Scotland’s islands are renowned for their breath-taking coastlines, eclectic wildlife, and rich history. With over 800 islands to discover you really are spoiled for choice. Here’s our guide to the best islands to visit.
The southernmost inhabited of the Outer Hebrides islands, the beautiful island of Vatersay connects to Barra by a causeway. The island is famous for its serene beaches and machair grass covered sand dunes.
The petit island of Barra is only 8 miles long and is renowned for its secluded sandy beaches. Nestling near the bottom of the Western Isles chain the island is said to be Scotland’s most beautiful island and is known fondly as “Barradise”.
The Sunshine Isle of Tiree gets some of the highest levels of sun in the UK. The island boasts idyllic white sandy beaches with azure blue water making it perfect for water sports like kite-surfing, paddle boarding and much more.
The main island in Shetland is a wonder to see, the remote archipelago lies between Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Norway. Must see attractions include the Eshaness Cliffs, made up from ancient volcanic remnants and Jarlshof, a 4,000 year old Norse settlement.
You will find that Mull has lots to offer including a Munro (Ben More), impressive coastline scenery, golden sand beaches, historic castles, and the pretty port town of Tobermory.
The collection of small islands is one of the best places to go seal spotting in the UK, keep an eye out for whales and dolphins as they are also known to visit the island’s coastline. A trip to Orkney wouldn’t be complete without visiting Skara Brae, a 5,000 year old preserved Neolithic village.
Eigg is known as one of the Small Isles just south of Skye. The island is 10 miles off the coast of the mainland but feels like a different world, featuring sheer cliff tops and quartz beaches. The community-owned island is a sustainability pioneer due to being independently powered by wind, solar and water.
The Isle of Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most picturesque surroundings. Highlights are the enchanting fairy pools at Glenbrittle, Dunvegan Castle with its sprawling gardens, spotting otters along the rugged coastline and a scenic boat trip to Loch Coruisk.
The island is affectionately called “Scotland in miniature”, Arran is split in two by a fault line giving two unique landscapes. There is so much to do on the island, you can choose to relax on the sandy beaches, climb Goat Fell the highest point on the island or visit the historic castles.
Lewis & Harris
The island was made world famous with the luxury Tweed brand but there is much more to the island. The Callandish Standing Stones is an impressive cruciform stone circle dating over 5,000 years. Like most of the Scottish Islands, Lewis & Harris boasts stunning remote beaches with Luskentyre being a particular favourite.