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Indulge in natural wonders, charming locales and fine whiskies on a 4-day small-group tour of Isle of Islay. Travel to the Scottish Hebrides, where jagged peaks and white sand beaches set the stage for a centuries-old whisky-making tradition. Spend four days exploring the remote archipelago and visiting up to six distilleries such as Laphroaig and Ardbeg, and enjoy three evenings of relaxation at the 4-star Bowmore Distillery Cottages.


  • 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

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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!

Your 4-day excursion begins in Edinburgh, where you’ll meet your guide and small group of fellow whisky-lovers. You’ll set off in the morning by luxury van, embarking by ferry to the Hebridean island of Islay. Along the way, catch spectacular mountain and ocean views, full of local wildlife and ancient monuments. Arrive by early evening to Bowmore, where you’ll check in to your quaint holiday cottage located at Bowmore Distillery. Please note that you’ll have the choice of a single or twin room in a shared cottage.

Over the next days, you’ll visit at least six renowned whisky distilleries including Bruichladdich, Kilchoman, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. Enjoy samples of choice whiskies where you’ll learn the full-sensory experience of whisky tasting (own expense). If time and group interest permit, your guide will happily make additional stops at some of the areas other distilleries. You’ll have the option to taste at your own expense at each location, or simply view the space and its breathtaking natural surroundings.

Your tour includes round-trip transport, three nights accommodation in the 4-star Bowmore Distillery Cottages and daily continental breakfasts of bread, milk and cereals.


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 traveling 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

William S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Excellent tour guide.

William S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

this should be a very high rating. I'm not sure which end is the best rating.

Peter D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

We were fortunate to get blue skies and sunshine every day, which certainly enhanced our trip, but even if Islay can't guarantee the weather every time, I'd highly recommend this tour. We visited 6 distilleries on Islay, as well as Oban on the mainland. The Ardbeg and Kilchoman tours were both particularly good, but every distillery had its own distinctive feel, and needless to say we also tasted some fantastic whiskies... Accomodation was good, and the organisation was brilliant, so it stress free apart from the problem of choosing which whiskies to take home with us.... Our driver was knowledgeable, and maintained his enthusiasm and sense of humour throughout. If you like the idea of beautiful scenery combined with excellent whisky, I'd definitely take this trip.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Excellent tour and Steve our guide and driver was awesome. Full of knowledge and humour. Very helpful and has lovely knees. Nice to be in a small group. The cottages were very nice and of course the distilleries were an interesting experience. If you're a whiskey lover then this tour is for you.

Mrs D A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2014

Very good tour with a great driver

David N N

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.

David A J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

The trip to Islay started with difficulty in so far as we were initially directed to gather at the wrong location. Viator made a feeble attempt to correct this error prior to our trip sending us a vague imprecise email with the correct gathering location that made no attempt to illuminate the error. In any case a staff member from the tour company, found us at the wrong location and redirected us to the correct location. Unfortunately all but two seats were taken and my wife and I spent the initial portion of the tour seated in different areas of the bus, a situation that corrected itself the next day and for the remainder of the trip. The Whisky Tour itself was phenomenal and more than made up for the initial displeasure we experienced. We would make two suggestions. First, all participants should be informed that they will get one, and only one, opportunity to purchase whisky at each distillery. Unfortunately we put off the purchase of a select whisky at the Bowman Distillery and never had another opportunity to make a purchase despite staying at the Bowman Distillery cottages themselves. More our loss because 1/we could not find the selected whisky in Edinburgh upon our return and 2/ the prices are significantly higher in Edinburgh - a point that was not emphasized on the tour. Lastly, we tipped our guide Emily and our driver Jamie generously because of their outstanding work. But, at no time, were tipping guidelines discussed or even mentioned. Overall we enjoyed the tour which was both educational and rewarding in oh so many ways. The Bowman Distillery cottages were everything you would expect and more. We had a power loss on one occasion when we started both the dishwasher and the washer/dryer at the same time, but the breaker was easy to reset. We could have used to directions for the washer/dryer, but we managed. We'd go on the tour again in a heartbeat.

Jean-Paul D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Top trip!!


4 star rating: Recommended May 2014

This tour is the perfect mix of whisky tasting and sight seeing. Our tour guide, Sarah, was excellent! She was very knowledgable and helpful. The accommodation at Bowmore Distillery was great, comfy beds, hot showers and a large kitchen/living area. I really can't fault this tour, if I wanted to be picky my only complaint is that I requested a double bed but was given a room with twin beds instead. Book this tour, you won't be dissapointed :)

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