Just Back: Scotland’s Outer Hebrides

National Geographic Traveler Executive Editor Norie Quintos just got back from cycling the length of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides islands over four days on a small-group bicycle tour—and posting photos to Instagram along the way.

Here are some of the highlights from her trip:

Only a ferry ride away from the mainland, this archipelago feels far removed in time and temperament, with few tourists to mar one’s Outlander fantasies.

The Western Isles, as they’re called, lie on Europe’s edge, linked to North America geologically and to the Irish Gaels culturally.

Dotting the coast are glistening beaches, imposing headlands, and Neolithic sites that include the Calanais standing stones, older than Stonehenge.

I slept in quirky inns such as the Isle of Barra Beach Hotel, the supposed first refuge of the deposed shah of Iran in 1979, and visited shops where designers put mod spins on Harris tweed.

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Aye, and I found enough clan castles, Iron Age brooch ruins, peat moors, and mach air grasslands to fill a romance novel.

Norie Quintos is the executive editor of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Follow her on Instagram @noriecicerone

Reader question: Have you ever visited the Outer Hebrides? What was your favorite experience there?

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