How can I go island hopping in Scotland?
Whether you fancy travelling between Scotland's islands by ferry or plane you'll find plenty of ways to tick your dream islands off your must-visit list on a Scottish islands holiday.
Island hopping by ferry
Regular ferry connections run from the mainland to the islands on the west and north coasts of Scotland, and also between the islands themselves.
In the west of Scotland
Caledonian MacBrayne, often known as CalMac, is the largest operator of ferry services in the west of Scotland, serving the west coast Scottish island groups of:
In addition to the CalMac routes, there are a few smaller ferry services to some destinations. These are usually run by council-appointed operators, and open up some of the best Scottish islands to visit.
If you're visiting our major cities, there are some operators which offer Scottish island tours from Glasgow, or island tours from Edinburgh with additional coach travel added in.
In the north of Scotland
If you're looking to visit the islands north of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland are connected to the mainland and each other by NorthLink Ferries. In Shetland, inter-island ferry travel is operated by the council, while Orkney Ferries connect the archipelago's 13 island destinations.
Scottish Island hopping by plane
In some instances it's possible to go by plane. Some islands have a local airport where chartered flights are operated from mainland Scotland and beyond.
In addition, there are inter-island flights in:
- Outer Hebrides - flights connect Benbecula with Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
- Orkney - flights connect Kirkwall with North Ronaldsay and Papa Westray, and Eday, Stronsay, Sanday and Westray.
- Shetland - from Shetland Mainland, flights go to Fair Isle, Foula, Papa Stour and Skerries.