Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh Guide | Scottish Tours

Explore the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh

Bursting with rugged natural beauty, wildlife and unique cultural traditions.

The Gaelic language and culture are thriving on the island with islanders being proud of the age-old traditions of music, dance and story-telling. 

Discover the mystical Scottish islands, vibrant history, and stunning seascapes of the Outer Hebrides, Isle of Skye and Lochalsh. 

Outer Hebrides

Where are the Outer Hebrides?

Also known as the Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides are a cluster of islands located off the west coast of the Scottish mainland. The islands are famous for their stunning coastal scenery and dramatic rolling glens. 

Popular destinations in the Outer Hebrides include the islands of Barra, Uist, Harris and Lewis and towns like Stornoway and Tarbert.

Where is the Isle of Skye and Kyle of Lochalsh?

Lochalsh

The peninsula of Lochalsh sits between Loch Carron and Loch Alsh in western Scotland. The area is home to incredible hills of heather and spectacular sea lochs. Being a remote area, the main settlement in lochalsh is the historic village of Kyle of Lachalsh located near the Skye Bridge. 

Travel across the water to the Isle of Skye and you’ll find a whole host of charming coastal towns and villages like Dunvegan, Broadford, Kyleakin and the capital, Portree.

Offering some of the most spectacular landscapes in Scotland, Skye is the largest and northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. The views are bound to take your breath away.

History in the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh

Explore historic castles and ancient sites to learn the island’s colourful past from early man through Viking invaders to Jacobite uprisings and Clan feuds.

Romantic History

Scottish history is bursting with romantic tales of days gone by. Few more so than the remarkable story “Over the sea to Skye”.

Flora MacDonald Grave

As the leader of the Jacobite rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charlies had no choice but to flee Scotland after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1745.

A young Highland woman called Flora MacDonald heard about the difficult situation Bonnie Prince Charlie faced and risked her life to help out of pure compassion. She assisted the fugitive Prince in his escape to the Isle of Skye. 

Thanks to Flora’s efforts, government soldiers were unsuccessful in their hunt for the Prince and he was later able to escape on a small boat headed for France. Sadly, Flora would never see Bonnie Prince Charlie again.

Flora MacDonald died on the Isle of Skye in 1790 and today you can visit her grave in Kilmuir.

Trotternish Peninsula

Jurassic History

Thankfully you don’t need a time machine to trace the footprints of dinosaurs on the Isle of Skye. Explore the island’s incredible Jurassic coast to take a trip back 65 million years ago to see where dinosaurs once roamed.

During your visit, be sure to pay a visit to the internationally acclaimed collection of dinosaur fossils that are currently on display at the Staffin Dinosaur Museum. These ferocious beasts aren’t to be missed!

Clan History

Clan history in Scotland has deep roots. Clans were made up of extensive networks of families with loyalties to a particular clan chief who was associated with a geographical region of Scotland. The Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh are no exception.

Armadale Castle and Clan Donald

The magnificent Highland estate around Armadale Castle is a fantastic place to learn all about Clan Donald and their historic title of “Lord of the Isles”. 

Today, the gardens and grounds surrounding the ruined castle are well maintained, and the Museum of the Isles gives visitors the opportunity to explore the fascinating story of the MacDonalds, who were once one of Scotland’s most powerful clans.

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle and Clan MacLeod

Located on the western side of Skye, Dunvegan Castle has sat at the very heart of the Clan MacLeod Estate for over 800 years.

Clan MacLeod has endured over centuries and is one of Scotland's most celebrated Highland clans with its close personal links to the Isle of Skye. A visit to this proud and picturesque castle is the perfect way to get up close and personal with Scottish history.

Places to visit in Lochalsh

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is easily one of Scotland’s most iconic and recognisable castles. It has played a starring role in a number of movies including "Highlander" and "The World is not Enough". 

Situated picturesquely on a small tidal inlet where 3 different sea lochs meet, this medieval structure is one that will take your breath away. 

No trip to Scotland is complete without paying Eilean Donan Castle a visit.

Five Sisters of Kintail Mountain Range

If you’re a keen hiker and hill walker, the Five Sisters of Kintail will make for an unforgettable day-long excursion through awe-inspiring Scottish mountain scenery. This classic ridge walk takes in three different Munros in one go.

Plockton

Plockton

Also known as the “Jewel of the Highlands”, Plockton is a remote picture-postcard village overlooking the stunning bay of Loch Carron. Did you know that the temperate climate and tropical water from the Gulf Stream means that palm trees grow and thrive in this area?

Lochcarron

Explore this delightful village surrounded by stunning sea lochs and towering mountains. 

Unforgettable attractions on the Isle of Skye

Cuillin Hills

Cuillin Hills

The Cuillin Hills dominate the natural scenery on the Isle of Skye, springing dramatically from the sea to reach heights of around 3,000 ft (900m).

The rugged Black Cuillins and gentler Red Cuillin ranges attract visitors for their scenic beauty and challenging climbing conditions. 

If epic views are what you’re looking for, head to Sligachan, to see where the Black and Red Cuillins meet.

Museum of Island Life

Discover how life was lived on Skye 100 years ago when you visit this fascinating museum. Explore the thatched cottages full of household items, tools and furniture - each painting a picture of island life.  

Kilt Rock

Trotternish

For dramatic geological structures, head to the Trotternish Peninsula where you’ll find strange and mysterious rock formations caused by massive landslides. This remarkable 20 mile drive takes in unusual rock formations and spectacular seascapes.

While you’re in Trotternish, look out for The Old Man of Storr, a 150ft (45m) pinnacle of rock that towers proudly above the surrounding landscape. You’ll also find the strange rock formations of The Quiraing, along with Kilt Rock which is said to resemble the pleats in the famous Scottish garment.

Elgol

This little village sits on the shores of Loch Scavaig and offers superb views of the Black Cuillins. It's the ideal place to take a boat trip to see the local seal colony. 

Portree

Portree

Overlooking a sheltered bay on the eastern side of the island, Portree is the capital of the Isle of Skye. This coastal village is the perfect base while you’re sightseeing on the Isle of Skye. 

Relax and take some time to watch the colourful fishing boats come and go from the harbour and explore the brightly-painted buildings along the waterfront. 

You’ll also find a wide variety of local cafes, restaurants and pubs to try out some of the delicious locally caught seafood and sample some of Isle of Skye whisky.

Must-see islands in the Outer Hebrides

Harris and Lewis

While they are often referred to separately, Harris and Lewis are actually part of the same island. 

Famed for its white sandy beaches in the west, it’s magnificent rugged mountains in the north and it’s miniature fjords in the east, the ancient landscapes on Harris aren't to be missed. Harris is also the original home of the luxury handwoven cloth Harris Tweed. 

Callanish Standing Stones

Making up the northern part of the island, Lewis is the largest in the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides. Here you can discover late-Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones that was once the site of ritual activity during the Bronze Age.

Continue your journey through the history of the island with a visit to the amazing traditional Blackhouses, complete with their thatched roofs and stone-lined walls. It’s hard not to feel like you’re right in the middle of a movie!

Round off your trip to Harris and Lewis with a visit to the Butt of Lewis, where you can admire the beautiful lighthouse and storm-battered cliffs from the northernmost point of the island.

Download official guides to plan your next trip with Scottish Tours

Explore some of the most incredible islands, romantic history, and stunning coastal towns that Scotland has to offer. 

Discover the Outer Hebrides, Skye and Lochalsh.