Orkney & Shetland : Bunkhouses, bothies & hostels

Self catering bunkhouses & hostels
bunkhouses and hostels on orkney & shetland

This map of Orkney and Shetland shows the locations of bunkhouses, bothies and hostels in the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles. It includes hostels in Stromness and Kirkwall as well as the Bods on Shetland. Visit one of the many Orkney or Shetland islands and you will find you become part of island life. This is especially true when you stay in a hostel or bunkhouse in a small community. Visit the ancient sites of Skara Brae, Maeshowe tomb and the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney. Or stay in a traditional fishing Bod on Shetland. Hostels and bunkhouses are embedded into local communities and provide good value self-catering accommodation for travelers, families and groups.

Orkney & Shetland Hostel
Click markers to view hostels and bunkhouses

  • Profile picture of Shetland Camping BÖd Network

    Shetland Camping BÖd Network

    A network of low cost accommodation in nine historic buildings across Shetland, each one set in fantastic scenery. The smallest böd sleeps four and the largest sixteen. Electricity, hot water and showers are available in six bods, solid fuel stoves and mains water in all. Each böd has a story to tell. One produced the jumpers used in Hillarys expedition to Everest. Tour the beautiful Shetland islands staying in böds en route.

    More details
  • Profile picture of Observatory Hostel

    Observatory Hostel

    On a 34 acre croft managed by the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory on the most northern isle of Orkney. Adjacent to a shell sand beach visited by seals and unique seaweed-eating sheep. Spectacular bird migrations and outstanding views. Ideal accommodation for those interested in wildlife but welcomes all. The hostel sleeps 10 in three dormitories with a self-catering kitchen. Lounge bar and meals available in the Observatory Guest House.

    More details
  • Profile picture of Orcades Hostel

    Orcades Hostel

    Welcome to Orcades Hostel in Kirkwall. An excellent base for exploring the beautiful Orkney isles. Accommodation is in doubles, twins, 4 and 6 bedded rooms. All of the bedrooms have en suite toilet/shower rooms, TVs and all bedding is provided. There is a stylish kitchen, a lounge with DVD and games and Wifi throughout the building. A warm and friendly welcome awaits you at this comfortable 4 star hostel.

    More details
  • Profile picture of Browns Hostel and Houses

    Browns Hostel and Houses

    Providing nightly or weekly self catering accommodation in the captivating small town of Stromness,Orkney. Within walking/cycling distance of the ancient Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae. Stromness has a museum, art centre, festival, scuba diving, free fishing and ferries from mainland Scotland. Facilities include well equipped kitchens, comfy sitting rooms and beds in single, double, twin, triple and family rooms all with towels and bedding provided. Computers with internet and Wifi. Cycle storage & free car park up the lane.

    More details
  • Profile picture of Hamnavoe Hostel

    Hamnavoe Hostel

    Accommodation on the waterfront at Stromness, Orkney, close to the ferry. Single, family and twin rooms with glorious views. Light, airy kitchen and a large dining table with views of the harbour. Lounge with comfortable seating, TV, DVD’s and books. Laundry room, WiFi, free long stay car park. Visit the nearby islands of Graemsay and Hoy, check out the World Heritage Sites. Relax in the tranquillity of island life.

    More details

Hostels in Orkney and Shetland

Visit the Orkney hostels or bunkhouses on one of the 70 Orkney islands and you will find you become part of island life. This is especially true of the hostels on the smaller islands in the Northern Isles, such as North Ronaldsay. Some of the most ancient sites in the UK are Orkney. 5000-year-old Skara Brae preserved village, Maeshowe a chambered burial tomb and the Ring of Brodgar stone circle are all close to Stromness. Visit the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness to see pretty little shopping streets, harbours and ports. The smaller Northern isles can be reached within one day’s travel by ferry from Kirkwall harbour which is served by regular public transport.

You may think that Shetland is remote being at the far North of the UK, but the Northern Isles are the hub of a travel network that reaches out to Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, Iceland and Norway. On the Shetland Isles, you can visit the many islands, walk and explore the boundless seascapes. The isolation of the islands has led to the development of unique fauna and flora, and the birdlife is exceptional. Cultural events on Shetland include the Up Helly Aa guizers festival of fire in Lerwick which celebrates the burning of a Viking galley with dancing till dawn.

More about the Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago of 70 islands, 20 of them inhabited, lying just north of Caithness. The Pentland Firth, which separates Orkney from mainland Scotland, is just 6.8 miles at its narrowest point. The Orkney islands are generally low-lying with most of the land area being farmed. The soil is surprisingly fertile, which helps support a population of 19,000 and produces beef, cheese, whisky and beer for export. The climate is very temperate, average temperatures 4 deg in winter and 12 deg in summer. Occasional very strong winds account for the absence of trees. Although the islands probably supported trees in the dim and distant past, archaeological evidence suggests they have been without trees for at least 5000 years.

Tourism is increasingly important to the economy, with people attracted by the natural environment as well as by cultural aspects: some of the best preserved neolithic remains in Europe, artefacts of World Wars 1 and 2 and the vibrant Orcadian culture of the present day. The Orkney Islands are a special place for ornithologists and the lesser twitcher, with many RSPB reserves. Visitors to Orkney can look forward to watching Great Skua, Red Throated Divers, Gannets, Arctic tern, Puffins, Guillemots, Hen Hariers, Merlin, Snipe and Stonechat, to name but a few.

Skara Brae is the best preserved Neolithic settlement in Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage site. In addition, there are many other well-preserved Neolithic remains, such as the Ring of Brodgar, the Maeshowe Passage grave and the Standing Stones of Stenness.

Scapa Flow is one of the best natural harbours in the world and was the UK’s chief naval base during both world wars. After the Treaty of Versailles, the German Fleet was interned there and eventually, the Germans scuttled 51 of their own ships to prevent their use by the British. In 1939 a German U-Boat slipped into Scapa Flow and sank HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 lives, after which Churchill ordered the construction of barriers between the islands, so by controlling entry in the harbour. These barriers now form a series of causeways carrying roads. Scapa flow is now popular with recreational divers exploring the wrecks, although the wreck of the Royal Oak is a protected war grave.

Visitors can reach The Orkney Islands by ferry or plane. Ferries run from Gills Bay, Aberdeen, Scrabster and John O’Groats on the Scottish mainland and from Lerwick, Shetland. The main airport is Kirkwall (Orkney Mainland). Flybe operates from Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Sumburgh (Shetland). Logan Air flies to and from Orkney Northern Isles and Fair Isle.