Discover an Ancient Northern Realm of Myth, Mystery and Natural Beauty
Enhance your Scotland adventure with a journey to the Orkney Isles, a far-flung collection of 70-odd islands and skerries that lie off the northern tip of the Scottish mainland. On this 4-day extension, you'll encounter a side of Scotland that's more Norse than Gaelic. Here where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, Viking mariners once laid claim to these remote islands, though they were latecomers to a land that has seen permanent human habitation for 6,000 years. The gently rolling landscape of heather moorland, lochs and flower-strewn meadows is edged by rocky coastlines where hundreds of thousands of seabirds nest on the sandstone cliffs. Inland, look for oystercatchers, short-eared owls and raptors overhead. While nature reigns, Orkney's layered cultural history is equally rich, with ancient Celtic cultures and Viking influence intertwined over centuries. A treasure trove of archaeological sites includes the Stone Age village of Scara Brae; Maes Howe, a 5,000-year-old chambered cairn; and the Ring of Brodgar, the finest late-Neolithic stone circle in Britain.
- Encounter the Orkneys' rich prehistoric legacy as we visit Stone Age ruins including the Ring of Brodgar, the finest late-Neolithic stone circle in Britain
- Explore the natural side of Orkney, home to huge colonies of nesting seabirds, seals basking on rocky skerries, and whales spouting offshore
- Discover the Orkneys' World War II heritage at the Italian Chapel, an intricately painted masterpiece built by Italian prisoners of war
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