The Guide to Scotland's Islands on the West Coast

Guide to Scotland's Islands

This guide aims to paint a picture of Scotland’s islands on the west coast in all of its diversity, richness and beauty. It helps you find out what to do, gives you inspiring ideas, picks out the best of culture and events, and encourages you to enjoy the journey. Independently compiled, with the support of CalMac, we hope to reflect the best of what these islands have to offer and encourage you to set off and explore.

CalMac’s ferries are the gateway to the islands of Scotland’s west coast, connecting to, from and between Arran and the Kintyre peninsula in the south to Skye and the Outer Hebrides in the north. The fleet carries passengers, bikes, cars and commercial traffic right through the year as part of Scotland’s public transport network integrated with ports on the mainland. Journeys can be planned and tickets booked online at or you can find a handy journey planner at

What's in the guide?

watersports scotlands islands

Kayaking and kit-surfing your way around the islands

Exploring one of Europe's richest seascapes, Donald Reid suggests all sorts of ways you can get on the water to appreciate its beauty and challenges.

West Coast seafood

Why Scotland's seafood is among world's best

Scottish seafood has an enviable reputation around the world. Caroline Rye finds out that many are caught and harvested around the western coasts.

marine wildlife

Experience magnificent marine wildlife

The sea lochs, inlets and lochans across the Scottish islands and west coast of Argyll are a haven for wildlife.

scottish beaches

Scotland's islands boast some of the world's most beautiful beaches

Robin Hodge shares his favourite slices of sandy paradise.

birdwatching puffins

Where to go birdwatching

Awash with everything from gannets to guillemots, Scotland's islands are a birdwatching heaven. Dr Katherine Jones details where you and your binoculars should be heading.

four seasons

Across the four seasons

The seasons may change but that doesn't mean there is ever a bad time to visit Scotland's islands.

Johnny Lynch Howlin Fling Festival

Howlin' Fling organiser Johnny Lynch on the Isle of Eigg's intoxicating lure...

...and why he decided to start a music festival on this tiny eco-friendly island.

Outlaw King

The islands on film and TV

From Hollywood superstars to the Powell and Pressburger classics... oh and Outlander, of course.

whisky distillery

Whisky distilleries you should visit

Scotland's whisky-producing islands create the world's most distinguished drams. We look at old favourites and some new revolutionaries.

isle of kerrera

Four wee islands you should visit

Skye, Mull and the like get enough attention, some of the west coast islands are just as majestic and should be on your radar.

Cycling the Hebridean Way

Best trails, ways and adventures

Whether by foot, bike or seaplane, the islands boast a range of incredible experiences.

CalMac Ferry Routes

CalMac route map