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

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!

Tour review

David and Liz Longley Posted on 09/09/2014

On 2nd September, our party of 4 returned from our second Rabbie’s whisky tour which was every bit as good as the first. Most of the time was spent on Islay, which was beautiful, quiet and relaxing. The good weather was an added bonus. There was plenty to hold the interest of those of us who weren’t primarily there for the whisky! For those who were the whisky didn’t disappoint and we left with several bottles from various distilleries We were fortunate enough to have great travel companions from around the world. Our housemates for the 3 nights we were in Bowmore were delightful. Thoughtful placing on behalf of the company we think Roland, our driver and guide, was brilliant. He was entertaining and attentive, thoughtful and considerate. There was never a dull moment. And he was every bit as good as Eric (our guide and driver on our previous trip) who was a hard act to follow. We will certainly hope to do a Rabbie’s tour again and we will certainly recommend Rabbie’s to our friends Thank you to all who were involved in making our holiday enjoyable and memorable.

Amazing trip!

Ronny Melbeus Posted on 20/08/2014

This summer we were at your whiskey trip from Edinburgh to Islay. It was the June 30-July 3 and our guide was Pete (Party Pete). It was a fantastic trip and Pete was absolutely outstanding. It's not often you can give ten out of ten. His excellent knowledge of history to the present day as he guided us in a very nice and easy to understand (for us non-English speaking) way. And of course, his presentation of the different whiskey distilleries. His blend of Scottish music also gave the trip a dimension. Thanks for the introduction to the band Runrig now played frequently at home. And again. Thanks Pete for the best experience on our two week tour of Scotland. Ronny & Ulla Melbeus Tinna & Sven Lidgren Sweden

Great Tour

Gary Williamson Posted on 16/06/2014

This was my 60th Birthday Present. My wife sent my son and I on this tour. Having been on a number of tours around the world I appreciate the difference having a good tour guide makes. Roland took care of everything and enhanced the tour. We went to six of the distilleries on Islay, The tour was everything you could want and more. We stayed in the cottages at Bowmore and enjoyed the food in the local pubs and hotels. One interesting point is that talking to people in Edinburgh when they asked where are you from and where did you go in conversation in various places on the Royal Mile, when we told them we had been on a Rabbie's Tour to Islay, the reply was 'Rabbies. They've got a good reputation' Enough said.

Palate

Gary Williamson Posted on 16/06/2014

Just a point I raised and want to elaborate on, we requested water to cleanse the palate between tastings so we could taste all the subtle differences. According to Jim Murray's 'Whisky Bible' he uses coffee beans, as do all the good perfume houses so you can smell the nose properly. It would be an idea to improve the experience and get even more from it if the distilleries, or the tour or the advice was given to sip water, nibble a cracker and sniff some coffee beans between tastings.

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.



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