Getting to Orkney

You can choose to travel to Orkney by ferry or flight from a variety of destinations, with plenty of options available when you’re planning your visit.

We’ve included links to most transport companies but also recommend using the Orkney.com website for more detail.

Ferries

There are three main ferry routes to and from Orkney.

  1. NorthLink Ferries sail between Aberdeen and Kirkwall, with an onward connection to Lerwick in Shetland too. The company also operates a shorter crossing between Scrabster and Stromness. Accept foot passengers and push bikes too.
  2. Pentland Ferries run sailings between Gills Bay and St Margaret’s Hope, with its purpose-built catamaran the most environmentally-friendly passenger ferry of its type in Scotland. Accept foot passengers and push bikes too.
  3. John O’Groats Ferries also operate a passenger-only service between John O’Groats and Burwick in Orkney during the summer months.

The table below highlights the routes available and approximate crossing times.

Route

Time

Contact

Scrabster (near Thurso) - Stromness90 minuteswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Aberdeen - Kirkwall6 hourswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Lerwick (Shetland) - Kirkwall6 hourswww.northlinkferries.co.uk
Gills Bay - St Margaret's Hope60 minuteswww.pentlandferries.co.uk
John O'Groats - Burwick (June- Sept, foot passengers only)40 minuteswww.jogferry.co.uk

Flights

There are opportunities to charter flights to Kirkwall Airport, which has a maximum capacity of ATR 72. Or for larger aircraft, charter flights are available to Aberdeen airport with onwards travel to Orkney with Northlink ferries, which is how the Orkney delegation travelled to Guernsey 2023.

Flights to and from Orkney are operated by Loganair. The airline manages scheduled flights to Kirkwall from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and now London Heathrow. These airports all have excellent links to the rest of the country and the wider world. The table below shows approximate flight times.

Route

Journey Time (approx)

Aberdeen to Kirkwall50 minutes
Dundee to Kirkwall50 minutes
Edinburgh/Glasgow to Kirkwall60 minutes
Inverness to Kirkwall45 minutes
London Heathrow to Kirkwall (with connections)3-4 hours
Sumburgh (Shetland) to Kirkwall35 minutes

Car Hire

There are a range of hire car companies in Orkney. We recommend booking as soon as possible:

Shearers Orkney

Orkney Car Hire

Drive Orkney

Avis

Motor Home Hire

A great way to make the most of your visit to Orkney, especially for competitors in individual sports, could be to hire a motor home. They are available both on-island and on the Scottish mainland and we recommend booking as soon as possible.

Hire in Orkney:

Northern Lights Motor Homes

Staycation Scotland

Camperbug

Hire on the Scottish Mainland and drive to Orkney:

Highland Campers

Aberdeen Motor Home Rentals

Camper Ceilidh

If hiring the motorhome from the Scottish mainland, please also see the Ferry's information. When booking the ferry, be sure to select the correct size of vehicle for your crossing.

Campsites

There are several campsites that welcome motorhomes; a selection are listed here:

Orkney Caravan Park - You’ll be right at the heart of the action with the Picky Centre hosting the Opening Ceremony as well as several sports.

Kirkwall Bay - A peaceful spot a short drive from many of the events

Stromness Point of Ness Campsite - A lovely campsite and right next door to part of the Golf competition. Also well placed for Triathlon, Gymnastics and some Football matches.

Volunteer at Orkney 2025

Our volunteers are central to the smooth running of Orkney 2025. The Games-time Volunteer Programme is open from 15th January to 12th September 2024. If you'd like to apply, you can do so now.