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The Isle of Skye, the most well-known and biggest of the Inner Hebrides, is easily accessible either by boat or road-bridge from the mainland. The incredible scenery, especially the spectacular Cullin Hills, is the main draw here, making the island very popular with walkers and climbers. However, some interesting wildlife tours, the fascinating history of Dunvegan Castle, some good museums and plenty of excellent eating options mean it is also popular with less outdoorsy types.

Popular and accessible Mull, to the south, offers almost equally stunning scenery, excellent walking, impressive castle ruins, a baronial mansion and some inviting towns and villages. Varied sea-life can be spotted off shore, including wales in season. Mull is also the gateway to tiny Iona. A beautiful gem of an island in a sparkling sea, Iona has been a place of pilgrimage since St Columba fled here from Ireland in the sixth century, but gets crowded with day trippers in summer months.

The most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Islay avoids the level of crowds of Skye and Mull but offers many attractions. As well as beautiful, isolated beaches and good walking trails, Islay is famous for its whisky distilleries, which offer tours and tastings. Excellent bird and sea-life watching is available here as well as great eating options.

The nearby Isle of Jura offers remote walking country while tiny Collonsay offers an appealing combination of rugged hills, cliffs and coastline and gives access to the beautiful Oronsay Priory.

Image © VisitBritain / Rod Edwards

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