Fall in love with Islay, home to some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries! This 4-day tour takes you to a Scottish island paradise. Islay is home to stunning scenery, ancient history and traditional culture.
Visit the land of peaty whisky and sample drams from around the island. Departing from Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh you will travel west and across the water to Islay, where you'll spend 3 nights.
Accommodation is on a B&B basis in the Bowmore House and Freewinds, next door to one another in Bowmore. Breakfast will be provided by the fantastic Andrew and Alison. Spacious and comfortable rooms, a fantastic feast of breakfast each morning and hosts that go above and beyond for every one of their guests.
Day 1: After departing Edinburgh, you head north into the Highlands. The landscape becomes more mountainous, and your guide will tell you 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 you will 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! 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 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 ferry bar with an Islay whisky, grab some dinner from the restaurant and soak up the sea air before you arrive. On arrival into Port Ellen or Port Askaig, you will take a short drive to Bowmore to check in to The Bowmore House or Freewinds for your three-night stay.
Days 2 & 3: With two 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 nine world-class distilleries, the chances of finding a ‘wee dram’ on Islay are pretty good.
The distillery and whisky experiences give you an insight into Islay’s most famous export. A wide range of tours and tastings is planned for you, including a warehouse experience at Lagavulin, a tour and full range tasting at Ardbeg and a look at the Laphroaig maltings (with a few extra special drams to finish your day).
Your second day on Islay brings a private tour of Bruichladdich and a chance to sample some of their whiskies or perhaps a Botanist gin is your idea of the perfect morning drink. You’ll then get a behind-the-scenes peek at the independent Kilchoman before a chance to gaze over the Sound of Jura from the Bunnahabhain before delving into some casks in their warehouse!
Each night on Islay, there are plenty of options for eating, drinking and relaxing. Your tour guide and wonderful hosts at Bowmore House 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.
Day 4: 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 the guests may be leaving the tour here, so there will be a short stop in central Glasgow (George Square) before returning to Edinburgh.
- Tour and exclusive tasting at Laphroaig
- All transport and ferries
- 3-nights accommodation in B&B on Islay
- Tour and exclusive tasting at Kilchoman
- Tour and tasting at Ardbeg
- Warehouse cask tasting at Bunnahabhain
- Services of an experienced driver-guide
- Tour and range tasting Bruichladdich
- Tour and tasting at Oban Distillery
- Lagavulin Warehouse Experience
- Travel Insurance
- Lunches or Dinners
Cafe Nero, 1 Parliament Square, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1RE