Why use
Direct Ferries?

Ferries from 3035 routes and 658 ports worldwide

Trusted by over 2.5 million customers

We arrange over 1.2 million crossings / year

We check up to 1 million prices for our customers daily

Ferries to Orkney Islands

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago situated 16km north of Caithness in Scotland, commonly grouped together as Mainland, Northern Island and Southern Island.

Once ashore you’re met with an aura of mystery, with the sparsely populated islands’ history stretching back 6,000 years, with a large number of tombs, stone circles and prehistoric sites waiting to be discovered.

On Mainland’s west coast lies the best-preserved prehistoric village in northern Europe, known as Skara Brae. It Dates back 5,000 years and displays the original stone beds, boxes and dressers used by the people who lived there all those years ago.

In the heart of Mainland lies another spectacle of prehistoric architecture; the tomb of Maes Howe. Buried beneath a large grassy mound, a series of tunnels lead you to an enormous central chamber. Vikings broke inside in the 12th Century and carved intricate runic lettering on the walls, boasting about their conquests, which are still visible today.

The beautiful Italian chapel on the island of Lamb Holm is one of the most contemporary attractions. It was built by Italian prisoners of war in the 1940s using nothing more than two old Nissen huts and pieces of scrap metal. It’s a truly remarkable feat and boasts a stunningly decorated interior.

The islands’ exciting wildlife attracts many visitors as well. Around 15% of the world’s seal population live here, so be sure to spend an afternoon admiring these wonderful animals lazing on the shore.

Every year between May and August, the islands are flocked by puffins. You can spend hours watching these fascinating birds clambering along the cliffs and diving into the sea in search of food.

The fastest ferry route to the Orkneys departs from Gills Bay in Caithness, in northern Scotland, arriving in St Margaret’s Hope. There are also frequent crossings from Scrabster and Aberdeen, on the east coast of Scotland, as well as from Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, north of the Orkney archipelago.

Read More Read Less

Popular Ferry Operators

  • Northlink Ferries
    • Get price

Orkney Islands reviews

  • "Happy traveller"

    No complaints at all everything was perfect .c

    Read More Read Less
  • "Ferry "

    Very helpful staff would do anything to help you out had wee bit of sea sickness and they were right there to help you so well done to all the staff x

    Read More Read Less
  • "Excellent "

    First time travelling to Lerwick, staff were so friendly and helpful.

    Read More Read Less
  • "quite uncomfortable overnight ferry"

    headed to shetland (lerwick) from aberdeen with myself, partner and motorcycle. first impression: the motorcycle parking on board the ferry is not great. they need you to park right next to a railing with the stand side towards the railing, and they tie the bike to it. for a large, heavy bike like mine, this is extremely difficult, puts weight on the fairing, and is probably completely unnecessary - other ferries just pass a tightening harness over the seat and hook it down to the deck. as a result, on the return journey, the mirror popped out of the fairing due to the pressure of being pressed against the railing. it could have ended worse, but luckily no permanent damage done this time (else i would have had to ride 250 miles home without a left mirror - scary thought!). once on board, the staff are helpful and friendly, the restaurant seems good (but we didn't order a dinner since we packed ours) and the bar had a variety of local ales on tap at very reasonable prices! our happiness ended there though. resting for the night proved highly uncomfortable as all sections had bright lighting on for the entire journey. the seats reclined a bit but there was no leg rest, so we ended up sliding down the semi reclined seats uncomfortably. we could tell by the way everyone else was trying to sleep that it was equally uncomfortable for all shapes and sizes of people! paying 2 pounds for a blanket, eye mask, pillow and earplugs is well worth it - other upgrades, definitely not! on our return journey, we learned from our experience and grabbed sofa seats, which allowed us to get some (but not much) sleep. the return ferry was also extremely overbooked, and people were sleeping on the floor as there was nowhere else for them! We were lucky to be traveling as a couple so one of us could hold the seat while the other went to the toilet/bar/stretched our legs etc, or we would have lost our spot in minutes. another grouse is the lack of charging points - on an overnight journey, people inevitably need to charge their gadgets, and the sockets seemed like they were placed for housekeeping to hook up vacuum cleaners, and not customers. there wasn't a single socket near any seat, and they were all at ground level. overall, other than the bar, it wasn't a particularly enjoyable ferry - a pity, since this is pretty much the only way to get to shetland with a motorcycle! I've heard the private suites are comfortable, but those literally cost more than a posh hotel room! also, it's a good idea to book direct from northlink as they give free changes/cancellation, which direct ferries does not (and northlink also charge much less for the ticket to boot)

    Read More Read Less

Onboard the ferries

Find out what it's like onboard the ferries before you travel.

Ship guides, videos & reviews

Routes and Ports in Orkney Islands