Up Helly Aa Multi-day tour

Our partner: Highland Explorer Tours


Few have heard of it, let alone been. Our destination is the remote islands of Shetland in the far north of Scotland for one of the most incredible festivals in Europe. On the last Tuesday of January, this traditional winter festival marks the lengthening of the days and the dawn of another year. Classic Scottish dancing, traditional Shetland music, the boat burning ceremony and torchlight procession makes for an unforgettable experience.

Around one thousand torch-bearing guizers in full Viking uniform march through the streets with the Galley past the spectators. The town is in darkness as the streetlights are switched off, the red glow at ‘light up’ is truly a phenomenal sight.

What´s Included

  • 2 Overnight Ferries (Twin-Share Cabin)
  • 3 Nights Hotel (Twin-Share)
  • 3 Full Scottish Breakfasts
  • Free Time in Lerwick
  • Guided Tour of Shetland
  • Local Scottish Guide
  • Souvenir Map 
  • Audio Guides Available 

What to bring

  • Travel Insurance
  • Passport / Photo ID
  • Students must hold a valid ISIC/ISE/ITIC card
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Warm clothing 
  • Waterproof jacket / coat

Additional information

  •  Adults / Students must be over 18 at the time of travel.
  • Students must hold a valid ISIC/ISE/ITIC card. 
  • The minimum age for a Highland Explorer Tour passenger is 5 years old.  
  • This booking is only for one person.
  • Those who are 17 year old pay the adult price, but need to be accompanied by someone aged 18 or over.  
  • The Shetland Museum in Lerwick, is not included in the tour price.
  •  Cancellations 21 days or less before departure incur a 100% fee. This product does not qualify for a deposit option - full payment is required at time of booking. 
  •  In this new, fast-changing Covid-19 era, we are doing all we can to adapt to new requirements and expectations, given the disruption caused. Read more about the important new steps and procedures that we have implemented to enhance hygiene protocols, to comply with physical distancing requirements by relevant government authorities and to give you peace of mind when you are travelling during these new timesYour ResponsibilityAll our guests are asked to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organization and local Government guidelines.• Regular washing of hands and sanitising when required• Please bring your own:o Hand sanitiser o Face mask. These are to be worn at all times on the coach and in public areas.• Temperature checks will be taken at the start of each day on tour. If your temperature is above 37.5 degrees, you may not be able to travel.• Maintain social distancing. o You need to make the Guide aware if you develop any COVID like symptoms.• You need to make the Guide aware if you develop any Covid like symptoms.


Edinburgh to Aberdeen
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Edinburgh to Aberdeen

Leaving our capital city of Edinburgh at 08.30am we stop to view the Forth Bridge, opened in 1890 for the passage of trains heading north. We then travel on through the Kingdom of Fife with its stunning coastal scenery before stopping at the ancient university town of St Andrews. Known as the Home of Golf, the town also boasts the magnificent ruins of a 12th-century Cathedral. We then travel on to Aberdeen via Dunottar Castle, perched dramatically on the edge of the North Sea, and board the ferry for the overnight journey to the Shetland Islands. (Overnight: Ferry)

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After sailing into Lerwick we spend the morning enjoying the main town of Shetland including a visit to Clickimin Broch. After a visit to Scalloway Castle, we then spend the afternoon in the north of the island exploring the fantastic coastal areas of Lunna and Eshaness before we return for a night out in the Shetland capital! (Overnight: Lerwick)

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In the west of Shetland we will visit the islands of Burra and Trondra before heading to the stunning beach at St Ninian's Isle. We then visit Jarslhoff, one of Scotland's finest prehistoric sites, before moving on to the stunning cliffs and sea views at Sumburgh in the far south of the island. We return to Lerwick to prepare for the main event with some celebrations in town with the locals. (Overnight: Lerwick)

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The big day! You get to watch the junior Jarl Squad (young Vikings) have their own parade before the main event. Vikings make their way through the streets culminating in the ceremonial burning of a full-size replica Viking Long Ship. Your Guide will be available throughout the day to make sure you don’t miss any of the world-famous festival. (Overnight: Lerwick)

Lerwick to Aberdeen
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Lerwick to Aberdeen

After breakfast, we venture north taking in the ancient Tingwall Parliament and explore the west of the Island. A return to Lerwick allows free time for souvenir shopping or a visit to the Shetland Museum before boarding our overnight ferry back to mainland Scotland. (Overnight: Ferry)

Aberdeen to Edinburgh
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Aberdeen to Edinburgh

We make our way through Royal Deeside and pass Crathie Kirk where the Royal Family worships when at their Highland residence. We also visit the resting place of John Brown, ghillie to Queen Victoria and made famous in the movie Mrs Brown starring Billy Connolly and have ample time to visit Braemar for lunch.  Our return journey takes us through the Cairngorms National Park and Royal Braemar before arriving back in Edinburgh at approximately 5.30pm.