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Which one?

Isle of Lewis or Orkney? already bought my tickets! I will be going on june 4 2017 for about 10 days.. I really love the standing stones and want to see some of them, but I am curious which location offers the most as far as sightseeing other things besides just the stones? I am booking my tours thru Viator, but don't know the exact dates until January 2016 because they don't post them this far in advance so its making my arrangements alittle more difficult.


Posted by
5678 posts

I have been to both places and for shear quantity of neolithic sites Orkney stands supreme. I love both places, but I really think that there is more in the East in this instance.

  • Ring of Brogdar
  • Scarra Brae
  • Maeshowe
  • Stones of Stenness
  • Ness at Brogdar
  • Earl's Palace
  • Bishop's Palace
  • St. Magnus Cathedral
  • Eagle's Tomb
  • The Italian Chapel
  • Churchill Barriers
  • The Brough of Birsay
  • Balfour Castle--I like the walled garden
  • Highland Park Distillery
  • Artist tour--jewelry, tapestry
  • Martello Towers on Hoy
  • Wild life--birds and sea life.
  • Music.
  • Great Walking
  • Diving opportunities.

Now, there are good things on Lewis and Harris, but not as much.

  • Callanish Standing Stones
  • Carloway Broch
  • Viking villages--Black houses etc.
  • St. Clement's
  • Butt of Lewis Lighthouse
  • Spectacular beaches--Luskentyre and more.
  • Visit tweed weavers
  • I think that there is a distillery, but Highland Park is one of the top ones.
  • Lots of beautiful walks.

Both have nice villages. Kirkwall has 20,000 people, Stornoway has 6,000. With Orkney you can stay in Kirkwall or a wee village on the Mainland and reach just about every where. Lewis is bigger with some of the above sites being at the far end of Harris--St. Clements--and some at the far tip of Lewis--the Lighthouse.

This should give you some things to think about.


Posted by
2733 posts

Pam's answer tells you everything you need to know. Both options are great, but Orkney is incomparable.

Posted by
86 posts

Thank you for all the info. Now it just depends on what day Viator has the tours scheduled for.

Posted by
2553 posts

be aware that viator won't actually run the tour, they simply re-sell someone else's tour

so search for local operators rather than re-sellers

Posted by
6113 posts

Definitely Orkney. Book direct rather than through Viator, who are a third party and don't run tours themselves.

Posted by
86 posts

When you say book direct can you give me an idea as to who I can book thru? Thanks