4-Day Islay And The Whisky Coast Small-Group Tour From Edinburgh

From
USD
Per Person
Book this tour with

Tour Information

Key Details

  • Mobile Voucher Accepted
  • Duration: 4 Days
  • Language:
    English
  • Departure Time :
    8:30 AM
  • Departure Details :
    Edinburgh Bus Station, Edinburgh EH1 3DX, UK
  • Return Details :
    Returns to original departure point
  • Cancellation Policy :
    This activity is non-refundable Tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

Overview

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
(not available on Wednesday departures)** 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 youll see the best of Islay with personalized attention with your guide.
**
(Monday and Friday departures: only B&B available; Wednesday departures only 3-star Hotel available)

Highlights

  • Free drinks included
  • Get inside tips from a local
  • Small group ensures personal service
  • Small-group tour by minibus

Know More about this tour

Itinerary

Day 1: Edinburgh - Oban - Kilmartin Glen - Islay

Stop At: Kilmartin Museum, Kilmartin, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Return to the past at one of the richest areas in the UK for Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.
Duration: 45 minutes

Stop At: Oban Distillery, Oban, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
After travelling through the mountainous part of the Loch Lomond National Park, you arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban; this Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.
You have a couple of hours here, where you can visit the Oban Distillery and sample some local seafood for lunch. You then depart Oban mid-afternoon for the journey through Kilmartin Glen to the port of Kennacraig where you catch the evening ferry to Islay.

Duration: 2 hours

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Bowmore Cottages (Mon & Fri departures) or Lochside Hotel or similar (Wed departures only).

Day 2: Discover the modern distillery of Kilchoman & sample Scotlands peatiest whiskies

Stop At: Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich, Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland
In the morning you take the short drive to the west of the island, where you visit the Kilchoman Distillery, the newest and smallest on the island.
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Stop At: Bruichladdich Distillery, Bruichladdich, Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland
After lunch in Kilchoman Distillery, we continue to the scenic Rhins of Islay to visit Bruichladdich for another chance to taste delicious single malt whisky.
Duration: 1 hour

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Bowmore Cottages (Mon & Fri departures) or Lochside Hotel or similar (Wed departures only).

Day 3: Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest of all whiskies: Laphroaig, Lagavulin & Ardbeg.

Stop At: Ardbeg Distillery, Port Ellen, Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland
You first visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce.
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Laphroaig Distillery, Port Ellen, Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland
You then visit Laphroaig, and if theres time you can take a short stop for a tasting at Lagavulin.
On an island known locally as The Queen of the Hebrides, there is a regal quality to the distinctly peaty style of its single malt whiskies.
Duration: 1 hour

Stop At: Kildalton Cross, Port Ellen, Islay, The Hebrides, Scotland
On most tours its also possible to visit to the ruins of Kildalton church and see its famous 8th Century Celtic cross.
Duration: 20 minutes

No meals included on this day.
Accommodation included: Bowmore Cottages (Mon & Fri departures) or Lochside Hotel or similar (Wed departures only).

Day 4: Get a sense of the old history of Inveraray

Stop At: Inveraray Castle, Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Explore the fabulous home town of the Duke of Argyll and the stunning ancestral castle.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Stop At: Loch Lomond, Stirling, Scotland
Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotlands most famous lochs and the beautiful national park that surrounds it.
Duration: 30 minutes

No meals included on this day.
No accommodation included on this day.

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 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.

Inclusions

Accommodation included: 3 nights

3 nights en-suite accommodation

Driver Guide

Transport by top of the range Mercedes mini-coach

Ferry crossings

Exclusions

Hotel pickup and drop off

Gratuities

Food and drinks, unless specified

Entrance fees to the distilleries and Kimartin House Museum

Entry/Admission - Kilmartin Museum

Entry/Admission - Kilchoman Distillery

Entry/Admission - Bruichladdich Distillery

Entry/Admission - Ardbeg Distillery

Entry/Admission - Laphroaig Distillery

Entry/Admission - Inveraray Castle

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 9 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability

Unfortunately we don't carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour

On this tour you will spend 3 nights in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages (not available on Wednesday departures)**.The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms, each with private bathrooms. Due to the shared nature of the accommodation, individual bedrooms don't have lockable doors. The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared with other passengers, and basic self-service breakfast ingredients are provided. Full Scottish breakfasts are available at the nearby hotels if you prefer, payable locally.

Monday and Friday departures: only B&B available; Wednesday departures only 3-star Hotel available

Booking three or more people? We can accommodate up to 8 guests in a group, please add each required room to your basket separately

When booking three or more people, efforts will be made to book a combination of suitable rooms (double/twin/family). Preferences should be noted upon booking in the Special Requirements section

Luggage Allowance: You're restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person on our tours. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) plus a small bag for onboard personal items.

Not wheelchair accessible

Near public transportation

Most travelers can participate

This tour/activity will have a maximum of 16 travelers

Traveler Reviews

See all reviews
  • 31-Oct-2019

    We were very pleased with accommodations activities and our good humoured guide stevie The overall organization was great

  • 29-Oct-2019

    Great tour which covered a great amount of space, history and whisky. Our guide, MAC, was ideal and kept everything running smoothly

  • 23-Sep-2019

    Duncan, our guide, molded a disparate group of people from every corner of the world into a happy, fun loving group who became quick friends. We learned Scottish lore and history, the best fresh seafood places to dine at, but most of all, having fun drinking whisky. From every nook and cranny starting at Oban to every inch of Islay, we investigated and learned how to love every drop of whisky those places offered to the public. It was an amazing 4 days, Thank you so much Duncan.

  • 11-Jun-2018

    Creme de la creme of distillery tours. Everything about this trip was amazing. Lots of time at each distillery. Great tour guide Nicky. Bowmore cottages were comfortable and right on site. Even though continental breakfast was advertised, the guide asked each of us what we would like. I had figs, yoghurt and cheeses for breakfast. Whiskey tastings were reasonably priced and lots of under the counter offerings as well. To cap it off, the weather was hot. Went for a swim in Loch Lomand. I am a seasoned traveller and this tour by Rabbie's was right up there. Hint. Stay at Elder York Guest House in Edinburgh. It's only 50 yards from departure point at bus station.

  • 12-Jun-2017

    My husband, daughter and I had a wonderful time on this tour which, though booked through Viator, is a Rabbie's tour. Along with visiting 6 distilleries on Islay, the tour includes numerous stops along the way at beautiful lochs, small churches, historic sites and small villages and towns. Our tour guide, Daniel, was excellent - filling the driving time with history about Scotland, fun facts and stories, and music related to what we were seeing. The Bowmore Cottages were perfect and well appointed, and the small town of Bowmore was a lovely base from which to see Islay. We enjoyed getting to know the rest of our small group - a terrific mix of men, from all over the world and a range of ages. Though we enjoyed all of the distilleries, Ardbeg was our favorite tour/tasting, with Bowmore a close second. We highly recommend this tour.

  • 23-Oct-2016

    This tour was a great way to see Islay and experience 6 of the distilleries on the island. But there is much more to Islay than just Whisky. Gail, our tour guide, made every effort to provide a tour that balanced the tastings with other sites and experiences.

  • 21-Oct-2016

    Wonderful, Wonderful tour!!! Not just about the distilleries. Also about Scotland and the history of this wonderful country. So many amazing sights to see!!! Would highly recommend. Gayle our tour guide made her love of Scotland our love!!!

  • 01-Sep-2016

    Great tour, knowledgeable and friendly driver, fabulous whisky and great to have a choice in level of accommodation.

  • 28-Aug-2016

    Party-Pete was great quide, thanks and all the best to him. We learned lots of whisky and Scotland. Bowmore cottage was good place to stay. Distilleries were interesting and Kilchoman was excellent start to tour and have great story, good luck for them. We had nice group and it was pleasure to meet new people around the world. We hope to come back one day.

  • 21-Aug-2016

    I'm recommending this tour to all my Scotch-drinking friends. It is a must for anyone who likes Scotch, a great price for value, and loads of fun.

See all reviews