The wild, windswept Orkney Islands lie off the northernmost tip of the British mainland (at around the same latitude as Stockholm) and are noted for their stunning scenery and historic sites stretching back millennia. There are about 70 islands all up, though little over a dozen are populated. Much of the landscape consists of moors blanketed in heather or sweeping grasslands, with more varied terrain in places such as Hoy.
Spot puffins and seals, dive the wrecks of German war boats at Scapa Flow or simply walk the fields and beaches of this unspoilt natural wonder. And be sure to visit Orkney Mainland’s Skara Brae, the most impressive of the Stone Age remains dotting the islands; this UNESCO World Heritage site is Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village.