Looking for the perfect outdoor escape? With a striking coastline, amazing landscapes and island paradises, it’s time to discover Argyll & the Isles. Explore spectacular white sand beaches, spot iconic wildlife and try thrilling activities, both on and off the water. With over 3700km of stunning coastline and 23 inhabited islands to explore, there’s no wonder it’s known as Scotland’s Adventure Coast. It’s also one of the best places to try Scotland’s natural larder, with some of our finest seafood found in its waters. And with 15 distilleries, you won’t be short of whiskies to try!
So what are you waiting for? We’ve picked out 14 stunning spots from around the region to get you started.
As well as remote bays, white sands and turquoise waters, the Isle of Islay is known for its whiskies. Home to 9 working distilleries, peat cut from the island’s mosslands gives Islay malts their distinct flavours. In short, no trip to the island is complete without having a few drams. Sláinte!
Be amazed by the geological wonder of Staffa, with its unusual hexagonal basalt columns formed millions of years ago. Travel to Staffa by boat from Mull, Iona or Oban, and we bet even the approach will take your breath away. In good weather, you can land and explore inside the famous Fingal’s Cave, and in spring and early summer spot various sea birds, including puffins as they nest.
Mount Stuart, Bute
Don’t miss Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute, a 19th century neo-Gothic mansion that is home to amazing interiors and landscaped gardens. Bute is one of Scotland’s most accessible islands, just a short ferry ride from the mainland. While you’re there, explore the seaside town of Rothesay, home to a splendid promenade and art deco buildings – including a famous set of toilets!
Known as ‘Britain’s most beautiful shortcut’, the almost 200-year-old Crinan Canal stretches from Ardrishshaig to the village of Crinan where it opens into the stunning Sound of Jura. With spectacular scenery along the way, explore this magical network of lock gates, towpaths and shoreline by boat, foot or bike.
One of Scotland’s most famous lochs, Loch Lomond, almost needs no introduction. Set within the beautiful Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, there are loads of ways to get on the water. Take a cruise, which depart from locations including Tarbet and Luss, or kayak, canoe, or even go windsurfing!
Calgary Bay, Mull
In a secluded corner on the north west coast of Mull you’ll find Calgary Bay, home to a superb beach, amazing art and great food. Make sure to explore the Art in Nature Woodland Walk, a series of sculptures near the bay. There is also a gallery, café and plenty of self-catering accommodation so you can stay and explore more of the island.
There so much to discover in the seaside town of Oban, known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. Explore its independent galleries, stores and distillery before climbing up to McCaig’s Tower, which offers amazing views across the harbour and beyond. And at the end of the day, head to the water’s edge to experience the phenomenal sunset view.
Escape to Tarbert, an idyllic village that sits at the north tip of the beautiful Kintyre peninsula. With a strong fishing heritage, Tarbert is still home to a working fleet – sample it for yourself at the annual seafood festival in July. There are also many short and long walks signposted from the village. Don’t miss the one which leads to the remains of Tarbert Castle, once a stronghold of Robert the Bruce.
Only 10 miles long and 1 mile wide, the secluded island of Lismore is perfect for an island getaway. Lismore is home to plenty of walking and cycling routes, where you can spot wildlife such as seals and peregrine falcons. Discover the island’s fascinating history when you explore the 13th century cathedral church, Iron Age broch, ruined Norse stronghold and castle remains.
Set within the gorgeous Argyll Forest Park, the banks of Loch Eck provide the perfect setting to stop and enjoy a picnic. Explore its western shoreline on the Loch Eck loop, a circular route that is ideal to walk or cycle. For brilliant views of the loch from above, follow the waymarked trail that climbs up through nearby Glenbranter Forest.
Kiloran Bay, Colonsay
Situated between Mull and Islay, the Isle of Colonsay is known for its tranquillity and unspoilt beauty. There’s nowhere better to experience it than at the breathtaking Kiloran Bay. Enjoy the golden sands and vivid blue of the Atlantic, and explore fascinating caves that show signs of Neolithic use. And adventure seekers will be right at home, as the Atlantic waves are perfect for surfing, boogie boarding and paddle boarding.
Overlooking Loch Fyne, Inveraray is full of exquisite Georgian architecture. Visit the neo-Gothic Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll. The town is also home to Inveraray Jail, a 19th century prison which is now an award-winning museum. And no visit is complete without sampling the amazing seafood from Loch Fyne, or visiting the town’s famous Whisky Shop!
If you’re looking for wild and remote places, Saddell Bay on the Kintyre Peninsula has it all, with white sands, clear waters and superb views over to Arran and Ailsa Craig. But you won’t be completely alone – the bay is home to a figure by famed artist Antony Gormley who stands watch at the water’s edge. And Paul McCartney fans might also recognise this place – the bay was the setting for Wings’ Mull of Kintyre video!
With over six miles of striking golden sand, Westport Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Argyll. And golfers will love this area too – the beach is nestled against the famed Machrihanish Golf Course.
Find out more about Argyll & The Isles and get Wild About Argyll, home to some of Scotland’s best hidden gems. And with the region less than an hour from Glasgow, why not combine your Argyll escape with a city break?
Don’t forget to share your own amazing images from Argyll using #ScotlandIsNow, #VisitScotland and #WildAboutArgyll!