10 remote Scottish islands - and how you can visit them

The Islands boast some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery and diverse wildlife

The Islands are a bucket-list destination for many.

These are 10 of the most remote Scottish Islands – and how you can visit them.

With a population of approximately 30, Foula is a truly remote island, found in Shetland. It boasts a huge array of birds and plants alongside spectacular, picture-perfect cliffs. Ferry departures go seven nights a week on an Aberdeen-Lerwick route, or you can fly from several airports in the UK or Bergen, Norway.

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Also in the Shetlands is Unst, a rugged island with impressive beaches as well as its own brewery and whisky distillery - producing Shetland Reel Gin. To get there, you’ll have to head to Shetland’s main town, Lerwick, and take two more ferry journeys - around 90 – 120 minutes from Lerwick.
Located in the St Kilda archipelago, Hirta has an expansive coastline and huge colonies of puffins. It’s known as a “ghost island” thanks to the evacuation of the last residents in 1930. You can take a boat from Oban on the mainland, Uig on the Isle of Skye, or Leverburgh and Tarbert on the Isle of Harris to get there.
Around the same size as Islay, Jura’s name derives from the Norse for “Land of Deer”, with around 5,000 deer to just 200 humans. It’s a wild island with a literary history - George Orwell finished his famous novel 1984 there. The fastest way to reach Jura is by Jura Passenger Ferry, leaving from Tayvallich, west of Lochgilphead. You can also travel via Islay by taking the Calmac car ferry from Kennacraig or by daily Loganair flights from Glasgow Airport.
Rùm is the largest of the small isles in the Inner Hebrides, and archeologists estimate it’s been inhabited since the 8th millennium BC. It’s full of fascinating wildlife and beautiful landscapes. Kinloch Castle is a particular highlight. The main ferry terminal for Rùm is in Mallaig but, during the summer months there are more choices, with the Sheerwater which runs from Arisaig approx. 7 miles south of Mallaig.
Papa Westray, otherwise known as Papay, is just 3.5 square miles across and has a population of around 90. It’s an island with almost 60 archaeological sites - perfect for any history buffs. All connections to Papa Westray operate via Kirkwall on the Orkney Mainland. Orkney can be reached by Loganair flights from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Shetland.
North Rona is the most remote British island to have ever been permanently inhabited - 71km off the coast of Lewis. It’s a rugged and rocky landscape with an abundance of seabirds. Northern Light run live-aboard cruises that will take you by North Rona if you fancy the trip.
Don’t let the name distract you - the Isle of Muck is a haven of beaches, secluded bays and wildlife ranging from otters to whales and eagles. The ferry for the Isle of Muck leaves from Mallaig, Lochaber
Between Skye and the Outer Hebrides, The Shiant Isles are a small group of islands home to around 30,000 seabirds and beautiful, wild views. There is a Skye, Small Isles and Shiants Cruise run by Hebrides Cruises from Oban for getting there.
A stone’s throw from the Isle of Jura, Colonsay is a jewel in the Inner Hebridies’ crown. Local activities include oyster-farming, arts, crafts, honey production and even a brewery. You can get a CalMax ferry to Colonsay from Oban, or can sail from Islay.