If you're into dramatic holiday snaps, this could be the beach for you thanks to its scattering of giant, sea-smoothed boulders, many of which are a metre wide and weigh as much as a ton. Located on the south mainland, it's close to Sumburgh Head, a prime whale-watching spot, notably orcas which come to hunt for seals.
Also on the south mainland, this awarding winning beach features deep dunes of soft white sand. You can even see puffins and other sea birds in the vicinity. A short walk away is Sumburgh Lighthouse, which dates from the early nineteenth century and is the work of Robert Stevenson, who also designed the Bell Rock Lighthouse. From here you can also visit places of archaeological interest such as Jarishof, one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the Shetlands, known for its Pictish artwork and Viking longhouse.
For a bit of shelter from the prevailing Atlantic breezes, this beach on the island of Yell offers lots of sun traps among its deep dunes backed by cliffs. Ground shells give the sand a bright glitter on summer's days, and a hike along the cliffs provides some breathtaking views. The area is also of great interest to botanists because of its rare seaside plants, as well as to amateur archaeologists looking for Viking and Iron Age treasures.
This 500-metre stretch of beach links the isle of St Ninian with the Shetland mainland for all but a few weeks of the year. You could hardly find a more atmospheric spot for a sunbathe. The isle itself is home to an old chapel, where a huge horde of Celtic silver was unearthed in 1958, thought to have been buried by monks to save it from being grabbed by marauding Vikings.
This beach on the mainland is widely recommended as one of the best swimming spots in the Shetlands. This is because of its sheltered position and because the long shelf of sand under the water traps the heat and makes for slightly warmer sea temperatures.