Orkney and Mull also make TripAdvisor website’s European top 10
Photograph: Isle of Harris by Kristi Herbert
If you’ve visited Scotland’s islands you will already know just how fabulous they are. In fact, if you’re like me, you probably prefer to keep the wonders of many Scottish islands to yourself. This is, I confess, purely selfish because I don’t want too many people to visit them. I like the islands to remain wild and uncrowded.
But it seems our secret is now well and truly out. International travel site TripAdvisor has revealed the top islands in the UK, Europe and the world â€“ and the Scottish isles score very well indeed.
TripAdvisor asked travellers to vote for their favourite isles and the winner in Europe is Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The Orkney Islands have been voted the fourth best islands in Europe, while the Isle of Mull took ninth place.
When rated in a worldwide league, Lewis and Harris came fifth, beating the islands of Thailand, Chile and Madagascar.
TripAdvisor’s Top 10 European islands
1. Lewis and Harris
2. Naxos, Greece
3. Gozo, Malta
4. Orkney Islands
5. Milos, Greece
6. Cephalonia, Greece
7. Santorini, Greece
8. Capri, Italy
10. Paros, Greece
The wonders of Lewis and Harris
The largest island in the Outer Hebrides, Lewis and Harris is an outdoors heaven on earth.Â Walkers, cyclists, surfers, kite surfers and sea kayakers flock there to be where nature is still fabulously wild and stunningly beautiful.
Harris is famed for its wide, wide white sandy beaches, rugged hills and the colourful flower blankets of machair.Â Lewis has rocky bays, high coastal headlands, world-famous archaeological sites and even more beautiful 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.
According to Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, “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.Â It’s 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.”
But before the world arrives, why not get there first?.