Lewis and Harris, technically one landmass but divided into two islands, are located at the head of the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. Due to their proximity and distinct topographies, it is simple to explore both islands in a single journey. But why go to Lewis and Harris? These are some excellent justifications to include these islands on your bucket list.
1. Gorgeous beaches
It’s hard to miss miles of white beach bordered by blue waters. The beaches in Lewis and Harris are some of the greatest. The South Harris beaches frequently make lists of the best beaches in the world, so it’s easy to understand why you should include them on your bucket list of things to do in the UK. Unlikely to be outdone, the Isle of Lewis also has some undiscovered beauties, like Bosta Beach on Great Bernera.
2. Beautiful scenery
The Outer Hebrides have an extensive landscape. You should always have your camera with you because the scenery on the Islands of Lewis and Harris alone is so diverse. Even after hours of photo processing, I still feel like I didn’t take enough.
Lewis’ lunar landscape was constantly a source of astonishment as the shifting light turned the peat moorlands from brown to purple and the rocky topography from ice-cold grey to brown or green.
Harris’s desolate mountains to the south would not be out of place in Iceland or Norway. Miles of sand beaches, a rugged coastline, and croft lands are all there, in addition to historical monuments that now appear to be a part of the surrounding environment naturally.
3. Amiable folks
When you’re on a little island, it truly makes a difference that everyone you meet is so kind and pleasant. Despite the islanders’ strong sense of community, we didn’t feel left out, and everyone went above and beyond to make our mini-moon on the island memorable. We had some wonderful discussions about daily life in the Hebrides, and I sincerely regret that I wasn’t able to remain and speak with more people about it.
4. A long history
Because there is so much information about the history of the Isles of Lewis and Harris, it really deserves its own topic. This is one of the most ancient settings, with standing stones and old homes that provide a window into a bygone era.
Even though Stonehenge is larger, viewing the Callanish Stones gives me a sense of what it may have been like to visit in the past, when you could wander among the stones and truly experience the mood. If you go, please don’t touch the stones despite the warnings. Don’t mess it up for future generations!
5. Creative endeavors
Given the inspiring surroundings, it’s hardly surprising that the Islands of Lewis and Harris are home to a large number of gifted and creative people. Throughout the islands, there are many open studios where you can see painters, photographers, candy and candle makers, potters, knitters, and others working on all kinds of creative projects.
Harris Tweed is a pricey cloth that can only be produced by weavers in homes in the Outer Hebrides, and it is even legally protected. In the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, we came across a man who has been weaving since he was 12 years old and made Harris Tweed.
6. The sensation
It was enjoyable to feel like you were escaping and finding peace, which is hard to do today. There was space everywhere you looked, and the roads were silent. On the most picturesque beaches, we could typically count everyone presents—including ourselves—on less than one hand. Edinburgh was a jolt to the senses when we returned!
7. Food and beverage
The islanders are not new to the concepts of seasonal and local produce. Scallops, hand-raised beef, cheese made locally, delectable cold-smoked fish from Uig, Stornoway black pudding, and more we didn’t find.
With Harris Gin made close to Tarbert, the Outer Hebrides aren’t missing out on the resurgence of gin. The Abhainn Dearg Distillery also produces some of the finest single malt whiskies available.
Don’t be fooled into believing there aren’t any exciting things to do by the Outer Hebrides’ serene atmosphere. A few of the adventure sports available on Lewis and Harris include hill walking, kayaking, fishing, boating, surfing, sailing, and cycling.
When we drove around Lewis and Harris, we had to avoid things like sheep, bunnies, and geese. By the coast, you can see dolphins, whales, and otters in addition to Highland Coos, eagles, and deer. We didn’t even need to leave our front door to feel like we were out in nature.
The majority of the 1.1% of people who speak Scottish Gaelic, not Irish, reside in the Outer Hebrides, and slightly over half of all islanders are able to speak the language. This makes the Outer Hebrides the language’s stronghold. Particularly when we were in Stornoway, people frequently spoke a mixture of Gaelic and English, and signage in rural areas was solely in Gaelic.