A Journey to the Heart of Scotland’s Northern Isles

How to get to Orkney

Discovering Orkney’s Rich Heritage and Natural Beauty

Orkney is a breathtaking archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland, known for its rich Viking history, stunning landscapes, and fascinating archaeological sites.

Whether you’re drawn to Orkney for its UNESCO World Heritage sites or its vibrant wildlife, getting here is easier than you might think, even from as far away as the US and Australia.

Here’s your comprehensive guide on how to embark on this unforgettable journey.

Visiting Orkney by Air

For international visitors, flying is the most convenient way to reach Orkney. There are no direct international flights (for example from Europe, the US or Australia), but you can easily connect through major Scottish airports.

Via Scotland

Flights to Orkney depart from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness, all of which are served by Loganair, providing smooth connections from around the world.

  • From Aberdeen to Kirkwall: Travel time is approximately 50 minutes
  • From Edinburgh or Glasgow to Kirkwall: Travel time approximately 1 hour
  • From Inverness to Kirkwall: Travel time is approximately 45 minutes

During the summer, a seasonal route also connects Dundee and London Heathrow to Kirkwall, offering more flexibility for your travel plans.

Public Transport to and around Orkney

Orkney is well-served by public transport.

Buses and Trains

  • Citylink buses connect Aberdeen, Gills Bay, and Scrabster with the ferry services to Orkney.
  • The Scottish rail network provides services to Aberdeen and Thurso, further connecting with ferry departures for ease of travel.

For more information on train prices and timetables, visit the ScotRail, National Rail and Trainline websites.

Driving and Sailing to Orkney

How to get to Orkney by Sea

If you’re looking for an adventure that includes exploring the Scottish mainland, you might be considering driving and then taking a ferry to Orkney.

Ferry Services

Two main operators run ferries to Orkney, offering services from multiple locations:

  • NorthLink Ferries: Sail between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (with onward connections to Lerwick in Shetland) or between Scrabster and Stromness.
  • Pentland Ferries: Offers a shorter crossing between Gills Bay and St. Margaret’s Hope with its purpose-built catamaran.

Journey times vary from approximately 70 minutes to 6 hours, depending on the route. Both ferry operators welcome passengers, vehicles, motorbikes, and bicycles, making this an ideal option for those wanting to bring their transport along with them.

Welcoming You to Orkney

Orkney is closer than you might think and offers a wealth of experiences for over 300,000 visitors a year from Europe, the US, Australia, and beyond.

Whether you’re coming for historical exploration, wildlife watching, or simply to soak in the tranquil beauty of the islands, getting here is the start of what promises to be an unforgettable visit.

Embark on your Orkney adventure today and discover why these islands have captivated the hearts of travellers from across the globe.

We look forward to welcoming you to Orkney.

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