Hiring a car is the best way to explore Shetland at your own pace. Whilst there are some bus services on the islands, you’ll be limited by the timetables and may have to make multiple changes in order to visit popular attractions. It’s easier than you think to drive around the Shetlands, with 500 miles of roads, no traffic jams, or traffic lights, plus many of the islands are connected with road bridges. We recommend using your hire car to explore Lerwick, Northmavine, Unst, Yell, South Mainland, Central Mainland and West Mainland.
Driving in Shetland is a great experience as there is beautiful scenery all across the islands; however, it’s important to watch your speed at all times. There are lots of single-track roads throughout the island, as well as farm animals or wildlife on some rural roads. There are passing places along the roads that are only wide enough for one car, and they are usually clearly signposted, so as long as you drive slowly, you’ll not encounter any issues. If the passing place is on the other side of the road, always stop opposite it so the other cars can pass, rather than crossing into the wrong side of the road. If you are driving slowly and taking in the scenery and there is a faster car behind you, it’s common courtesy on the islands to pull into a passing place to let them pass.
Although you can technically hire a car from 21 years and older in the UK, you may find age restrictions in the Shetlands to be slightly higher. If you are under the age of 25, it’s always worth checking beforehand. Leading brands, like Europcar and Avis, require you to be 22 years old and 23 years old respectively to hire a car on the Shetland Islands. You also will have had to have held your driving licence for at least a year before the hire date and it must be valid for the full hire period.
Economy (Kia Picanto or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Shetland.
Take a look at our extensive car rental location map to find the best rental cars near you.