The best scottish islands to visit offer something for every traveller, ranging from dramatic sea cliffs to ancient archaeological sites. Iona, considered the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland, offers spiritual energy while Lewis provides stunningly rugged terrain.
No matter your interests – wildlife, coastline, whisky sampling, music or epicurean delights – these islands provide the ideal place for exploration.
The Isle of Mull is an impressive Scottish island that deserves to be on any itinerary. Offering breathtaking scenery and cultural attractions alike, visitors to Mull can climb a Munro, explore luminous lochs, stroll along white sandy beaches and visit unique distilleries – making for an incredible Scotland visit!
Erraid and Garbh Eilean islands are excellent spots for wildlife encounters at low tide. Iona village, with its Abbey and Nunnery, is also popular among visitors who wish to experience its spiritual richness.
Colonsay Island is an idyllic gem that exudes charm. From its classic red phone boxes to its historic smuggling legends, Colonsay offers plenty of surprises.
Reaching the island is simple with Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) ferry services departing daily from Oban and Port Askaig and arriving at Scalasaig’s Ferry Terminal.
From there you can explore tidal island walks, sandy beaches and picturesque harbour towns that make this region special. If you’re lucky, perhaps even puffins in their natural environment might appear!
Barra boasts white sand beaches, dramatic mountain peaks and an incredible history. From its picturesque loch at the ferry terminal to the tidal beach at Kilmory Bay and Neolithic sites older than Stonehenge – Barra offers something to explore at every turn.
Island life offers walks suitable for people of all abilities and even an eccentric Victorian pile – Kinloch Castle – now used as a community centre. However, what sets Kinloch Castle apart is its wildlife: with puffins, deer and the legendary Rum ponies.
Arriving on some islands requires more than just taking a car ferry ride; for instance, Shetland Islands have so much to see and do that it requires multiple long-distance ferry crossings to explore them all in one visit.
Barra is an island located off Scotland that stands out in several ways, from having one of only six runways constructed out of tidal beach sand to its white sand beaches and Neolithic archaeological sites as well as its strong sense of community. Plan to spend at least several days here!
Iona is an idyllic island known for being one of the first Christian sites in Scotland and for hillwalking enthusiasts, boasting beautiful white beaches with clear turquoise waters.
On a day trip to Iona, you can visit its Abbey and St Oran’s Chapel – said to be the burial place for 48 Scottish kings.
Fingal’s Cave, a massive basalt rock formation, can also be explored. Other attractions near the ferry slip include Sand Eel Bay and Martyr’s Bay – two serene spots of beach paradise.
As soon as summer hits, the Inner Hebrides become an absolute buzz of activity; book accommodation and ferry trips as early as possible. Midges can become an issue; be sure to pack repellent as well as long sleeves.
But as soon as autumn hits, the landscape returns to relative calm and you can leisurely explore its stunning beaches at your own leisure. Visit Gott Bay with its mirror-smooth sands or head towards Scarinish for its charming blackhouses.
Heritage on the island is also fascinating, including Neolithic sites Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar which form a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as an iron Age broch at Dun Mor a’ Chaolais that dates back 5,000 years.
Isle of Muck may not be as well known as Scotland’s other islands, but it still deserves your consideration as it offers stunning landscapes, epicurean delights and an intriguing history.
Muck Island is home to an extensive colony of seabirds nesting cliff-side and boasts an astonishing collection of archaeological discoveries such as multiple burial cairns. You can also climb 137 meters up Beinn Airein Peak for stunning island views!
Bring Muck into your sights via the Road to the Isles ferry for an enjoyable day trip or spend several days exploring its sandy beaches and floral machair.