A jaunt through the Scottish Islands reveals a place that is rough and rugged, but also lush and lovely. Kept mostly isolated and retaining just a trace of Nordic influence, the Scottish Isles are in many ways a window into the region’s past.

Comprising the majority of Scotland’s hundreds of islands, the Outer and Inner Hebrides are home to a wealth of bird life and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the British Isles. Sailing, fishing, and a variety of watersports bring the coast to life, while tiny settlements filled with friendly faces invite visitors to slow down and enjoy the Scottish Isles scenery.

Dramatic coastal cliffs define the perimeter of the Isle of Skye and are the perfect vantage point for spying wildlife. From rare fish eagles and other birds of prey to marine wildlife like grey seals, dolphins, otters, and migrating whales, a Scottish Islands safari is endlessly interesting by land or sea. Ker & Downey partners with seasoned local guides who know the land well to give you the best change to see the rare and the wild.

The moors and moisture of the Scottish Islands have created the ideal conditions for the production of whisky with a unique peaty flavor. Some of the world’s finest brands originate in the Scottish Isles—Talisker, Bowmore, and Kilchoman among them. Known as the “Queen of the Hebrides”, the Isle of Islay alone boasts eight distilleries, and craft beer breweries have also begun to creep up in popularity.

Ancient archaeological sites are the treasures of the Orkney Islands. UNESCO has granted World Heritage status to its Neolithic wonders including standing stone circles, the Viking ruins and tombs at Maeshowe, and the prehistoric village of Skara Brae that is older than the pyramids of Egypt.

The Shetland Islands are the northernmost of the Scottish islands. Of its 100-plus islands only 15 are inhabited, and local industry keeps to a long tradition of agriculture, fishing, and garments with fair isle patterns knitted from fine Shetland wool.

Include the Scottish Isles on your next custom itinerary to Scotland. From whisky to wildlife, your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant will help you find what best speaks to your soul.