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22 Scenic Scottish Islands to visit in 2022

Iona
Iona.

Giving readers plenty to ‘Mull’ over, join us on a scenic island-hopping adventure!

1. Skye

Skye
Skye.

One of the few Scottish islands you can reach via car from the mainland, the Isle of Skye is first on today’s list.

On the journey to Skye, you will more than likely pass the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a symbol of Scotland, standing on its own tidal island.

Making for an impressive list of sights, both prehistoric Storr landslip and Quiraing are on Skye, a Scottish Isle teeming with wonderful photo opportunities.

2. Mull

Tobermory
Tobermory.

One of the great Inner Hebridean gems, the Isle of Mull is a popular port of call for island-hopping tours and cruises.

Featuring many of the wonderful ingredients Scotland is known for, visitors can expect dramatic peaks, stretches of untamed wilderness and excellent views.

Setting off from the colourful capital, Tobermory, island highlights include the ancient home of the Clan Maclean, Duart Castle, nearby Iona and wildlife across the Treshnish Isles.

3. Iona

Iona Abbey
Iona Abbey.

The small yet charming island of Iona is easily explored on foot.

Whether following the coastline or paying a visit to the landmark Abbey, Iona is a must-include on any serious island-hopper’s bucket list.

One of Scotland’s key religious sites, the well-preserved Abbey has stood the test of time (and a few daring Viking raids centuries ago!).

4. Islay

Soldier's Rock
Soldier’s Rock.

Once home to the ruling ‘Lord of the Isles’, Islay is known for its whisky, ragged coastline and lovely beaches.

Famous for its single malts, different distilleries on Islay send the iconic tipple around the world.

Points of interest include solitary Soldier’s Rock (pictured) and the prehistoric ruins at secluded Finlaggan.

5. Arran

Arran
Arran.

‘Scotland in Miniature’, the Isle of Arran is tucked away on the Firth of Clyde.

On Arran, Scotland’s best features are distilled down with spectacular results.

The island is home to castles, mountainous highland scenery and beautiful glens.

6. Barra

Kisimul Castle
Kisimul Castle.

Connected to neighbouring Vatersay via a short causeway, Barra is one of the most celebrated of the Outer Hebrides.

Famous for it’s stunning beaches, Barra is a walker’s paradise.

Notable sights include the tidal runway at Cockleshell beach and the ‘Castle on the Sea’ Kisimul Castle.

7. Lewis & Harris

Standing Stones
Standing Stones of Callanish.

The largest of the Outer Hebrides, separated into two, Lewis and Harris have their fair share of Scottish treasures.

Must-visits include the 5000 year-old Standing Stones of Callanish and Gearrannan Blackhouse Village.

A stretch of coastline that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean, Luskentyre Beach is one of the UK’s finest sandy stretches.

8. Benbecula

Tiree
Tiree.

Connecting North and South Uist, Benbecula or ‘Mountain of the Fjord’ is linked by causeway to its neighbours.

Home to beautiful beaches and huge stretches of machair, the island has its own airport.

A popular stop for birdwatchers, Benbecula is one of the flattest islands in the Western Isles.

9. Jura

Jura
Jura.

Famous for its brooding ‘Paps of Jura’, Jura was once the home of the acclaimed author George Orwell.

Now best known for its whisky exports, the island has been inhabited for over 5000 years!

One of the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, highlights include the main settlement, Craighouse, and the island’s distillery.

10. North Uist

North Uist
North Uist.

One of the Outer Hebrides, North Uist sits close to Benbecula and Harris.

The island’s RSPB Reserve at Balranald is known for its corncrakes.

Believed to be Scotland’s oldest university, the ruins of Trinity Temple are another key attraction.

11. Colonsay

Colonsay
Colonsay.

Close to both Islay and Jura, the island of Colonsay is one of the last land masses before reaching Canada.

Looking out across the Atlantic Ocean, Colonsay is home to roughly just over 130 islanders!

Celebrated for its natural beauty, Colonsay House and Gardens is perhaps the most historic landmark on the entire island.

12. Lunga

Lunga
Lunga.

Thanks to tidal currents and warm waters fed by the Gulf Stream, the area around Mull is one of the most important natural habitats in Europe.

Just off the coast, Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles, is a must for wildlife lovers.

Huge numbers of birds flock to this remote archipelago.

Alongside puffins, kittiwakes and fulmars, the surrounding coastal waters attract seals and dolphins!

13. Staffa

Staffa
Staffa.

A striking basalt column pillar island, Staffa, off the coast of Mull, is reached via a short boat ride.

Notable past visitors include Queen Victoria and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Championed for its natural acoustics, the Fingal’s Cave is a key point of interest on Staffa, only accessible via boat.

14. South Uist

South Uist
South Uist.

The second largest of the Outer Hebrides, South Uist is connected to its neighbours via causeway.

Mountainous to the east, the other side of the island has lovely beaches worth looking out for.

15. Orkney

Ring of Brodgar
Ring of Brodgar.

The Orkney Archipelago is a quintessential Scottish destination.

Across Orkney, different important points of interest include the mythical Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe, the first chambered tomb in Western Europe, and St Magnus Cathedral.

Standing in Kirkwall, St Magnus is the UK’s most northerly cathedral, built before Orkney became a part of Scotland!

16. Handa

Handa
Handa.

The more remote the better!

Handa, off the west coast of Sutherland, is an important refuge for seabirds.

Close 100,000 are believed to breed on the island each year!

The impressive bird activity and coastal views are key reasons why many decide to visit the island.

Depending on the timing of your visit, birds to look out for include Oyster Catcher (easily recognised thanks to their carrot-like beaks), puffin and bright-white Arctic Tern.

Away from the wildlife, alternative points of interest include the remains of an old village, left abandoned since 1847, and Handa’s towering mountain peaks.

17. Shetland

Eshaness Cliffs
Eshaness Cliffs.

Shetland is famous for its scenery and the iconic Up Helly Aa Winter Fire Festival.

Alongside bonnie beaches including Skaw, the Sands of Breckon, St. Ninian’s Ayre, consider visiting the impressive Eshaness cliffs.

Stepping back in time, carefully excavated ruins at Jarlshof date back thousands of years.

A bird haven, the nature reserve at Noss is famous for its seasonal inhabitants including Atlantic Puffin and Guillemots.

18. Eriskay

Eriskay
Eriskay.

Forever associated with the 1940s film ‘Whisky Galore!’ Eriskay and its pristine white sandy beaches sits within the Outer Hebrides archipelago.

The film, based on true events that saw a whisky-laden ship strike rocks to the north of the island, has inspired many a journey to Eriskay.

As well as rescuing the crew, islanders were reportedly able to salvage some of the precious cargo with the tales of the ship etched into local folklore.

19. Unst

Unst
Unst.

The feat of visiting the UK’s most northerly inhabited island is on many an island-hopper’s bucket list.

This is Unst, a small yet characterful member of Shetland’s Outer Isles.

Have you seen the dramatic cliffs, sea stacks and ruins of Muness Castle first-hand?

If not, we thoroughly recommend pondering a little trip to Unst this year!

20. Mousa

Mousa
Mousa.

Mousa is something of a bird haven with the island today a RSPB Nature Reserve.

Reached via short boat ride from the Shetland mainland, the key point of interest on Mousa is its Iron Age Broch.

Believed to be over 2,000 years old, the Broch is one of the best preserved on the entire British Isles.

Once serving as a crucial lookout point guarding Mousa Sound, the Broch is actually one of a pair once used to protect this stretch of water.

21. Gigha

Gigha
Gigha.

Gigha, off the coast of Kintyre, is one of the smallest islands on our island-hopping list.

Reached via short ferry ride, Achamore Gardens is an undoubted island highlight.

First carefully planted in the mid-1940s, the gardens are famous for their collections of Rhododendron and Camellia.

22. Bute

On the Firth of Clyde, consider visiting Bute.

Benefiting from the Gulf Stream, Bute is famous for its gardens.

On the island, visitors will encounter palm trees and other exotic plants as well as beautiful Victorian architecture.

Inspired?

Explore our collection of Scottish island tours today.

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