Orkney Islands Holiday Guide

Discover a slice of island life by travelling to Orkney, where you can explore the archipelago's 70 islands. Hop across the Orkneys and get a taste of each island’s unique personality, history, food and people, and marvel at the unspoilt nature of the beaches, coves and bays.

Explore the charms of the Mainland on the Orkney Isles; see Kirkwall’s picturesque flagstone streets and medieval palaces and churches, or the charming seaside harbour town of Stromness, where the fishing and boating community’s influence is showcased. There are plenty of luxury hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and boutique guest houses in these main ports, and as a result the towns have flourished. You can find independent and unique shops, excellent restaurants, intimate bars and a varied and vibrant nightlife.

Step Back in Time in the Orkney Isles

Kirkwall is the capital of these beautiful islands and the place where the Norse influence meets the Pictish. The fantastic St. Magnus Cathedral oversees this union, towering up above the town. See the Bishop's Palace, a masterpiece of medieval Scottish architecture that has survived for more than eight centuries.

Churchill Barriers, built in WW2 to prevent German invasion from the north, and engage in some of the best outdoor activities to be had in Scotland. Feel like a PGA star on some of the most picturesque golf courses in the country, or drive around the island in a rental car you can book through Expedia’s search tool, and give yourself the time and the ability to access all parts of the Mainland, and its outlying islands.

See the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’, where the pre-historic people of Scotland built mystical monuments out of stone. This protected heritage area includes Maes Howe, a chambered tomb, the ancient settlement of Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. The Orkneys have no shortage of prehistoric architecture to show off either: visit the Broch of Gurness, an ancient village settlement, and the Brough of Birsay, to see the former seat of political and religious power in the Orkney Islands.

Spot Orkney Wildlife

Keen ornithologists and bird watchers will have a whale of a time spotting some of the world’s most fascinating sea birds. Visit the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory on the northern tip of the Orkneys, one of the best places in the UK to indulge in this hobby. Or watch out for the marine life that thrives beneath the ocean; whales, dolphins and seals are known to frequent the North Sea, and visitors can see these magnificent animals in high relief when on a trip to the Orkney Isles.

Find peace, relaxation, excitement, romance, adventure and joy with a trip to the Orkney archipelago and discover a side of Scotland you may not have known existed. Expedia can help you organise a holiday to the Orkneys where you can journey into the pagan past of the islands, and experience the magic of a raw and natural Scotland.

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