Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago of approximately 70 islands some 10 miles (16 km) off the northern coast of Scotland. The "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Orkney Islands have been settled since the Neolithic Period. There is plenty to do on the islands. They are easy to navigate. The islands are great for culture holidays and sight-seeing


Map of the Orkney Islands

South Isles connected by the Churchill Barriers:

Towns and Villages



Get in

By plane

Flybe offers flights to Kirkwall, Orkney from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Sumburgh. Aircrafts are operated by Loganair. You can take Stagecoach bus number 3 from the airport to Kirkwall.

By boat

Ro/Ro Ferries:

Passenger-only Ferries:

Get around

By plane

Unusually for the UK, short internal flights are regularly used to connect to the six outer north island (Eday, North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Sanday, Stronsay and Westray). Flights depart from Kirkwall Airport to the airstrips on each island, and are operated by Loganair. Fares start at £15 return.

Orkney also has the shortest commercial flight in the world, at just under 2 minutes between Westray and Papa Westray. Some children use a flight to get to school every day!

By boat

There are ferries linking the mainland with 13 other islands.

By bus

Stagecaoch Bus operates the buses on Orkney. Phone: 01856 878014. Bus schedules are at Orkney's website. A map of most of the bus routes is available at Stagechoach's website.


Neolithic structures

Houses at Skara Brae

Awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 1999, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney includes:

Orkney's World Heritage site also includes a number of unexcavated burial, ceremonial and settlement sites.


Holidays & day tours with Orkney Archaeology Tours - all tours led by professional archaeologists & qualified Orkney tourist guides



There are plenty of places to stay meeting all price criteria, from youth hostels to grand hotels. See town/village articles for listings.

Go next

There are several other groups of Scottish islands:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, November 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.