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10 of the Most Epic Places to Visit in Northern Scotland

From ancient standing stones to stunning coastlines and beaches, the beauty of the Outer Hebrides needs to be seen to be believed.

The Outer Hebrides in Northern Scotland is home to some of the most incredible places in the British Isles. Some of the most awe-inspiring locations are found on the conjoined islands of Lewis and Harris where natural and man-made wonders such as ancient standing stones, churches, historic castles, stunning coastlines, and unspoiled beaches take center stage. While it can be challenging choosing which to discover, here are 10 must-visit locations, each unique and integral to the heritage of the islands.

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Callanish Stone Circle

WHERE: Isle of Lewis

The Callanish (or Calanais) Standing Stones are one of Scotland’s most magnificent and best-preserved Neolithic monuments. The extraordinary arrangement of stones is a captivating sight that stands proud 13 miles west of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The spectacular monument was raised some 5,000 years ago, predating England’s world-renowned Stonehenge, and was originally an important place for ritual activity. The stone circle consists of 13 stones, thought to have been constructed as an astronomical observatory.

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Blackhouse Village

WHERE: Isle of Lewis

Clustered on a rise overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is a beautifully-restored traditional village called Gearrannan Blackhouse Village that anyone can visit. This outstanding place is full of authentic charm that preserves the Hebrides past when the traditional blackhouses once dotted the Hebridean landscape. This group of houses was built in the late 1800s where highlanders and their livestock lived in these single-room lodgings for centuries.

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Seilebost Beach

WHERE: Isle of Harris

The beaches in the Outer Hebrides are the stuff of dreams—idyllic, picturesque, and tranquil. If you had to choose just one beach to visit, Seilebost is stunning and one of the best. The spectacular scene of green-blue waters, sweeping sands, and views across to Luskentyre and Taransay is totally deserving of every distinction it receives. Access to the beach requires a bit of a hike but rewards those who make the effort.

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Nisabost Beach

WHERE: Isle of Harris

Nisabost is another fabulous beach, a stone’s throw away from Seilebost and just minutes from the main road to Rodel. It is a great place to get away from the crowds and immerse yourself in paradise. Soak up some Hebridean sun, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters or just sit back and admire the spectacular views all around.

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Mangersta Stacks

WHERE: Isle of Lewis

On the western fringes of Lewis, the journey to Mangersta is nothing short of spectacular as the views from the road running from Uig along the stunning stretch of coastline are remarkable. An incredible spectacle unfolds from the edge of the precipice where the stacks jut out of the sea like jewels in the ocean with impressive sea cliffs beyond. When there is a good swell, the views can be even more magical with waves crashing up to the height of the stacks and into the cliffs. It is one of the best seascapes you will find in the Outer Hebrides.

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Amhuinnsuidhe Castle

WHERE: Isle of Harris

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle is a 19th-century private dwelling situated in a stunning and romantic seaside location with views to South Harris and the surrounding islands. Between the ocean and hills, the unspoiled wilderness and world-famous sea trout and salmon fishing entice visitors where a stay at the castle is a truly memorable Scottish island castle experience.

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Highland Cattle

WHERE: Isle of Harris

Scotland is home to one of the most majestic animals you can find in the British Isles and the Outer Hebrides is no exception. Famous for their long horns and hairy fur, these hardy Highland cows thrive in the wild where the rugged terrain is the perfect landscape for their existence. They are fairly widespread in Harris and can be seen in fields around the island and wandering freely on unfenced roads.

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Northton

WHERE: Isle of Harris

Northton is one of Harris’s best-kept secrets. The village of Northton on the south of the island provides access to some of the most interestingly formed saltings in the Hebrides. The low-lying grasslands are frequently submerged at high tide and have been shaped into an incredible group of small islands partitioned by a network of gracefully meandering channels.

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St. Clements Church, Rodel

WHERE: Isle of Harris

Nestled on a rocky headland at the southern tip of the island of Harris this beautiful church is located in the village of Rodel. It’s easy to see why this is often praised as “the grandest medieval building in the Western Isles”–its magnificent structure and form owe much to its links with Ireland. The church has stood here since the late 15th century and is remarkable for possessing one of the most ambitious and richly-carved tombs of the period in Scotland. Set in an attractive setting, St. Clements is one of the most outstanding church buildings you will visit in the Hebrides.

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The Golden Road

WHERE: Isle of Harris

The southeast coast of Harris that stretches from Tarbert down to Rodel is known as the Golden Road not because of the wealth of the inhabitants living along it, but due to the large cost of building it. This intriguing route makes a great journey through the varied landscapes. Rugged hills, rocky shores, lochs, seals, and otters vie for your attention as you drive through the spectacular scenery.

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