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Few places in Scotland lie further north or west than the Outer Hebrides, an extensive island chain situated 30 miles northwest of mainland Scotland. It is surprisingly easy to use car rental in Outer Hebrides thanks to the extensive bridge and causeway network linking many of these isolated islands to each other. Car journeys across these islands take visitors past five golf courses, historic castles and seemingly endless stretches of white sandy Atlantic Ocean beaches.
When visitors compare car hire in the Outer Hebrides, they will find most car hire providers on the islands are independently-owned companies like Arnol Motors, located in its namesake Lewis community. Most other Outer Hebrides car hire companies are situated in Benbecula or Stornoway.
The three Outer Hebrides airports are located in Barra, Benbecula and Stornoway. Visitors can fly directly to or from Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh or Glasgow from any of these airports. Barra Airport is especially unique as it is the world's only airport where flights land directly on a beach and the runways can be completely submerged at high tide. Caledonian MacBrayne operates most ferries between the islands and mainland Scotland, while Bus na Comhairle operates the main Outer Hebrides bus network. Oban contains the nearest rail station.
Motorists and cyclists both enjoy exploring the relaxed and scenic roads across the Outer Hebrides, which boast some of the most outstanding scenery in all of the UK. Most roads on the islands are single track and filled with unexpected twists and turns. Early morning, early evening and ferry crossing times are the only times drivers are likely to encounter traffic on Outer Hebrides roads. Secondary roads contain fewer vehicles and even more breathtaking scenery than main roads. Signage is often in Gaelic and many roads include otter crossing signs.
The Harris Golden Road is among the most scenic and most winding roads motorists can drive with car hire in Outer Hebrides. Many of the most beautiful Outer Hebrides beaches are situated on the islands' western shores. The Isle of Lewis contains a large percentage of the most unique Outer Hebrides ancient landmarks. Dun Carloway Broch ranks among Great Britain's best preserved forts from the Iron Age, while the 5,000-year-old Calanais Standing Stones date further back than Stonehenge.
Rain and wind are the two Outer Hebrides weather constants throughout the year. Even the driest month on the islands, May, sees an average of 17 rainy days, while the rainiest month, December, experiences about 25 rainy days. Warm Gulf Stream waters keep the Outer Hebrides average temperatures a fairly mild 7°C, even during the coldest month of January. July, the hottest month, rarely sees over two hours of darkness, nor average temperatures higher than 17°C. Summer may be the peak Outer Hebrides tourism season, but winter visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.