A collection of over 200 islands, many uninhabited, the Outer Hebrides is a remote, peaceful area, where Gaelic remains the first language of the majority of the population and things rarely happen quickly.
Stornaway on Lewis is the only settlement of any size but has little to offer tourists. The small, traditional fishing and crofting villages are more appealing.
Most people come here to explore the great outdoors and revel in the wind and rain-swept remoteness of these far-flung islands. Western Lewis has some of the finest scenery in the area – inviting hills, pretty lochs and sandy beaches – as well as some of the islands’ most impressive and atmospheric pre-historic sites. Several restored ‘Blackhouses’ provide a fascinating insight into how life used to be on these remote islands.
Further south, Harris is probably the most beautiful area in the Outer Hebrides and is popular with walkers and climbers. The Uists offer long stretches of stunning beach, many inland lochs, good walking and some pleasant villages. North Uist in particular is a haven for bird watchers.
Little Barra, at the southern tip of the region, makes a good, manageable introduction to the area and offers a little bit of everything: manageable hills, good, sandy beaches, prehistoric sites, castle ruins and friendly locals.
Image © VisitBritain / Britain on View