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Maeshowe, Stromness

(4.4/5 based on 420+ reviews on the web)
Duck through the small passageways that make up the vast underground network of burial chambers at Maeshowe, a World Heritage Site. At first glance from the outside, this cairn may appear as a large grassy mound in the distance. Yet, here lies an underground tomb that is estimated to have taken between 10,000 and 30,000 hours to build. At an incredible 35 m (115 ft) in diameter with a height of 7.3 m (24 ft), the breadth of the site is amplified further by the 14 m (45 ft) wide ditch surrounding the entire structure. The style of Neolithic craftsmanship is typically Scottish. Bring a flashlight in order to see the grafitti scratched into the walls by Vikings who vandalized the site in the mid-12th century. Put Maeshowe at the forefront of your travel plans using our Stromness itinerary builder.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Torrential rain didn't dampen our enthusiasm (nor our guide's) about this amazing place. The day we went, it was wet and the wind was so fierce that it made the rain horizontal ... not great when walk...  more »
  • Exploring Maeshowe chambered cairn was an unbelievable and overwhelming experience. To realize such a passage of time! Once inside the cairn you see ancient Viking runic graffiti. The story of the Vik...  more »
  • Went to day with guide Alan. You get the bus from the visitor center in Steness. A 5 min drive then 5 mins walk to the tomb. Great experience interesting features inside all beautifully explained in a...  more »
Google
  • Second visit. Been there about 10 years ago too but still had the same impact as the first time. Fascinating story and Gerry our guide was great! Bit of a strange set up that you only can get there by visiting Skara Brae instead of parking at the Maeshove car park.A must see when visiting Orkney.
  • This is a necessary stop on the Neolithic Orkney site list, and is included in the Orkney Explorer pass (which is worth taking if you plan to visit at least 2-3 sites during your stay -- which you should!). That said, of all the impressive Neolithic sites on the islands, this was the visit I personally least enjoyed. That's not for want of the site being an impressive archaeological discovery, which it was, and there were some interesting parts to the visit (the kids enjoyed entering the tomb through the low-ceilinged entry passage, and I did like the Viking runes carved on the inside walls), but the talk by the guide was much too long. He could have conveyed all the relevant information in 5 minutes instead of half an hour, but then I guess they would find it difficult to justify the entry fee... Also annoying is that you're not allowed to take pictures inside the tomb (although this seems to be a common phenomenon on Orkney...)
  • The absolute high point for me on our six week trip. Atmospheric & stunning. Orkney is covered in ancient monuments and if I return would definitely spend more time here either staying on Orkney or in Thurso We only whizzed in and out spending the night in a lovely B&B in Thurso but we would want to investigate the whole area over a few days. Maeshowe tour guide was brilliant; friendly and very knowledgeable
  • Awesome ancient ruins with some of the best preserved examples of Nordic ruines and Viking graffiti. While it's large inside the entry is only 1m high and 5m long so it isn't the best choice for people who are very strongly claustrophobic.
  • Of course they don't allow photography! Popping off flash in the darkened tomb would be very disconcerting to everyone on the tour! Not to mention blinding! The tour is fascinating and the tour guide extremely knowledeable, especially the way he put the tomb into context within the neolithic landscape. Hard to keep remebering that this was built millennia before the Pyramids and Machu Pichu - and without the aid of metal tools. A must see.