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Lined by white sand beaches and turquoise waters, areas of the Outer Hebrides such as Luskentyre Sands could at first glance be mistaken for a Caribbean resort. This island chain is a truly spectacular part of the world, made unique by its varied landscape of historic ruins, rolling green hills, beaches and lochs, and its appealing sense of detachment from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Though Benbecula is one of the smaller islands in the Outer Hebrides, it is home to its own small airport, from which the other islands can be accessed by car, ferry and foot.
Benbecula Airport is no London Heathrow or JFK. In fact, it’s so small, it only serves two destinations with the budget airline Flybe: Glasgow and Stornoway, on the island of Lewis. Only a handful of flights depart and arrive each day, so it’s a good idea to book as far in advance as possible. Facilities at the airport are very basic, but include a café, wheelchair access and disabled toilets.
Once you arrive at Benbecula, there are several options for travelling on to your next destination. There are some local taxi services that can pick you up from the airport, and several buses that run from the airport onto North Uist and South Uist on the Berneray-Eriskay line. It is also possible to hire a car at the airport, and if you wish to do this, it’s advised that you arrange a booking in advance which you can do using Expedia's search tool. Benbecula itself is a quiet island, with one small village community at Balivanich next to the airport and some pleasant walks. If you are moving on to South Uist or North Uist, you will want to head onto the A865, which runs north-south, connecting a number of the smaller islands.
The main settlement on South Uist is Lochboisdale, where you can catch a ferry to Castlebay on the island of Barra, or Oban, on the west coast on mainland Scotland. Other popular spots include Beinn Mhor, a 620-metre-high mountain, and the beautiful Loch Druidibeg. North Uist, meanwhile, boasts the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, the prehistoric burial cairn of Barpa Langais and an RSPB Nature Reserve. The island is a haven for nature lovers and perfect for wandering and wildlife-spotting – so make sure you pack a good pair of walking boots!
The other main islands of Barra, Lewis and Harris can only be accessed by airplane or ferry. Barra Airport is only open for flights from Glasgow, but you can easily fly to Stornoway (Lewis), from Benbecula Airport. This is a great option if you are keen to see Lewis and Harris without having to travel by ferry. Stornoway is a charming town, home to the An Lanntair Arts Centre and Lews Castle. It’s also the most built-up community in the Outer Hebrides, and boasts shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and a golf course.
If you're interested in planning a holiday to this fantastic Scottish destination, then Expedia can help you search for flights, hotel reservations and car hire, so you can stop worrying about the planning and start worrying about what you're going to pack!