Lewis & Harris – TripAdvisor’s Top European Island

Scarista Beach from Chaipaval, Harris
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

 

9 Comments on “Lewis & Harris – TripAdvisor’s Top European Island

      • we have been inspired to go visit the Outer Hebrides! Always been enchanted by the sound of them and now we are all set to go. We plan on our visit first week of June – normally I book accommodation in advance, but we will have tent so wonder if we should book or do you think we’d be safe winging it? It would be nice to be more relaxed and find someone and stay if we like it for a couple of days. Also (you did say to ask questions!) the ferry tickets – i understand you can get “Hopscotch” tickets, but it looks like you have to pre-book the dates you want to hop across…. or have I misunderstood. What’s your experience been?

      • Hi,

        Great to hear you’re planning a trip to the Outer Hebrides ! If you’re planning on camping I think you should be fine not to book in advance. Early June isn’t the peak time for visitors and many campsites have plenty space (some are informal, just on common grazing land with little or no facilities). So you can be very flexible.

        In terms of the ferries I’ve just checked the CalMac website and they recommend booking in advance with your Hopscotch tickets – see https://www.calmacbookings.co.uk/booking/asp/MX_faq.asp#jumpto21. I suggest you would want to book your main ferries to/from Lewis/Harris/Barra but you could just turn up for ferries between North Uist and Harris/Barra. I’m no expert of course so in doubt, give Calmac a call.

        Finally, you might be interested to know that CalMac are offering 8,000 free ferry tickets between April and October this year. You will need to apply this week to enter the free draws taking place during March http://www.visitscotland.com/win/brilliantislandmoments/.

  1. oh dear, just responded but seem to have lost my questions!
    In your experience, do you think we’d have to book camp sites if travelling in first week of June? And, the Hopscotch tickets I’ve seen, for the ferry, looks like you have to pre-book date of sailing – is that your experience. It would be so nice to be really flexible and not book anything in advance. Am so looking forward to our Outer Hebrides tour – June can’t get here soon enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: