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The Inner Hebrides is an archipelago found just off Scotland’s west coast, to the southeast of the Outer Hebrides. With 35 of the 44 islands inhabited, it’s one of the most sparsely populated areas of Scotland and largely self-sufficient on its agricultural industry.
150 miles in length, this chain spans many different islands but is collectively identified for its sweeping highlands, wonderful wildlife and compelling archaeological sites. The culmination of these features make the Inner Hebrides one of the most fascinating places to visit in Scotland. The magical scenery is what captivates visitors most of all, with majestic mountain ranges giving way to verdant fields, glistening lochs and golden beaches.
The Isle of Skye is the finest testament to the Inner Hebrides, offering the most iconic landscapes and geological structures. The largest island, it’s also steeped in history; the most important sites include Dunvegan Castle: the ancestral home of the McLeod Clan, the ‘Viking Canal’ and the ruinous Iron Age hill fort on the Strathaird peninsula.
Skye’s main town, Portree, is the archipelago’s biggest settlement, known for its colourful houses upon the waterfront and for hosting a range of theatrical events in its award-winning Aros Centre.
A world leading manufacturer of whiskey, the Inner Hebrides is rich in distilleries worth visiting, particularly on the islands of Jura and Islay (there are eight to choose from). Once you’ve sampled your share of single malts, the countryside awaits with its spectacle of wildlife; keep your eyes out for sea and golden eagles, red-throated diver, puffins, orcas, basking sharks and grey seals found just offshore.
Getting the ferry to the Inner Hebrides is the easiest and quickest way of exploring the beautiful archipelago. Operated by the region’s leading ferry company, Caledonian MacBrayne, a vast number of routes embark from towns like Oban on the mainland, and from the Outer Hebrides to the north.