There are four ferry routes to choose from and between 4 and 12 sailings a day depending on the season:
Aberdeen – Kirkwall: www.northlinkferries.co.uk
Scrabster (near Thurso) – Stromness: www.northlinkferries.co.uk
Gills Bay – St Margaret’s Hope: www.pentlandferries.co.uk
John o’Groats – Burwick (May - Sept, foot passengers only): www.jogferry.co.uk
Direct flights from all major Scottish airports operated by LoganAir, booked through Flybe: www.flybe.com
You can reach the ferry route ports of Aberdeen and Thurso from most main Scottish railway stations. Bikes can be taken on the train: www.scotrail.co.uk
The Citylink network takes you to John o’Groats, Gills Bay or Scrabster for ferry services to Orkney: www.citylink.co.uk
Alternatively, from June to September, the Orkney Bus operates from Inverness to Kirkwall, via John o’Groats Ferries: www.jogferry.co.uk
Travel around Orkney
Exploring the Orkney mainland and outer islands is easy. Cars and bikes are available to hire locally and all of Orkney’s inhabited islands can be reached by Orkney Ferries, many of which leave from Kirkwall harbour - right on the doorstep if you stay at The Peedie Hostel, The Hoose or The Bothy.
Ferries to the South Isles (Graemsay, Flotta, Hoy) depart from Houton or Stromness.
Ferries to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre depart from Tingwall in the West Mainland.
You are advised to book cars in advance as sailings (especially in summer and at weekends) can be busy.
If travelling on foot, Stagecoach operate services which will take you to most of the main sites in the West Mainland, East Mainland and linked South Isles: www.stagecoachbus.com
The quickest way to reach most of the North Isles (Westray, Papa Westray, Sanday, Eday, Stronsay) is by plane. Great way to see Orkney on a clear day! Take the world’s shortest scheduled flight between Westray and Papa Westray - timed at less than two minutes and you’ll be the proud owner of a certificate! www.loganair.co.uk