Interested in an EV road trip? With the best photo spots? During my 5 months EV road trip through Europe I worked out some itineraries which could also work for you. This time I am going to introduce THE SHETLAND ISLANDS!
To see the exact position of a photo spot, you can click on the travel blog entry which is linked to every spot. This will open the travel journal which is combined with an interactive map.
The whole 5 month trip you can find here (it is in real time with live tracking):
We spent 14 of 143 days during the Fiat 500e EV road trip on the Shetland Islands.
The islands are not only a paradise for landscape photographers.
They are also very suitable for a trip in an electric car.
Distances are not long and EV charging stations are evenly distributed from north to south, including on smaller islands, not just the mainland.
If you don't like reading or want to get inspired before reading - you can watch here the video with the highlights:
Charging places in shetland
As already mentioned, the charging stations are well distributed across the islands.
And not just on mainland Shetland - you can easily take your EV to the smaller islands too.
Of course Lerwick has the most chargers.
There are six 50kW fast chargers on the islands - the northernmost is in South Yell (by the ferry terminal).
That doesn't sound like much - but please remember that Shetlands are small.
From the south in Sumburgh to the north in Unst you only use around 25 kW. And between these two destinations you will find fast charging stations.
All major settlements have fast and slower chargers (mainly 22kW, some less).
Vegan Food in the Shetlands
To be honest, there isn't much on the islands where you can eat out as a vegan. BUT - the islanders are very open and will always try to accommodate you if you ask for vegan options.
Tesco in Lerwick has a very good selection of plant-based foods. And even if you stay in a small village, usually the village store has at least some plant-based burgers, sausage rolls, vegan minced meat, falafel, etc.
If you're staying in self-catering accommodation, you'll have no trouble stocking up.
Some places I'd like to mention for offering explicitly vegan food:
1. Fjarå Cafe in Lerwick
2. The Cake Fridge in Bixter
Best Photo Spots in the shetlands
Lerwick has a beautiful old town and harbour. It's worth taking a stroll through the old streets and discovering some of the filming locations from the Shetland crime series. My advice: get there early in the morning, from 9am there are a lot of people including cruise passengers.
From Lerwick there is a small ferry to the island of Bressay (attention - no EV chargers on the island, have your car charged with enough range!). You don't need to prebook the ferry, just turn up. It sails roughly once an hour and takes you to Bressay in 10 minutes.
On the island there is a lighthouse which can be photographed after a short walk on the cliffs.
3. PUFFIN SPOTTING ON THE ISLE OF NOSS
The best place ever to spot puffins. No, not spotting. You actually mix and mingle with them.
To get to the best spot you must first take the ferry to Bressay (see above) and then the small rib boat to Noss itself. Please check before you leave (https://www.nature.scot/enjoying-outdoors/visit-our-nature-reserves/noss-nnr/noss-nnr-visiting-reserve) that the rib is actually running. There is an information hotline, the telephone number can be found under the link above.
Once on Noss you have to walk about 45 minutes to the cliffs in the southeast of the isle. It's a short but challenging hike across grasslands and up steep cliffs. But doable.
Once you reach the cliffs, just sit down and be patient.
The puffins like to socialise with people if you are calm and quiet.
Dozens will fly around your head and walk around your feet (from May to August).
4. SUMBURGH HEAD
The southernmost point of mainland Shetland.
On the cliffs of the lighthouse you can find some puffins.
And for photos of the lighthouse, you can take the coastal path northwest of it and use the impressive rugged coastline as the foreground.
5. QUENDALE WATERMILL
A bit of recent history and tradition can be found in the Quendale Watermill.
You cannot only visit the mill, but inside there is an exhibition about the history of the islands.
6. CROFTHOUSE MUSEUM
If you are interested how a real crofthouse looked like, this museum (free entry) is for you!
7. ST NINIAN'S ISLE
No visit to Shetland would be complete without seeing the amazing beach of St Ninian's Isle.
Only in summer visible, this beach connects the isle with the mainland.
Visit there during sunset for the most romantic atmosphere.
8. BRIDGE'S END
A dreamy and remote place in the South West of Shetland's mainland. Bridge's End is a small settlement with very friendly locals.
My personal favorite settlement in the Shetlands: Scalloway!
I was struck by the relaxed and artistic atmosphere. Not many people but a lively community with lots of outdoor life (including dancing in the streets) weather permitting.
10. NESBISTER BÖD
A perfect sunset spot is the old but recently restored camping bothy in Nesbister.
It is a short walk down to the coast from the public road.
Westerwick is home to some of the most beautiful coastline in Shetland.
There is a very small parking lot (space for 3-4 cars). From there it's a short walk along the coast up the cliffs where you can stop every few meters for a photo. Apart from sheep, you will probably not meet any other human soul. Just breathtaking.
A very authentic settlement in the West of Shetland. Not a lot of tourists around.
But it has a shop, a post office - and some nice cottages and old churches for photos.
12. DORE HOLM
The sea stack, which locals say is a horse drinking water from the sea, is found close to the Stenness beach.
The ruggged and volcanic coast of Eshaness is of course a must to visit!
Take the walk along the coast from the car park and admire the lighthouse and sea stacks.
It is an amazing landscape, rough and beautiful.
Attention - there is nothing but cliffs. No toilet, no EV charger, no cafe (the next cafe with toilet is 15 mins drive and the next rapid charger 20 mins; there is also no petrol station if you are wondering...)
14. BELMONT HOUSE
One wouldn't expect a fine Gorgian mansion on the small island of Unst. But there you go - the Shetlanders can always surprise you and despite their remote location are very much sophisticated!
15. MUNNESS CASTLE
The ruined Munness Castle is the most northerly fortified building in the UK.
It can look very pretty moody on a gloomy and stormy day.
The small village of Uyeasound is definitely worth a visit.
Authentic fishing houses - and a small French café with honesty box! Very quirky.
17. THE WHITE WIFE
Just along the main road on Unst you can find a ghost.
OK, this is only a sculpture. But the ghost is "real" (sort of), at least within the community of Unst.
It drives in your car if you are male and single and have a red car...
18. VIKING PROJECT
If you are interested in the Viking culture, you can find some nice samples on Unst.
The replica of a longhouse and a Viking ship can be freely visited to every hour.
19. ST OLAF'S KIRK
This ruined church with a very old cemetery is located in the far west of Unst.
It is beautifully situated on the coast with fantastic views.
To get there you drive a small road and have to open 2-3 gates - and please close them after you passed them!!! There are many problems with the escape of livestock because tourists do not close the gates ...
Saving the best for last: Hermaness Nature Reserve!
It's a challenging hike in places - but it's worth it and not too difficult!
The landscape is simply breathtaking. Not from this world.
And wildlife is plentiful – including skuas and puffins.
The northernmost lighthouse is so photogenic you can't stop taking photos.
Although the walk only takes 3 to 4 hours, allow at least 6 hours or more to enjoy some of the best scenery Shetland has to offer.
I fell deeply in love with Shetland - and I didn't expect it. My expectations were exceeded many times over. Be it the landscape, be it the calm and relaxed atmosphere - but above all the locals! So friendly, welcoming and outgoing.
The weather is changeable and sometimes gloomy and stormy. But we also had really warm and even hot days. Just be prepared for a lot of wind, even on a sunny and warm summer day.
Vegans are still an outsider group on the islands – but nobody will frown the eyebrows, they will always try to provide some kind of plant-based foods for you.
And for an electric vehicle, the islands are heaven. Enough charging points for those short distances and no range anxiety.
Shetland, be warned: I am sure I'll be back!
More of my vegan EV adventures you can read here: