback whales, Risso's dolphins and pilot whales, with wildlife watchers often alerted to sightings via social media.

Plan your wildlife watching adventures with our guide to spotting sea life.

Each summer I make my way to Sumburgh Head. I love to watch and listen to the seabirds here, it is such a dramatic but accessible site ... the outline of the island of Fair Isle on the horizon is always captivating, as are the puffins that nest in burrows very close to the visitor centre.

Local nature writer Sally Huband

Sumburgh Head Cliff Cam

At the southern tip of Shetland Mainland, the cliffs at Sumburgh Head come alive in the summer, with thousands of seabirds returning to nest there. Enjoy the livestream from Sumburgh which will give you the chance to see puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes, guillemots and fulmars.

Top tips for spotting wildlife in Shetland

Summer activities to inspire

Shetland is a paradise for walkers and with 1,670 miles of coastline there is no way you'll run out of new places to discover. There are also many heathery hills, inland lochs, world-class archaelogical remains and outstanding geological sites to explore.

Even in the summer the weather can change rapidly in Shetland, so remember to layer up and take good waterproofs with you. Our guidance for walkers in Shetland blog post includes lots of useful advice.

Walking routes to see the best of Shetland

More things to explore in summer