The Whisky Coast itinerary

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Scotland's single malt whiskies vary with the landscapes, with the whiskies of the west taking on the tang of the sea and peat smoke. Follow this Whisky Coast itinerary, which takes you along Scotland's western seaboard whisky trail to stunning landscapes and renowned distilleries where you can discover Scotland's national drink.

  • A long shot across fields of Ardbeg distillery with the sea and hills in the distance
    Ardbeg Distillery, south coast of the island of Islay
  • Looking along the coastal distillery buildings and jetty with hills in the background
    Bunnahabhain Distillery on the south coast of Islay
  • A guide beside a traditional copper still in the distilling hall at the Isle of Arran Distillery
    A guide beside a traditional copper still in the distilling hall at the Isle of Arran Distillery
  • Looking along the coastline to Lagavulin Distillery, Islay
    Lagavulin Distillery, Islay
  • A sign on the gate of Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull
    Tobermory Distillery, Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Enjoy the views over Loch Lomond after departing Glasgow on your drive to the west by the A83. Turn west from the loch shores for the climb to the pass called the Rest and Be Thankful. Then it’s a downhill journey to Loch Fyne – a long fjord-like sealoch that you follow all the way to Tarbert in Kintyre.

From Tarbert, journey south to Campbeltown. This peaceful town was once home to 30 whisky distilleries, and today three remain - Springbank, Mitchell’s Glengyle and Glen Scotia (not open to the public).

Alternatively, from Tarbet you can travel along the B8001 to Claonaig where you can catch the ferry to Arran, home to one of Scotland’s newest distilleries. The Isle of Arran Distillery was opened in 1995 and produces an enticing range of malts and specialised caskings.

Travel back to Tarbert to make use of the area’s accommodation offerings.

Explore Islay, enjoyed not just for beaches, wildlife, history and heritage, but also for the eight single malt distilleries waiting to welcome you.

The Islay ferry leaves from Kennacraig, a few minutes’ drive south of Tarbert. The south end of the island has Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg, and the extraordinary carving of the early Christian monument, the Kildalton Cross is also nearby. Bowmore and Bruichladdich are near the centre, with some wild beaches within easy reach.

Continue your discovery of Islay by way of Kilchoman Distillery, a farm distillery opened only in 2005, towards the western side of the island. Distilleries such as Caol Ila and Bunnahabhain lie to the northeast, and Jura Distillery is just a short ferry journey away.

Once you are back on the mainland, drive north and enjoy seaboard views all the way to Oban. This busy town known as Gateway to the Isles has a good selection of shops and places to eat, and Oban Distillery is just a moment's walk from the town centre.

If time allows, from Oban you can catch the ferry to the Isle of Mull, home to the colourful village of Tobermory and its famous distillery. Founded in 1798, today Tobermory Distillery produces whisky distilled from unpeated malted barley, which is matured in oak cases for up to 10 years.

Once you have explored Mull, why not journey back to Oban to spend the night?

From Oban, continue north crossing the Connel Bridge and the Ballachulish Bridge for Fort William. The town’s Ben Nevis Distillery in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain was founded in 1825 and is one of Scotland’s oldest.

Take the main road north through the Great Glen, admiring the views of Ben Nevis just beyond Fort William. At Invergarry, swing west for the journey among the magnificent mountains of Glen Shiel, looking out for the famous views of Eilean Donan Castle before reaching Kyle of Lochalsh and the Skye Bridge.

Take a tour of Talisker Distillery on Skye, which produces a sweet, full-bodied single malt whisky. Boasting a grand setting on the shores of Loch Harport, Talisker is close by the little road that leads to Glenbrittle and offers some of Scotland’s best mountain views.