Discover the Scottish Isles with Hurtigruten
Discover the magnificent Isles of Scotland as you enjoy a small ship cruise from Bergen to Glasgow, sampling unique malts and viewing amazing wildlife and birds.
Hurtigruten Expeditions’ discovery voyage to the Scottish Isles begins in the Norwegian city of Bergen. If you have any spare days before the day of departure, this coastal gem is well worth taking the time to explore.
Founded in 1070 CE, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years, its location ideally placing it as the gateway port for Hanseatic trade. A visit to Bergen is not complete without a visit to the historic Bryggen district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with distinctive wooden wharves. You’ll find the area full of independent boutiques selling artisanal handicrafts.
Enjoy small ship cruising on Hurtigruten Expeditions’ MS Spitsbergen
Scotland’s Shetland Islands
Then the first Scottish port of call is the Shetland Islands. At 106 miles from the mainland, these are Scotland’s most northerly inhabited isles. The adventure begins in the handsome town of Lerwick, which is also the islands’ capital. Founded in the 17th century as a fishing port, today Lerwick is a friendly, bustling town with handsome Victorian architecture set amidst stunning scenery.
Explore narrow pedestrian lanes where you’ll discover dinky little shops selling everything from Shetland whiskies and boiled sweets, to woollen sweaters and locally made fudge. The old waterfront is still active with visiting yachts and working fishing boats, and down here you’ll also find the Shetland Museum.
Take a stroll over to Fort Charlotte, a five-side fort built during the Anglo-Dutch war of 1652. Not far away is the magisterial town hall, which looms over much of Lerwick and could almost be mistaken for a castle.
The wider island boasts some of Shetland’s most attractive scenery and an extraordinary concentration of archaeological sites.
St Kilda (UNESCO)
As a UNESCO double World Heritage Site and the jewel in the crown of the National Trust for Scotland, visiting St Kilda is an unforgettable experience. The outlying stacks and islands, which are the remains of a volcanic crater, provide ledges for thousands of nesting seabirds. Only 39 sites in the world share this dual title.
St Kilda is home to a multitude of seabirds and is considered one of the most important seabird colonies in Europe. This includes over 60,000 pairs of Northern Gannets – the second largest gannet colony in the world. Also look out for Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, Common Guillemots, and Black-legged Kittiwakes.
Other island wildlife inhabitants include an ancient breed of sheep – the wild Soay sheep, and other rare species including the St Kilda mouse and the St Kilda Wren.
The mysterious Callanish on the Isle of Lewis; A waterfall on the Isle of Skye; Extraordinary scenery on the Shetland Islands
Stornoway is the capital of the Isle of Lewis, an island famed for pristine beaches, Neolithic sites and tweed workshops. Be prepared to step back in time as you investigate ancient ruins and gaze in wonder at the mysterious Callanish (Calanais in Gaelic) – a magical ring of monoliths whose origins are shrouded in mystery.
The neighbouring isle of Harris is famed for its woollen tweed fabric, and you’ll see jackets, trousers and hats for sale in shops all over the island – perfect for gifts or mementoes.
Fire up your spirit of discovery and step onto an island famed for its whisky, wildlife and woolly garments. History abounds on Islay, with ancient monoliths and a stone circle showing the island was inhabited back in Neolithic times. Later Islay came to be known as the Lordship of the Isles, and you can explore the enigmatic settlement at Finlaggan, which remains the most important archaeological site on the island, while a number of Celtic crosses can be found dotted around.
There are nine working distilleries here, and you’ll find their peaty single malts sold around the world. One of the larger isles, there’s 130 miles of coastline, and numerous quiet, sandy beaches.
Landings here include a visit to at least one of the island’s famous distilleries: Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg and Bowmore are among the best known.
Islay is also a wildlife paradise: over 200 species of birds including oystercatchers, gannets, terns, shags and cormorants, as well as buzzards, Hen Harriers and Golden Eagles. From the beaches, dolphins, otters and basking sharks are sometimes spotted.
Book your trip
Between islands, you’ll relax in comfort onboard Hurtigruten Expeditions’ MS Spitsbergen. Cruising in a cabin of your choice, you can simply unwind, or enjoy a lecture from the Expedition Team, use the ship’s Science Centre or learn professional photography tips and tricks.
Departing April 2022, this incredible voyage starts from just $8144.
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