As the chief port on the island and home to the CalMac ferry terminal, Port Ellen is the main gateway to Islay for most visitors.
Arriving at Port Ellen by boat, it's impossible to miss the unusual, square-shaped Carraig Fhada Lighthouse, at the western entrance to the bay, erected in 1832.
Laid out as a planned village in 1821 by Walter Frederick Campbell and named after his wife, Port Ellen comprises neat whitewashed terraces overlooking a bay of golden sand. The stretch of coastline immediately north east of the town is one of the island's most attractive and has the added advantage of being home to three out of Islay's eight working distilleries, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, all of which welcome visitors.
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