Getting around

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Journey Planner
  • A fast rip boat trip from the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides
    A fast rip boat trip from the Isle of Lewis
  • A couple look out from the deck of CalMac ferry near South Uist, Outer hebrides
    A couple look out from the deck of CalMac ferry
  • A cyclist on the causeway across Loch Bee, South Uist
    The causeway across Loch Bee, South Uist
  • A man sea kayaking in Stornoway harbour with Lews Castle behind, Isle of Lewis
    Sea kayaking in Stornoway harbour with Lews Castle behind, Isle of Lewis
  • Stornoway Harbour
    Stornoway Harbour

Once you’ve have arrived to the Outer Hebrides, the regular inter-island ferries, causeways and local buses will help you get around the islands.

By car

It's possible to take a car to Barra, Harris, Lewis, North Uist and South Uist from the mainland by ferry. The ferries are operated by Caledonian MacBrayne, who also offers detailed information about getting to and from the ports by car.

There are several car hire operators on Lewis, Benbecula and the Isle of Barra if you wish to travel to the isles as a foot passenger but decide to rent a car for few days, and most companies provides an airport pick up service too.

Driving around the islands is a great way to explore off the beaten track and enjoy the wild Outer Hebridean scenery. The roads on the islands vary between smooth, standard double tracks on the main routes to narrow, single tracks in more rural areas. Make sure that you read about driving in Scotland, and are aware of how to use passing places on single track roads and watch out for livestock on the roads in rural areas.

Travelling between the islands by car is becoming easier and easier with bridges, including a crossing to Scalpay and causeways to Berneray and Eriskay, ferry terminals at Stornoway and Leverburgh, and car ferries on the routes between Harris and the Uists and from the mainland to Barra and Stornoway.

The Traffic Scotland site is a great source of up-to-date traffic information.

By public transport

There is also great network of local bus services for getting around the islands and to the main ferry ports, some of which arrive to coincide with ferry arrival and departure times. Some Postbuses also operate on the islands, offering minibus transport in remote regions.

Please note that it is a Monday to Saturday service with no public transport scheduled on a Sunday and you should take account of this when planning your visit. Most of the rural bus services operate a timetable that ends by 6pm but there is an evening service on some of the route within the Stornoway District.

It is also possible to hire taxis in the Outer Hebrides, with several companies providing a reliable service on each of the seven main islands.

By sea

Caledonian MacBrayne operates an excellent inter-island service in the Outer Hebrides with ferries running between Leverburgh and Berneray, and between Eriskay and Barra.

For the timetable and fares please visit Caledonian MacBrayne website.
You can make substantial savings by purchasing one of CalMac’s special flexible ferry tickets. The Island Rover allows you to explore the islands at your leisure with the choice of an 8 or 15 day ticket, while Island Hopscotch tickets are valid for one month and let you plan your own adventure by choosing from a selection of pre-planned routes.