The Isle of Harris in Scotland – home to the famous distillery and Harris Tweed Shop, is a must-see stop on your Scottish adventure. This Outer Hebridean island has rich traditions and iconic scenery, and those that live here are very proud of their island way of life. This guide looks at the top things to do in Isle of Harris.
Nestled between the island’s highest mountains, you will find breathtaking white sandy beaches that go on for miles and deserted meadows that are home to rare wildlife. And although many think of Lewis and Harris as two separate islands, the fact they are part of the same island makes it easy to cross over to Lewis and experience attractions there.
Reaching Harris is as easy as hopping aboard public transport like daily ferries that run from the town of Ullapool to Stornoway, the main town of Lewis and Harris. You can catch a flight to the Outer Hebrides from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Inverness.
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Things to Do in Isle of Harris
When people think of Harris, they usually think of stunning, empty beaches that look almost tropical. Mix this with breathtaking island mountains, and you’ve convinced us! However, as you are about to see, the Isle of Harris is much more than just beaches!
Nature, Gaelic culture, and Scottish history should all be on the agenda for your trip to Harris. As you explore South Harris, always set aside time to visit hotspot attractions like the Isle of Harris Distillery, St Clement’s Church, and MacLeod’s Stone.
Even on a dull day, you will be blown away by the beauty of Harris and the Outer Hebrides. Learn more about how you can discover its best bits with our list of things to do in Harris.
Take the Golden Road
Take on the twists and turns of the Golden Road, an attraction perfect for travellers who want to take the scenic route for their holiday.
If you are visiting the island with a car, this route will allow you to discover the landscape of southeast Harris via a single-track road. Think of it as the North Coast 500 of Harris, offering only the best coastline that the east coast of Harris has to offer.
The Golden Road was named after how expensive its construction was and how it connected the tiny hamlets, most of which still have their Viking or Gaelic names. This seemingly never-ending road is one of the best ways to explore Harris.
During this once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Golden Road, you will be spoilt with stunning scenery ‘lunar’ landscapes, tranquil lochs, and maybe even a seal sunbathing on the rocks!
Harris Tweed Shop
The perfect pitstop for souvenirs of pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides, the world-famous Harris Tweed Shop is a must-see spot on the island!
Harris Tweed was opened in 1910 by Marion Campbell, and the Campbell family owns the Harris Tweed Association to this day! To remember your trip to the Outer Hebrides, a stop at this small shop will have you fawning over high-quality, hand-woven jackets, hats, coats, and many more souveneirs.
You can find the Harris Tweed shop and Harris Tweed warehouse in the heart of Tarbert, the main village on the Isle of Harris.
Isle of Harris Distillery
The Isle of Harris Distillers promises all that join them “the warmest of Outer Hebridean welcomes.” Business is thriving as the five local distillers on the island are creating world-class spirits and shipping them to lands far, far away.
This is something that the community here are proud of and wants to share with the tourists that travel for miles to visit their islands. The Isle of Harris Distillery is known as ‘The Social Distillery’; it opens its doors six days a week to connect with these visitors and to give them an insight into the distillers’ history and story so far.
A trip to this distillery will have you enjoying the finest Harris gin and spirits as you learn about the ins and outs of gin distilling and more!
Explore the Isle of Harris’ Beaches
We have already boasted ever so slightly about the town’s scenery and coastlines, but it is worth highlighting some of the magical beaches Harris offers. Parts of the beaches and surrounding land are owned by the North Harris Trust, which ensures its continued conservation for future generations.
Pictures of the beaches here will never do them justice – it’s like Instagram in real life! So pack your swimwear and sunscreen the next time you travel to the Isle of Harris. Here’s a list of some of our favourites:
Luskentyre Beach was considered one of the best of the UK’s beaches by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards!
The expansive sands and clear blue-green water create an unrivalled magical atmosphere, and any trip to west Harris will make you smitten with the Scottish landscape.
The next hot, sunny day you find yourself on the Isle of Harris, you should add Luskentyre beach to your list of things to do because it is one beach holiday you can’t miss.
As you explore the southwest coast of Harris, don’t forget to pay a visit to Nisabost Beach.
Nisabost is an excellent destination for a beach day out and is perfect for a picnic overlooking the beautiful Tarransay. Nearby, the towering MacLeod’s Stone is a superb waypoint with stunning panoramic views of Nisabost and the Harris countryside.
Nisabost Beach is also a stone’s throw away from Luskentyre, so feel free to beach hop between the two as the day continues.
Sgarasta Mhòr Beach
Sgarasta Mhòr Beach is a place that was plucked from the Caribbean and placed on south Harris!
This picturesque beach is one of the best the island offers, so it’s not uncommon to see it filled with people during the summer months.
During winter, it’s not as busy, and you may even see deer and other examples of Harris’ wildlife exploring the beautiful white sands and crystal clear waters of Sgarasta Mhòr Beach.
Bagh Steinigidh is a stunning beach that shows off the true power of the natural world.
Not only does the bay look out to the enchanting Sound of Tarransay, but during the wild winter months, the bay comes alive with spectacular waves that crash into the rocks and create mind-blowing nature pictures.
If you’re interested in seeing impressive sights of crashing waves, then a trip to Bagh Steinigidh will satisfy you.
Just a stone’s throw northwest of the beautiful beach of Luskentyre, Traigh Rosamol is undoubtedly one of the finest beaches on the Isle of Harris.
Graced with white sands that stretch for miles, Traigh Rosamol also has dunes and plenty of space to enjoy the shining sun when you visit.
Most travellers mistake pictures of Traigh Rosamol for Greek beaches when they first see them! The fact that these beautiful sands somehow ended up on the Isle of Harris makes this attraction even more incredible.
St Clement’s Church
Sometimes called the “Grandest Medieval Building in the Western Isles”, St Clement’s Church is one of those attractions you need to see.
St Clement’s Church was built by Alasdair Crotach MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris, 8th chief of Clan MacLeod, and his tomb can still be seen within the church’s interior!
Part of many islands’ history, St Clement’s Church is a stunning structure with detailed carvings on its stonework – it’s difficult not to be swept up by the depictions of stags and battles.
You can find this hot spot attraction at the southern tip of Harris, right next to the sea.
Eilean Glas Lighthouse
On the solitary island of Scalpay just off the coast of Harris lies the Eilean Glas Lighthouse, one of the first four lighthouses to be built in Scotland!
This spectacular lighthouse was built in 1789 by Thomas Smith and is easily reachable without the need for a boat – just cross over the Scalpay Bridge. A paced walk will lead you to the Eilean Glas Lighthouse, which overlooks stunning views of the Minch.
As you explore the southern coast of Harris, a trip to the Isle of Scalpay and the Eilean Glas Lighthouse is a must.
North Harris Eagle Observatory
While in Harris, you’ll likely see the graceful golden eagles that populate the island.
The Isle of Harris has one of the highest densities of breeding golden eagles, and there’s no better place to see them in their natural habitat than at the North Harris Eagle Observatory.
The Observatory allows you to survey the everyday lives of a pair of golden eagles, from hunting and nesting to gliding through the air. Make sure to use binoculars to see these proud creatures high in the sky.
Hebscape Gallery & Tearoom
The Hebscape Gallery & Tearoom capture the once-in-a-lifetime moments all around the Isle of Harris and present them for your viewing pleasure.
These gorgeous pictures were taken by Darren Cole and offer a glimpse into a lifetime of unique moments on the Isle of Harris that you’ll rarely be able to match.
If you find the towering coasts, rolling hills, and heathland your favourite parts of visiting Harris, then heavily consider picking up a photograph to remember your trip by. You’ll find that the composition bears a strikingly close beauty to the real thing, if not better!
The Hebscape Gallery & Tearoom offers an excellent selection of teas and coffees as you ponder the works in this gallery.
Located overlooking the beautiful Loch Seaforth, checking out the Ardvoulie Woodland will get you stunning views of Harris’ wildlife.
The long track gives you plenty of time to enjoy the woodlands of this island, made even better when the weather is on your side. Make sure to spend a quiet moment at the Ardvoulie Woodland Observatory and enjoy the sights of birdlife.
The Woodland is massive, occupying about 100 hectares of land filled with trees in an otherwise rugged and treeless landscape. Keep your eye out for stags, deer, and graceful gold eagles as they soar above the islands.
This unique attraction, once said to have been a Medieval chapel on the beautiful island of Harris, is a look into the region’s past.
You can explore the ancient rocks of The Temple and see the ruins, with breathtaking views of the Minch. There’s an informative plaque that describes the incredible history of The Temple, including descriptions of what The Temple would’ve looked like and the Iron Age Broch nearby.
This historic ruin is right off the A859 near Traigh na Cleavag and Temple Harris, one of Harris’s stunning beaches.
Come and See the Northton Salt Flats
The salt flats are one of the most unique and stunning examples of the natural landscapes on the Isle of Harris.
Salt flats are extraordinarily rare, making any chance to see them an absolute must! The shallow waters and small grassy islands evoke a sense of hovering above a small archipelago.
It’s one of the most popular photo stops in the region and boasts beautiful sights with a heavy saltwater atmosphere.
Although the climate and geography of the salt flats are rare, there is a diverse variety of wildlife you can enjoy, too – always keep an eye out!
Hop Aboard a Ferry Ride
One of the most popular ways to access the Isle of Harris is to hop aboard one of the local ferries.
There’s a ferry terminal at Tarbert, Ullapool, and the Isle of Skye, so if you want to explore the Outer Hebrides, nothing stops you from exploring some of Scotland’s best attractions.
Sometimes as the ferry sails amongst the isles, you can see seals and even whales as they swim in the bountiful waters of Harris. You’ll love coasting on the waves and watching the beautiful island slowly approaching.
The towering mountain of Clisham is the highest in the Outer Hebrides and is an incredible journey for the outdoorsy types that come to Harris.
Reaching the summit of Clisham is brief but quite steep, so make sure to stretch and bring some water before you start your climb. From the summit, the views are some of the best in Harris, with clear panoramic views from the white sand beaches and heathland.
Clisham is undoubtedly one of the best places to stretch your legs if you’re up for hill walking while in Harris.
This solitary standing stone sits amongst the most famous views on the Isle of Harris.
Although it is called MacLeod’s Stone, the formation predates the legendary clan by many centuries. MacLeod’s Stone was said to have been a ritual stone for Neolithic people and used to honour their worship ceremonies.
Nevertheless, a trip to MacLeod’s Stone beautifully accompanies the plentiful outdoor activities you can partake in while the notable west coast of Harris.
Bunavoneader Whaling Station
A great attraction while you’re passing places, the Bunavoneader Whaling Station has a curious history.
This Whaling Station was initially set up by Norwegians in the 1900s but has slowly succumbed to ruin since the 1920s. Today, the most noticeable parts of the station include the square and the brick-built chimney, ripe for exploration when you visit.
The station is right next to the water, and it is easy to imagine the whalers trailing the whale up to harvest.
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
The historical Gearrannan Blackhouse Village immerses you into a whole other world.
The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is a historical site with marvellous views, but most visitors come to see the authentic homes. Here, you can learn about what an average day would’ve been like for those living here and experience the tools and furniture of the times.
Outside, you can see how farming and animal husbandry developed in Harris, with a more modern refurbished home for those that want to stay the night.
Callanish Standing Stones
The Callanish Standing Stones are considered one of the most well-preserved Neolithic monuments.
The Callanish Standing Stones have stood for over 5000 years and are a remarkable example of Neolithic attractions on Lewis and Harris. The standing stones were uncovered in the 1980s and considered to be used for astronomical observation.
Come and see these gorgeous standing stones, which predate Stonehenge by over 2000 years!
Isle of Harris Golf Club
If you’re on the Isle of Harris and interested in playing a round of golf, there’s no better setting than at the isle of Harris Golf Club.
This sublime golf course offers views of beautiful beaches as you tee up and aim to lower your handicap! This 9-hole course was set up in 1930 and has been the main attraction for capable golfers visiting Lewis and Harris Island.
Don’t miss your opportunity to experience one of the island’s best golf courses in the birthplace of golf, no less!
Ardbuidhe Cottage Gallery
This lovely Cottage Gallery is perched above the rocky shores that overlook the Bay of Harris.
The Ardbuidhe Cottage Gallery is home to a magnificent collection of artworks and welcomes all who may find themselves on the east coast of Harris. There is no better display of local talent, with extraordinary paintings depicting Scottish landscapes, people, and the island of Lewis & Harris.
The studio at Ardbuidhe is filled with colourful paints and canvases, a testament to their artistic process, and makes it an excellent place to visit.
As of 2022, the Ardbuidhe Cottage Gallery is temporarily closed due to ill health but keep an eye out for a potential reopening when planning your holiday.
Check out the Island of Scarp
Welcome to the holiday resort island off the Isle of Harris, sprinkled with fantastic summer residences for you to stay in.
The Island of Scarp is easily accessed aboard a boat or kayak and is a paradise. The island’s history is also very prominent, and any visit to Scarp should be accompanied by exploring the old crofter’s houses and ruins left by inhabitants of the island in 1971.
To this day, Scarp has few inhabitants, and a trip here will provide you with a calm relief away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
See the Mission Studio House
The Mission Studio House is an incredible gallery in the heart of the Isle of Harris and presents you with an excellent display of ceramics, art galleries, and more!
The black-and-white photographs of the Mission Studio House are particularly famous for capturing the local essence of Harris. There’s a high chance that you’ll be greeted by the artists of many of the pieces found here whenever you visit and gain further insight into the beautiful works of local artisans.
Who knows, there may be a chance you’ll take home a beautiful souvenir to remember your time in Harris.
Kinloch Historical Society
As you head north and reach the border between the Isle of Harris and Lewis, take some time to explore the fascinating Kinloch Historical Society.
This centre is known for preserving the immense heritage of the region, and those who visit that believe that they have ancestry who resided in Kinloch or Lewis and Harris should enquire about accessing the records and cementing a family history that they may not have known previously!
This visitor centre also holds a unique collection of artefacts and exhibits that give a further glance into the region’s unique history, amplified by the Kinloch Historical Society’s events.
Mangersta Sea Stacks
The Mangersta Sea Stacks in the Isle of Harris are one of the most beautiful sights you can experience!
The sea stacks are situated just off the high coasts of Lewis and Harris, with extraordinary views of the Atlantic Ocean and towering rock. The sea stacks are dramatic and magical, closely resembling what you’d find in an enchanting fantasy world.
Although the views are out of this world, with a brief walk to reach them, make sure to take care as there are no fences that separate you and the cliffside’s edge. The Mangersta Sea Stacks are one of the best sights you can see on the island.
Visit the Far Off Island of Gasker
Off the west coast of the Lewis and Harris, the uninhabited island of Gasker presents a remote view of the Outer Hebrides.
The Gasker Lighthouse is the only notable attraction on this island, but access to the island is rather difficult to reach. It’s worth the trip if you want to look into one of the most remote islands in the Outer Hebrides.
If you’re interested in doing so, feel free to organise a boat trip from Tarbert.
Bonnie Prince Charlie Monument
Another attraction on the edge of Lewis and Harris is the Bonnie Prince Charlie Monument, so check out this attraction while crossing over!
You can find this monument on the main A857 road between Stornoway and Tarbert, and it is a great attraction to stop by. The plaque tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his escape to the Isle of Lewis and Harris after facing defeat at the Battle of Culloden.
The monument is an eternal honour to all Hebrideans who never reprimanded and handed Bonnie Prince Charlie over to the authorities even at the benefit of a considerable bounty.
One of the best ways to understand a new destination is to pop by the local museum, and for the British Isles of Lewis and Harris, the Uig Museum is one of the best!
The Uig Museum is in the town of Uig Bay and is filled with historical importance and attractions. You can learn about the Neolithic origins of Lewis and Harris, as well as how settlers and crofters came to cultivate the lands.
Most famously, the Uig Museum holds the Uig Chessmen and information about the St Kilda islands off the coast. Nearby, the museum also hosts an excellent cafe that is the perfect destination to stop by once you’ve finished exploring the museum.
In the middle of the heathland lies Loch Langabhat, a beautiful loch that makes for a beautiful location to spot while exploring Harris.
Whether you’re interested in fishing, a picnic in the heathlands of Harris, or just a pit stop while travelling, Loch Langabhat is a great attraction to enjoy. The loch is the largest freshwater in the Isle of Lewis and Harris, giving a reach into both parts of these islands.
Eat at the Temple Harris
Temple Harris in Northton prides itself on providing visitors with excellent locally sourced produce and delicious foods and drinks.
While you fuel up for the rest of your day exploring, you can enjoy utterly breathtaking views of the entire bay. Temple Harris also offers milk alternatives, natural products, and much more goodies for you to snack on.
You can also enjoy attractions like The Temple, Northton Beach, and Traigh na Cleavag.
Attend the Harris Mountain Festival
If you happen to be in Harris at the end of September and love the outdoors, you should participate in Harris Mountain Festival.
This week-long event presents exciting challenges that celebrate the beautiful mountain ranges. The Festival features guided walks, sea kayaking, photographic workshops, the Harris Five Peaks Challenge, and more! There’s no better way to see this secluded region of the Outer Hebrides than from the highest mountain, on the sandy beaches, and in the heathland.
The Mountain Festival also hosts engaging talks with renowned photographers and mountaineers who will spill their secrets about making the most of this wild experience.
Seallam! Visitor Centre
The Seallam! Visitor Centre in South Harris is an extraordinary location with tons of exciting information.
The centre provides a thorough look into the history of Scotland, complete with a local’s intuition of what historical attractions you should add to your list while you’re here. After your studies, feel free to pop by the centre’s cafe and enjoy the ample selection of food and music.
There are also records for anyone curious about their ancestry and more!
The Isle of Taransay
Welcome to the Isle of Taransay, the largest remote island in the Outer Hebrides!
You may already have seen this uninhabited island in the distance when visiting beautiful attractions like Luskentyre Beach, but grabbing a boat to the island is an absolute must.
With gorgeous views of the Western Atlantic, the rolling mountains and rugged coastline of Taransay provide a secluded paradise away from the island of Lewis and Harris.
Explore the Town of Tarbert
Tarbert is considered the central hub of Harris, and if you’re looking for accommodation options with ample facilities, Tarbert is the place!
Tarbert has a picturesque backdrop of mountains that immediately lets you know you’re no longer in Kansas or wherever else you may be coming from!
It’s the perfect place to stock up on supplies if you’re planning on road tripping around Lewis and Harris, but don’t miss out on the culture and heritage that Tarbert offers.
Visit the Neighbouring Isle of Lewis
We can’t speak about the Isle of Harris without mentioning the neighbouring Isle of Lewis.
The town of Stornoway is the main port of Lewis and Harris and maybe your first point of contact when arriving on the island via a ferry terminal or through Stornoway Airport. While you’re there, the beautiful Isle of Lewis and its attractions are well worth exploring.
The Butt of Lewis and An Lanntair are examples of great examples of attractions in Lewis, but there are even more hidden gems around every corner.
If you head to North Harris and then slightly further, you’ll eventually find Stiomrabhaigh!
The Deserted Village of Stiomrabhaigh is a reminder that the Isle of Lewis and Harris were once much more populated. The clearances changed this fact in the mid-1800s, and soon, towns were left empty and lonely.
Stimorabhaigh is a brilliant example of these clearances. Visitors will be excited to hear you can explore the ruins and reimagine a world where Lewis and Harris weren’t so deserted.
Although Stiomrabhiagh sits on Lewis rather than Harris, it’s still worth checking out this ruined village for a closer look into Scotland’s history.
As you transition from Harris to Lewis, you must see the Callanish Alpacas!
These jersey-wearing mammals are a strange sight in the secluded and often cold Outer Hebridean weather but fear not – the Callanish Alpacas are at home. That’s not all, though, as the farmstead also has sheep, chickens, pigs, ducks, and even a peacock!
Callanish Alpacas is a great place to take your kids, but even adults will find it difficult not to be charmed by these adorable creatures.
Callanish Alpacas are next to the A858, with the Callanish standing Stone’s throw away!
Organise a Day Trip out to St Kilda’s
If you’re looking for a real Hebridean adventure, exploring the islands of St Kilda is sure to sate any thrill seeker.
St Kilda lies west-northwest of North Uist but can be reached by travelling from Tarbert or Uig. As you’re skimming through waves towards this World Heritage Site, keep an eye out for breaching whales and leaping dolphins.
When you arrive, you may be startled to discover that St Kilda contains the UK’s largest Atlantic puffins colony. There are nearly 1 million seabirds that make their home on the rugged terrain of the St Kilda islands.
It’s a bit out of the way compared to the rest of the islands, but a trip to this heritage site is one of the best attractions you can see.
Follow the B8059 along the north island’s west side, and you’ll eventually find the informative Bernera Museum.
This museum is volunteer-run and holds a modest collection of curiosities and artefacts which pertain to the region’s past. Here, you can learn about the first pre-stressed concrete bridge in the world, the riots in Bernera, and the nearby Bosta Iron Age village.
Making an afternoon out of touring the Bosta Iron Age House after a trip to Bernera Museum is perfect for any budding historians.
Bosta Iron Age House
In 1993, a heavy winter storm revealed hidden stonework beneath the dunes, known as the Bosta Iron Age House today.
The intact homes are yours to see and bring you back to a world as fascinating as it is ancient. Best of all, tour guides are happy to get you along a journey to the Iron Age.
You can learn about people’s everyday lives during this time, with surprisingly complex features and intricate thought-out structures. It shows that humans weren’t that different no matter how long ago we looked back.
Norse Mill & Kiln
If you head past north Harris into Lewis’s west coast, ensure that you get a look at the Norse Mill & Kiln.
Lewis and Harris have a selection of historical sites, showing off its history of crofters, Bronze, and Iron Ages. The Norse Mill & Kiln look into the Scandanavian history of the region, and a wonderful one at that!
As you’re passing places along the A858 and sits at the end of a quarter-mile-long path. The mill and kiln are yours to explore, and each interior presents a realistic depiction of how the Nordic residents did smithing and agriculture.
For a complete look into the region’s past, a trip to the Norse Mill & Kiln is an absolute must!
More Things to do in the Scottish Isles
- Things to do in Arran
- Things to do in Brodick
- Things to do in Islay
- Things to do in Isle of Lewis
- Things to do in Isle of Mull
- Things to do in Isle of Skye
- Things to do in Kirkwall
- Things to do in North & South Uist
- Things to do in Orkney
- Things to do in Portree
- Things to do in Shetland
- Things to do in Stornoway