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Orkney Islands, Scotland

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Orkney Islands, Scotland: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.

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What do I need to know before moving to Orkney Islands?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Orkney Islands, they said:

"The Orkney Islands are a group of islands located off the northeastern coast of Scotland. They are known for their stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique culture. Before moving to the Orkney Islands, there are several things expats should know. The weather in Orkney can be quite unpredictable, with frequent changes throughout the day. It's often windy, and the islands experience relatively mild winters and cool summers. Therefore, it's essential to pack clothing suitable for all types of weather. The cost of living in Orkney is generally lower than in many other parts of the UK, but it's important to note that certain goods may be more expensive due to transportation costs. Housing is relatively affordable, and the islands offer a high quality of life. The primary industries in Orkney are agriculture, fishing, and tourism, with a growing focus on renewable energy. Job opportunities may be limited in certain fields, so it's advisable to secure employment before moving. Public transportation is available, but services are limited. Many residents choose to drive, and having a car can be beneficial for exploring the islands. However, the islands are also very walkable and cycling-friendly. The Orkney Islands have a close-knit community, and newcomers are often welcomed warmly. The local culture is deeply rooted in Norse history and traditions, and there are numerous festivals and events throughout the year celebrating this heritage. English is the primary language spoken in Orkney, but you may also hear the local dialect, Orcadian, which has Norse influences. Learning a few phrases can help you feel more integrated into the community. Healthcare services are available on the islands, including a hospital in Kirkwall, the largest town. However, certain specialist treatments may require travel to mainland Scotland. Education in Orkney is of a high standard, with several primary and secondary schools and a campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands. Finally, the Orkney Islands are home to an abundance of wildlife and offer numerous outdoor activities, from bird watching to hiking and sailing. It's a perfect place for those who love nature and outdoor adventures," said one expat who made the move to Orkney Islands.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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