Most Beautiful Places to Visit in the Hebrides

Most Beautiful Places to Visit in the Hebrides

Made up of countless islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, the Inner and Outer Hebrides on Scotland’s west coast are full of wild beauty. So awe-inspiring are many of its landscapes that they capture the hearts and minds of all those who visit.

Whether you’re exploring on foot or taking a relaxed road trip, look forward to the dreamiest sojourns in the wild with our list of the most beautiful places to visit in the Hebrides. From steep-sided valleys to white-sand beaches, the spectacular natural scenery is sure to take your breath away.

Traigh Mhor, Isle of Barra

Traigh Mhor on the Isle of Barra is one of the first places that catches your gaze as you arrive at the island by plane. Looking remarkably like a Gold Coast gem, this striking white-sand beach is lapped by crystalline water and sheltered by undulating dunes coated in lush grasses. As well as being impossibly picturesque, this beach also happens to be the only place in the world where scheduled flights take off from and land on the beach. Stretching all the way between the villages of Ardmhor and Eoligarry, it promises plenty of space to explore. Just make sure the airport runway flag isn’t flying before you head onto the sand.

Mangersta Sea Stacks, Isle of Lewis

Mangersta Stacks, or Mangarstadh Pinnacles, are an arresting collection of sea stacks between the Isle of Lewis and the Atlantic. Peppering the coast with rocky formations that jut out from azure waters, these striking natural landmarks are worth a visit for their photo-worthy appeal. To see the stacks, follow the coast road past the village of Mangersta and park in one of the small roadside laybys before walking out to the cliffs. With sweeping views, revel in the jaw-dropping vistas of the pinnacles and rolling sea ahead of you, and the lofty frame of the 1880ft Mealisval (Mealaisbhal) mountain behind.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

The otherworldly Fairy Pools are perhaps some of the most famous attractions in the Hebrides. Found within the mountainous realms of the Isle of Skye, they feature a number of wild pools and waterfalls along the River Brittle that set the scene for magical exploration. Reached in under a mile on foot from the nearest car park, these enchanting natural wonders are especially adored for their shallow, protected waters and lend themselves perfectly to wild swimming. Grab a towel and some cosy clothing and look forward to an invigorating dip under open skies. To warm you up afterwards, one of the Isle of Skye's esteemed distilleries, Talisker, is less than ten miles from the fairy pools and beckons with a welcoming visitor centre and shop.

Calgary Beach, Isle of Mull

A large bay on the Isle of Mull, Calgary Beach’s beauty creates such an impression that a visiting Canadian actually named the city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, after it. Around twelve miles from Tobermory, and one of the best beaches on the island, it boasts a beautiful white sand shore composed of powdered shells and clear waters that sparkle in the sunshine. One of the top places to watch wildlife in the Hebrides, it is a wonderful haven in which to sit and while away the hours, looking out for white-tailed eagles overhead and whales out to sea. To continue exploring, a short drive and ferry ride leads you to the Isle of Ulva, where more incredible beaches and history-rich landscapes await.

Fairy Glen, Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye’s Fairy Glen resembles something from a fairytale with aesthetics that are simply stunning. A magical place that immediately piques the imagination, it’s characterised by a wide valley basin, basalt towers and hummocky outcrops that imbue a sense of awe. Formed by a landslip and shaped by glacial activity, it’s a real Hebridean highlight and understandably inspires tales of mythical beings and earthy spirits. As ethereal as it is, it’s little wonder that the Fairy Glen and the surrounding landscapes of the Isle of Skye have been used as the backdrop for many television series and films over the years.

Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

Luskentyre Beach is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Hebrides and is widely hailed as one of the best beaches in the UK. Offering a trapdoor to Mediterranean-esque shores, this miles-long, sandy beach on the west coast of South Harris is great for walks and picnics in a world-class setting. Affording gorgeous panoramas, soft sands to cushion bare soles and the bluest seas imaginable, it’s the perfect place to soothe busy minds and restless souls. On calm days, its still waters lend themselves perfectly to a variety of watersports too, including stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.

Kilt Rock Water, Isle of Skye

Kilt Rock is an imposing sea cliff in the Trotternish Peninsula on the Isle of Skye. Standing at around two hundred feet high and scoured with natural vertical columns, it looks remarkably like a pleated kilt. Making it even more spectacular is Kilt Rock Water, a stunning waterfall powering over the edge of the sea cliff. Also known as Mealt Falls, Kilt Rock’s waterfall is fed from nearby Loch Mealt, a freshwater lake, and falls for over fifty metres before continuing its journey in the sea. Take Staffin Road from Portree and make your way over to enjoy this phenomenal natural wonder and admire the clifftop vistas which, on a clear day, extend as far as the Isle of Rona and mainland Scotland.

White Strand Beach, Isle of Iona

White Strand of the Monks, or Traigh Ban nam Manach, in the northern reaches of Iona is part of a sandy string of beaches. Famed for its rich history and tales of Viking invasions and recognised for its spellbinding beauty, it paints a truly captivating scene. Particularly beautiful in summer, this incredible beach is bathed with brilliant sunshine that brings the glistening sand of its shores and the turquoise water of the sea alive. Backed by marram-tufted dunes and overlooking the silhouettes of Hebridean islands, it’s a real paradise. Pack a picnic and watch the ebb and flow of the tide as you soak up the tranquillity that surrounds you.

Fingal’s Cave, Isle of Staffa

Looking like the setting of a brooding Celtic tale, Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa is truly unique. Made up of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns that soar out of the water, it was created as a result of volcanic eruptions sixty million years ago. Or, Norse Gods, if you let your mind wander. The only island of its kind in the world, it’s a must-see during a Hebrides escape. Retrace the footsteps of Queen Victoria, painter J M W Turner, novelist Sir Walter Scott and poet William Wordsworth and see the cave for yourself with a guided boat trip. As you steer closer, listen out for the haunting acoustics of the cave, which inspired Felix Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture.

Traigh Iar, North Uist

Traigh Iar is one of the most idyllic destinations in the Hebrides to simply tread footprints along empty shorelines. A long strip of silky sand in the north of the Isle of North Uist, it unfurls for over two miles to provide uninterrupted space for leisurely walks in the sea air. Rarely gathering more than a handful of people, this golden-sand paradise lies off the beaten track and enjoys a wonderfully untouched feel. Needless to say, if you’re looking to savour moments of soul-stirring seclusion, this is one of the best places to visit in the Hebrides.

Hirta Cliffs, St Kilda

St Kilda comprises a cluster of islands in the westernmost point of the Outer Hebrides. The largest of its islands, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hirta, boasts both the highest sea cliffs and the highest sea stack in the UK. Dubbed the island on the edge of the world, it showcases mesmerising scenery and calls for unmissable sightseeing. Book onto a guided tour to see the island for yourself, ready to explore its abandoned village and hauntingly beautiful seascapes. Especially notable is the island’s tallest point, the vertical cliff face of Conachair, which rises to 1400ft high above the creamy white breakers of the sea below.

Kisimul Castle, Isle of Barra

One of the most beautiful places to visit in the Hebrides, Kisimul Castle is located within Castlebay on Barra. Derived from the Gaelic name “caisteal chiosmuil”, meaning “castle of the rock of the bay”, this seabound castle perches on a rocky islet and is sheltered by The Sound of Vatersay (Caolas Bhatarsaigh). Dating from the fifteenth century, this Medieval castle is often open for visits between April and October each year and reveals hundreds of years of local history. It can also be admired from the surrounding shores or from the decks of local ferry companies passing between Castlebay and neighbouring islands and the mainland.

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

The Old Man of Storr is one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks of the Hebrides. A towering rocky pinnacle that stands proud atop an ancient, 2,200ft landslip on Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula, it draws the eye for miles around. A place of raw enchantment, it is an understandably popular destination for hikers and can be reached via one of the best walks in Skye. Take in the views from the road, the foothills, or along the challenging walk to Storr itself and let the breathtaking artistry of this iconic destination steal the show. For added appeal, on the other side of the peninsula near Dunvegan is one of Skye’s beautiful beaches, Coral Beach. A real head turner, this dreamy pocket of coastal perfection is coated in crushed white seaweed and met by sapphire seas.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages on the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Mull.

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