Lewis, Harris & Stornoway
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Carloway, Isle of Lewis

Destinations and maps

Lewis, Harris & Stornoway

When you arrive in Stornoway, you just know you're about to begin an unforgettable Hebridean adventure. The harbour town is the portal to discovering a dramatic island landscape, rich in natural and historical heritage, and it's the epicentre of Gaelic culture. So let us introduce you properly - as the locals say, fàilte gu Steòrnabhagh!

Gateway to Lewis and Harris

For many, Stornoway is the main entry point to Lewis and Harris, which together make up the largest island in the Outer Hebrides. Get out and explore, and you'll discover an ever-changing mix of terrains; mountains, hills, lunar-like rocky plateaus, moorlands, meadows, rugged coastlines and white sandy beaches all feature. When it comes to heart-achingly beautiful scenery, the Western Isles deliver.

Ancient treasures

Prehistoric standing stones dating back millenniums, Iron Age brochs and traditional 17th century blackhouses are just some of the amazing sites you can take in and get an insight into island communities of the past. See skilled islanders produce Harris Tweed, luxury handwoven wool which has been crafted on the island for generations - it's only made on the Outer Hebrides and regularly features in designs from world-famous fashion houses.

Around the town

Stornoway is the largest town in the Outer Hebrides, and it's a harbour town which comes with plenty of charms of its own. Get introduced to Gaelic arts, literature and music and island traditions at the town's arts hub and at the new museum, or browse independent shops for locally-made crafts and unique gifts.

What else can I see and do in and around Stornoway?

  • Whether you're interested in discovering your ancestry, uncovering archaeological sites, taking guided walks or spotting wildlife, there's a wide selection of tour operators who can help you experience the best of the island.
  • Uncover the island's past and find out how it has shaped the way of life today at the newly redeveloped Museum nan Eilean in Lews Castle.
  • Get tickets for HebCelt, the Outer Hebrides' premier music festival. Taking place in the summer months, the festival showcases big names from a wide range of genres, including contemporary, traditional, rock, indie, folk and world music.
  • Bring your hillwalking boots and plan a day's walking. Choose to conquer rugged hill ranges, or follow a scenic coastal path.
  • Explore the pristine beaches of Lewis and Harris, with their white sands and azure blue waters. Luskentyre sands was named one of the UK's best beaches in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards.
  • Discover how Harris Tweed, a luxury woollen fabric made only in this part of the world, is traditionally crafted by skilled artisans.
  • Pop into the new Harris Distillery to learn more about the process behind this island malt.
  • Go on a journey of a lifetime and join a boat trip to St Kilda. Recognised by UNESCO for its natural and cultural heritage, this incredible archipelago was abandoned by its inhabitants in 1930.
  • Follow the Hebridean Way Cycling Route, which goes through 10 islands in the Outer Hebrides from Vatersay in the south to Lewis in the north.

Travel in Stornoway

Getting here

Daily car ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) run from Ullapool on the mainland to Stornoway. If you want to fly, the island's airport lies just a few miles from the town centre, with regular flights arriving and departing from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Benbecula. The port of Tarbert on Harris is linked to Uig on the Isle of Skye by daily ferries.

Getting around

The roads of Lewis and Harris are generally quiet and many of them are single track, with plenty of passing places. The local council provides a good bus service between Mondays and Saturday, connecting Stornoway with many of the island's other settlements.

Travel tip: Communities in Lewis and Harris follow a strong religious observance on Sundays, meaning that most shops and businesses are closed on that day.

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