AIA Tours: land

Hiking Scotland’s Orkney & Shetland Islands

Tour Dates: July 10-20, 2021 in the planning stages (11 days)

Tour Leader(s): Val Turner ,

This tour is in the planning stages for a July 10-20, 2021 departure.  To be notified before others when the tour is available and to receive a detailed brochure, contact us at 800-748-6262 or

This is the perfect opportunity to explore all that Scotland’s Northern Isles have to offer: prehistoric stone circles, burial chambers, and settlements; quaint villages; huge seabird colonies; and remarkable plant life—all amidst dramatic landscapes. This will be Scotland seen slowly, with time for in-depth exploration at each site. The Orkney and Shetland islands have an amazing wealth of archaeological sites dating back 5,000 years. Together the islands have more than 18,000 known sites, with new discoveries being made every year. This archaeological saga is worth the telling, and nowhere else can the evidence be seen in more glorious a setting.

  • The UNESCO World Heritage site on Orkney, which includes the chambered tomb of Maeshowe, estimated to have been constructed around 2700 B.C.; the Stones of Stenness; the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar, one of Europe’s finest Neolithic monuments; Skara Brae settlement; and associated funerary monuments and stone settings. These are unquestionably among the most important Neolithic sites in Western Europe.
  • “The Crucible of Iron Age Shetland”—including Mousa Broch, the best-preserved known broch in the world, Old Scatness, and Jarlshof—where the lack of intensive modern farming means that the preservation of these sites and their landscapes is exceptional.
  • The Isles are a birdwatcher’s paradise, and one of the major seabird breeding and feeding areas in the North Atlantic. More than a million birds breed in very large colonies.
  • All meals are included, and you will enjoy comfortable accommodations: four nights at the elegant Lynnfield Hotel, a comfortable overnight ferry from Orkney to Shetland and from Shetland to Aberdeen, a night at the Scalloway Hotel, and two nights at the remote and charming Busta House Hotel.
  • Limited to just 15 guests.

"This was my fifth trip with the AIA and one of the best ever...I loved every minute of the trip [and I] cannot recommend it enough. No wonder it sells out each year." - Leslie, California

$TBA (13-15 participants) per person double occupancy
$TBA (10-12 participants) per person double occupancy
$TBA single supplement (limited availability)

Single room supplement will be charged when requested or required.  With fewer than 10 participants, a small group surcharge may be added.

Hiking Scotland's Orkney & Shetland Islands: Jun. 27-Jul. 7, 2020 with archaeologist Val Turner

Skara Brae in Orkney © operator

The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney © operator

The Isle of Mousa, Shetland © operator

Hermaness, the northermost cliffs of the British Isles. © operator

Old Scatness on south mainland, Shetland. © operator


This unique tour is more active than our usual land tours and features daily hikes that are easy to moderate in difficulty. To fully enjoy and visit all the sites on this itinerary one should be in good walking condition and, obviously, enjoy walking!
Two minibuses, each with a local driver/guide, will accompany our group, which is limited to only fifteen participants. Our guides will explain in advance the difficulty of each day’s walk(s) and, if you prefer, you can opt out of any walking excursion and be driven to the next stop; but, bear in mind that some sites can only be visited if you walk to them. The distance of and height climbed during each walk is estimated within the following itinerary.

Saturday, July 10, 2021 – Depart home
Sunday, July 11: Aberdeen, Scotland | Ferry to Kirkwall, Orkney
Monday, July 12: Skara Brae | Broch of Borwick | Ring of Brodgar | Stones of Stenness | Maeshowe | Welcome dinner
Tuesday, July 13: Isle of Rousay
Wednesday, July 14: Isle of Hoy
Thursday, July 15: South Ronaldsay | Windwick | Ferry from Kirkwall to Shetland
Friday, July 16: Lerwick, Shetland | Old Scatness | Isle of Mousa | Scalloway
Saturday, July 17: Fethaland | Brae
Sunday, July 18: Isle of Unst | Farewell dinner
Monday, July 19: Jarlshof | St. Ninian’s Isle | Lerwick | Ferry from Lerwick to Aberdeen
Tuesday, July 20: Aberdeen | Fly home

View Detailed Itinerary

This tour is in the planning stages for a July 10-20, 2021 departure.  To be notified before others when the tour is available and to receive a detailed brochure, contact us at 800-748-6262 or


For reservations or questions, please email us at (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

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