VIDEO: Islanders delighted with top destination accolade

News that Lewis and Harris was named as the top European island on a TripAdvisor list has delighted the island communities.

The islands were also in the top five of worldwide island destinations.

Shelibost beach

Shelibost beach

We’ve dug out a lovely tranquil video of Borve beach in Harris taken at the end of last summer to show just how beautiful our island beaches are and can easily rival any other island in the world.

Commenting Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: “This is yet another fantastic accolade for Lewis and Harris who had its first documented visitor in 325BC, a Greek named Pytheas, who doubtless saw a better island than he was used to in the Mediterranean . Lewis and Harris has remained a well kept secret ever since, with the impressive stones at Callanish, which are older than Stonehenge, the magnificent scenery of the Uig/Bernera area, where the Lewis Chessmen were found - the oldest chess set in the world - or the Castle at Amhuinnsuidhe at Harris or indeed the beaches and the Fjords of the East Coast from Harris to Lochs, TripAdvisor has to be congratulated for spotting Europe’s top island.

“Lewis and Harris is a good place socially, Stornoway and Tarbert could almost be twinned with Galway in the West of Ireland for atmosphere. The most important thing to make a place are its people, who are both friendly and humorous in equal measure. This is a good recognition of the skills and welcome by those who work in the hospitality industry to those visiting the islands and I congratulate them for that. This is a real boost for everyone involved in the tourism industry, who continue to do a fantastic job in promoting our islands.

Isles MSP Alasdair Allan added: “This is a well deserved recognition for Lewis and Harris as a holiday destination. Coming, as it does, from the experiences of previous visitors to the island, it is an acknowledgement of not only the natural beauty of the landscape, the abundant wildlife and rich heritage, but also of the warmth and welcome offered by those whom the visitors have encountered on their holidays.

Highlands Islands List MSP Rhoda Grant said: “ What an accolade, to be placed as one of the top five Islands in the world, beating the likes of Thailand. When you think of the top five island destinations in the world, most people would think of sun and beaches. Well the Western isles have the beaches, but maybe not so much of the sun. What they do have is rugged landscapes, spectacular wildlife and a friendly welcome”.

She continued “Hopefully such recognition will encourage more people to visit our islands which will in turn help the local economies.”

Cllr. Alasdair Macleod, Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee said: “I am delighted that Lewis and Harris have been recognised by Trip Advisor as the top tourist island in Europe. Lewis and Harris offer the visitor stunning scenery, rich archaeological and cultural treasures and a magical Hebridean ambience. Fantastic natural produce from land and sea, including the internationally recognised Stornoway black pudding are among the many other ingredients that make Lewis and Harris a must-see destination.”