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Island hopping in the Outer Hebrides Blog

The dramatic landscapes of the Outer Hebrides have been beamed into countless homes thanks to TV series like Call the Midwife, Castaway and The Grand Tour. Inspired by these programmes and countless movies, many travellers plan to go island hopping in the Outer Hebrides.

If you have these magical islands on your bucket list, let the experts at Scottish Tours highlight the best way to make the trip of a lifetime.

Main Islands of the Outer Hebrides


Callanish Standing Stones

The largest island in the Outer Hebrides archipelago features a landscape of wild moorland peppered with freshwater lochans. Spectacular coastal scenery and steep cliffs overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Explore the magnificent Calanais Standing Stones and Stornoway, the largest town in the Western Isles.


Sharing the same landmass as Lewis, neighbouring Harris is famous for its impressive hills and peaks, shaped from some of the oldest rocks on the planet. Take a stroll on the expansive white sandy beaches that rival those in the Caribbean.  

St Kilda

Situated 40 miles west of North Uist, St Kilda can be reached on a boat trip from Harris or Lewis. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to nearly a million seabirds.

North Uist

Loch Druidibeg, South Uist

The scenery of this island is a blend of long stretches of sand, peat bogs and many small lochans. The island is the location of the Balranald Nature Reserve, home to the elusive corncake and Barpa Langass, an 5.5 metre chambered cairn.

South Uist

Discover over 20 miles of pristine white sand beaches and the massive Loch Druidibeg Nature Reserve, which is home to a large colony of greylag geese.


Kisimul Castle, the traditional seat of Clan MacNeil, sits on a little island in the bay of the island’s primary community. Encounter picturesque beaches such as Tangasdale or Traigh Mhòr, the World’s only scheduled beach runway. 

Outer Hebrides Tourist Information

Our informative blogs are a good starting point if you plan travelling to the Outer Hebrides. You can discover the highlights of Harris and Lewis as well as the southern islands of Barra, Benbecula, Eriskay North and South Uist. is the website of Scotland’s National Tourist Board and is packed full of helpful info for visitors. You can explore the island’s many attractions, book accommodation and investigate local transport options.

Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac ferries) is the ferry operator that serves the Outer Hebrides. You can find timetable information and make bookings on their website,

For local information, head to, the Destination Management Organisation for the Western Isles. Here you can get insider tips and download a wide range of helpful leaflets.

How to visit the Outer Hebrides

Planning a motorhome vacation

For many visitors, the romantic notion of meandering their way through the islands, perhaps by hiring a motorhome, is the perfect holiday. A network of causeways and short ferry journeys connects all the main islands from north to south.

Forward planning and early booking are essential when touring the Outer Hebrides. This is particularly important if your trip is during the summer months. Demand for ferry crossings is at an all-time high, so if you are taking a large vehicle, such as a motorhome or SUV, it pays to make reservations well in advance.   

Likewise, accommodation is limited, so booking in good time is recommended to secure the best places to stay. VisitScotland is a good resource, particularly if you fancy staying in B&Bs or guesthouses.

Touring the Western Isles of Scotland


Another popular option is to take an escorted bus tour where the itinerary is carefully planned, and all the arrangements are taken care of by professional travel experts. In this guide, we’ll look at four different itineraries to compare the features of each.

You can choose to depart from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness with itineraries that vary between 3 and 6 days in length. Accommodation choices include either comfortable hotels or friendly guest houses; regardless of which you choose, all rooms have private facilities.  

Outer Hebrides Tours from Edinburgh

As Scotland’s primary tourist destination, let’s look at three tours departing from Edinburgh.

Hebridean Explorer Small Group Tour

Luskentyre Beach, Harris

This popular 5-day/4-night tour concentrates on the neighbouring islands of Harris and Lewis. There is a two-night stay in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, combined with mainland overnights in Fort Augustus (Loch Ness) and Inverness. Comfortable guest house accommodation is included on this tour.

Island highlights include the Butt of Lewis, Callanish Standing Stones, Carloway Broch and Luskentyre Beach. A visit to a Harris Tweed weaver is also featured.

On the mainland, there’s the chance to take a Loch Ness Cruise, visit opulent Dunrobin Castle and explore emotive Culloden Moor.  

The price of this tour starts from £850.00 per person. Tours depart from Edinburgh fortnightly from 11 May to 14 September 2023.

Full details here: Hebridean Explorer Small Group Tour

Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides

An unforgettable journey that combines the legendary beauty of the Isle of Skye with an in-depth exploration of Harris and Lewis. Overnight guest house stays are included in Inverness, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (2 nights) and Portree, Isle of Skye (2 nights).  

Jacobite Steam Train

The itinerary is full of highlights, including Glen Coe, Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle on the mainland. Touring the Isle of Lewis, discover the Callanish Standing Stones, Dun Carloway Broch and the fascinating Gearrannan Blackhouse Village.

While on the Isle of Harris, explore sandy white beaches and visit the World-famous Harris distillery. Sail over the sea to Skye to see the famous Cuillin Hills and the stunning beauty of the Trotternish peninsula.

A unique feature of this fabulous tour is a trip on the famous Jacobite Steam Train, the real Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies.

This tour operates weekly from 8 June to 14 September 2023. Prices start at £879.00 per person.

Click here for details: Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides

Grand Tour of the Outer Hebrides

If you want a luxury travelling experience, this 6-day/5-night holiday is one of the finest escorted tours of the Outer Hebrides available. Departures are available from both Edinburgh and Glasgow (you can leave from one city and return to the other at no extra charge).

Shawbost Norse Mill, Lewis

Hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner daily is included with overnight stays in Benbecula (2 nights) and Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (3 nights).

This comprehensive tour includes eight inhabited Islands – Barra, Benbecula, Eriskay, Harris, Lewis, North Uist, South Uist and Vatersay.   

On Harris and Lewis, the attractions include the Callanish Standing Stones, Norse Mill, Luskentyre Beach and St Clements Church.

Discover Gaelic culture and traditions with a relaxed tour through the Uists and Benbecula; while on Barra, you might be lucky enough to see a plane land on Cockleshell Beach.

This tour operates on selected dates between April and October 2023. Prices start at £995.00 per person.

Click for more information: Grand Tour of the Outer Hebrides

Outer Hebrides Tours from Inverness

The vibrant city of Inverness makes an excellent base for discovering the beauty of the Highlands and Islands.  

Hebridean Discovery Small Group Tour

Stornoway Harbour

If you want a short break to the Hebrides, this tour is just for you. Concise and focused, you’ll get the chance to discover picturesque beaches, pre-historic treasures and natural wonders.

This three-day tour has a two-night guest house stay in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

Included in the itinerary are impressive Dunrobin Castle and Gardens, the ancient gems of Callanish Standing Stones and Carloway Broch, as well as stunning Luskentyre Beach.

The price of this tour starts at £510.00 per person. Departures are fortnightly from 12 May to 15 September 2023.

Full details here: Hebridean Discovery Small Group Tour

Scottish Island Tours 2023 with Scottish Tours

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

From Orkney and Shetland in the north to Islay and Jura in the west, we have a wide selection of island-hopping adventures.  

Browse available tours and book online today.