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Orkney Islands itinerary

2 couples plan to visit the Orkney Islands for 1 day and 1 night. My questions are:
Best way to get your car over by ferry and about how much is the cost?
Best place to stay the night?
Best itinerary for 1 full day?
Any help is greatly appreciated!

Posted by
5094 posts

We took a ferry (without a car) from the Shetland Islands up north, rented a car in Kirkwall, then turned it in before flying back to mainland Scotland, so I can't give direct car-ferry suggestions, but:

Kirkwall is definitely the most central, best-equipped place to stay for one day and night.

As far as itinerary, you can either head west from Kirkwall, or south for a day. Are the 4 of you more interested in whiskey, music, scenery, crafts or shopping, or in historical places (Neolithic archaeological sites, museums, World War II)? That would influence how best to focus your itinerary for the day.

Posted by
8293 posts

The Tourist Information Centre In Kirkwall would be a good source of advice. I was in Orkney last year, and Kirkwall is quite lively. Try to visit the chapel built by Italian POWs during WW2. So beautiful, and touching to think of those men who not only built it but financed it by working for the locals and making toys to sell.

Posted by
1294 posts

Given you will be taking a car, one night is probably not long enough, given you will need two-three hours each day for the ferry.

Each way the ferry is over £100 for car plus four passengers on the Scrabster Stromness route.

I would suggest at least two nights with the Mainland area around Kirkwall/Finstown though last time I stayed at Evie on Mainland and it was just as handy for the Mainland sites.

Posted by
33 posts

Check out this website for ferry times & prices. It seems to be cheaper to go via Gills Bay to St. Margaret's Hope, rather than Scrabster to Stromness. Looking at 1 standard car with 4 passengers, round trip, the price was $226 for the first route, and $318 for the second.

I found this with a somewhat quick search, so perhaps there's something better out there to look at? But if you go through St. Margaret's Hope, you'll pass right by the Italian Chapel and the Tomb of Eagles (a little out of the way) on your way north to Kirkwall.

Posted by
518 posts

I just made a reservation from Scrabster to Stromness with a car for July 8. For 2 people and the car, it was £103.02 one way. We’re going to to the Shetland Islands from Orkney, so I didn’t check the round trip price. That’s on Northlink Ferries. It’s a bit cheaper and shorter from Gills Bay to St. Margaret’s Hope on Pentland Ferries. I chose Northlink because of the schedule.
Best regards,