Inner Hebrides: The Best Things to Do

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 the 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. They are characterized by their craggy coastlines just as much as their dramatic mountainscapes.

The Cuillins on Skye and the mountains of Rum are particularly famous for their soaring peaks, attracting hikers and climbers from all around the world, though both ranges are challenging to say the least, and unsuitable for amateur hill walkers.

Isle of Rum

The towns and villages of the Inner Hebrides are as varied as the landscape itself. From the bustling port town of Portree on Skye, known for its colourful waterfront houses and stunning sea views, to the pretty village of 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 famous Fairy Pools, a sequence of stunning clear blue pools and waterfalls as well as the Quiraing, a devastatingly beautiful landscape formed by a series of monumental 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 being home to 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 eight 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.

In summary, each island of the Inner Hebrides has its own unique charm, and all of them offer a truly unforgettable island experience for anyone who takes the time to visit them.

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

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