Highlands & Islands

Lewis and Harris named as Europe's top island by TripAdvisor

Sunrise at Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis Image copyright Alastair Rees
Image caption Sunrise at Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis

Lewis and Harris has been named as the best island in Europe by an international travel site.

It also beat rivals in Thailand, Chile and Madagascar to be included in the top five islands in the world.

Scotland featured several times on the list with Orkney and Isle of Mull also named in the European top 10.

TripAdvisor compiled the list based on opinions of travellers who had visited the islands.

Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, is Scotland's largest island. Lewis forms the northern part of the island, and Harris the southern part, although both are often referred to as if they are separate islands.

Scotland also dominated the top 10 UK island list with six of the top 10 islands found north of the border. Skye, Arran and Islay took fifth, sixth and eighth places respectively in the UK list of winners.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: "With hundreds of islands, each with their own unique character, diverse landscape and rich wildlife, it's no surprise that these islands have been recognised in the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Islands awards.

"It's always great to get this kind of recognition and I'm sure it will help encourage even more people to visit these incredible islands in 2014, the year Scotland Welcomes the World."

James Kay, TripAdvisor spokesman said: "An island holiday usually conjures images of faraway palm-lined beaches, white sand and crystal clear water but the results of this year's awards reveal that the ideal island getaway might be closer to home than you think."

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Media captionLewis and Harris is named Europe's top island destination

Belize's Ambergris Caye was voted the number one island in the world for the second year running.

The Ambergris Caye is the largest of the Belize islands, featuring tropical rainforests and hundreds of limestone caves. It claims to have the largest coral reef system in the world.

Readers' photographs of Lewis and Harris

Image copyright Adrian Murray
Image caption Northern lights over Stornoway in October
Image copyright Jamie Bonini
Image caption Rory having a stroll on a windy Luskentyre Beach on Harris
Image copyright Kate Aspin
Image caption Bosta beach on Lewis
Image copyright Mairi Maciver
Image caption A great drying day at Ardroil, with Suinabhal in the background
Image copyright Mairi Maciver
Image caption Uig Bay on a summer's day
Image copyright Roddy M Maclean
Image caption The village of Crowlitsa in Uig Bay looks stunning even though the picture was taken during severe gales
Image copyright John Masterson
Image caption Early morning reflection, Ard Manais, Bays of Harris
Image copyright Peter Ward
Image caption The foreshore of Loch Roag at Callanish
Image copyright Donald Mackinnon
Image caption Northton, Isle of Harris
Image copyright Paul Blake
Image caption A balmy day at Northton South Harris
Image copyright Tam Mullen
Image caption Tam Mullen sent in this picture of his brother Timo windsurfing in Lewis

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