Scotland is a totally beautiful country to visit! From the big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow to the smaller coves and dramatic mountains of the Highlands, it’s totally stunning. That being said, there’s also a heap of the best islands in Scotland that you should definitely consider, too.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the very best islands in Scotland to visit on your next trip. You see, with almost 800 different islands, it can be a toughie to choose just a few!
Plus, on top of the fact that you’ll be wanting to see some iconic Scottish castles and heading on the best hikes, it can be hard to prioritise just the main islands.
But, you already knew that!
Truth be told, you’re not going to see every one of the Scottish Islands. Honestly, if I was going to visit one each day, it would take me two and a half years, so you will need to prioritise.
Anyway, I don’t wanna ramble for too long, but I really hope I can introduce a few new spots and the best islands in Scotland to visit on your next trip. Have the best time.
Staffa is a tiny island, situated in the Hebrides. Its meaning is derived from Old Norse language. The Vikings must have really loved it here!
Don’t forget to check out Fingal’s Cave. Honestly, it’s a beautiful place to explore, especially as it’s one of the best islands in Scotland that’s volcanic. You can easily head to see Staffa on a sightseeing boat trip (which is best on a sunny day). You will get a little spray, so make sure to take a raincoat.
Another Island in the (inner) Hebrides, Tiree is a perfect place for us beach lovers! Make sure to pack your swimsuit.
These pristine, untouched beaches are totally divine. Although, be prepared for a little chill in the sea! Brrrrrr.
If that’s not your thing, take a ramble across the coast and explore the unspoilt beauty of Tiree.
It really is one of the best islands in Scotland that’s pretty rural.
3.) Isle of Skye
Let’s be honest, Skye is probably the most famous of the Scottish islands; and rightly so! It’s totally gorgeous.
Now, you won’t need to hop on any boats or flights to get to Skye and you can drive right over the bridge onto the island itself. Once here, make sure to explore Old Man Storr and see the Fairy Glen, too.
Afterwards, take the coastal route around the western fringes of Skye, it’s totally dramatic and incredible to see. For me, it’s easily one of the best islands in Scotland to visit.
4.) Isle of Lewis
The Isle of Lewis is actually formed from a larger island that includes Harris too. It’s one big island that’s really easy to visit and spend a few days on.
Head to the Callanish Standing Stones that have stood longer than the pyramids and way before the Romans Conquered Europe! Also, make sure to go on some of the hiking trails around this stunning island. It really is one of the best islands in Scotland to explore.
Just off the coast of Kintyre, Gigha is a great place to bask in the clean, crisp sea. Yes, it might be much more chilled and little going on; but that’s what makes the Scottish islands so special. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all and really see the unspoilt beauty of Western Scotland.
If you can, why not hire a kayak to explore the Sound of Gigha, which is peacefully still and relatively shallow. Just check with a local professional before you go on your exploration. No one likes a careless kayaker.
Mull has one of the most picturesque small hamlets in all of Scotland. Tobermory harbour is the perfect place to sample some local, freshly caught shell-fish that thrive on the west coast.
If you’re lucky you may also spot a few seals and dolphins. It’s a totally gorgeous island and really easy to explore after taking that boat trip to the Isle of Staffa. After all, you’ll likely depart Mull for this.
Also, if you want to stay overnight, you’ll find lots of little bed and breakfasts around Dervaig. It’s totally picturesque and so charmingly Scottish.
7.) St Kilda
Easily one of the more remote of the best islands in Scotland, It’s one island that’s much harder than most to reach. Now, one of the easiest ways to do this is via the boat company called, Go To St. Kilda that operates day trips to the island itself.
Prices are around £250-300 each but it’s well worth it if you want to see one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national preserves that makes this island so special.
For me, I’d always say not to miss Colonsay! It’s one of the best islands in Scotland that’s relatively easy to reach from the Isle of Islay or Oban itself.
Once here, don’t miss Kiloran bay on Colonsay Island, that was recently voted one of the best beaches in all the UK. Yeah, you might not have any tropical weather but you certainly have some stunning white sandy beaches.
For a peaceful little retreat, pop over to Seil Island! It’s one of the best islands in Scotland for a perfect summer getaway. This is especially true as it’s so simple to visit. After all, you can head across the Seil via the Clachan Bridge that’s connected the island for quite some time.
Once here, kayaking is a must. It’s a great place to do this and totally lovely on a summer day.
10.) Eilean Donan
A tiny little tidal island, Eilean Donan is probably one of the most iconic sites in Scotland to see.
Perched right within the loch, Eilean Donan is totally stunning and really easy to visit when exploring the Scottish Highlands.
The castle itself was founded in the 13th-Century and sits spectacularly on is own little island where three breathtaking Lochs meet!