Can you find a holiday rental in the Shetland Islands offering Viking festival access?

As you plan your next holiday, the Shetland Islands might not immediately spring to mind. Yet, these beautiful islands situated in the North Sea off the mainland of Scotland offer a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history and vibrant cultural experiences. A standout attraction is the annual Viking Festival. But can you find holiday rentals that offer access to this extraordinary event? Let's explore.

Discerning the Shetland Islands

Before delving into the search for suitable rentals, let's take a moment to appreciate the Shetland Islands. This archipelago in Scotland is composed of about 100 islands, only 15 of which are inhabited. The islands offer a unique blend of Scottish and Norse heritage, evident in the local dialect, architecture, and traditions.

The mainland, also known as Mainland, is the largest island and home to Lerwick, the capital. With its charming old town, bustling harbour and vibrant local markets, Lerwick is a delightful base for your island exploration.

The Shetland Islands experience moderate weather with an average high of 15°C in the summer and 5°C in winter. These islands are surrounded by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, contributing to its cool and damp climate.

Exploring the Viking Festival

Every January, the town of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands comes alive with the annual Viking Festival, also known as 'Up Helly Aa'. It is a torch-lit procession followed by a galley burning, symbolising the sun's return and the end of the Yule season.

The festival is an ode to the island's Viking history, with participants dressing up in Viking attire, and performing reenactments of ancient Norse sagas. This incredible spectacle draws visitors from around the world. As such, finding accommodation during this time can be quite challenging.

Finding the Ideal Accommodation

When it comes to finding accommodation for the Viking Festival, it's important to start your search early. Rentals in Lerwick are the best choice as they put you in the heart of the action. From Lerwick, you can easily access the festival and explore the historical and cultural sites on the island.

There are various types of accommodations to choose from. These range from traditional Shetland croft houses to modern apartments in Lerwick's town centre. When choosing a rental, consider its proximity to the festival site, availability during your visit, and reviews from previous guests.

Tools to Help You Find the Best Rentals

To find the best rentals, you can use online platforms like Airbnb,, and the Shetland Islands Tourism website. These platforms offer comprehensive listings of available rentals, with detailed descriptions, photos, and guest reviews.

When reading reviews, pay attention to comments about the rental's location, comfort, amenities, and the host's responsiveness. This information will give you a good sense of what to expect and help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, consider reaching out to the local tourist information centre in Lerwick. They can provide valuable insights on the best rentals and tips for enjoying the Viking Festival.

Booking Your Rental

Once you've found a suitable rental, book it as soon as possible to secure your stay. The Viking Festival is a popular event, and rentals can fill up quickly. When booking, carefully read the rental terms and conditions. Ensure it suits your needs and budget.

Remember, the Shetland Islands offer more than just the Viking Festival. Dedicate some time to explore the islands’ stunning landscapes, spot wildlife, visit local museums, and sample delicious Shetland cuisine. When you're not immersed in the Viking Festival, these activities will enrich your holiday experience.

So, can you find a holiday rental in the Shetland Islands that offers access to the Viking Festival? The answer is a resounding yes. With careful planning, early booking, and a keen eye for reviews, you can secure a rental that not only gives you access to the festival but also serves as a cosy base from which to explore the Shetland Islands.

Tips for a Memorable Stay

Now that you know finding a rental in the Shetland Islands during the Viking Festival is feasible, make sure your stay is as memorable as possible. Start off by diving deep into the rich history of the Shetland Isles during your visit. Museums like the Shetland Museum and Archives give an insightful glimpse into the past.

Walking tours are a popular way to see the sights and can be an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture. From exploring the bustling markets and quaint streets of Lerwick to hiking the rugged landscapes on Mainland Shetland, there's no shortage of adventures to be had.

At the end of the day, you can retire to your holiday apartment, whether it's a traditional Shetland croft house or a modern flat in the heart of Lerwick. From your base, you can plan out your itinerary for the next day.

Consider trying authentic local cuisine. Shetland's seafood is known for its freshness and quality, and local lamb is another must-try. Look for restaurants with high average rating and positive rating reviews for the best dining experience.

Remember to respect the privacy and property of your hosts. Treat the holiday lettings as you would your own home and stick to the rules outlined in the rental agreement. This ensures a pleasant experience for you and future guests.


The Shetland Islands, with their blend of Scottish and Norse heritage, stunning landscapes and vibrant festivals, are a unique holiday destination. Whether you're a history buff, an outdoor adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, there's something for everyone on these Northern Isles.

Yes, you can find holiday rentals in the Shetland Islands that offer access to the Viking Festival. Just bear in mind that these rentals are highly sought after. Therefore, as your trip approaches, it’s important to book your accommodation early.

By using online platforms like Airbnb,, and the Shetland Islands Tourism website, you can explore rentals, read reviews night by night, compare prices, and ultimately make an informed choice that suits your needs. Engage with the local tourist information centre in Lerwick for additional insights and tips.

With a well-planned itinerary, a comfortable holiday apartment, and an eagerness to explore, your stay on the Shetland Islands is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Whether you're there to immerse yourself in the Viking Festival or to explore the west coast, your trip to the Shetland Islands will be rich in memory-making moments.

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