How many Scottish islands are there?

If you are looking for a list of Scottish islands, or their names, you are in the right place!

So, how many Scottish islands are there? That’s a great question. It all depends on whether you want to know about the ones which are populated or not! We will focus on the number of Scottish islands that are lived in, but we should totally acknowledge the awesomeness of both Rockall (which has its own twitter account) and St Kilda. Whilst not permanently inhabited, St Kilda is home to majestic sheep and lots of itinerant Scientists!

Ok, some Scottish islands facts and figures:

How many Scottish islands are there?

Technically there are 790 Scottish islands. Not all of them are lived in. They are mainly clustered in groups:

  • Orkney Islands
  • Shetland Islands
  • Outer Hebrides
  • Inner Hebrides
  • Firth of CLyde (Including Arran for example
  • Firth of Forth
  • Solway Firth
  • and a few in large lochs such as Loch Lomond and Loch Maree.

How many Scottish islands are lived in?

At the last count 88 off-shore islands are inhabited.

There are 5 populated islands in inland parts of Scotland.

Around 50% of these islands have resident populations of under 100.

(I am open to being corrected because this is a shopping website and not Wikipedia!)

Which island has the biggest population?

If you ask them, Lewis and Harris will tell you that they are in fact two very distinct islands. You are strongly advised not to disagree with them!

However, for the purposes of Government numbers, they are calculated together and win the largest population competition with 21,574.

They are closely followed by Mainland Shetland with 18,000 and Mainland Orkney with 17,000.

Which island has the smallest population?

There are a few islands which were tied for that position at the last census (2011)! Each of these are noted as having one resident.

What are some Scottish island names?

We’ve made a list of Scottish islands and their names below – there are a whole host of names. Some Norse, some Gaelic and plenty inbetween!

List of inhabited Scottish islands

We’ve listed them by population size*, and linked to their isle20 page where there is one – pick an island and go shopping!

*Again with the priviso that data is not our speciality so don’t use this for a dissertation! We’ve used rough grouping to show groups of islands where they tend to be referred to as “one”. We know people will have opinions. Please share them so we can do better!

Lewis and Harris

  • Scalpay, Harris
  • Great Bernera, Lewis

Shetland Islands

  • Mainland, Shetland
  • Whalsay
  • Yell
  • Unst
  • West Burra
  • Bressay
  • Trondra
  • Muckle Roe
  • East Burra
  • Fair Isle
  • Fetlar
  • Housay
  • Foula
  • Bruray
  • Papa Stour
  • Vaila

Orkney Islands

  • Mainland, Orkney
  • South Ronaldsay
  • Westray
  • Hoy
  • Burray
  • Stronsay
  • Shapinsay
  • Rousay
  • Eday
  • Papa Westray
  • Flotta
  • North Ronaldsay
  • Wyre
  • Graemsay
  • Egilsay
  • Auskerry
  • Holm of Grimbister
  • Gairsay
  • Inner Holm


  • Raasay
  • Soay



  • South Uist
  • Benbecula
  • North Uist
  • Grimsay
  • Baleshare
  • Berneray
  • Grimsay, South East Benbecula
  • Flodaigh, Benbecula

Great Cumbrae
Holy Isle
Inchmurrin (F)
Isle of Ewe
Eilean Tioram
Innis Chonan (F)
Tanera Mòr
Shuna, Slate Islands
Inchtavannach (F)
South Rona
Moncreiffe Island (F)
Eilean Shona
Eilean dà Mhèinn
Danna, Scotland
Inchfad (F)

Scottish islands map

We have a gorgeous print from Ruth Slater available on isle20 – a great option if you are looking for a Scottish islands map. Alternatively, get yourself across to our Shop by Island page and start exploring!

From the shop