Nature lovers and those who love to get off the beaten track are certain to fall in love with the Shetland Islands.

It is one of the most rugged places in the world, sparsely inhabited and with a cool climate that is prone to wind and cloud.

But Shetland is also one of the most beautiful destinations in the British Isles and with its endless coastlines, tree-less land and mystic charm it is not hard to see why.

Shetland is made up of 100 islands, 15 of which are inhabited.

Because of the mild year-round weather, there is never a bad time to visit and walkers are certain to be delighted with the many routes and trails that they can follow.

Other activities include fishing, camping and sailing around the coast and to the different islands.

Bird watching is also popular on the islands and, as they are home to one of the largest bird colonies in the North Atlantic, there is plenty to see.

Other wildlife that is famous to the area are sheep, of which there are thousands, and the Shetland Sheepdog.

The 15 islands that are inhabited offer some great accommodation from castles, to mansions, old farmhouses, hotels and camping.

Local pubs are great for traditional food and Scottish music and dancing and tourists are sure to be drawn into the charming culture of the islands.

The largest island, Mainland, is a must for tourists who will want to visit the market and enjoy the lively atmosphere

Lerwick, with its historic Town Hall and Fort Charlotte – which dates to before 1652 and the first Anglo-Dutch war – is a highlight for tourists and while Scalloway Castle is also great for a day trip.

The more distant islands – Housay and Bruray in the Out Skerries and Skaw, with the most northerly settlement in the UK – are also fabulous places to enjoy.

Mousa Broch – on the island of Mousa – is a definite highlight.

Constructed around 100 BC, it is the tallest and best preserved round tower in the world and one of 570 in the country.