The Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are a group of islands off the west coast of Scotland. They are divided into two main groups: the Inner Hebrides and the Outer Hebrides. The main islands of the Inner Hebrides are Skye, Mull, Islay, and Jura, while the Outer Hebrides include Lewis, Harris, Uist, Uist, Barra, and a number of smaller islands.
The Hebrides have a rich history, dating back thousands of years, and are home to a unique culture with traditional music and dance, as well as a distinctive Gaelic language. They are also known for their stunning landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor activities.
So, follow us on a Hebridean Islands adventure road trip to Lewis and Harris followed by the Isle of Skye and Mull over a total of seven days. The starting point is Inverness from where a ride of a little more than 1 hour gets you to the coastal village of Ullapool where you board the ferry for a 2½ hour journey across the Minch to the main town of the Island of Lewis, Stornoway.
Day 1 – The Island of Lewis
Your tour starts on the island of Lewis. Upon arrival in Stornoway, head right away to the north to the Butt of Lewis - the most northerly point of the Hebrides.
The unpainted Butt of Lewis Lighthouse is proudly standing here. It is made of red brick and was built in the 1860s. It was only in 1998 that the lighthouse was finally mechanized. Although you can’t enter the lighthouse the tremendous views of the ocean from the high cliffs surrounding the lighthouse will take your breath away. It is possible to walk along the clifftops to the nearby Eoropie Beach, a beautiful hike of just 30 minutes! The beach is popular with surfers!
After a visit to this “remote” part of the island, return to Stornaway for your overnight stay. Stornaway is a cozy small town. It is worth visiting Lews Castle, built in the mid-19th century, which hosts a folk music festival every year. Also, you can visit the An Lanntair Arts center and you cannot leave the town without a taste of it’s special black pudding!
Day 2 - The Island of Lewis and a first glimpse of the island of Harris
Start the day with a short ride of 30 minutes to the Callanish standing stones. The monument consists of a series of standing stones which - according to estimation - have been erected around 3000 BC, making them older than the more famous Stonehenge in England. The monument is an important archaeological site. You can explore the stones and the surrounding landscape, which includes a range of other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites.
After visiting Callanish, head to the beautiful Atlantic coastal beach of Dalbeg for a picnic and relaxing hours on the sand before moving to the south to Tarbert (1 hour) on the Island of Harris, where you stay for the night.
Tarbert is a popular destination, thanks to its attractive location, its rich history, and culture. The town is home to several historic buildings and landmarks, including the Tarbert Castle, which dates back to the 16th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The town is also known for its traditional Gaelic culture and music, with regular performances and events taking place throughout the year. You can enjoy local cuisine at a number of restaurants and cafes, as well as explore the shops and boutiques that line the town's streets.
Day 3 - The Island of Harris and the crossing to Skye
The Island of Harris offers wonderful landscapes that you can explore today. South from the town of Tarbert - on the rocky East Coast - meanders the narrow “Golden Road” through a lunar-like landscape alternated with hills, lochs, and whitewashed houses. This circular road ends on the main street that leads to the vast stretches of pristine white sandy beaches on the west coast, such as Scarista Beach, Nisabost, Seilebost, and Luskentyre. The endless white sands of Luskentyre Beach with Caribbean blue waters and a stunning backdrop of machair (a flat grassy field) is just spectacular! But the beach is not only a perfect place to unwind and play, but it also provides many walking opportunities, ideal for a little family adventure.
In the early afternoon head back to Tarbert to take a 1¾ hour's ferry across to the Isle of Skye, the largest and most popular of the Inner Hebrides. Skye is famous for its stunning scenery but has also plenty of castles, museums, and charming villages to explore. And what about its offer of exquisite shellfish, quality meats, and tasty cheeses?
The ferry from Tarbert arrives at Uig, from where it's a short ride of 20 minutes to Portree to stay for the next few nights. The old fishing village of Portree is known for its picturesque setting, with colorful houses lining the harbor and hills in the surroundings.
Day 4 - Trotternish Peninsula on the Island of Skye
The exhilarating scenery of the Isle of Skye, with its desolate mountains, steep cliffs, and mystical geological elements, makes the whole island a fabulous driving destination.
Today you can tour around the stunning Trotternish Peninsula - the most northern area of the island with plenty of outdoor activities on the way. Be sure to take some time to visit the next attractions:
The Old Man of Storr (one of Skye‘s most popular natural monuments). The Storr is a rocky ridge consisting of sharp pinnacles of rock set against the scenery of gentle green hills and Skye's coastline. There is a well-marked path of about 4 km round-trip that leads up to the rock. Above you get rewarded with amazing views up to the Outer Hebrides.
The majestic mountain range of Quiraing. There are several hiking trails in the Quiraing, ranging from easy walks to more challenging routes. The most popular trail is the Quiraing Loop, which is around 7 km long and takes around 2-3 hours to complete. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and passes by some of the most impressive rock formations.
An Corran Beach. This secluded beach, is known for its stunning scenery and crystal-clear waters making it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. One of the most unique features of An Corran Beach is the fossilized dinosaur footprints that can be found here!
For a piece of culture visit the Skye Museum of Island Life (up in the north). It is dedicated to the history and culture of the island and provides a glimpse of how life was in the past on Skye.
After a full day of activities, you head back to Portree for the night.
Day 5 - The Isle of Skye: A detour to the West Coast
Today you can make a detour on the island’s west coast with a varied program between nature, history, and good whisky. Start with a visit to Dunvegan Castle, a 30-minute ride from Portree. The castle is situated on the shores of Loch Dunvegan and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds. You can explore the castle's many rooms and learn about its fascinating history, including the story of the MacLeod clan - whose chiefs seated here for over 800 years - and their connections to Scottish history.
A little further (another half an hour) is Neist Point, the most westerly point of Skye, renowned for its rock formations which closely resemble the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. On the extremity of Neist Point, on the edge of the cliff, stands Neist Point Lighthouse. You can reach the lighthouse by taking a short walk (about 1.5 km) down the steep steps. Whales and dolphins can regularly be spotted here while the views to the Outer Hebrides are spectacular.
Head back and go southwards to one of the oldest (and remote) distilleries of Scotland, Talisker Distillery. The distillery offers tours and tastings and you can learn about the history of this iconic distillery and their whisky-making process. From here you head back to Portree for the last night on the Isle of Skye.
Day 6 - A road trip from Skye to the Island of Mull. Enjoying stunning landscapes!
In the morning, leave Skye to arrive in the afternoon on the Isle of Mull. Mull is the second largest of the Inner Hebridean Islands and the third largest in Scotland, with 300 miles (480km) of coastline.
From Portree, head south to Armadale (1 hour) to take a 40-minute ferry journey across the Sound of Sleat to Mallaig. Drive further south through the stunning landscape of Moidart and Morvern Peninsula to Lochaline (2 hours from Malleig) from where it’s only a 10-minute ferry ride across to the Isle of Mull. Tobermory, noted for its colorful waterfront buildings and yachts floating in the natural harbor, is your destination for the next two (and last) nights.
Day 7 - Adventures on the Island of Mull
Mull is a wildlife haven on its land and in its waters, including curious puffins, great whales, and sharks that swim nearby the coast. You might be even lucky enough to spot indigenous wildlife such as eagles, dolphins, and otters for example on Fidden Beach. This picturesque beach is located on the south coast, near the village of Fionnphort. It has white sand and clear waters and is a great place to spot wildlife such as seals and dolphins.
Mull also invites you for wild swimming, kayaking, or taking a wildlife boat tour. If you prefer to stay on the land there are plenty of walking opportunities in the forests, hills, or along the coastlines.
Be sure to try some local products such as seafood, artisan cheeses, or traditional Scottish oatcake. Whisky lovers can visit the Tobermory Distillery, which produces the famous Tobermory and Ledaig single malt whiskies. The distillery offers tours and tastings, and its products are available for purchase locally. You spend the last night in Tobermory.
Day 8 - End of the tour
It’s time to go back! Take the short ferry ride across the Sound of Mull to Lochaline and then continue on towards Fort William up to Inverness.
Don’t have 7 days?
For a shorter trip, you can skip the island of Mull and go directly from Portree (on the Isle of Skye) to Inverness. It takes about 2.5 hours.
Where to stay?
From charming guesthouses in the countryside and cozy coastal cottages to chic hotels overlooking lochs and mountains and self-catering options, you can find accommodations to suit every budget and preference on the Hebrides. The small towns we chose for this tour provide you with all your daily necessities and have restaurants and bars for a drink or to dine out.