Islay & the Whisky Coast
4 day tour

  • Islay coast
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Savour the distilled essence of Scotland’s fine landscapes and exquisite whisky on this delectable tour.

Tour map

Highlights

Distilleries
Ferry
Gaelic Culture
Lochs
Prehistoric Sites
Mountains

Places you'll explore


Oban - This Victorian harbour town offers excellent seafood and a charming intimacy.

Kilmartin Glen - Return to the past at one of the richest areas in the UK for Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland.

Bowmore - Journey to the home of Islay’s oldest distillery, this charming place lies on the shores of the picturesque Loch Indaal.

The Islay Single Malt Whiskies - 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.

Sandy beaches of Islay - Stroll some of the most beautiful and rugged beaches in the UK along Islay’s West Atlantic coast.

Inveraray - Explore the fabulous home town of the Duke of Argyll and the stunning ancestral castle.

Loch Lomond National Park - Enjoy the dramatic splendour of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs and the beautiful national park that surrounds it.


Your journey


You may know a thing or two about whisky.

Like how taxes forced distillers to produce whisky at night, or how the Scots once called it the ‘water of life’.

But even if you’re knowledgeable about whisky, you’re going to learn a lot more on this four day whisky tour.

You discover the smoky flavours of Islay’s single malt whiskies, explore the historic sights of Islay, and spend your time trading notes with fellow whisky lovers.

So join this tour, explore distilleries without having to drive, and enhance your knowledge of whisky, Scotland, and Islay, ‘Queen of the Hebrides’.


Tour Details

Departs
08.30 - Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Returns
20.00 approx
Discounts

Students, and seniors over 60

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • One 15 kilogram bag per person
  • Unfortunately we don't carry anyone under 18 years old on this tour
Tour inclusions
  • All ferry and bridge crossings
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of a Rabbie's driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry and tasting fees at the distilleries. Allow approximately £30-40 for the tours and tastings.
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Explore the delightful harbour town of Oban
  • Venture through the sights and stories of the Loch Lomond National Park
  • Try and spot dolphins and whales as you travel by ferry to Islay.

Leaving Edinburgh, you head into the Highlands with a short stop in the holiday town of Callander for refreshments. After travelling through the mountainous part of the Loch Lomond National Park, you arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban.

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.

The sail is just over two hours, and you should look out for dolphins, whales, and seabirds. On arrival it’s a short drive to Bowmore for your three night stay.

Day 2

  • Sample Scotland’s peatiest whiskies
  • Discover the modern distillery of Kilchoman

Today you explore Islay’s beautiful viewpoints, white sand beaches, and famous whiskies.

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. After lunch in the distillery, we continue to the scenic Rhins of Islay to visit Bruichladdich for another chance to taste delicious single malt whisky.

You head back to Bowmore where you have the chance to visit the distillery or relax and explore the village.

Day 3

  • Savor some of the boldest tasting whiskies in Scotland

Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.

You first visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce.

You then visit Laphroaig, and if there’s time you can take a short stop for a tasting at Lagavulin. On most tours it’s also possible to visit to the ruins of Kildalton church and see its famous 8th Century Celtic cross.

Day 4

  • Get a sense of the old history of Inveraray

This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland. From here the tour continues round the coast to the beautiful village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne. The town is full of historic buildings, old ships in the harbour, and a great whisky shop!

You return via Loch Lomond to Edinburgh.

Customer Reviews

Dougs Tour from May, 8th to 11th

Krehan Couple Posted on 20/09/2017

We had a wonderful time on our tour to Islay with Rabbies bustours from May, 8ths until May 11ths. The tour was called whisky tour from Edingburgh to Isle of Islay. Special thanks to our wonderful tourguide DOUG. He showed us all the the places on Islay and of course all the famous wisky destilleries. He kept telling us interesting stories or even funny stories, to cheer us up. It was never boring! So we spend a lot of good times on Islay. I must say the people who live on the Island are so nice. Bowmore Destillery Cottages were very clean and nice accomodations for us. We enjoyed our stay and will come back in the future hopefully.

August Tour

conga Posted on 26/08/2017

I did a four day Islay Tour with my mom. This tour was brilliant and Peter the driver/tour director did a fantastic job. Peter did such a great job that mom wants to go on more Rabbies Tours

Another fabulous tour

John Wallace Posted on 02/08/2017

I took the Speyside whisky tour last year, and enjoyed it so much that I decided to take another - to Islay. As a Scot, it is probably to my shame that I had never been before, so it was a chance to put that right, and indulge in some serious whisky tasting. Our driver/guide was Alf, who ran the tour perfectly, organising distillery visits (and giving us plenty of time at these), as well as taking us to places of interest, with plenty of photo opportunities. The only thing he had no control over was the weather, but hey - its Scotland. He was extremely knowledgeable and kept us amused with his tales. Bowmore cottages were lovely - spacious and comfortable. All in all, another excellent tour.

Whisky in the morning...

Ninsig Posted on 10/07/2017

In the end of June I went on the 4 day tour to Islay. The tour was fully booked so there were 16 passengers and our great guide, Keith. I’ve been on a few tours with Rabbie’s before but this tour was a bit different from the rest. All though we get to see quite a lot of scenery, this tour really is about whisky. So if you like whisky, especially the smoky ones from Islay, don’t hesitate. This tour is absolutely great. During the two whole days spent on Islay we visited 6 distilleries. It was interesting to see how whisky is made and to get to taste different whiskies. The highlight for me was day 3, the day we visited Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig distilleries. The tours and tastings of all 6 distilleries were a great experience and I’m really glad I decided to do this tour. Keith was an excellent guide with a great knowledge of whisky. He was kind, helpful and also had some funny stories to tell. I had a great time.

Incredible!!

Susan McLuckie Bill Mills Posted on 02/05/2017

Gail was a wonderful tour guide, lots of information and tons of fun! Thanks again for another great memory.

AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE !

Michael Posted on 20/04/2017

From April 14th to 17th I joined the tour from Edinburgh to the Isle of Islay with a party of 16 and our tour guide Keith. It was my first trip to Scotland. Our tour guide Keith made this trip to an outstanding experience. His knowledge about this beautiful country and its sights were interesting and entertaining at once. The visit of the distilleries was an absolute must for all whiskey lovers. The variety and the impressions were incredible. Our group became a little family and the joint evenings with our own tastings has united the team. Thanks to everybody! This was an unforgettable tour! Thanks to Rabbies and Keith for having the possibility to make such a tour! Greetings from Germany -)

Fantastic tour

Erika B Posted on 22/11/2016

This was my second Rabbies tour and look forward to going on more. Driver/ Guides Dan Doug were excellant, informative, fun, whisky lovers. Its a great way to sample good whisky see the beautiful country of Scotland. I especially loved meeting getting to know the people on the tour..

Einfach super

Ralf Funken Posted on 22/05/2016

Diese Tour war gut organisiert, stressfrei, sehr interessant und Erlebnisurlaub pur. Vielen Dank an unseren immer gut gelaunten, mit vielen nützlichen Infos in einem verständlichen Englisch versorgenden Guide PETE (Peter)!!! So eine tolle Tour habe ich noch nicht miterleben dürfen. Empfehlung: immer wieder mit Rabbies.

Great Tour, GREAT GUIDE

MichaelS Posted on 24/05/2015

We enjoyed an amazing Islay tour 15-18 May with Mac as our guide. His encyclopedic knowledge of recent and past Scottish history as well as folklore, and his natural ability as a story teller really made the tour. Mac went out of his way to allow a diverse group of people to meld and have a great time. There was always enough, but never too much to do. The self catering cottage was like home, and the bus really comfortable. Great group size too. We are already hoping to do the Speyside tour before too long.

4 days Whisky Tour - Islay with Emily and Gill - May 8th - 11th

Christian Weber Posted on 22/05/2015

4 days Whisky Tour - Islay with Emily and Gill the best Tourguide and driver :) We had such a wonderful time at the Islay. The accomontation at bowmore was just beautiful. Emilys knowledge and organization is great, she tould us so many interesting things and storys and showed us wonderful places. Still got the sound of Loch Lomond, the wonderful place of Finlaggan in my mind (and a little smell of peat any whisky in my nose). Thank you very much for this great time! Many greetings from germany! Slàinte mhath!

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

On this tour we reserve you rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages.

The cottages have between three and six twin bedrooms. 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.

Prices are £42.50 per person per night twin/double share or £75 per night for a single. For this option, please select 'B&B en-suite' as your first choice when booking the tour online. When these rooms are full, we book you into a nearby B&B. Rooms at the cottages are limited and are reserved on a first come first served basis. Local B&B charges are £50 per person per night.

There's also a limited number of 3* hotel rooms available on this tour. For this option, please select three star hotel as your first choice when booking.

We contact you afterwards to arrange payment for the accommodation.



FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of three days for our one day tours, and 21 days for longer tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance. You can click here for excellent rates.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or less

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Internationally recognised for our award winning experiences

Meet our guides

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Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 Green Tourism Award

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