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Ferry to Orkney

Discover the best crossings

John O Groats-Burwick

Scotland ⇔ Orkney
40 mins.
From: 18.00
On hold
northlink ferries


Scotland ⇔ Orkney
6 Hours
From: 52.00

Scrabster -Stromness

Scotland ⇔ Orkney
1h 30 mins.
From: 21.00
Fast Ferry
pentland ferries

Gills Bay-St Margaret's Hope

Scotland ⇔ Orkney
1 Hour
From: 19.00

Ferry to Orkney

If you want to take the ferry to Orkney, you can choose from four different routes. Three ferries depart relatively close to each other. These are the ferries from Scrabster to Stromness, Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope and the ferry from John o Groats to Burwick.

There is also a ferry to Kirkwall from Aberdeen. This ferry may also take you to the Shetland Islands.
Orkney is interesting for a day trip but also for people who want to discover more of the islands. 
From John o' Groats you are in South Ronaldsay in 40 only minutes. 

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Map with crossings to Orkney

Two ferries arrive at Orkney's largest island, Mainland. The other boats dock at South Ronaldsay. Although they are different islands, that should not hinder your travel plans. The islands are connected to each other thanks to three bridges.

Timetable, availability, and compare prices

An easy way to find a good price is by filling in the fields below:

Travel tip: Book early

The prices for the ferries rise sharply as the boats fill up. Especially during peak season, the ferries and parking decks fill up quickly. Therefore, book far in advance and avoid high costs.


Skara Brae

Skara Brae, Neolithic village

Orkney is an archipelago of about 70 islands.[1]Orkney, Orkney is also the name of the main island which is also known as ‘Mainland'.

Travelers come to Orkney for its beaches, wildlife, and many archaeological sites. In total, only about 7000 people live on the islands of which 2000 on the main island.

The main island is connected by a bridge to 4 other smaller islands. The other islands can be visited thanks to the ferries that sail between the islands. These can be booked through Orkney Ferries.
There are cars and bicycles for hire on the island and taxis are available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Three ferry companies sail from the North of Scotland to Orkney on four routes. NorthLink ferries has two destinations. The other ferry companies are Pentland ferries and John O Groats ferries.

The shortest crossing to Orkney is from John O' Groats to Burwick. This ferry sails in only 40 Minutes over a distance of 12 km's or 7,5 miles. However, only foot passengers (possibly with a bicycle) can take this ferry. The fastest ferry for tourists with a car is the boat from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope. This fast ferry sails this route in 1 hour.

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1 Comment
  1. January 2024: I am planning a visit to Orkney in September from Canada. My on-line information tells me the ferry from John O’Groats is not in service, and that there are no large car ferries running in Scotland at the moment because of retrofitting the new ones from electric to diesel. Can anyone confirm or refute this information?

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