Fall in love with Islay, home to some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries! This tour takes you to a Scottish island paradise. Islay is home to stunning scenery, ancient history and traditional culture.
After departing Edinburgh, you head north into the Highlands. The landscape becomes more mountainous, and your guide tells the history and culture of this stunning part of Scotland. Passing Loch Awe and into Argyllshire, with some great photo stops along the way, you arrive in the Victorian town of Oban where we tour the distillery and enjoy a tasting before you have free time for lunch and some exploring.
This is the seafood capital of Scotland, so make sure you make the most of it. The seafood shack at the harbour is perfect – get the platter if you’re feeling hungry! When then journey to the ancient Neolithic landscapes of Kilmartin Glen. There are hundreds of ancient monuments and historic sites in this region, some of which you get to explore. It is then a short drive down the Kintyre Peninsula to Kennacraig, where you board the evening ferry to Islay. The ferry crossing is around two hours and offers for some beautiful views of the islands of Gigha, Jura and Islay as well as the area surrounding West Loch Tarbert.
There is time to relax in the bar with an Islay whisky; grab some dinner from the restaurant and just soak up the sea air before you arrive. On arrival into Port Ellen or Port Askaig it is a short drive to Bowmore to check in to The Bowmore House for your 3 night stay.
With 2 full days to explore, there are plenty of options for sightseeing and your guide will share some of their favourite places with you. These can include empty beaches, whitewashed villages, ancient sites, the Kildalton Cross, medieval strongholds, fresh seafood, local wildlife and traditional cultures. With only around 3000 people and 8 world class distilleries, the chances of finding a ‘wee dram’ on Islay are pretty good. The distillery and whisky experiences will give you an insight into Islay’s most famous export. Your day includes a warehouse experience at Lagavulin, lunch and a tour at Ardbeg and a look at the Laphroaig maltings.
Your second day brings a tour of Bruichladdich, a chance to gaze over the Sound of Jura from the Bunnahabhain and a behind the scenes peek at the independant Kilchoman. Each night on Islay there are plenty of options for eating, drinking and relaxing. Your tour guide will let you know all the best places to get the most out of your time in Bowmore. There is an eating option for all budgets and tastes and with so much local produce on offer you will be spoilt for choice. The whisky bars aren’t too bad either. Slainte Mhath, as they say in Gaelic.
After a final hearty breakfast, you catch the morning ferry back to Kennacraig. Arriving on the mainland, you head to the loch-side town of Inveraray. This is the seat of the clan Campbell, home to the Loch Fyne Whisky shop and your stop for lunch. After lunch (and some last minute whisky shopping) your journey now hugs the shores of Loch Fyne and Loch Long before climbing up to the Rest and be Thankful pass for sweeping views. Then it is to the shores of Loch Lomond. With time to stop for some lovely views and stretch of the legs, this is the last stop on your tour before crossing the River Clyde and into Scotland’s largest city of Glasgow. Some of our guests may be leaving the tour here so we may make a short stop in central Glasgow (George Square) before returning to Edinburgh.
* Accommodation is on a B&B basis in the Bowmore House. The price is based on 2/3 sharing a twin / double / triple room. There is an additional supplement for single occupancy. Please note that if the Bowmore House is not available we will source alternative local accommodation of the same standard.
** Due to various reasons (weather, closures and special events) it may not always be possible to visit all distilleries mentioned. Please be aware that, if this is the case, we will ensure that suitable alternatives are found.
Scottish Routes specialises in tailor-made and distinctive tours all over Scotland. We love what we do – We all love being able to show our guests around the incredible country we call home. Everyone that works at Scottish Routes realises how lucky and privileged we are to be able to share Scotland with you. We take you off the beaten track – If you don’t want to follow the crowds, a Scottish Routes tour is for you. Meet, eat and drink with the locals, discover Scotland’s best-kept secrets and let us show you the Scotland we love.
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