Lewis & Harris – TripAdvisor’s Top European Island

Luskentyre Beach, Harris

Luskentyre Beach, Harris

TripAdvisor have this week announced that Lewis and Harris are the best European island in a list compiled using travellers’ views.  Together they form the largest of the Outer Hebrides, with Lewis in the north and Harris the southern part of the island.  What’s more, the Islands of Orkney come in at number four and the Isle of Mull at number nine.  This is a great accolade and confirms that history, nature, wildlife, whisky and deserted beaches win hands down compared with those crowded, chaotic and sweltering islands of the southern Med, right ?

        TripAdvisor’s Top 10 European islands

  • 1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland
  • 2. Naxos, Greece
  • 3. Island of Gozo, Malta
  • 4. Islands of Orkney, Scotland
  • 5. Milos, Greece
  • 6. Cephalonia, Greece
  • 7. Santorini, Greece
  • 8. Island of Capri, Italy
  • 9. Isle of Mull, Scotland
  • 10. Paros, Greece

TripAdvisor go on to list Lewis and Harris number five in the top 10 islands in the world (just two below Bora Bora if you’re interested) and include no less than six Scottish islands in the UK’s top 10.

        TripAdvisor’s Top 10 UK islands

  • 1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland
  • 2. Mainland, Orkney Islands
  • 3. Isle of Mull, Scotland
  • 4. Jersey, Channel Islands
  • 5. Isle of Skye, Scotland
  • 6. Isle of Arran, Scotland
  • 7. Isle of Man
  • 8. Islay, Scotland
  • 9. St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly
  • 10. Anglesey, North Wales

Last year I blogged about the ten ‘must-visit’ Scottish islands, highlighting the diversity of the experiences on offer.  In all, there are 790 offshore islands (110 of them inhabited) and many inland (loch) islands too.   With this huge number of islands, and 11,800 km of coastline, Scotland is truly an island-lover’s paradise.

While my own top 10 list certainly isn’t definitive, it includes what I would consider to be an excellent range of the world-class experiences and activities on offer.  I’m gradually making my own way through my list, with trips to Rum and Colonsay already planned this year, and a recent report on my 2009 trip to St Kilda posted elsewhere on my blog.

To whet your appetite I’ll finish with a few memorable photos …

Cruise boat in Village Bay, Hirta (St Kilda)

Cruise boat in Village Bay, Hirta (St Kilda)

Boreray from Oiseval, Hirta, St Kilda

Boreray from Oiseval, Hirta, St Kilda

View over Iona from its highest point, Dun I, looking to Iona Abbey, the ferry and Mull beyond

View over Iona from its highest point, Dun I, looking to Iona Abbey, the ferry and Mull beyond

Wild camping with the entire beach to ourselves, Fidden Farm, Mull

Wild camping with the entire beach to ourselves, Fidden Farm, Mull

On the CalMac ferry to Islay

On the CalMac ferry to Islay (that’s us in the yellow VW van !)

Northton, South Harris

Northton, South Harris

Scarista Beach from Chaipaval, Harris

Scarista Beach from Chaipaval, Harris

Scarista Post Office, Harris

Scarista Post Office, Harris