There are no palm trees and you won’t find a beachside cocktail bar but the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides has beaten off competition from tropical rivals to be voted among the top five islands in the world.
The island, which offers its visitors everything from rugged peaks to sweeping golden beaches, was ranked fifth best island in the world in the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, ahead of the likes of tropical paradise Ko Tao in Thailand and famous Easter Island.
The awards, which are based on the reviews and opinions of millions of travellers on TripAdvisor, also saw Lewis and Harris ranked number one in the best island in Europe category, where it was joined by two more Scottish isles: Mainland in Orkney and the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides.
Scotland also dominated the category for the UK’s best island, with six out of 10 coming from north of the border; the other four are St Mary’s in the Isle of Scilly, Anglesey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – even though the last two are not technically part of the UK.
The island that took the top spot in the best in the world category was Ambergris Caye in Belize, a tiny island beside the second largest coral reef on the planet, which attracts divers and snorkellers. It is the second year running the island has taken the top spot, its spectacular limestone caves, rainforest and waterfalls providing the perfect tropical island fantasy for its visitors.
The second and third positions went to Providenciales in Turks and Caicos Islands, home to some of the world’s best beaches, and Bora Bora in French Polynesia, known for its luxury resorts and abundant coconut trees.
Now in its second year, the Traveller’s Choice Island awards are decided on the quality and quantity of the most highly-rated hotels, restaurants and attractions listed for each island on TripAdvisor over the last 12 months.
For the complete list of winners from the 2014 Travellers’ Choice Islands, go to tripadvisor.co.uk/TravellersChoice-Islands
Top 10 islands in the world
1 Ambergris Caye, Belize
2 Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
3 Bora Bora, French Polynesia
4 Marco Island, Florida, US
5 Lewis and Harris, Scotland, UK
6 Naxos, Greece
7 Aitutaki, Cook Islands
8 Nosy Be, Madagascar
9 Easter Island, Chile
10 Ko Tao, Thailand
Top 10 islands in Europe
1 Lewis and Harris, Scotland, UK
2 Naxos, Greece
3 Island of Gozo, Malta
4 Mainland, Orkney, Scotland, UK
5 Milos, Greece
6 Cephalonia, Greece
7 Santorini, Greece
8 Island of Capri, Italy
9 Isle of Mull, Scotland, UK
10 Paros, Greece
Top 10 islands in the UK
1 Lewis and Harris, Scotland
2 Mainland, Orkney, Scotland
3 Isle of Mull, Scotland
5 Isle of Skye
6 Isle of Arran, Scotland
7 Isle of Man
8 Islay, Scotland
9 St Mary’s, Isle of Scilly, England
10 Anglesey, Wales
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