Lewis and Harris has been named as the best island in Europe by an international travel site. Scotland rated highly overall with the Orkney Islands coming in 4th place and the Isle of Mull 9th. The list was compiled by TripAdvisor by looking at opinions of tavellers who have visited the islands. Harris and Lewis beat rivals in Thailand, Chile and Madagascar to be included in the top five islands in the world.
Scotland also dominated the top 10 UK island list with six of the top 10 islands found north of the border. Skye, Arran and Islay took fifth, sixth and eighth places respectively in the UK list of winners.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: “With hundreds of islands, each with their own unique character, diverse landscape and rich wildlife, it’s no surprise that these islands have been recognised in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Islands awards.
“It’s always 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.”
Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides is Scotland’s largest island.
James Kay, TripAdvisor spokesman said: “An island holiday usually conjures images of faraway palm-lined beaches, white sand and crystal clear water but the results of this year’s awards reveal that the ideal island getaway might be closer to home than you think.”
The Isle of Harris produces the world renowned Harris Tweed
The travel guide goes on to describe a visit to the island as:
” like stepping into the pages of a Scottish fairy tale. In Lewis—the northern part of the island—the legendary Callanish Standing Stones poke up from the ground like a strange and massive rock city. The Blackhouse, the Shawbost Norse Mill and Kiln, and the Carloway Broch all offer a peek at what island life used to look like. In southern Harris, the east side beaches boast some of the oldest known rocks in the world, dating back millions of years. Cruise over to the volcanic islands of St. Kilda to explore the ruins of a medieval village.”
TripAdvisor’s Top 10 European islands
1. Lewis and Harris, Scotland
2. Naxos, Greece
3. Island of Gozo, Malta
4. Orkney Islands, Scotland
5. Milos, Greece
6. Cephalonia, Greece
7. Santorini, Greece
8. Island of Capri, Italy
9. Isle of Mull, Scotland
10. Paros, Greece
For the full listings visit the TripAdvisor website.