Inner Hebrides

skye fairy rings

Inner Hebrides

The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago off the west coast of mainland Scotland, comprising a cluster of 79 islands, of which 35 are inhabited. They are divided into two main groups, the Northern and Southern Inner Hebrides, with the Isle of Skye being the largest and most populous island of the Northern group, while the Isle of Mull dominates the Southern group.

The geography of the Inner Hebrides is a diverse mix of towering mountains, serene lochs, and broad sandy beaches, all interspersed with rolling moorland and lush woodlands.

The towns and villages of the Inner Hebrides are as varied as the landscape itself. From the bustling coastal village of Portree on Skye, known for its colourful waterfront houses and stunning sea views, to the remote Dervaig on Mull, there are countless step-back-in-time places to explore.

The Inner Hebrides are dotted with a wide array of tourist attractions. Skye is home to the Fairy Pools, a sequence of stunning pools and waterfalls, as well as the Quiraing, a devastatingly beautiful landscape formed by a series of ancient landslides.

For history enthusiasts, Duart Castle on Mull, a 13th-century fortress with a dramatic cliff-top setting, offers a fascinating insight into the island’s turbulent past, while the Isle of Iona, a tiny island off the southwest coast of Mull, is famous for Iona Abbey – one of Scotland’s oldest religious sites.

A trip to the Inner Hebrides wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its many whisky distilleries. The Isle of Islay (also known as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’) is famous for its peaty single malt Scotch whisky, and the island boasts nine active distilleries that offer tasting tours, including the renowned Laphroaig and Ardbeg.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Treshnish Isles, a group of uninhabited islands west of Mull, are a paradise. The highlight, in my opinion, is the Isle of Lunga which is home to a variety of seabirds including puffins and guillemots, as well as seals and dolphins, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Islay

Subcategories


Find places to visit and things to do in the Inner Hebrides with these visitor guides.

  • A Guide to Whisky Distillery Tours on the Isle of Islay

    A Guide to Whisky Distillery Tours on the Isle of Islay

    Islay is one of Scotland’s most popular whisky-producing regions thanks to distilleries that include; Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin and Ardnahoe. Discover everything you need to know about Islay whisky distilleries in this ultimate guide which includes information about each distillery tour as well as lots of useful visiting advice.

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  • Armadale Castle

    Armadale Castle

    Armadale Castle on the Isle of Skye is one of the island’s most-visited tourist attractions. Visitors can explore extensive grounds that feature an arboretum, landscaped gardens, woodland walks and a children’s play park, as well as the castle ruins and a fascinating museum.

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  • Ben More

    Ben More

    With a peak of 966 metres (3,169 feet), Ben More is the highest mountain on the Isle of Mull. The mountain is located on the shores of Loch na Keal and Loch Beg where it offers spectacular views from two very different approaches on the north and south sides. Discover everything you need to know…

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  • Boreraig

    Boreraig

    The remains of long-abandoned villages can be seen all over the Isle of Skye, but Boreraig – situated 4 1/2 miles south of Broadford – is perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful. Visiting Boreraig takes walkers on a 9-mile circular trail from Broadford to the shore of Loch Eishort, across heather-covered moorland on a rough path…

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  • Carsaig Arches

    Carsaig Arches

    The Carsaig Arches are located on the south side of the Isle of Mull. From Carsaig Pier it takes around 6 hours to walk the 8-mile return route which is very difficult due to the boulder-strewn coastline that has no obvious path. Walking the coastline is worth every bit of the effort involved though, not…

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  • Duart Bay

    Duart Bay

    Duart Bay is a picturesque spot on the Isle of Mull, one of the largest islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The bay is a serene location, offering breathtaking views of the Sound of Mull and nearby islands, and it’s a great place for wildlife spotting as you can often see a variety of…

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  • Duart Castle

    Duart Castle

    For 700 years Duart Castle has dominated the Sound of Mull on the Isle of Mull, where its mighty curtain walls have defended the seat of Clan Maclean. The castle is located on a peninsula on the southeast of the island where it welcomes visitors with facilities including knowledgeable tour guides, nature walks, a café,…

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  • Fairy Glen

    Fairy Glen

    The Fairy Glen is an ethereal, bizarre-looking landscape located on the west side of Trotternish on the Isle of Skye. This geological wonder comprises a number of conical hills that look man made but are, in fact, remnants of an ancient landslip similar to the equally captivating Quiraing.

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  • Fairy Pools

    Fairy Pools

    The Fairy Pools are located at the foot of the Black Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye. These crystal-clear pools of water are one of the most-visited attractions on the island and many visitors wild swim in them, while others use them as a starting point for hikes into the surrounding mountains. Discover the…

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  • Finlaggan

    Finlaggan

    Finlaggan is the former home of Scotland’s ‘Lord of the Isles’ which is located a few miles southwest of Port Askaig on the Isle of Islay. Access to Finlaggan is via a wooden walkway that leads from the visitor centre to a small island where tourists will discover a number of standing stones, graves, and…

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  • Gott Bay

    Gott Bay

    One of the most stunning beaches in all of Scotland is Gott Bay which can be found on the Inner Hebrides island of Tiree. With its beautiful turquoise sea and powder white beach it’s no surprise that this bay attracts thousands of visitors each year, and in fact, it’s often cited as one of the…

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  • Iona Abbey

    Iona Abbey

    Iona Abbey – located on the Isle of Iona on the far south-west corner of Mull – was founded by St. Columba in AD 563. The abbey is one of Europe’s oldest sites of worship and was an important burial site for Scottish royalty after the Scottish Reformation. Today, Iona is a popular tourist destination…

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  • Isle of Coll

    Isle of Coll

    The Isle of Coll lies on the edge of Scotland’s west coast, directly north of Tiree and west of Mull. This stunningly pretty island is surrounded by miles of pristine golden beaches and has vast swathes of unspoilt countryside at its centre. Coll is also pleasingly free of tourism, making a visit to this gem…

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  • Isle of Eigg

    Isle of Eigg

    The small but beautiful Isle of Eigg is part of the Small Isles chain which lies 10 miles (16.09 km) off Scotland’s west coast next to the Morar Peninsula. Access is via a one-hour ferry from the port village of Mallaig on the mainland, which makes it ideal for day trippers, especially cyclists who can…

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  • Isle of Islay

    Isle of Islay

    The Isle of Islay is one of the largest West Coast islands in the Southern Hebrides. Islay is a popular tourist destination thanks to its diverse wildlife, attractive country villages and stunning coastline, but it’s most famous for the distinctive whisky that’s flavoured with locally-sourced peat. Discover this mesmerizing isle with this complete guide, which…

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  • Isle of Jura

    Isle of Jura

    Jura is an island in the Inner Hebrides close to the Isle of Islay. There are only 200 inhabitants living across the island’s 142 square miles which makes Jura one of the least inhabited places in Scotland. Visitors can explore the open landscape by taking a ferry from Port Askaig and cycling or driving around…

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  • Isle of Lunga

    Isle of Lunga

    The Isle of Lunga lies west of Mull and east of Tiree on the west coast of Scotland. This remote volcanic island is the largest of the Treshnish Isles, yet it’s only 81 hectares in size. Visitors can explore Lunga as part of an organized tour to see the island’s famous colonies of puffins, as…

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  • Isle of Mull

    Isle of Mull

    The Isle of Mull is the second-largest island in the Inner Hebrides and features famous attractions including Tobermory village, Ben More, and Iona Abbey. The island is a popular alternative to Skye as it offers almost as many attractions but is less busy and is easier to get to from Oban. Discover this stunning west…

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  • Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa

    Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa

    Nestled on the edge of the southeast corner of the Isle of Mull is the luxurious Isle of Mull Hotel and Spa, a haven for travellers looking to escape the stresses of everyday life. This extensive hotel offers guests an unforgettable experience of relaxation and indulgence thanks to its superb spa facilities and unparalleled oceanside…

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  • Isle of Raasay

    Isle of Raasay

    The Isle of Raasay is located immediately north of Skye on the west coast of Scotland. This beautiful island in the Inner Hebrides is just 24 square miles in area yet is home to one of the world’s most geologically diverse landscapes. Visitors to Raasay can explore rolling hills, forests, lochs, golden beaches, and some…

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  • Isle of Rum

    Isle of Rum

    The Small Isles on the west coast of Scotland include Canna, Muck, Eigg, and Rum. Rum is the largest of the archipelago at 182 square miles, yet it is inhabited by just 40 people. Getting to Rum involves a short ferry ride from the neighbouring Isle of Skye, after which visitors are free to explore…

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  • Isle of Skye

    Isle of Skye

    The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over 600,000 sightseers annually. People travel from all over the world to explore this west-coast island’s beautiful landscapes and attractions like the Storr, the Fairy Pools, and the Quiraing are essential places to visit for anyone touring Scotland. Discover this beautiful island…

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  • Isle of Tiree

    Isle of Tiree

    The Isle of Tiree is the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Known as the ‘Hawaii of the north’, Tiree is famed for its clear blue seas and wide golden beaches, as well as the annual Tiree Music Festival and Surf Wave Classic events. Discover Tiree with this guide which includes an overview, good-to-know visiting advice, and a…

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  • Lochbuie

    Lochbuie

    The village of Lochbuie, nestled amidst the breathtaking landscape of the Isle of Mull, is a genuine hidden gem that offers visitors a taste of the island’s natural beauty far away from crowds of visiting tourists. Lochbuie lies at the head of Loch Buie on the south coast of Mull in a landscape that features…

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