The island's major attraction is the Neolithic temple of Callandish, 26km (16 miles) west of Stornoway, off A858. Only Stonehenge, in the West Country of Britain, equals these 13 standing stones as a site of prehistoric archaeological splendor. The stones are laid out to depict a Celtic cross with a burial cairn at the center. They are approached from either north or south by a road lined with erect stone pillars. The site dates from about 1800 B.C. An old Gaelic legend claims that when the alleged giants of old, who were said to inhabit the island, refused to convert to Christianity, St. Kieran turned them to stone. You can wander among the ruins for free, day or night. The "visitor center" provides historical background and charges £1.75 if you want to see videos on the site. It's open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm (9am-6:30pm July-Aug). Also here are a gift shop and a cafe.
Just west of the harbor at Stornoway, you can visit the grounds of Lews Castle (which uses the old spelling), built in 1818. The castle itself is closed to the public, but you can wander through the garden, which is at its flowery best in May.
At Arnol, 24km (15 miles) northwest of Stornoway, off A858, is the thatched Lewis Blackhouse (tel. 01851/710-395), constructed without mortar and preserved to show what a typical Hebridean dwelling once looked like. It's called a "black house" because it was believed the smoke from the open peat fires was good for the thatched roof -- the Leodhasach (as the islanders are called) built their houses with no chimneys so the smoke could pass through the thatch. From April to September, it's open Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6:30pm (to 4pm Oct-Mar). Admission is £2.50 for adults, £2 for seniors, and £1.25 for children 5 to 16.
At 6m (20 ft.) tall and 2m (6 1/2 ft.) wide, the Clach an Trushal at Balanthrushal, Barvas, is the largest single monolith in northern Scotland. It's signposted beside the main highway leading north from Stornoway. Along A858, 32km (20 miles) northwest of Stornoway, stands Dun Carloway Broch, a 9m (30-ft.) broch (round-sided stone tower) left over from the Iron Age. You can visit at any time for free.
At Dun Borranish, near the village of Ardroil, the famous Lewis Chessmen were dug up in 1831 outside Uig Sands. Made of walrus tusks and reputed to have been carved around A.D. 500, they now form an outstanding exhibit in the British Museum in London. If you're a chess player, you may want to purchase a reproduction set in Lewis.
At Ness, toward that northerly outpost, the Butt of Lewis, is St. Moluag's Church, a Scottish Episcopal church that still holds occasional services. The chapel, known in Gaelic as Teampull Mhor ("big temple"), is from about the 12th century, founded by Olav the Black during the Norse occupation.
Borgh Pottery, on A857 at Borve, 27km (17 miles) from Stornoway on the road to Ness (tel. 01851/850-345; www.borgh-pottery.com), has been in business for more than 20 years, producing hand-thrown stoneware in pink, blue, red, green, black, and cream. Its name is spelled with a g, the Gaelic spelling of Borve.
The Isle of Lewis's contribution to the world of golf is the 18-hole Golf Club, Willow Glen Road, about 1.6km (1 mile) from Stornoway (tel. 01851/702-240; www.stornowaygolfclub.co.uk). It's a windswept, isolated course carved out of the moors. Greens fees are £25 per round or £30 per day.
If you'd like to rent a bike, head for Alex Dan's Cycle Centre, 67 Kenneth St., Stornoway (tel. 01851/704-025).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.