Step away from the frantic rhythms of everyday life, slow down, take a breath and discover your authentic self in Shetland this winter. A place where the air is so fresh you can truly exhale, and the coastline so wild you can truly feel free. Make time for you with a winter break in Shetland.

Experience the wild winter beauty of Shetland

Catch the Mirrie Dancers

Witness the phenomenon that is the Mirrie Dancers, or as they're more commonly known, the Northern Lights. These spectral curtains of green and sometimes pink, orange and purple set clear skies alight and truly are a sight to behold. This enigmatic symphony is one of the many delights of a Shetland winter, but you shouldn’t travel here specifically to see them – they’re too elusive for that – but it’s worth bringing a tripod with you just in case.

UK’s most northerly live video stream

Enjoy the livestream from Unst, “the island above all others”. The camera in Burrafirth will capture everything from spectacular winter weather to dark skies and the magnificent aurora borealis. Keep checking back to enjoy the latest scenes from the UK’s most northerly isle.

Discover more about the Northern Lights

Shetland is a walking destination all year round and below we've selected some of the best routes to explore in winter, where we hope the ground won't be too soggy underfoot and there's plenty of solid terrain to tramp on.

The weather can change at the drop of a hat and the sun sets early in the day, so if you are getting out and about, make sure you're prepared for all eventualities. Read our guidance for walkers in Shetland blog before you set off.

Try one of these spectacular winter routes

More winter walking inspiration

What Shetlanders love about winter

  • Even though our winters can be wild, stormy and dark, I love being tucked up inside listening to the weather lashing around the outside of the house, and take joy in the comfort and warmth of the home. Taking a winter walk is always a bracing experience too – getting buffeted by the wind and rain can be seriously invigorating, it truly makes you feel alive!

    Jon PulleyTour guide and owner of Adventure Shetland
  • Winter has its challenges, but as a reward we get to enjoy Mirrie Dancers, the most stunning golden hours, dramatic wave watching and of course winter brings reestit mutton and tattie soup season!

    LeahSocial media influencer Shetland Islands With Leah
  • My favourite time of the year in Shetland is most likely winter as I love dramatic landscapes. I enjoy being out watching the coast on a wild day and then coming home and getting warm. I know the days are short but when the sun does appear the quality of light is generally fantastic.

    Calum Toogood
    Calum Toogood
    Photographer
  • I love the cold wind here in winter time, it makes you feel alive when you're out working in a gale, all wrapped up in my knitwear. The sheep all look so fluffy and cute in wintertime and having a croft makes you go out every day to feed them and I love that.

  • Winter can be very dramatic, and, during a storm, the waves crashing up the rock face of Bluemull is truly awesome. One of my all-time favourite days was walking to Breckon on Christmas Day, maybe ten years ago, with thick snow lying, the sun shining, and the whole of Shetland just glistening. Ours were the only footprints on the whole beach. Bliss!

    Shona Skinner
    Shona Skinner
    Artist and owner of the Shetland Gallery

    Explore Shetland

    Visiting Shetland in winter is for those who like to get off the beaten track and do something different. The days are short and a lot of the tourist attractions are closed for the season but what you gain are fewer tourists, unspoilt landscapes, dramatic weather and, if you're lucky, a chance to see the awesome Northern Lights. Winter is a great time for wildlife too, particularly otter and whale spotting. It can also be pretty romantic, particularly when you can snug up by a warm fire after an invigorating day outdoors.

    Be inspired by Shetland this winter

    Plan your trip

    Inspired to book a winter escape to Shetland? We've got all the information you need to make your dream a reality. Follow the links below to find out how to get here, where to find available accommodation, places to eat and things to do.

    Be inspired by others to explore Shetland

    Share your favourite pics using #inspiredbyshetland and #visitshetland