The 10 Most Beautiful Scottish Islands To See Before You Die

Sound of Raasay | © john mcsorran/Flickr
Sound of Raasay | © john mcsorran/Flickr
Enchanted with unwavering beauty and cloaked in ruggedness, the isles of Scotland are a sight for sore eyes. The sort of places that make you feel alive, there is nothing more liberating than stepping foot upon these unbordered lands. Whether an aimless wanderer, keen adventurer, nature enthusiast, or lost soul looking for inspiration, Culture Trip has just the ticket to fulfill your inner explorer. Although just a group of mere dots on a map, start ticking off that bucket list and discover the most magnificent Scottish islands to see before you die.


The most westerly island of the Inner Hebrides and the ‘Hawaii of the north’, Tiree is a haven where fishing and crofting are a way of life. Graced with prime fertile land, sparkling beaches, and an abundance of beaming rays of sunshine in the warm seasons, the blustery elements and sweeping seas of Tiree attract countless groups of avid wind surfers.

Tiree, Scotland


Iona, an island near Mull on the western coast, is riddled with history and makes even the most cynical people become infused with spirituality. A perfect retreat for those in need of restoration, Iona was once home to a coveted monastery during the Middle Ages.

Iona, Scotland


Something from a fairytale, Eigg sits innocently to the south of Skye and north of the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. From golden eagles and peregrine falcons to kestrels, this little land is home to an impressive bird population. Eigg sports spectacular views and generates almost all of its own electricity using renewable energy. A mysterious wonder, the quartz beach contains ‘singing sands’ that cry out when walked upon.

Eigg, Scotland


Exceptionally desolate and laden with tribes of mountains, Jura, which is adjacent to Islay, is one of the least densely populated islands of Scotland. The name Jura dates back to the Norse-Gael era and means ‘Beast Island’. Evidence of settlements was unearthed by archaeologist John Mercer in the 1960s.

Jura, Scotland


The kind of place that makes you want to pack up whatever you are doing and stay forever, Staffa exudes a celestial beauty unachievable by man. The name derives from the Old Norse meaning ‘Stave or Pillar Island’. The majestic basalt columns and remarkable sea caverns (like Fingal’s Cave) draw avid thinkers from far and near. Uninhabited since 1800, Staffa is the kind of spot on the map to ignite the purest of epiphanies.

Staffa, Scotland


A walkers’ paradise adorned with ancient trees and undulating terrain, Raassay hosts a myriad of paths awaiting exploration, all of which are graced with ineffable intrigue. Sandwiched between Skye and the mainland, this geological sight of interest is a playground for a subspecies of bank vole, and a land of adventure for humans. The name Raasay means ‘Isle Of The Roe Deer’.

Raasay, Scotland


A little piece of heaven on earth, Gigha is an artist’s palette of reds, greens, and blues. Near the west coast of Kintyre and part of Argyll and Bute, the Achamore Gardens on the island host dancing hoards of rhododendrons and azaleas. Visit during winter and notice how the trees are still blanketed in leaves galore, due to the positioning of Gigha on the Gulf Stream.

Gigha, Scotland


Graced with barrels of gin and an abundance of whisky, Islay is ‘The Queen Of The Hebrides’, and regal she is. Home to a welcoming bird population and a plethora of deer, this glistening jewel is the fifth largest Scottish island. One taste of this place inevitably results in a lifetime’s worth of memories.

Islay, Scotland

St Ninian’s Isle

Connected to Shetland by the largest tombolo (or as the Scots say ‘ayre’) in the UK, St Ninian’s Isle is one of Scotland’s most sanctified spots. The ayre, which is 500 metres long, permits people to cross it only when the seas allow, which happens to be during summer months. Swathes of silver sands and pristine beaches encapsulate this free-willed isle.

Tombolo from St Ninian's © AdamKR/Flickr


Anointed with dramatic nature and perfectly wild in appearance, Skye sparks a longing purpose of adventure within the best of us. From fiercely pure waters and free blustery air forever swirling around the Cuillin Mountains, to the dreamlike essence of the mystical Fairy Pools, Skye is a land free from confines and overflowing with dignity.

Skye, Scotland