5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

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  • Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Duration:  4 days (approx.)
Visit the Isle of Islay in the Scottish Hebrides on a 4-day tour from Edinburgh, and discover its famously friendly people, stunning landscapes, and most importantly – its whisky! Having produced Scotland's finest smoky malt whiskies for more than 200 years, Islay provides the perfect base for whisky lovers and novices alike. Enjoy three nights of accommodation in the 4-star Bowmore Distillery Cottages, and discover up to six different distilleries, including big-name sites like Laphroaig and Ardbeg, with a guide.

Numbers are limited to 16 on this small-group tour, ensuring you’ll see the best of Islay with personalized attention with your guide.

Highlights

  • 4-day whisky tour from Edinburgh to the Isle of Islay
  • Spend three nights in a 4-star Bowmore Distillery Cottage with your group
  • Learn all about smoky Islay whiskies on up to six distillery visits, including Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Laphroaig and Ardbeg
  • Enjoy a visit to the town of Oban and the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada on the Scottish mainland
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 16 people ensures a more personalized experience

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

4-Day Isle of Islay Tour from Edinburgh: Whisky Distilleries Including Laphroaig, Bowmore, Kilchoman and Ardbeg

Sample Islay whiskies on this 4-day Islay tour from Edinburgh!

Travel from Edinburgh to Islay – the Inner Hebridean island known as ‘Queen of the Hebrides’ – and enjoy three nights in the town of Bowmore. Your accommodation is in one of the Bowmore Distillery Cottages – a collection of beautifully renovated 4-star holiday homes inside the distillery grounds. Your typical Scottish cottage has between 3 and 6 en-suite bedrooms, and a kitchen and lounge that you’ll share with other people on your tour. Meals are not included, but continental breakfast items (bread, milk and cereals) are provided, and you can use your kitchen to cook, whenever you wish.

Throughout your tour, your guide will introduce you to many of the island’s famous whisky distilleries where you’ll learn how to nose and taste the distinctive malt whiskies, identifying the characteristics that make each one so unique. There’s more to life than a good malt though, and if Islay’s breathtaking scenery holds more appeal to you than its whisky, your guide will have alternative trips to offer, as well as the visits that are worked into your itinerary. All entrance fees and distillery tours are payable at your own expense.

Itinerary

The itinerary below is for tours commencing on a Friday. If your tour starts on a Monday, then the itinerary for days 1 and 4 are swapped. Days 2 and 3 remain the same, with the difference that all distilleries will be in full weekday operation, meaning you’ll benefit from more tastings, as well as seeing the distilleries in action!

Day 1: Edinburgh – Bowmore, Isle of Islay
Leave Edinburgh early and travel west by luxury minibus, passing Glasgow and along the banks of Loch Lomond to the wee village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne. Stop for lunch to sample some of the local seafood (own expense), and then continue travelling through the region of Argyll, into the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. Explore the site with your guide on foot, seeing some of its 350 prehistoric monuments, like stone circles and standing stones, and then visit Kilmartin House Museum to learn about area’s archeological finds.

Continue with a short drive to Kennacraig to board your early-evening ferry to Islay. Watch out for dolphins, whales and seabirds on your 2-hour crossing, and then finish your day with a minibus transfer to your cottage in Bowmore.

Overnight: Bowmore Distillery Cottage in Bowmore

Day 2: Western Islay (B)
Leave your cottage by minibus and travel past Saligo Bay to the western corner of Islay for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery – the newest and smallest distillery on the island. Unique for its practice of growing barley for its whisky on site, the distillery is also one of only six in Scotland that carries out traditional floor maltings – where the barley is spread over a floor to germinate naturally. Head inside for a tour, or alternatively, check out western Islay’s scenery on a coastal walk to Machair Bay.

Break for lunch, and then travel to the harbor village of Portnahaven to go seal spotting. Then, choose to either visit Bruichladdich Distillery (famous for its production of gin as well as whisky) or spend time at leisure in Bowmore. Both groups will meet back at a pre-arranged time for a visit to Bowmore Distillery. Head inside to watch the whisky workers milling the grain and smoking the peat, and then return to your cottage to spend your night at leisure.

Overnight: Bowmore Distillery Cottage in Bowmore

Day 3: Southern Islay (B)
Set out with your guide to explore the southern part of Islay, where its most smoky and peaty whiskies are created. Visit Ardbeg Distillery for a tour, and try up to six of its finest smoky whiskies, including rare Ardbeg scotches and samples poured straight from the barrel. The distillery has also gained a name for itself as one of the best places in the area to eat lunch, so… do just that; sit down for a meal and enjoy Ardbeg’s top-quality local produce.

Continue to Laphroaig Distillery to enjoy another distillery tour, or if you’ve had ‘your fill’ of whisky for the day, visit Kildalton Church or the village of Brigend instead. Return to your cottage and then spend your evening in the town independently.

Overnight: Bowmore Distillery Cottage in Bowmore

Day 4: Islay – Oban – Edinburgh (B)
Leave your cottage by minibus and then cross over to mainland Scotland by ferry. Continue your journey along the coast by minibus to the town of Oban – a bustling little harbor town. Stretch your legs on a walk around at leisure, and use the time to enjoy lunch. Oban is famous for its seafood, and your guide will happily offer tips for the best restaurants to visit for it! Alternatively, visit Oban Distillery and get your tour’s final taste of Scotch whisky before returning to Edinburgh. Your 4-day tour finishes back in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

Very good tour with a great driver

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

A dream come true for a fan of Islay Single Malt. In depth tours and tastings at 3 distilleries and mini-tours and tastings at 3 more. Even an opportunity to pour your own bottle right from the cask, visit historic sites, walk through a peat bog, and stake your claim to a square foot of Laphroig (and collect a wee bottle of 10 year old from them as rent for use of your property). The cottages at Bowmore were delightful. The trip to and from Edinburgh is on a very comfortable coach and ferries. Lots of stops along the way to visit Lochs, castles and quaint villages. Our driver and guide, Emily, with her university education in the history of Scotland was extremely informative and entertaining.

From USD $ 586.31

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Tour code: 2250ISLAY

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