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Scottish Islands

Endless Culture to Discover off the Coast of Scotland

Did you know that Scotland has a grand total of 790 islands, with around 100,000 Scots living one of them? The islands, which have a mix of Scottish identity and their very own distinct culture, can be broadly ordered into five main groups: the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Inner Hebrides, the Outer Hebrides and the Islands of the Clyde.

The islands of Scotland, most of which are found off the north and west coast of the mainland all have their own appeal and charm, and while it’s unlikely you’ll be able to visit every island (though that is quite a challenge if you’re feeling adventurous), a whistle stop tour of the some of the best islands is worth doing when you visit Scotland, especially if you have a few weeks to spare.

From the remote Shetland Islands, with their ancient remains of Bronze and Iron Age settlers, to the wildlife haven that is the Inner Hebrides, the Scottish islands have so much to see and to experience. However, the islands’ main appeal is simply their natural beauty. Away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, the islands can feel like the edge of the world, and there are plenty of trails and mountains to explore.

Due to their distance from the Scottish capital, visiting one of the Scottish islands will require an overnight stay at the very least, and a few days to truly make the most of what they have to offer. However, because of their diverse culture and attractions, it’s certainly worth making the journey. We’d recommend taking the ferry if possible, so you can soak in the magnificent Scottish coastline on the way.

Shetland Islands copyright Chris Combe licensed under CC via Flickr
Shetland Islands copyright Chris Combe licensed under CC via Flickr

Shetland Islands

Remote Islands and the UK's most northerly point

Shetland is a monstrous 808 miles by road and sea from London. It's therefore plain to see why it's considered remote. It is, however, a wonder to behold and a joy to explore.

Shetland Islands
Outer Hebrides via Pixabay
Outer Hebrides via Pixabay

Outer Hebrides

A Collection of Interesting Towns and Windswept Beauty

Found off the North East Coast of Scotalnd, the Outer Hebrides incorporates the likes of Lewis and Harris, North and South Uist, and Barra. This windswept part of the world is waiting to be explored.

Outer Hebrides
Orkney via Pixabay
Orkney via Pixabay

Orkney Islands

A Plethora of History through the Ages

Ranging from prehistoric remains and Iron Age settlements, all the way to Norwegian rule of the Middle Ages and an unusual Italian Chapel from World War II, Orkney is a paradise for anyone with an interest in the rich history of Scotland.

Orkney Islands
Isle of Arran via Pixabay
Isle of Arran via Pixabay

Islands of the Clyde

A Collection of Islands Nestled between Argyll and Ayrshire

As the smallest of the big five Scottish island groups, the Islands of the Clyde occasionally get overlooked by adventurous tourists. However, with geological marvels like Arran's 'Scotland in miniature', it should be high on the list of any island hoppers.

Islands of the Clyde
North Cuillin Public Domain Image via Wikipedia
North Cuillin Public Domain Image via Wikipedia

Inner Hebrides

Whisky and Wildlife on the West Coast

Lining the west coast of Scotland the Inner Hebrides is the collection of islands that are a mere spitting distance from the mainland. With the whisky haven of Islay part of this group, the Outer Hebrides a great way to enjoy a classic Scotland experience.

Inner Hebrides

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