Exploring The Isle of Harris
Guide to the Isle of Harris: A world waiting to be discovered
The Isle of Harris is a spectacular island known for its mountains, beaches and wildlife. Exploring the Isle of Harris with its extraordinary scenery and adventurous spirit, is a world just waiting to be discovered. An ideal destination for a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and cycling, Harris’ remote landscapes and breath-taking scenery inspire everyone that visits.
The Isle of Harris is a wonderful place to visit for holidays or short breaks, to see the old villages, take a walk along the coastline or go to the many festivals held throughout the year.
And when you’ve finished outside, there’s more to explore. Harris is home to some fascinating museums and attractions, as well as some highly recommended cafés and galleries. Find attractions, hiking routes, outdoor pursuits, wildlife, beaches and more with our comprehensive Harris Visitor Guide, provided to all of our guests .
Two Isles, one Island
The Isles of Harris and Lewis are actually one island, sharing a land border at Tarbert.
A Record-Breaking Peak
Harris’ famous An Cliseam is the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides, standing at an impressive 799 metres. It’s popular with walkers, climbers and even boasts an active cycle route!
km² to explore
Harris tweed weavers
Isle of Harris activities: Take a trip back in time…
You can’t explore Harris without visiting the island’s numerous prehistoric sites, with settlements having been discovered from amongst the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron Age and Viking ages. Ancient standing stones provide markers along the coast, and a drive up to Callanish on Lewis will reveal a complete Neolithic stone circle which predates Stonehenge.
You’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of things to do in Isle of Harris, from hill walks to art galleries. From fossil hunting on the coast to discovering lunar-like rocks and the atmospheric landmarks of the past, a visit to Harris offers a true trip back in time.
Favourite Hiking Routes
There’s no better way to explore Harris than on foot. From Macleod’s Stone to the An Cliseam Horseshoe, there’s a hiking route for everyone.
Hidden Hebrides and Wild Harris offer guided walks to help you make the most of the island, as do the rangers of the North Harris Trust. Don’t forget to join the Hebridean Way, running from Vatersay to Lewis – it passes right behind the house.
Macleod's Stone & Traigh Iar
This short walk crosses the stunningly beautiful sands of Traigh Iar before climbing up to visit a massive standing stone. The route then passes over a low hill to reach the equally fine beach of Traigh Niosaboit before returning beside the road. Great views throughout.
Difficulty – Easy
Distance – 2.5km
Average Time – 1 hour
Renish Point, from Rodel
This short walk explores the most southerly headland on Harris, a great vantage point for marine mammals, otters and seabirds. It crosses open grazing land so dogs should be kept under tight control.
Average Time: 2 hours
Sron Ulladale Stalker’s Path
Sron Uladal (or Strone Ulladale as it is often known) is a magnificent overhanging cliff hidden in a very remote location in the Harris hills. The cliff has been claimed as the finest inland precipice in the UK and was made famous by the Great Climb live broadcast on BBC Scotland.
Average Time: 4 hours
Beinn Dhubh, Losgaintir
Beinn Dhubh and its neighbour Beinn Losgaintir appear unremarkable, rounded hills from a distance. However, their superb position overlooking the Luskentyre Sands on the one hand, and the mountains of North Harris on the other, ensures they make for a shorter hill walk with sensational views.
Average Time: 5 hours
An Cliseam Horseshoe
The long approach to An Cliseam over the dramatic and rugged ridges of Mulla-Fo-Thuath and Mulla-Fo-Dheas is a Hebridean classic, with views to match. The route makes a full days’ hill-walking and is much more demanding than the standard route up Cliseam.
Average Time: 9 hours
Urgha to Rhenigidale
Average Time: 3 hours
Ceapabhal, Taobh Tuath
This very steep ascent towards Ceapabhal rewards walkers with stunning views along the beaches of Harris as well as out over a myriad of islands in the Sound. Much of the track is sand over machair, with more formal tracks only appearing in the upper sections.
Average Time: 3 hours
Harris Eagle Observatory
Home to 20 pairs of Golden Eagles, the mountains of Harris offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to see these creatures in their natural habitat. This walk takes you out on an even track to the new observatory.
Average Time: 1.5 hours
Whether you’re salmon fishing in a freshwater loch or sea-fishing off the coast, Harris offers you a world of opportunities. The white-sand expanse of Scarista is one of the world’s finest beaches, and the outcrops at Horgabost make it a great rock-pooling destination. The Borve Estate, Obbe Fishing and Fish ‘n’ Trips all offer some great fishing excursions.
Award winning beaches
Harris beaches are ideal for kite-buggying, snorkelling and paddle boarding too. Or simply hire a canoe or kayak and explore the unspoilt wilderness in peace and quiet. Check out SurfLewis and Harris, go cold-water swimming with Immerse Hebrides, and head into the wild with the Scaladale Centre and Wild Harris.
Cafés and Galleries
When exploring Isle of Harris, you’ll discover a wide range of great venues. The An Traigh Café Bar combines robust lunches with glorious views over Seilebost beach whilst Temple Harris is a wonderful café and bakery serving a range of traditional and specialist cakes.
For art-lovers, Mission House Studio offers unique, contemporary ceramics. Harris Art Gallery exhibits oil paintings featuring the rural landscape. Why not enjoy some coffee and cake at Skoon Gallery?
Keep up to date with Òran na Mara’s informative blog
Dog friendly holidays mean that you can enjoy your time together with man’s best friend. It was many years before we had a dog of our own. Poppy, a Norfolk Terrier, was born locally to us in Northamptonshire, and quickly became part of our family. Dog Friendly...
This blog is written by Mo Thompson, a brilliant photographer who loves Harris and has stayed at Òran na Mara a number of times. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about how to take photos of the night sky. Imagine a dark winter night, arriving at the ferry port...
The Autumn heralds the longer nights for stargazing as well as fantastic light for photographers. Dramatic seascapes, rainbows, clouds and shafts of light abound, bringing an ethereal beauty that will stir your soul and moments that you will remember for ever....