Holiday rentals in Harris

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Your guide to Harris

All About Harris

The Isle of Lewis and Harris, the largest of the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of mainland Scotland, is known for its dramatic landscapes, pristine beaches, and artistic wares. Harris (in the south) and Lewis (to the north) are on the same island, but they’re often referred to as the Isle of Harris and the Isle of Lewis.

The north of Harris is renowned for its rugged mountains and rolling moors, while the south is known for stunning beaches like Luskintyre, Seilebost, and Horgabost. In the area of Harris known as the Bays, you’ll also find some rocks dating back around three billion years. The island’s largest town, Stornoway, sits on the east coast, where you can shop on pedestrianised streets, take in artworks at the An Lanntair arts centre, and watch from the harbour wall as fishermen bring in their catch. Harris is peppered with small settlements and secluded outposts, from the rolling hills of Kennavay in the east to the cool, clear waters that lap soft white sand at Huisinis in the west. The Isle of Scalpay, just off Harris’s southern coast, boasts a strong weaving heritage and one of the oldest lighthouses in Scotland. The wider Harris region is known around the world for its traditional handwoven heavy wool fabric used to make kilts.

The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Harris

The best time to visit Harris is during the warmer months, from April to October. Even though it can get windy from May to August, the summer months are the ideal time to enjoy the island’s beaches and explore the island. This is also when the days are longest and wildflowers are at their finest; you’re most likely to see local wildlife, especially seals, dolphins, porpoises, whales, and seabirds. During September and October, which bring clear night skies, you may be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights. The island is very quiet from November to March, and few trips around the Outer Hebrides operate during this time, though there is a peaceful tranquillity that falls over the island.

Top things to do in Harris

Clisham Ridge Walk

Harris offers some spectacular walks with options for various levels. For experienced and committed walkers, the Clisham Ridge Walk is a challenging climb up the Clisham, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides, which sits between North Harris Eagle Observatory and Loch Seaforth. If you start out from the car park on the A859, the walk takes around eight hours, but the view from the top is worth the effort.

Hebridean Cycle Way

The Hebridean Cycle Way runs for close to 300 kilometres across 10 of the islands in the Outer Hebrides. The section passing through Harris snakes up from Leverburgh through Balallan all the way to Stornoway. Two ferry crossings and several causeways connect the islands. The entire trail takes two to six days to complete, although you can choose just a section or two to tackle. The roads are quiet, and you can enjoy spectacular scenery along the way — from sandy beaches to rocky coves, rolling windswept hills, and craggy mountains.

Luskentyre Beach

Surrounded by rocky mountains and bordered by pristine sand dunes, Luskentyre Beach — located just outside the village by the same name, on the west coast of south Harris — is one of the most spectacular beaches on the island. The colour of the water changes with the tide, and at times offers the turquoise hues you would expect to find in the South Pacific. You can even swim here in the warmer months.

Destinations to explore

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