Shetland Museum & Archives: At home on picturesque Hay's Dock in Lerwick, the Shetland Museum & Archives features an astonishing collection of more than 3,000 artifacts, famed works of art, local textiles and boats demonstrative of Shetland's history. The museum features exhibits that relate to the island's historical significance, like things belonging to original Shetlanders and more than 60,000 photos dating back to the early 1800s. The archives hold everything you could ever want to know about life on the islands, from church records to local government minutes to microfilm and historic books. The museum also has a restaurant overlooking the docks, which is the perfect spot to grab a nice lunch or glass of wine before getting back on board. (Hay's Dock; +44-1595-695-057; open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the Museum and Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the Archives)
Clickimin Broch: Situated in the south of Lerwick, the ancient site of Clickimin Broch is a must-see for any history buffs. Dating back to the seventh century B.C., this impressive fortified stone offers amazing views of the stone-stacked town, hills and bays. Make sure you spot the area's most notable landmark -- the causeway featuring a slab of stone with two footprints carved into it. Give yourself at least one to two hours to explore the many hallways and incredible stone structures that make it up. (South Road; +44-1856-841-815; open year-round.)
Cycle Town: If you're seeking something a little more adrenaline-packed, rent a bike in town and hit part of the North Sea Cycle Route, which extends more than 6,000 km through eight countries. Since you're only in port for a few hours, take the Lerwick to Hillswick Road path, which takes an average of four hours to complete. For those looking for something a bit more leisurely, bike from the center of town to the Bressay Ferry Terminal and back, which is just 14.21 miles round trip. To rent a bike, locals recommend the Shetland Community Bike Project, which can give you more details on other daytrips as well. (16-18 Commercial Rd; +44-1595-690-077; open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
The Shetland Ponies: Famous the world over, Shetland ponies are easily the highlight of any trip to Lerwick and the surrounding towns. More than 1,500 of these ponies are said to live throughout the archipelago and can be found grazing on grass, peeking through fences or roaming the exposed hills. For the best viewing, head to the West Mainland, Tingwall, Dunrossness and the island of Unst. Make sure to pack a camera or binoculars so you can spot the adorable ponies! If you don't want to spend all afternoon roaming, book a tour with Five Star Wildlife Tours, which are led by local naturalists who will take you right to the ponies, as well as introduce you to other wildlife on the island, from orca whales to puffins and sea otters.
Jarlshof: A stunning contrast of old and new, the historic site of Jarlshof, which sits right next to the Sumburgh Airport is a true hidden gem. The site depicts various stages of occupation, from 2500 B.C. to 1500 A.D., as well as the complete timeline of the Viking's arrival. Nordic longhouses stand stoically against the round stone structures of the people before. Ensure enough time to visit the 16th century Jarlshof house, named by Sir Walter Scott. Plus, the lush grass topped circular homes flanked against the blue sea make for some incredible photos. (Sumburgh Head; +44-1950-460112; open April to September, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; October to March, 9:30 a.m. to dusk.)