ORKNEY, with its neolithic sites and panoramic views, has been named the best Scottish island, according to a survey.
While Scotland’s waters are home to approximately 800 islands, Which? Travel readers rated only 14, highlighting how undiscovered and uninhabited many of them still are.
Orkney, with its 70 or so islands off the northeastern coast of the country, took the top spot on the table with visitors awarding it a score of 88%.
The island was the only one in the survey to receive five stars for its tourist attractions, with visitors speaking highly of its many prehistoric sites and archaeology.
The island was also praised for its “beautiful” scenery and friendly locals, while others cited its remoteness as its main attraction, one reader was particularly impressed by the “’miles and miles of secluded sandy beaches with no-one in sight”.
In second place was Shetland, with a score of 86%.
This, combined with the fact it is closer to the Arctic Circle than it is to London, might lead some to think it could be difficult to reach, but the island was given four stars for ease of travel.
It also received four stars for the scenery, tourist attractions, and shopping, meaning most travellers will be well catered to.
Harris, Islay, and Mull each received a visitor score of 85%, putting them in joint third place.
Harris received five stars for both its beaches and its scenery, as well as for peace and quiet, making it the perfect destination for anyone looking to escape to the great outdoors.
Visitors can also head to Tarbert where they can buy their own Harris tweed, handwoven from local wool and reflecting the colours of the landscape, for a memento to remember the stunning views by.
Islay, known for its distillery tours and whisky tasting received five stars for peace and quiet, as well as four stars for its food and drink, not just for its whisky though, with fishing another mainstay of the island, meaning visitors can enjoy fresh seafood or fish and chips from many of the island’s restaurants.
Visitors can soak up the view from the top of Ben More, Mull’s only Munro, head to Tobermory with its picturesque painted houses, or visit one of the island’s imposing castles.
Only one island in the survey received a score that dipped below 70%.
Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor said: “After more than a year of restrictions that have seen most of us confined to our homes, many of us will be craving a holiday featuring beautiful scenery, grand landscapes, and the peace and quiet to soak it all in.
“The Scottish islands have all of this in abundance, making many of them a brilliant choice for a UK holiday this summer.
“You’ll need to pack for all seasons, and be prepared for a bit of travelling to get there – but when you do, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
“Just be sure to book with an accommodation provider that will allow you to freely change or cancel your booking at short notice, should coronavirus restrictions change and prevent you from travelling as planned.”