Walking on Orkney

6 Days & 5 Nights 4.5 Read 20 reviews
  • Discover Orcadian hospitality and a land rich in history
  • Follow in the footsteps of Neolithic man at Skara Brae
  • Listen to the cacophony of sea birds while walking clifftop paths
  • Walk to the spectacular Old Man of Hoy sea stack
  • Visit one of Kirkwall's whisky distilleries for a dram
Located off the Scottish mainland's northerly tip the islands of Orkney are the perfect place to switch off from the everyday and tune into the landscape surrounding you. Immerse yourself in history, Orcadian culture and wildlife on this twin-centre walking holiday on the far flung islands of Orkney. From Stromness, on the Orcadian mainland, hop across to the neighbouring Isle of Hoy. Walk along coastal paths, where the cliffs below throng with seabirds, to be rewarded with unrivaled views of the 140m tall Old Man of Hoy sea stack. Visit the world-renowned, UNESCO sites of Neolithic Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe chambered cairn. Arrive in Kirkwall, where you'll spend your final 2 nights. This small town grew up around St Magnus Cathedral and is home to two whisky distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa. Bring your trip to a close with a small group tour of the Isle of Westray with a local expert guide. Discover the history of this little island and look out for curious seals bobbing in the surf.
Read All
Orkney is the perfect destination for a Slower Adventure and this tour allows you to explore the Orcadian culture, eventful Viking heritage, remarkable standing stones, and natural beauty at a comfortable pace. To fully appreciate its Scottish yet Scandinavian feel, there should be no rush. We have chosen a selection of walks that we know you’re going to love with plenty of opportunities for side visits. Linger long enough for great wildlife encounters and to take in the view before tucking into a hearty homecooked meal at your comfortable accommodation.

Tour Type:

Slower Adventures | Where walking and cycling meet easy-going exploring, our Slower Adventures are the perfect combination. Most days are filled with picturesque journeys with some free time to dive into the destination and experience the people, local food and culture as you go.


Multi Centre Walking | With a mix of loop and point-to-point walks stay 2 or 3 nights in one place which offers the chance to slow down and really explore a destination.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 16 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Islands
  • Whisky
  • Coastal Walking

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded easy to moderate. The trails include daily distances of around 5 to 9km (3 to 6 mi) and it is generally a low-level (albeit undulating) walk with elevation levels never exceeding 250m. The walks are gentle and manageable and can be completed at your own pace. If you would like to increase your distances, this is possible and transfers can be eliminated, please read “Choice of Walks” below.

The routes follow a combination of footpaths, coastal trails, and tracks through open fields, and occasionally you'll walk along quiet country roads in rural Orkney. Some walks take in clifftop paths and therefore this trip isn't suitable for those with severe vertigo. You could tailor the trip to avoid these sections or walk off the path further from the clifftop if your vertigo is less severe, speak to one of our specialists if you have any questions.

If you are thinking of travelling solo, please consider that mobile phone coverage may be patchy along remote sections of the trail.


The walks are partially waymarked and easy to follow. Navigation is straightforward as you can use the Macs Adventure Smartphone App which has maps, GPS tracks, Points of Interest, and daily route information. Simply download the GPS tracks for offline use and follow the route on your phone with the assurance that navigation will be simple, and you can’t get lost.

You will find more information on downloading the app in your Macs Adventure Account.

Experience & Fitness

This route is suitable for most regular walkers of average fitness. You should train by walking some daily walks of similar daily distances to your planned itinerary.


You will be spending three nights in Stromness and two nights in Kirkwall. We have carefully selected 3-4* boutique hotels and comfortable B&B's that we know you're going to love. You can expect a warm welcome from friendly hosts, a good night's rest, traditional hospitality, and delicious breakfasts.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This holiday is available to solo walkers and if you require single rooms within your party we will try our best to accommodate your request (subject to availability).


Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation may be able to provide a packed lunch on request, otherwise, there are some small supermarkets/delis where you can buy lunch and snacks for your walks. Dinner is not included so you are free to choose from the available options each night. Staying in central locations means that you are never far from local restaurants and bars. One of the highlights of this trip is the fantastic food and drink on offer. Some of our favourites include dressed Orkney crab, Cullen Skink (Scottish fish soup), smoked mackerel, Bere Bannocks (a thick scone that is unique to Orkney), and meats from North Ronaldsay (the most northerly of the isles, where a flock of rare sheep thrives on a diet of seaweed).

Extra Nights

Many of our guests choose to add extra nights and these can be added at the time of booking.

  • 5 Nights in hand-picked accommodation
  • 5 Breakfasts
  • Guided tour by minibus of the Isle of Westray
  • Luggage transfer between Stromness and Kirkwall
  • Taxi transfers on Days 2, 3 and 4
  • Trip Information Pack
  • Access to route notes, maps, and GPS tracks via the Macs Adventure navigation app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support
  • Travel to / from Orkney
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Return ferries to the Isle of Hoy and the Isle of Westray
  • Admission to Skara Brae and Maeshowe
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Additional nights along the route

When To Go

This walking holiday is best enjoyed between early April and mid-October. Orkney has a cool temperate climate and being an island in the far north you can expect to experience changeable weather from sunshine to windy days and rain.

In our opinion, one of the most beautiful times to visit is in spring when colourful wildflowers bloom forming a beautiful contrast with the landscape. Travel between April and early August to be in the best chance of seeing puffins on the Isle of Westray. July and August are the busiest months and accommodations tend to fill up fast. At this time of year, Orkney enjoys the longest hours of daylight in Scotland! For a quieter experience, the ideal months are May/June and September. We recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially when travelling in a group.

Isle of Westray Guided Tour: In 2023 it is not possible to begin this tour on a Tuesday or Wednesday as this will coincide with the Westray guided tour falling on a Saturday or Sunday respectively. Unfortunately, the tour isn't possible on these dates due to a limited ferry timetable. Please speak to our Destination & Adventure Specialists if you have any questions about this.

Getting to the Start

Orkney is remote yet very accessible and can be reached by plane to Kirkwall, or by ferry to Stromness. There are no direct international flights to Kirkwall Airport so we recommend flying from Glasgow (duration: 1h15m), Edinburgh (duration: 1h15m), Aberdeen (duration: 50m), or Inverness (duration: 45m). The flights to Orkney are typically in small planes with few passengers with Loganair, a Scottish regional airline.

If you would like to travel from Kirkwall Airport to Stromness by public transport, you can use the island bus service. The local bus takes you from the airport into Kirkwall (duration: 10 min), then Stromness (duration: 30 min). If you would prefer getting a taxi transfer from Kirkwall Airport to your accommodation in Stromness we can organize this for you. Please speak to one of our specialists if this is of interest.

If you are planning on traveling to Orkney by ferry to Stromness, NorthLink Ferries operates services between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (duration: 6h) and between Scrabster and Stromness (duration: 1h30m).

Luggage Transfer

Your baggage will be transferred from your accommodation in Stromness to Kirkwall on Day 4 so it can be moved onto your next overnight accommodation. You won't need to carry more than a day bag on your walks. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20 kg per person.

At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase.  Your booking includes a transfer of 1 bag per person. It is important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.

General Information

Local Ferries

Local ferries are not included in the cost of this tour. As you are traveling as a foot passenger without a car, it is not necessary to book this in advance. You can pay on board during the crossing, or if you wish to do so you can pre-book and pay for your tickets in advance. More information on ferries is provided in your Trip Information Pack.

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is UNESCO-listed and consists of 4 outstanding archaeological sites, all of which can be visited as part of this tour: Skara Brae, Maeshowe, the Standing Stones of Stenness, and the Ring of Brodgar. Visits are not included in the cost of this tour. Please note that all visits to Skara Brae as well as a visit to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn must be booked in advance to guarantee entry. This is a quick and easy process, more information is provided in your Trip Information Pack.

Guided tour of the Isle of Westray

This is a full-day guided group tour of the island’s wildlife and history of the Isle of Westray and it is included in your tour. Lunch and refreshments are also included starting with coffee and tea. Although this is a guided minibus tour, you will get out and about exploring the local attractions and landmarks on foot. You will be collected upon arrival and at the end of the day, you will be transferred back to the ferry terminal for the journey back to Kirkwall. Further details will be provided upon booking.


Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a packing list of what to bring. This includes walking gear, hiking boots, rain gear, day pack, and other specifics.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

How fit do I need to be?
How far in advance do I need to book?
What personal equipment do I need?
When is the best time of year?
Am I able to take my dog?
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?


Day 1 Arrive Stromness Day 2 Walking on the Isle of Hoy 5.5 miles / 9 km Day 3 Walk from Skara Brae to Stromness 4.5 miles / 7 km Day 4 Walk from the Ring of Brodgar to Stenness 3 miles / 5 km Day 5 Guided tour by minibus on the Isle of Westray Day 6 Onward Travel

The Macs Way

  • Tried & Tested Adventures Tried & Tested Adventures
  • Freedom Freedom
  • Book with Confidence Book with Confidence
  • Expertise Expertise
  • Positive Impact Positive Impact
Built with our expert knowledge, to suit you.
  • Knowledgeable and helpful specialist trip planners
  • Wide variety of tours to suit all interests and experience levels
  • Start on any date that suits you
  • Choose your ideal trip length and difficulty
  • Range of accommodation comfort levels
  • Choice of trip styles
Authentic adventure travel experiences on your own terms
  • Choose your own travel companions
  • Walk, cycle and explore at your own pace
  • Make your own decisions
  • Choose your own path
  • Indulge your passions
Feel secure in making the right choice for your precious adventure time
  • 18,000+ unbiased trip & service reviews
  • Feefo Platinum Award 2023
  • 25,000+ travelers trust us each year
  • As featured in the Guardian, Times, Nat Geo Traveler
  • Founder owned & operated since 2003
  • 100+ passionate team members across the US, UK & Europe
You can be confident that every detail of your journey has been expertly planned
  • Carefully planned adventures
  • Quality, hand-picked accommodations
  • Seamless and reliable arrangements
  • Comprehensive trip information & insider tips
  • Detailed maps, route notes and mobile GPS app
  • Helpful 24/7 support should you need it
Travel the right way and make a positive impact
  • Travel responsibly
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Support locally owned businesses
  • Engage with local communities
  • Minimize your impact
  • Maximize the benefit of your travel
  • Challenge yourself & grow
$ - USD - US Dollar
Country/Region name: