The most northerly of Scotland’s dramatic Western Isles, the Isle of Lewis is known for its ancient remains, coastal crofts, and beautiful beaches. On a sunny day, dune-backed beaches like Bostadh and Traigh Chuil are perfect. Spot red deer in Lewis’s conservation areas, and off the coast — dolphins, porpoises, and even whales. The center of the island gives way to a peaty plateau loved by rare birds birds, and in the hills of Uig look out for golden eagles and peregrine falcons.
Stornoway’s colorful harbor is also a good place to spot seals. Easily the largest town on the island, over three quarters of the Western Isles population lives here. Wind through its Victorian streets to Stornoway’s lively pubs, where you can listen out for Gaelic — the local tongue — and get to know the great island tradition of storytelling firsthand.
Having once belonged to the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, you’ll notice Presbyterian traditions running through the veins of island life throughout the Hebrides. On Sundays on Lewis, life quietens down as the Sabbath is observed across the isle.
Lewis has a rich history. Home to the famous Callanish Stones, Arnol Blackhouse is also a popular visit. A preserved traditional thatched croft run by Historic Scotland, just like up until the 1960s when the blackhouse was abandoned by its last tenants, the peaty central hearth is never allowed to go out.
The easiest way to get to Lewis from the mainland is by ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway. There are buses linking Stornoway to Tarbart, the main village on Harris.