Scottish Island Hopping with Argyll Cruising

Scotland has somewhere in the region of 900 offshore islands, divided into four main groups: The Orkneys, Shetlands and the Hebrides, both Inner and Outer, and also those within the Firth of Clyde. There’s something so magical about the islands, all different and all unique. Here at Argyll Cruising we offer trips to quite a number of islands – in the Firth of Clyde in the early and late parts of the season and the Inner and Outer Hebrides mid-season – so there’s something for everyone. But for a true once-in-a-lifetime trip, we offer the thirteen-night Hebridean Odyssey cruise, where we travel from Holy Loch out to Oban. One of the most special things about this trip is how many islands we visit, so if Scottish island hopping is your idea of a dream holiday, this is the one for you.

On the 2023 Hebridean Odyssey we visited a whopping 17 islands! So today we’re going to give you a quick run-down of the islands we might visit, weather allowing. So get your sea-legs ready!


The largest island in the Firth of Clyde and the seventh largest Scottish island. This is a great island for outdoor lovers with some impressive walks.

Scottish Cruises



Holy Isles

Within Lamlash Bay, Arran, the island has a long history as a holy site. It’s now owned by the Samye Ling Buddhist community.

Scottish island hopping

Holy Isles

Ailsa Craig

An island in the Firth of Clyde and an impressive bird sanctuary, home to huge numbers of gannets and, increasingly, puffins. The microgranite here is used for curling stones.


Off the Southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula, this island is important for both migrating and breeding birds. Sanda Bird Observatory was the first bird observatory to be set up on the West Coast of Scotland.

Scottish island hopping



The most southerly and one of the most beautiful of the Hebridean islands, Gigha is community owned and has a growing population.



An island in the Inner Hebrides where large populations of red deer can be found. Boasts the Isle of Jura whisky distillery, as well as the house George Orwell lived in. Between Jura’s northern tip and the island of Scarba lies the Gulf of Corryvreckan, where the Corryvreckan Whirpool forms.

Scottish island hopping

Lagavulin Distillery, Port Ellen


The southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides and the fifth largest Scottish island. Whisky distilleries, walks and beautiful beaches abound.


The second largest of the Inner Hebrides, after Skye. Colourful Tobermory is the main settlement and many tourists visit each year. And there’s more whisky to be found on Mull!

Scottish island hoppingIona

In the Inner Hebrides, off the Ross of Mull. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey, a centre of Gaelic Monasticism for three centuries and is now known for the peace and natural environment there.


Another island in the Inner Hebrides, west of Mull. The amazing natural beauty of the island can be seen in the famous basalt columns and caves, including Fingal’s Cave, Mackinnon’s Cave and the Boat Cave.

Scottish island hopping



An uninhabited island in the Inner Hebrides, east of Skye. A very peaceful place to visit.


The largest and northernmost island in the Inner Hebrides. The Cuilin Mountains have been reported to have at least 238 species of bird living on them.

The Small Isles – Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna

Lying south of Skye and north of Mull the Small Isles are a small archipelago of islands, the main four being Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna.

Scottish island hopping

Orca John Coe and Aquarius just east of Muck



An island in the Outer Hebrides, and the second southernmost inhabited island. Barra is world-renowned for its beauty due to the beaches and mountains. There’s even an airport with flights landing on the beach!


The second largest of the Bishop’s Isles in the Outer Hebrides. Mingulay is very important for its seabird populations, including puffins, kittiwakes and razorbills.

The Shiants

A privately owned group of islands in the Minch, east of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. The name Shiant means charmed, enchanted or holy isles. The Shiants have a very large population of seabirds, including puffins.

Scottish island hopping

The Shiants


North or South Uist

These islands are in the Outer Hebrides. North Uist connects to the island of Benbecula via a causeway. Loved by tourists for rare wildlife and breathtaking beaches.

Lewis and Harris

Lewis and Harris is a single island in the Outer Hebrides, divided by mountains. It’s the largest island in Scotland with dramatic landscapes and a fascinating history.

So as you can see, if it’s islands you’re after, Scotland has them in abundance. And this list is by no means exhaustive. We have some spaces remaining on the 2024 Hebridean Odyssey cruise, so why don’t you join us and make your Scottish island hopping dreams come true?