Caledonian MacBrayne ferry Isle of Mull sailing across the bright blue water of Craignure Bay heading to Oban

7 Best Scottish Islands to visit in 2020

Bursting with history and striking landscapes, Scotland’s islands offer an oasis of calm to recharge your batteries and fill your lungs with crisp fresh air. If you’re looking for the ultimate get-away-from-it-all escape, why not discover the hidden beauty of the Scottish islands?

Whether you're planning a romantic trip for two or a family adventure, exploring the Scottish isles offers the adventure of a lifetime. 

Join us as we explore seven of the best Scottish islands to visit this coming summer.

1.  Mainland Orkney

Dive into years of ancient history with a trip to the neolithic sites of Mainland Orkney.

Orkney is a cluster of small islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. This magical corner of the world is home to ancient remains, striking sandstone cliffs and spectacular seal-watching spots.

Seven standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney under a bright blue sky with Loch Harray in the distance

Mainland Orkney is home to 75% of Orkney’s local inhabitants and is the best spot to find traditional pubs, restaurants and more.

You can’t visit Mainland Orkney without exploring the 5,000-year-old preserved village of Skara Brae and the enchanting burial tomb of Maeshowe. Or, exploring the naval history of Scapa Flow and admire the unique architecture of the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm.

Fancy a visit?

Jump on a bus from Inverness as Scottish Tours takes you on an incredible three-day adventure around Orkney.

2.          Isle of Arran

If you’re looking for an action-packed walking holiday, Arran is the place to go.

Often described as “Scotland in miniature”, Arran has an enormous fault line that divides into two and creates very different landscapes.

In the North, you’ll find impressive mountains with peaks reaching over 2,800 feet while lush green countryside offers something entirely different in the South.

On Arran, you'll never be short of things to do. Choose between relaxing walks along sandy beaches, adrenaline-fuelled climbing up rock faces and historic visits to ancient castles.

3.          Isle of Skye

Skye boasts some of the most striking and picturesque landscapes in the world.

As the largest of the Inner Hebrides islands, Skye is a popular destination for holidaymakers who want something entirely unique.

Looking along the rugged coastline of Neist Point, Isle Of Skye, towards the white-washed lighthouse overlooking The Minch

Whether you’re celebrating an engagement or planning a trip for all the family, Skye has something for everyone.

The fun starts before you even arrive on the island. Its remote location is all part of its charm. Journey through stunning countryside and over grand viaducts before catching a short ferry across to the island.

The Isle of Skye is a magical place. It truly feels like you’ve travelled to a completely new world.

Fancy Winning a Free Trip to Skye?

We believe everyone should get a chance to experience the wonders of Skye. That’s why we’re running a very special competition.

Lucky winners will enjoy a three-day tour for two, including transport and guest house accommodation, to Skye plus a trip on the amazing Jacobite Steam Train.

Learn how to enter and be in for a chance to win a FREE all-inclusive trip to this beautiful part of the world by visiting our competition page.

4.          Isle of Iona

Are you looking for somewhere off the beaten track to enjoy complete peace and quiet?

The gravestones of the ancient Kings of Scotland buried in the Reilig Orain next to Iona Abbey

The charming Isle of Iona is the perfect place to get lost in a good book and wrap up warm by the fire.

While the island itself is only three miles long and half a mile wide, it’s bursting with sandy beaches, untouched wildlife, and friendly locals.

Remember - visitor cars are banned from the island to protect its natural beauty and preserve its roads. So it’s best to visit as part of a tour, we offer several different tours to Iona to make it easy to find the best one for you. 

5.          Isle of Mull

Get your binoculars at the ready as you spot dolphins and whales off the shore of the breathtaking Isle of Mull.

Located off the West coast of Scotland, Mull is home to one of the UK’s most famous fishing towns — Tobermory. If you’re travelling with kids, you’ll recognise the colourful homes of Tobermory from the CBeebies preschool series, Balamory.

The colourful houses of Tobermory seen from across the crystal-clear waters of Tobermory Bay

For the more adventurous holidaymakers, the town is recognised as the freshwater SCUBA diving capital of the world.

Why not combine a trip to Mull, a visit to Iona and a pit stop to the Island of Oban with an all-inclusive small group tour? Enjoy two nights accommodation and transport with English tour commentary as you hop from island to island.

6.          Isle of Islay

If you’re a whisky fanatic, the Isle of Islay should be at the top of your Scotland bucket list.

Lagavulin Distillery seen from the pier showing the bright red chimney and traditional pagoda roof of

This stunning Hebridean island is bursting with natural beauty and home to some of the world’s finest whisky distilleries.

Put your tastebuds to the test with a four-day Islay Whisky Connoisseur Tour. Travel to six of the island’s historic whisky producers including Lagavulin and the world-renowned Bruichladdich distillery.

While you’re at it, hop across to the stunning island of Jura to sample yet more delicious whiskies and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of these tiny pockets of magic.

7.          Isle of Harris

A walker rests at Northton beach, looking towards the hill of Ceapabhal on the Isle of Harris

Wrap up warm as you venture north to the picturesque Isle of Harris.

Discover the history of how this remote Scottish island rose to global fame with Harris Tweed and keep yourself warm with a tipple or two of local whisky.

Bundle together a visit to Harris, Skye and the northern island of Lewis with an epic seven-day tour starting from Edinburgh. Discover pre-historic monuments and breathtaking landscapes, and sample the thriving Gaelic language.

Discover the Best Scottish Island Tours

Here at Scottish Tours, we make it easy to discover the beauty of Scotland’s islands.

Whether you’re packing your hiking boots for a trip to Arran or cruising to Skye by ferry, our award-winning tours are the perfect way to explore the wildest corners of Scotland’s breathtaking islands.

Browse available tours and book online today.