The Hebrides are a large and diverse archipelago off the west coast of Scotland. They are divided into the Inner and Outer Hebrides and each island is unique.
Humans have lived here and eaten local seafood since the Mesolithic period. Our culture has been influenced by successive arrivals of Celtic-, Norse- and English-speaking peoples, with the names of our islands deriving from these languages.
We are the source of much of Scottish Gaelic literature and music. Our economy also relies heavily on tourism, farming and fishing, with the latter two woven deep into the fabric of our culture and society.
Finally, we are blessed with breathtaking natural beauty.
Find out more about each of our diverse and unique islands below.
And why not come and visit us when you can?
Barra (Barraigh or Eilean Bharraigh) is an island in the Outer Hebrides, famous for its clan history, strong identity, long-standing seafaring culture and iconic castle.
Benbecula (Beinn na Faoghla) is an island of the Outer Hebrides. It is relatively flat and has an airport with regular flights to Glasgow.
Great Bernera (Beàrnaraigh Mòr), often known just as Bernera (Beàrnaraigh), is an island in Loch Roag on the north-west coast of Lewis, to which it is linked by a road bridge.
Berneray (Beàrnaraigh na Hearadh) is a small but beautiful island in the Sound of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
Canna (Canaigh/Eilean Chanaigh) is the westernmost island in the Small Isles archipelago. It is linked to the neighbouring island of Sanday by a road and sandbanks at low tide. The isolated skerries of Hyskeir and Humla lie just off the south-west of the island.
Coll (Colla or An t-Eilean Collach) lies to the west of the Isle of Mull, next to Tiree. It is known for its sandy beaches, dunes, wildlife and Breacachadh Castle.
Colonsay (Colbhasa) is an island in the Inner Hebrides, north of Islay and south of Mull. It has some beautiful beaches, fertile soil and a tidal causeway (called the Strand) linking it to the island of Oronsay.
Eigg (Eige) is one of the Small Isles. It lies south of the Isle of Skye and north of Ardnamurchan. It is notable for generating almost all of its electricity using renewable sources.
Eriskay (Èirisgeigh) from the Old Norse for “Eric’s Isle”, is an island in the Outer Hebrides. It sits between Barra and South Uist and is connected to the latter via a causeway.
Flodaigh (sometimes anglicised as Flodda) is a tidal island lying to the north of Benbecula and south of Grimsay in the Outer Hebrides. It is connected to Benbecula by a causeway.
Harris (Na Hearadh) is the southern and more mountainous part of Lewis and Harris, the largest island in the Outer Hebrides. Although not an island itself, Harris is often referred to as the Isle of Harris. It is known for its beautiful beaches and sunsets.
The civil parish of Harris is also considered to include the uninhabited archipelago of St Kilda and the uninhabited island of Rockall further out into the Atlantic.
Iona (Ì Chaluim Chille or Eilean Ìdhe) is a small but beautiful and tranquil island off the coast of the Isle of Mull. For centuries its famous Abbey was a centre for Christianity. It remains a popular pilgrimage destination today.
Islay (Ìle) is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides. It is located only 25 miles from the coast of Northern Ireland. The island is particularly well known for its whisky distilleries.
Jura (Diùra) is a sparsely populated island in the Inner Hebrides. Well-known for being peaceful, George Orwell finished the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four while staying here. Like a number of Hebridean islands, it is known for its whisky. Jura also lies adjacent to the remarkable Gulf of Corryvreckan where the infamous whirlpool of the same name can make sea passage difficult and even dangerous.
Kerrera (Cearara or Cearrara) is an island situated off the mainland harbour town of Oban. It is very peaceful and green. There are no roads on the island but it can be reached by a short ferry journey from the mainland.
The Isle of Lewis (Eilean Leòdhais or simply Leòdhas) is the northern part of Lewis and Harris, the largest island in the Hebrides. It has relatively flat, fertile land, and the largest population of any of the islands, particularly in Stornoway, the largest town in the Hebrides. It also has a rich cultural heritage.
Lismore (Lios Mòr) is located in Loch Linnhe, a long sea loch that runs down the Great Glen Fault that divides mainland Scotland. It is known for its historical ruins, shipwrecks and iconic lighthouse, seen by thousands of tourists in passing ferries each year.
Luing (Luinn) is one of the Slate Islands, located in the Firth of Lorn, around 16 miles south of the mainland harbour town of Oban. It is known for its seafood and agriculture.
The Isle of Muck (Eilean nam Muc) is the smallest of four main islands in the Small Isles, in the Inner Hebrides. It surrounded by rich seas, notable for their porpoise populations.
The Isle of Mull (Muile or an t-Eilean Muileach) is the fourth-largest Scottish island. It is a popular tourist destination, particularly the colourful town of Tobermory, and is considered to be an ‘all-rounder’ island with bars, restaurants and cultural events as well as more peaceful activities such as hill-walks, history and wildlife.
North Uist (Uibhist a Tuath) is an island in the Outer Hebrides located between Harris and South Uist. It has a strong Gaelic culture, traditional architecture, sandy beaches and the Atlantic sunsets so distinctive of this part of the world.
Oronsay (Orasaigh) is a small, tidal island south of Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. It is linked to Colonsay by a tidal causeway (called an Traigh or the Strand). Archaeological remains found on the island indicate that the humans have been eating oysters since at least 3065BC.
Raasay (Ratharsair) is an island that lies between the Isle of Skye and the mainland. The name of the island means “isle of the roe deer” of which there are many. It is peaceful but with plenty of outdoor exploration and beautiful sunsets over the dramatic Isle of Skye.
Rona (Rònaigh) is a small island situated just north of the Isle of Raasay. It is sometimes called South Rona to distinguish it from North Rona (a remote and uninhabited island many mile further north).
The Isle of Rùm/Rum is the largest of the Small Isles in the Inner Hebrides. It has some of the earliest evidence of human habitation in the UK, with items dating back to 7700-7500BC. It also has notable biodiversity and some sites of particular beauty.
Sanday (Sandaigh) is one of the Small Isles in the Hebrides, and is not to be confused with the islands of the same name in Orkney or off Barra. It is a tidal island, linked to its larger neighbour Canna by a bridge, as well as by sandbanks at low tide.
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh) in the Outer Hebrides is sometimes called Scalpay of Harris (Sgalpaigh na Hearadh) to distinguish it from the Scalpay off Skye. It is connected to Harris by a bridge.
Scalpay (Sgalpaigh) is a small island off the east coast of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. It is known for its plentiful deer and is regarded as a peaceful holiday destination.
Seil (Saoil) is one of the Slate Islands, situated in the Firth of Lorn, south-west of Oban. It has been linked to the mainland by a bridge since the 1700s.
Shuna (Siuna) is one of the Slate Islands lying east of Luing and south-west of Oban. It is a quiet holiday destination and notable for its rich wildlife.
The Isle of Skye (An t-Eilean Sgitheanach or Eilean a’ Cheò), is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides. It is internationally known for its dramatic scenery and is a very popular tourist destination.
Soay (Sòthaigh) is a small island just off the south-west coast of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. It has a long history of Norse activity, as well as fishing and agriculture.
South Uist (Uibhist a Deas) is the second-largest island of the Outer Hebrides. It has a strong Gaelic culture, Norse heritage, rich history and sites of significant prehistoric archaeological importance.
Tiree (Tiriodh) is the most westerly island in the Inner Hebrides. It is known for its relatively flat, fertile soils, traditional agriculture and unusually sunny weather. It is a popular windsurfing venue and has earned the nickname the “Hawaii of the north”.
The Isle of Ulva (Ulbha) is located off the west coast of the Isle of Mull. It is separated from Mull by a narrow strait, and connected to the neighbouring island of Gometra by a bridge. It has a long, rich history, while its abundant biodiversity has inspired scientists, artists and writers alike for centuries.
The island of Vatersay (Bhatarsaigh) is the southernmost and westernmost inhabited island in the Outer Hebrides. The settlement of Caolas on the north coast is the westernmost permanently inhabited place in Great Britain. To the south are the uninhabited islands of Pabbay, Mingulay and Sanday. The island is known for its wildlife, musical culture and beautiful beaches.
We also have our mainland communities who are a huge part of our seafaring family network:
We supply most of our marine produce to the mainland, where it is served in hotels bars and restaurants from Aberdeen to the south coast of England.