For anyone trying to plan a Scottish vacation, the question about where to fly into Scotland is probably one of the first on their mind. Scotland has a lot of airports but only a few of them serve the international market.
When I was younger, flying abroad from Scotland was a much harder thing to do. Our airport options were much smaller and the premium for not flying from London was huge as well! Thankfully the options seem to have expanded A LOT since then!
When flying to Scotland, your choices of airport widen if you decide to explore England as well as there’s a number of airports that fly from London. London is a great travel hub from almost everywhere in the world!
Because of the nature of Scotland and its remoteness, flying is a good way to explore into the wilderness and get off the beaten track a bit. This is especially true if your time in this country is limited.
Where is best to fly in to Scotland?
When thinking about where is best to fly in to start your Scotland trip you’ll want to think about a few things:
- Where is your destination in Scotland?
- Will you have your own transport in Scotland or will you rely on public transport?
For most people, arriving in Edinburgh or Glasgow will be the best airport. Each of these cities has a lot going for it and is worth exploring on their own while also being a great place start an onward journey to other parts of the country.
Glasgow and Edinburgh are well connected by train and bus to many other parts of the country as well as having lots of tours departing from there. Great if you don’t want to navigate public transport and still see the country. (See tours around Scotland here)
And if you want to transfer to another, more remote airport, Glasgow and Edinburgh are the best places to look for connecting flights.
Which Scottish Airports to fly in to from London?
London is a popular hub for visitors who might not be able to get a direct flight to Scotland. Plenty of the Scottish airports are connected to London and you’ll be able to save a lot of time traveling north by using them.
Be aware when planning that there are a number of different airports that serve London and some are on the outskirts. Not all are close enough for a short transfer, even using a taxi.
- Edinburgh (to and from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and London City)
- Glasgow (to and from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and London City)
- Aberdeen (to and from Heathrow, Southend and Luton)
- Inverness (to and from Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton)
- Dundee (to and from London City, LCY)
Which Scottish Airports to fly in to from US?
If you’re flying from the United States to Scotland you’ll be heading into the capital city, Edinburgh. It’s the only airport that has direct flights to Scotland.
US cities with direct flights to Edinburgh Airport (EDI):
- New York
From Edinburgh Airport you’ll have a chance to explore the wonderful city, even if you only have a day, before discovering the rest of the country.
Airports in Scotland map
Scottish Airports List
What follows is a list of all the main airports that are likely to be useful for tourists to Scotland. I’ve separated them into the International airports and regional hubs.
International airports in Scotland
Edinburgh Airport is the most popular landing destination for overseas travelers and also those flying from other regions in the UK.
It’s based just to the west of Edinburgh city and has good transport links with a tram that connects it easily to the city and on to other train networks and bus stations.
Find Edinburgh Airport transfers here
Glasgow Airport, not to be confused with Prestwick, received flights from all over the world including Europe, the Caribbean and even Canada. It’s also well served from a lot of the UK’s regional airports.
It’s based on the west side of Glasgow and as such it’s a great place to head onwards to the islands of Scotland if that’s where you’re planning to go.
The Glasgow Airport Express 500 bus will take you in to the city where you can go onwards to your destination.
Find Glasgow Airport Transfers here
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Prestwick Airport is based quite a way outside of Glasgow on the coast near Ayr. It’s mainly used as a hub for flights from Spain and other European cities. Since it’s based in the south west of the country it could be a good place to go to explore, Dumfries and Galloway area
To get from Prestwick Airport to Glasgow there’s a train directly into Glasgow as well as some buses too. From Glasgow you can be well connected to the rest of Scotland.
Aberdeen International Airport
Aberdeen Airport serves a number of European countries and arriving here will have you well placed to discover the East coast as well as getting into the Cairngorms and the countryside around Balmoral, the Royal residence.
Aberdeen is an interesting city to explore in its own right and you can get there using a bus from the airport. Aberdeen is quite a way from Edinburgh and Glasgow, about 3-4 hours on public transport and around 2-3 driving.
To get right into the Highlands, Inverness airport is a great starting point. It doesn’t serve very many international destinations, but does go to Amsterdam which can be a good hub for many to change at.
Buses can take you from the airport to Inverness and from there you can explore all there is to do in the city, discover the Black Isle, Loch Ness, travel the NC500 or go on a whisky tour! So much to do from Inverness!
Regional airports in Scotland
Dundee airport is small and receives flights from London City airport and also Belfast.
Good for: Fife, Grampian area, Balmoral.
Wick / John o’Groats Airport
Wick John o’Groats airport receives flights from Aberdeen and lands in the town of Wick, just south of John o’Groats. (John o’Groats is the most northern part of Scotland, many travel from Inverness or even from the south of England to here!)
Good for: Far north of Scotland, NC500, ferries to Orkney.
If the remote islands of Orkney are on your list and time is short, a flight to Kirkwall makes a lot of sense!
You can fly to Orkney from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Shetland (Sumburgh).
Good for: Orkney, Skara Brae (an ancient Scottish site), Scapa Flow, wildlife
Shetland is the farthest north island archipelago of Scotland and flying is really the easiest way to get there. You’ll land at the southern tip at Sumburgh Airport.
You can fly to Shetland from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Aberdeen and Orkney (Kirkwall).
Good for: Exploring Shetland, wildlife, fans of the Shetland tv series!
If the Outer Hebrides are your destination then rather than getting a ferry, a flight to Stornaway might be a good option.
You can fly to Stornaway Airport from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Benbecula (another island in the Outer Hebrides)
Good for: Outer Hebrides exploring, North West of Scotland, ferries to Skye, Callanish (ancient stone circle), fantastic beaches
One of the most interesting airports in the world, Barra Airport, on one of the southernmost Outer Hebrides islands, has it’s runway as the tidal beach! For that reason, it’s on the bucket list of many people to land here!
You can fly to Barra Airport from Glasgow.
Good for: Outer Hebrides, beautiful beaches
Whisky fanatics will love to visit Islay which is great for island hopping over to Jura too.
Flights from Islay Airport go from Glasgow and also Oban
Good for: whisky distilleries, southern islands, wildlife
Oban is a port that is a jumping off point to many islands but as well as getting the ferry there’s an airport where you can get small planes to many of the small islands nearby too.
Flights from Oban go to Tiree, Colonsay, Islay and Coll.
Good for: Scottish Island hopping.