Orkney's second largest town is an architectural gem, an inspiration for artists and writers, and a firm favourite with visitors.

Visitors arriving in Orkney on the ferry from Scrabster are treated to something very special - a view of the old stone town that is unparalleled. Sailing into the Bay of Hamnavoe, this famous seaport has remained unchanged in centuries, retaining its original maritime charm with narrow winding streets, terraces of houses and steep passageways all leading to its iconic waterfront and harbour.

Stromness is lively, welcoming and cosmopolitan. It remains a working town and is at the forefront of Orkney's pioneering renewable energy industry. On any day, a heady mix of locals, visitors, students, artists and festival goers fills its streets, some with a clear purpose while others are simply content to soak up the atmosphere. The best of the islands' crafts, textiles and jewellery can be found in the delightful independent shops to be discovered around every corner, while in local galleries and the 5-Star Pier Arts Centre the work of artists and sculptors from Orkney and beyond takes centre stage. And as you take in all that Stromness has to offer, the experience is often accompanied by the vibrant sounds of Orcadian music - rehearsed and impromptu - to be heard in the many pubs and venues across the town.

As you might expect from a town with a proud maritime heritage, much of the outdoor activity that draws visitors to Stromness revolves around the sea. Diving, fishing and sailing are all popular and when the weather can't be relied upon there is also an indoor swimming pool to enjoy. Stromness delivers on dry land too and is a great venue for walking and cycling - the perfect way to discover the area, take in the sights and work up an appetite!

Stromness is a perfect place to explore on foot, with lanes, closes, nooks and crannies everywhere. The town's excellent Museum offers a special audio tour through the main street with listeners guided by voices from Stromness past and present. Download the map and audio files to begin your journey.