Visit the Outer Hebrides and start your Hebridean Adventure

Paul Honeywell

Paul Honeywell

Published 10 January 2023

The Outer Hebrides are very different from the mainland of Scotland.

The long Hebridean island chain lies off the west coast of Scotland, with the main islands being Barra to the south, the South and North Uist in the centre, and then to the north the islands of Harris and Lewis (which are, in fact, joined together).

The Hebrides are wild and rugged islands with a rich culture and widespread use of the Gaelic language. They are primarily treeless, making superb uninterrupted vistas across the landscape and out to sea. They also offer excellent walking experiences, from the Hebridean Way (running the length of the islands) to your exploration using Scotland’s “right to roam” freely across most of the land.

The islands offer some of the best beaches in the world, and that’s no understatement. Barra has a unique airport where the plane lands on the beach – no tarmac runway there! The powdery sands range from pure white to golden. As a result, the colours of the seas lapping those beaches are so vivid that they are impossible to describe – you need to experience them for yourselves.

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 There is lots of wildlife to spot, from passing whales and dolphins to majestic eagles.

So, which island to choose?

  • Barra is relatively small but a wonderful place to visit.
  • The Uists are very varied, with hundreds of lochs and lots to explore.
  • Harris is regarded as the “Jewel of the Hebrides” due to its high hills and stunning beaches.
  • Lewis is a large island and home to the evocative Callanish (one of the most complete ancient stone circles anywhere) and the capital of the Hebrides, the town of Stornoway.

You can get to the Hebrides using the extensive network of Caledonian MacBrayne car ferries or by air. Car rentals are readily available or try a holiday by bike. Excellent shops and places to eat and drink are scattered across the islands.

If you plan an outdoor adventure, there is no better destination than the Hebrides. Bring warm and waterproof clothing, binoculars and your camera to capture the island light. And talking of capturing, one thing is for sure – the Hebrides will capture a piece of your heart, and you will always yearn to return.