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Your trip to Scotland cannot complete without visiting some of the beautiful islands in Scotland. With around 800 islands in this seemingly small country, the choices are unlimited and very confusing. So, which ones to choose?
Whether you have just a few days or weeks, it is still worth to take your time, explore a few islands in Scotland, and discover what is unique in them. There are different uninhabited Scottish islands, which are friendly for tourists.
Most of the islands here are located in different main groups. Each group has many larger and smaller islands.
Best time to visit Scottish islands
Usually, the best time to visit the Scottish islands is around May as the weather often remains dry and pleasant. Also, many tourist destinations here remain open in the summer months. So, you can choose from different accommodation options.
What is the largest island in Scotland?
Unfortunately, one of the most overlooked things by tourists are isles in Scotland. Spreading over 1656 sq. Km, the Isle of Skye is considered as the fourth largest in the British Isles and most significant in Scotland. The best part is it is easy to access and served by public transport.
Where is Mure Scotland?
The Northern Isles of Scotland are a couple of archipelagos located off the northern coast and comprises of Shetland and Orkney. It receives cool and favorable temperatures as nearby areas influence it.
What is the name of Scotland’s northernmost islands?
Unst is one of the Northern Isles of Shetland islands in Scotland. It is the third-largest island after Yell and Mainland in Shetland and northernmost of the British Isles.
Find out more destinations to visit in the UK, read it here.
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Top 13 Beautiful Islands in Scotland to Visit (The UK)
The way to the Pillar Island of Staffa is breathtaking by the sea with high basalt columns flanking steep caves which have brought a lot of applauds.
Staffa is an uninhabited island, which houses the well-known ‘Fingal’s Cave. Mendelssohn was the first who may have visited the island in 1829 in his Hebrides Overture and immortalized ‘Fingal’s Cave.
The unique six-sided rock columns of rock on the island are formed from basalt, just like ‘Giant’s Causeway of North Island. The grassy slopes and cliffs become the best nesting sites for many seabirds like razorbills, guillemots, and puffins during early summer and spring.
If weather conditions are ideal, you can land and explore ‘Fingal’s Cave and its natural attractions where columns are distorted and curved intricately.
Want else to visit in Scotland? Why not explore some of its beautiful castles – read it here.
Isle of Mull
This large island of Inner Hebridean has many amazing possibilities, whether you are heading to a day trip or staying fortnight. Located closely to the west of the mainland, the Isle of Mull is the third-largest and one of the most beautiful islands of Scotland and one of the easily accessible islands, and it is connected through three ferries.
Mull is the best Scottish island to spot the rare species of sea eagles or ride a boat offshore to spot dolphins, whales, basking sharks, and other sea animals.
You can explore miles of coastline, from pure white Calgary Bay sands in the northwest to the serene sea arches of Carsaig towards the south. You may climb Ben More and bag a Munro or capture some of the beautiful landscapes on tour.
The Island of Raasay is located just off the eastern coast of Skye and measures only 14×5 miles in length and width. You can take a short ferry ride for 25 minutes, which runs every day to reach there from Sconser on Skye. It is one of the most stunning small islands in Scotland.
It is a paradise for nature lovers, trekkers, or those who want to experience the tranquility and peace of island living and desire an ideal escape from mundane life.
People of all abilities can walk here with dismantled railway lines, woodland trails, coast paths, and open moorland.
Along with abundant flora of the island, visitors can catch the views of rare wildlife species, such as sea eagles, golden eagles, and Raasay vole.
Skye is among the best addresses to visit in Scotland. It is famed for its landscapes and scenery which is breathtaking. The Isle of Skye is the largest island of Inner Hebrides and is 50 miles long.
In the north of the island, some of the villages are Uig, Dunvegan, Edinbane, Uig and Staffin. In the south of the island, some of the notable communities are Armadale, Broadford, Elgol, Carbost, and Kyleakin.
The island has a long-back history of Clan Warfare, Dinosaur Fossils, Highland Clearances, and the notable “Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion.” Both Clan McLeod and Clan MacDonald have their castles on the island, and you should get there.
Skye is also famous for wildlife watching, and you can surely spot the famous white-tailed sea eagle. Some other great creatures to spot are seals, otters, whales, red deer, and dolphins.
If nature and architecture is not enough for you, we suggest you also spend time in the UK’s capital and buzzing city, here are our top post about London – Things to do in London and Day trips from London.
Argyll and the Isles
With island paradises and beautiful scenery, the Argyll & the Isles is the best area to escape into the awe-inspiring landmarks. The region houses 23 islands, each having serene beaches and their own different island cultures, and the rugged views of the mainland can be breathtaking.
Well, there is something more to it. Tranquil Attractions, world-famous distilleries, and fun events are some of the main reasons to get here.
Argyll & the Isles is one of the famous islands in Scotland to explore iconic wildlife, such as red deer, golden eagles, seals, otters, red squirrels, puffins, white-tailed sea eagles, and porpoises in seven National Nature Reserves and a lot of wildlife spaces, parks, and gardens.
The distilleries here fall into three of the five whiskey producing regions in Scotland. You can sample whiskeys from the Scottish Highlands, Campbeltown, and Islay by visiting here.
The Isle of Iona is a tiny island located on the southwest coast of Mull of the Inner Hebrides. It is just 1.5×3 miles in width and length, with a population of over 120 residents.
Iona has a special position in the heart of people across the world. When you visit here, it is sure that you can discover something new and it will somehow give the inspiration to explore more on this island, whether you are getting here for the first time or you have been there already.
Iona has a detailed and long history and is famed as ”The Cradle of Christianity” in Scotland. It is understood that it has recorded 130,000 visitors every year and it is much more to an island. Despite the number of visitors here, the people leave the feeling of restoration and peace.
Plan your trip to Scotland now! Start by booking your flights – read our awesome guide on how to find cheap flights! Also, save on baggage fee and lean how travel minimalism works and to start, here’s our recommendation on the best carry on backpack.
Jura is a gorgeous and untamed island and one of the wildest attractions in Scotland. Located off the west coast of the mainland, Jura is the narrow and long island known for its delectable whiskey, soaring mountains, local population of only 200 residents (outnumbered significantly by whopping 5000 wild deer), and the swirling whirlpool.
One of the ‘world’s famous writers Orwell visited Jura for the first time in the 20th century and called it home. He found ultimate peace to finish his outstanding work, 1984.
From Port Askaig on Islay to Port Feolin on Jura, you can take the regular ferry at any time of the day. The crossing takes just 5 minutes. Also, board Jura passenger ferry on the mainland at Tayvallich and land to Port Craighouse within an hour from early April to late September.
The Isle of Eigg stands among the most stunning Hebridean Islands. Eigg is located 10 miles south of Isle of Skye, off the Scottish West coast and it is around 5×3 miles in length and width.
It has excellent wildlife, a great history, and vivid community life. The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust owns the island. The Trust is liable for stewardship of the island, natural heritage, and its buildings and future development.
The most eco-friendly island in Britain, Eigg is just 12 sq. miles by area and has a population of only 100 inhabitants. It has its microbrewery named Laig Bay Brewing Company, two museums, Lost Map record label, and music festival, as well as a quartz beach in the wind.
With white sand beaches and mild climate, the Isle of Tiree is known as the most westerly island of Inner Hebrides. It is the charming island and the most westerly in Inner Hebridean and at around 12×3 miles in length and width and is quite small.
On this island, the landscape is quite flat and has been known as ”raised beach” as well as ”the land under the waves”.
The island is also famed for its strong crofting culture and fertile soils.
It is one of the sunniest islands in Scotland with the moderate influence of warm Gulf Stream, higher winter temperatures than on the mainland and warm and balmy summer evenings. Tiree is a windy island with the strongest gales in winter in December and January.
Isle of Islay
Also known as, the ”Queen of the Hebrides”, Islay is possibly well known for its smoky and peaty whiskeys. According to the locals, they are the best in the world. It houses eight distilleries that are still operating. Islay surely has a process to make stuff with fine art.
Even though you do not drink whiskey, Islay always gives lovely experience with its seafood, birdlife, and beautiful coastal seascapes and you might also make a taste for it after getting here.
When it comes to getting there, you can easily catch the ferry every day from Kennacraig and Oban once a week. You can also hop on regular buses to get around the island. It also has a direct link to Jura where you can taste some more whiskey. It takes just 5 minutes for a ferry to cross and runs all day long.
Isle of Arran
The Isle of Arran is usually considered as a gem of the Firth of Clyde. It is a place where you can find something of everything in a Scottish Island, including dramatic mountains, ever-changing coastline, sheltered beaches, wonderful cultural festivals, verdant forests, and lots of delicious local produce.
As a small island, but of one the most beautiful island in Scotland. Arran has lots of flavor for you. You can taste your way the creamy cheeses, traditional oatcakes, refreshing beers, fantastic ice cream, and delicious chocolates.
Also, tour the Arran distillery to explore the hidden gems behind the process of distilling before tasting the creamy liquor named Arran Gold or a dram of malt whiskey. You can also explore the interesting ruins of the Bronze Age on the west coast, the Machrie Moor Stone Circles.
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Lewis and Harris
The Isle of Lewis and Harris is the main island of the Outer Hebrides and an ideal place to start your memorable adventure. Discover the Gaelic culture, dramatic landscape, and age-old attractions and traditions.
Even though it may seem like two different islands, the Isle of Lewis and the Isle of Harris are two parts of one island, having the largest town of the group of island, Stornoway on the east coast.
You can catch the ferry to this island, and you will be amazed by the ever-changing blend of mountains, terrains hills, moorlands, and lunar-type rocky plateaus, rugged coastlines, meadows, and white sandy beaches.
After exploring Lewis and Harris, you can find many adventures as you head south via ferry to other islands which are located in the south.
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The Outer Hebrides
Once you arrive on the Outer Hebrides, you will feel like out of this world. Here you can explore untouched countryside and coastline, a different pace of life and fascinating past and cultures. It is a group of islands located off the west of Scotland, connected by ferries and causeways.
It has endless beaches, serene views, exotic wildlife, ancient history, and the best fresh food, which make your visit exciting. Hear the Gaelic being sung and spoken, listen to folk music in pubs, and explore the well known Harris Tweed to be weaved by experienced crafters.
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.