If you wish to drive for as much of the journey as possible head north to the ferry ports of either Aberdeen, Scrabster, Gill's Bay or John o' Groats.
NorthLink Ferries and Pentland Ferries allow you to take your car, so you can drive around Orkney. If you have left your car at home, you can still hire a car once you arrive, or make use of the local taxi and bus companies.
If you plan on travelling by bicycle, take a look at our information on cycling in Scotland.
You can find out up-to-date traffic information from Traffic Scotland, and plan your route with Transport Direct.
For information about all public transport in Scotland, the best place to check for information and timetables is the Traveline site; you can also download their handy mobile app or call them on 0871 200 22 33.
Flying to Orkney couldn’t be easier, with regular Flybe flights operated by Loganair. You can travel from airports in Glasgow (1 hr 20 mins), Edinburgh (1 hr 20 mins), Aberdeen (50 mins), Inverness (45 mins) and Shetland (35 mins).
Once you are in Orkney, you can go island hopping using Loganair’s inter-island service. The service flies from the Mainland to the outer isles of Eday, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Papa Westray. One highly popular flight is between Westray and Papa Westray, which, at just two minutes, is the world’s shortest scheduled flight.
Travel by train to Aberdeen or Thurso, where you can catch a ferry to Orkney from the harbours. More information on train timetables can be found on the ScotRail or National Rail websites.
Citylink buses run to Aberdeen, Thurso and Gills Bay, with ongoing ferry connections to Orkney. From June to the start of September, there is the option of the Orkney Bus, which journeys direct from Inverness to Kirkwall, utilising the John O’Groats Ferry link.
On arriving in Orkney, there are a number of bus tours available that take visitors around the islands, as well as the opportunity to hire coaches for group day trips.
Unless you are travelling by plane, you will complete your journey to Orkney by ferry.
NorthLink Ferries has services between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (6 hrs) and Scrabster and Stromness (90 mins). Pentland Ferries operates from Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope (60 mins). In the summer, there is also a John O’Groats Ferry passenger-only service between John O’Groats and St Margaret's Hope in South Ronaldsay (70 mins). The frequency of sailings depends on the season, so please check the ferry operators’ websites before starting off.
Find out more about travelling to Scotland and around Orkney.