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Destination: Orkney Islands Tours

Description: Remote Scottish Island archepalego off north coast of Scotland,, rugged wilderness
Region: Northern Scotland
Pronounced: ork-neez
Time to spend here: 1 - 3 days
Nature LoversBy the seaWalking FanaticsIn the country
Orkney Islands, Scotland
HebridesOrkney Islands

The Islands of Orkney are a group of about 70 islands situated around 6 miles from the north-east tip of the Scottish Mainland. Only 17 of the islands are inhabited and some of the most dramatic scenery is along the coast where 300m cliffs plunge into white, sandy beaches. The islands are windswept and virtually treeless yet intensely green with a wild and lonely beauty. Stunning and beautiful beaches combine with heritage, culture and wonderful wildlife to make any trip to Orkney distinct and magical.

There are a great number of archaeological sites throughout the islands with the Knap of Howar on Papa Westray being the ‘oldest dwelling house in the UK’. The largest and most inhabited island is called ‘The Mainland’ and includes the sites of Maeshowe, Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae which are all World Heritage Sites. There are many other sites to visit and explore from Neolithic tombs and dwellings to Pictishbrochs and Viking settlements.

Remote from the harassing turmoil of modern urban life, but easily accessible seven days a week – Orkney is nearer than you think.

What can I see in the area?
Kirkwall, Orkneys
KirkwallOrkney’s capital Kirkwall has a sense of magic, having stood for hundreds of years, and today you will discover a wonderful selection of craft shops, restaurants and cafés. This bustling market town and Royal Burgh was founded by Vikings around 1035. The original town is one of the best preserved examples of an ancient Norse town. The distinctive red sandstone of St Magnus Cathedral known as the 'Light in the North' was founded in 1137 by the Viking, Earl Rognvald, in honour of his uncle St Magnus.
Skara Brae
Skara Brae, Orkneys
KirkwallWith a variety of attractions, wonderful wildlife and some amazing scenery, the West Mainland is difficult to rival. The Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, near the dramatic white beach of the Bay of Skaill, is one of the best preserved groups of prehistoric houses in Western Europe. Maeshowe is the finest chambered tomb in north-west Europe and more than 5000 years old. It was broken into in the mid 12th century by Viking crusaders who carved graffiti runes on the walls of the main chamber. Don’t miss a visit of the Ring of Brodgar, the largest Neolithic standing stone circle in Scotland!
Stomness, Orkneys
KirkwallThe rambling, winding streets flanking the town of Stomness have changed little since the 18th century and the flagstone-paved main street curves along the waterfront, amid attractive stone cottages. The town has been a safe haven for mariners for centuries and still has a strong connection with the sea.
Archaeological Islands
Smaller Archeological Islands, Orkneys
KirkwallRousay, Egilsay, Wyre and Eynhallow are all very rich in archaeological history. These isles have more than 160 sites to explore! Rousay boastssome of the best preserved monuments in Scotland,earning a reputation as the ‘Egypt of the North’. Thedistinctive hilly scenery on the isle was carved outwhen glaciers spread across the land. The smallerneighbouring isles are also intriguing. Egilsay housesa round-towered church in memory of St Magnus,on Wyre you can see a Viking chieftain’s stronghold and Eynhallow was once a holy isle with evidence of a 12th century monastic settlement.
Stromness Golf Course, Orkneys
KirkwallFor golf enthusiasts, Stromness golf course is one of the most popular courses off the Scottish mainland and boasts wonderful views of Scapa Flow.
Multi-attraction Passes Recommended for this destination:
Historic Scotland Pass

Historic Scotland pass
This is a great base for exploring:
Orkney Islands!
Transport options in this area: The Islands do have transport as the ferry's don't usually carry vehicles across.
Did you know:
In midsummer, the sun does not set until 22.30 and the sun is above the horizon for 18 hours a day. Residents are regularly treated to Northern Light displays in the winter.
Orkney was first written about by Greek Explorer Pytheas in 325BC and claimed to have seen the 'Edge of the World'!
Fort William Fort William Inverness
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