Shetland among top European tourist spots, says Lonely Planet

Killer whale flips sealImage copyright Billy Arthur
Image caption The often dramatic sight of orcas and seals can be seen off Shetland

Shetland has been named as one of the top 10 destinations in Europe.

It is the only UK place to feature – at number six – in the new Lonely Planet list for international travellers this summer, which is headed by the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia.

Among the Shetland attractions pinpointed are wildlife-spotting opportunities and its natural beauty.

Shetland’s famous annual Up Helly Aa fire festival is also highlighted in the explanation for its inclusion.

Lonely Planet’s vice president of experience Tom Hall said of Shetland: “Nature rules this stirring setting, which features towering cliffs, rolling hills, sky-blue lochs and spectacular birdlife.

“Travellers will be captivated by the island’s rugged beauty and welcoming locals.”

Top 10 summer destinations in Europe – Lonely Planet

  1. High Tatras, Slovakia
  2. Madrid, Spain
  3. The Arctic Coast Way, Iceland
  4. Hercegovina, Bosnia and Hercegovina
  5. Bari, Italy
  6. Shetland, Scotland
  7. Lyon, France
  8. Liechtenstein
  9. Vevey, Switzerland
  10. Istria, Croatia

It said visitors to Shetland would be rewarded with “awesome coastal trails, wicked wildlife watching, and fabled fish and chip shops”.

The entry adds: “Spot otters and orcas from craggy headlands, then ease into the evening at one of Lerwick’s local pubs. That is until the Viking-inspired Up Helly Aa festival bursts into fiery life each January.”

Image copyright Andrew Milligan
Image caption The Up Helly Aa fire festival is a major annual event for tourists, as well as the local Vikings

Steven Coutts, leader of Shetland Islands Council, said: “Shetland has long been known as a welcoming destination for travellers, and it’s great to have made Lonely Planet – and Europe’s – top 10 this year.

“Those of us who live here know how fantastic the islands are, with stunning scenery and incredible wildlife on our doorstep.”

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead added: “Shetland’s appearance as the only UK destination in Lonely Planet’s prestigious Best in Europe 2019 is testament to the islands’ strong pull for visitors.

“It boasts breathtaking scenery, unparalleled opportunities to see amazing wildlife and birds, a stunning coastline, delicious local food and drink, unique culture and heritage and an incredible historical and archaeological story to tell.”

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