The Isle of Barra and the adjoining Isle of Vatersay are the most southerly inhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides and the most westerly in the U.K. Blessed with gorgeous white sand beaches, rugged hills and beautiful scenery together with a rich history and strong sense of community these islands are well worth a few days of your time.
There are a number of excellent walking opportunities on Barra & Vatersay ranging from a relaxed couple of hours exploration to deserted beaches to rugged full day walks across the mountains with booming views to all points of the compass. Talk to us on your arrival for help in planning your walks.
The beaches on Barra and Vatersay are among the very best in the world with fabulously white sands and crystal clear waters. There are small, intimate rocky coves perfect for investigating the rock pools and spotting wildlife and there are fabulously large and empty stretches of perfect, white sand on which to relax and enjoy the isolation.
Barra and the surrounding islands and islets make for wonderful opportunities to explore by sea kayak. Check out our dedicated sea kayaking page for more information.
As a destination for surfing and wind-surfing the islands are very much a less-crowded choice than the more well-known spots on the mainland and Inner Isles. It is well worth the effort however with our beautiful, uncrowded beaches and crystal clear waters. Being exposed to the Atlantic there is rarely a shortage of surf and almost never an absence of wind. Perhaps the best surf beach with it's exposed westerly aspect and endless sand banks is Traigh Eais while the sheltered airport beach, Traigh Mhor, is the perfect spot for windsurfing. If you are here in July there is a week of sailing and windsurfing classes for all from beginner to advanced.
Opportunities for wildlife watching on the islands are endless. Numerous seals bask on the rocks, while, if you're lucky, you'll be able to catch a glimpse of otters as they hunt amongst the rocks and kelp. The birdlife here is fantastic in its variety too - Golden Eagles can be spotted soaring over the wild windswept hillsides, Puffins, Guillemots, and Kittiwakes nest on the high sheer cliffs, whilst Oystercatchers and Plovers can be seen picking amongst the mussels and limpets on the seashore.
There are a number of achaeological and historical sites on the islands - from neolithic standing stones to more recent heritage sites such as Kisimul Castle. You can find out more from the Barra Heritage and Cultural Centre, Castlebay, Isle of Barra, 01871 810 413.