The islands of the Outer Hebrides are also collectively referred to as the Western Isles or Long Island. The name Long Island comes from the long thin shape of this island chain. These islands are sparsely populated and are excellent places for a remote luxury cottage break where you can truly get away from everything and everyone if you wish. By virtue of their low resident populations, these islands are wonderful places for wildlife watching and unspoilt natural scenery. These islands are also known for their nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest.
Lewis and Harris together make up the largest island in the Outer Hebrides. Officially Lewis and Harris are one island with Lewis in the North and Harris in the South but the names are often used to refer to them as separate islands. Stunning soulful scenery awaits you on both Lewis and Harris. The landscape in Lewis is mostly flat with some stunning hills and lochs whereas Harris is mainly mountainous. Why not spend some time in both Lewis and Harris on a luxury cottage break?
Lewis is known for its pristine sandy beaches and excellent wildlife watching opportunities. Various boat trips run from Lewis for those who want to go seal watching or bird watching at St Kilda. Lewis is known for being home to the Callanish Stones. These soulful standing stones date back to the Neolithic period. Also on Lewis is the impressive Lews Castle and Dun Carloway, a broch near Loch Roag which dates back to the Iron Age.
Harris with its mountainous landscape could be a great choice for keen hikers. Also on tranquil Harris are some of Scotlands best sandy beaches backed by glorious mountain scenery, making these places simply picture perfect.
In terms of getting to Lewis and Harris, a ferry connects Lewis with Ullapool on the Scottish mainland. There is also a ferry which connects Harris with the Isle of Skye and North Uist.
Fly between Benbecula and Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Benbecula is a largely flat island with many lochs and some excellent sandy beaches. This island is located sandwiched between North Uist and South Uist and is connected with these islands by causeways. Flights connect Benbecula with Barra, Inverness, Stornoway and Glasgow.
Barra is the most southerly of the inhabited Outer Hebridean islands. With sandy beaches and stunning soulful Scottish scenery there is plenty to recommend Barra. Barra is home to the impressive Kisimul Castle which stands on its own small rock island and appears to mysteriously float in the sea. This castle dates back to medieval times. Barra is also known for the Iron Age broch at Dun Chuidhir and various other archaeological sites.
Ferries connect Barra with Oban on The Scottish mainland. You can also fly to Barra from Glasgow.
North Uist is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches, gently rolling hills and freshwater lochs. Around half of the land on this island is covered by lochs. There are also a number of interesting Neolithic sites on North Uist including the Pobull Fhinn stone circle and the Fir Bhreige standing stones. There is also a special nature reserve, Balranald, on North Uist, which is a great spot for birdwatching.
North Uist is connected by causeway with Benbecula. There is also a ferry connection that links the island with the Isle of Skye.
South Uist promises white shell beaches, lochs, sandy beaches and wonderful flora and fauna. This is an excellent place for wildlife watching and you may spot interesting birds or even otters. The island benefits from a National Nature Reserrve at Loch Druidibeg. South Uist is linked to Benbecula by causeway. There is also a ferry that connects South Uist with Oban on the Scottish mainland.
When it comes to choosing where to visit in the Inner or Outer Hebrides we hope you find our hints and tips on this part of Scotland helpful. However to get a full flavour of what each has to offer and how accessible each island is we recommend that you do full research to find out which island best suits you.
Island hopping on a luxury self-catering break is a real possibility in the Outer Hebrides particularly between the islands of South Uist, Benbecul and North Uist which are all connected with causeways.