The Outer Hebrides are a fasinating destination. The scenery is beautiful. The landscape is rocky and mountainous, but also lush and verdant - due in no small part to the large amounts of rain which tend to fall. It is easy to find a quiet peaceful spot.
The Gaelic language and culture is appealing. At a practical level this means that place names on roadsigns are in Gaelic, but the bus timetables use the English names!
Religion still plays an important part in many peoples lives. In Lewis and Harris this is often in the form of Protestant Free Presbyterian Churchs. As a result the Sabbath (Sunday) is respected, so you are unlikely to find shops etc open on a Sunday. Activites happening on a Sunday often are opposed locally. In contrast Barra and South Uist are mainly Catholic, and Sunday opening is much more likely.
Caledonian MacBrayne, . The national ferry service. Citylink coaches generally connect with the ferries on the mainland. Details below are for Summer 2006:
In the Outer Hebrides, there are airports in Stornoway in Lewis, Benbecula and Barra. These airports provide direct flights to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. The airport in Barra is one of the most spectacular in the world, with planes landing on a three-mile beach at low tide, but this does mean that the flight times vary with the tide.
Caledonian MacBrayne, . The national ferry service. Details below are for Summer 2006:
Many of the islands are linked by road causeways and bridges, which have progessively been built over the last 50 years or so. Most recently causeways have been built to Eriskay from South Uist, and to Berneray from North Uist.
The Outer Hebrides are popular for cycle tourists, generally taking around a week to cycle from Barra to Stornoway.
There are many fine sandy beaches, mainly on the Western shores of the islands.