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Written by
FionaOutdoors
FionaOutdoors

It’s official: Scottish islands are the best

Scotland’s fabulous islands have claimed four places in a list of the top 10 best European isles. International travel site TripAdvisor asked travelers to vote for their favourite isles and the winners are Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. The Orkney Islands are the fourth best islands in Europe, while the Isle of Mull took ninth place. When rated in a worldwide league, Lewis and Harris also made it into the top five islands, beating even the isles of Thailand, Chile and Madagascar.

TripAdvisor's Top 10 European islands

1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland

2. Naxos, Greece

3. Island of Gozo, Malta

4. Orkney Islands, Scotland

5. Milos, Greece

6. Cephalonia, Greece

7. Santorini, Greece

8. Island of Capri, Italy

9. Isle of Mull, Scotland

10. Paros, Greece

Luskentyre Beach on Harris

What’s so great about Lewis and Harris?

The largest island in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris offer an outdoors heaven on earth. Although one large island when seen on a map, Lewis and Harris are usually referred to as two separate isles. Walkers and cyclists flock to the Outer Hebrides where the landscape is wild and beautiful and natural wonders are in abundance. Harris is famed for its stunning white sandy beaches, rugged hills and the flora of the colourful machair. Lewis is described as the un-tamed north, with rocky bays, world-famous geological sites and even more sandy beaches.

Best islands in the UK

Scotland also dominated the top 10 UK island list with Skye in fifth place, Arran in sixth and Islay in eighth place. Mike Cantlay, chairman of Visit Scotland, is reported as saying: "With hundreds of islands, each with their own unique character, diverse landscape and rich wildlife, it's no surprise that Scotland’s islands have been recognised in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Islands awards. "It's always great to get this kind of recognition and I'm sure it will help encourage even more people to visit these incredible islands in 2014, the year Scotland Welcomes the World."

Five Great Holidays in the Scottish Islands

Walker admiring the mountain scenery on Arran

Enjoy a drive & hike adventure on the Outer Hebrides Island Hopscotch walking holiday. Alternatively, for a driving-free holiday choose the popular Skye & The Outer Hebrides trip taking in highlights of the Skye Trail and the Harris Walkway. For islands rich in history and wildlife Mull & Iona and or the Orkney islands are great options. Cycle Arran, Islay and Jura on a Scottish Island Hopscotch cycling holiday. Or head off to Scotland's most famous island, Skye, best appreciated on foot on a Skye walking holiday or from the saddle on a cycling holiday. Tell us about your favourite Scottish island.