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Outer Hebrides Island Hopping

7 Days & 6 Nights
  • Experience the unique landscapes and Gaelic culture of the Outer Hebrides
  • Sail past Kisimul Castle in Barra's picturesque Castlebay Harbour
  • Tranquil white sand beaches and turquoise seas of Barra and the Uists
  • The mysterious Neolithic standing stones of Callanish
  • Local gin, with a hint of kelp, and deliciously fresh seafood
Discover the far flung island chain of the Outer Hedrides on a self-drive discovery tour. This remote archipelago off Scotland's west coast is packed with incredible beaches, wildlife-watching opportunities, and fascinating historical sites dating back to Neolithic times. Undertake an island-hopping adventure from the mainland to Barra, in the southern reaches of the archipelago, through the Uists, and north to Harris and Lewis before returning to the mainland. Explore the unique Hebridean landscapes and traditions; from beaches washed by crystal clear surf and bordered by wildflower-strewn dunes, to centuries-old standing stones, and local fishing and crofting communities linked to the land. Spend evenings sampling local cuisine and planning the next day's adventure with our carefully curated information pack brimming with expertise.

What To Expect

The ideal trip for experiencing the best of the unique culture, ancient history and incredible landscapes that the Outer Hebrides have to offer. There's something for everyone from beach strolls to wildlife watching opportunities and ample time to explore world-renowned Neolithic sites. Allow our local expertise to guide you on a hassle-free journey of cultural discovery. Experience island hospitality at it's finest, not just at your accommodations, but as you tour Harris' gin distillery and sample Hebridean cuisine; products of the long-standing crofting and fishing way of life in the islands. So why not visit and discover the richness of Gaelic island culture for yourself?

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent holiday.

Activity:

Multi-Centre Discovery, Self-Drive Discovery | On this discovery tour spend a mix of multiple nights in more than one location, but on some tours this may be combined with only one night in a place too., A tour where you can travel from A to B at your own pace exploring the sights en-route.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers, Multi-Generational, Mixed Abilities, First Timers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Coastal & Island

Inspiration:

  • Classic

Navigation

Your information pack will include a day-by-day itinerary, with recommended driving routes between overnight stops, as well as recommended detours and must-see sights and attractions. You can use Google maps to navigate the route on your phone, but as mobile signal is limited we recommend using your car's sat-nav and/or a road atlas. If you are hiring a car with us we include sat-nav as standard as internet signal on the islands isn't always reliable. 

Accommodation Information

Overnight in hand-picked small hotels, B&B's and guesthouses, all of which have been chosen to ensure you experience warm Scottish hospitality at its best! We regularly use the properties listed in the itinerary but may use alternative options if these are unavailable. 

Single Rooms

This holiday is available to solo travellers but as all our tours are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs. If you require single rooms within your party we will, of course, try to accommodate your request subject to availability.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning and normally consists of a continental buffet with tea and coffee, fresh fruits, yoghurt, cereals, eggs and bread with jams. Often also on the menu are cooked options like freshly made porridge, a traditional cooked Scottish breakfast and smoked fish with scrambled eggs. 

We don't include lunch and dinner so you are free to choose from the available options. Your information pack includes details and recommendations of convenient lunch stops, cosy cafes and restaurants along the way. The food scene in Scotland has improved significantly over the past few decades, so now you'll find a range of options with everything from award-winning fish and chips to casual restaurant and cafe menus showcasing delicious locally-sourced produce. Seafood in particular is a staple in the Outer Hebrides. 

The Outer Hebrides remain a traditional region of the country meaning that many shops and restaurants can be closed on a Sunday. We recommend buying picnic lunches/snacks and making dinner reservations ahead of time particularly on Sundays to avoid disappointment.

Additional Nights

You can add additional nights wherever you please along the route. If you are travelling from further afield we highly recommend additional nights on arrival in Oban and on departure from Ullapool. 

Included
  • 6 Nights in 3 and 4* B&B's, guesthouses and small hotels
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Ferry crossings as per your itinerary
  • Detailed information pack brimming with our local knowledge
  • Our daily recommendations for places to see and visit
  • Our daily recommendations for top places to eat and drink
  • 24/7 Emergency support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Entrance to attractions/historic sights
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights at the start/end or along the route
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra)

When To Go

2021 Update: Reservations on the Oban to Castlebay (Barra) ferry no longer possible between 26th April-17th May 2021 due to Calmac Ferry operational issues. The tour is bookable as normal after 18th May 2021. 

You can start this tour on any day of the week from the end of April until mid-October, subject to availability. In early April start days are limited to accommodate the ferry timetables. The busiest times of the year are around Easter and May when accommodations fill up quickly, so book as early as possible if you are planning to travel then. If you travel before Easter, and in October it is worth noting that some attractions may either be closed, have limited access, or may open later and close a little earlier in the day. We always recommend checking the links in our information pack for up-to-date opening times.

During the shoulder season - early April and October - the Scottish weather tends to be more unpredictable and is often colder and rainier. However, attractions and popular viewpoints will generally be quieter. 

Weather and Climate

Scotland enjoys a temperate climate, meaning it's relatively mild all year, except in winter when temperatures dip below 0 degrees Celsius and it snows regularly in the Highlands. The islands are renowned for variable weather so you should be prepared for everything; from 'dreich' days (a Scottish word for rainy days that are a bit bleak) to days with beautiful blue skies and warmer weather. Whatever the weather it tends to be breezy so spare layers are always recommended.

From the end of April to October average daily temperatures vary from 7-14 degrees Celsius. Monthly rainfall varies from 11-17 mm per month on averarge. Generally, May, June and August are the driest months, but July to September are the mildest. To see the machair landscape (wildflower-covered dunes) in bloom the best time to travel is from the beginning of May through to June.  

Getting to the Start

The Outer Hebrides are located off Scotland's north west coast. Your trip includes ferry crossings from Oban (on the mainland) to Barra the most southern large island in the archipelago.

By Road: As this is self-drive tour it's easiest to access Oban by road from Glasgow by driving north on the A82 to Tyndrum then west on the A85 (2 hr 20 mins). Alternatively, from Edinburgh follow the M9 west, to join the A84 and onto the A85 (3 hr). If travelling from Inverness, drive south west on the A82, A828 and A85 to reach Oban (2 hr 45 mins).

Public Transport: If arriving in Glasgow or Edinburgh by public transport, and renting a car please see the Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares and more information regarding public transport in Scotland. The cities are well-linked across the UK, Europe and beyond by flying into either international airports. They are just over an hour apart by road, and it doesn't take much longer to travel between the two by an express bus or train service. Oban has a train station and is well-served by bus links to Glasgow and Edinburgh. Check the Scotrail and Citylink Bus websites for more details.

Car Rental 

We don't include car rental in the cost of our discovery tours to keep things flexible as we realise many people may wish to use their own car. If you opt to book car rental through us, we have a partnership with Europcar and can arrange this easily for you. As standard we book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance and sat-nav, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know when booking if you would like to upgrade your car, and where you would like to collect your hire car as this can be tailored to suit your needs.

Getting from the End

The Calmac ferry from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis to Ullapool on the mainland (2.5 hrs) is inlcuded in your trip. If you have time we recommend spending some time in the unique mountain landscapes of surrounding Torridon and Sutherland.  

Ullapool is a small town on the north west coast of Scotland, and is just a 1hr 15 min drive from Inverness making this a great add on to your trip. Otherwise, it's a 4 hr 15 min drive south to Glasgow or 4hrs 10 min to Edinburgh. There are plenty of fuel stations along the way, and some good places to split the journey are Inverness, Aviemore, Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Perth.  

General Information

On confirmation of your booking, you will receive a personalised itinerary and comprehensive information pack. This carefully curated pack, designed with our own local knowledge and expertise, will include notes on the must-see places and attractions to stop at en route, and our suggestions for the best places to eat and drink. 

Ferry Journeys

The following Calmac car ferry journeys are included in your trip:

  • Oban, mainland to Castlebay, Bara (5 hours)

  • Ardmhor, Barra to Eriskay/South Uist (40 minutes)

  • Berneray/North Uist to Leverburgh, Harris (1 hour)

  • Stornoway, Lewis to Ullapool, mainland (2.5 hours)

Please note that vehicle and passenger check-in is 45 minutes prior to the sailing departure time. All the boats have toilets and sheltered passenger lounges. Some larger boats on the long crossings also have a restaurant, cafe, bar and small shop selling gifts, magazines/newspapers, drinks and confectionary. 

Car Rental 

We don't include car rental in the cost of our discovery tours to keep things flexible as we realise many people may wish to use their own car. If you opt to book car rental through us, we have a partnership with Europcar and can arrange this easily for you. As standard we book an Economy category car (suitable for up to 4 people) with included comprehensive insurance and sat-nav, prices are on a request basis. Please just let us know when booking if you would like to upgrade your car, and where you would like to collect your hire car as this can be tailored to suit your needs. 

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Oban and ferry to the Isle of Barra Day 2 Explore Barra, including Kisimul Castle, and ferry to South Uist Day 3 Explore the beaches, nature reserves and art galleries on the Uists and Benbecula Day 4 Ferry to Harris and Lewis and stroll along Luskentyre's beautiful beach Day 5 Explore Harris and Lewis; from lighthouses, to Harris Distillery and the Callanish Standing Stones Day 6 Discover the Isle of Lewis; including Dun Carloway Broch and Stornoway's Lews Castle Museum Day 7 Ferry to Ullapool and onward travel

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