Islay & the Whisky Coast
4 day tour

  • Isle of Islay Tours
  • Seafood in Oban
  • Whisky barrels
  • Loch Lomond
  • Laphroaig Distillery Islay

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
Beaches

Places you 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

Starts
Check-in closes at 08.15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Luggage
You’re restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. 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) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts

Students, and seniors over 60

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
  • 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 an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry and tasting fees at the distilleries. Allow approximately £50 - £60 for the tours and tastings.
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Sample the sights and seafood of Oban
  • Venture through the legends and landmarks of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park
  • Explore Scotland’s ancient past in Kilmartin Glen

You escape the city of Edinburgh and head straight for the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the Trossachs national park. Here, you can admire Scotland’s scenic beauty and enjoy some local delicacies.

Your driver-guide may regale you with tales from Scottish folklore as you travel through the mountainous landscapes of the Western Highlands to Oban.

This port town was once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans. But today, Oban is famous for seafood sourced fresh off the boats. It also boasts its own distillery where you can sample whisky that’s been perfected for 200 years. Here, you will have time to enjoy a dram and indulge in delicious local seafood for lunch.

You then venture through the Kilmartin Glen where you see standing stones and strongholds that are over 1,500 years old.

At Kennacraig, you catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is around two hours; and if you peek out to the ocean, you may see the Paps of Jura. These mountains mark the way to Islay, Queen of the Hebrides.

Once you’ve arrived on the island, you settle into your accommodation in Bowmore.

DAY 2

  • Sample Scotland’s most heavily-peated whiskies
  • Admire Islay’s rugged coastline
  • Explore the town of Bowmore

We know whisky tasting can be hard work, so you begin the day with a little sleep in.

After you’ve had an ample amount of breakfast, you enjoy a tour of Bowmore, the oldest licenced distillery on the island.

Your driver-guide takes you to a nice spot for a lunch of local treats before you head to Bruichladdich distillery. This forward-thinking whisky hub offers a wide-range of single-malts that celebrate the provenance of Islay’s ingredients.

Your next stop of the day is at Kilchoman Distillery. This is a proud and independent whisky-maker whose tastes are as bold as their environmental ethos. You have time for a tour and whisky tasting here, before a walk down the beautiful white beach that lies close by.

You head back to Bowmore where you can either stumble back to your room for the night or relax and explore the village.

DAY 3

  • Discover the Island’s ancient religious past
  • Taste the most famous whiskies of the island

Today you explore the southern side of the island, home to a few of the most famous whiskies in all of Scotland: Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.

After you’ve made it out of bed and eaten your breakfast, you visit Ardbeg. You stay here for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy fine Scottish produce as you sip upon delightful drams.

You then visit Laphroaig. This 200-year-old whisky distiller is a favourite with the British royal family and bears the seal of the Prince of Wales to prove it.

Throughout the day, your driver-guide takes you to historical spots such as the ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle.

You return to Bowmore for your last evening of the trip.

DAY 4

  • Get a sense of the old history of Inveraray
  • Wander along the banks of Loch Lomond

This morning, you take the ferry back to the mainland and replace the intoxicating fumes of whisky with the replenishing fresh air of Scotland’s West Highlands.

You travel through coastal scenery to the beautiful village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne. The town is adorned with historic buildings, old boats, and a great whisky shop.

Your trip continues to Loch Lomond where you have a chance to admire Great Britain’s largest body of water by surface area.

You arrive in Edinburgh in the early evening.

Customer Reviews

Suggestion

Daniel Rein Posted on 19/07/2019

It would be great to have a tour to the Islay Whisky Festival in may!

Suggestion

Daniel Rein Posted on 19/07/2019

It would be great to have a tour to the Islay Whisky Festival in may!

2nd tour

Jacqui Newton Posted on 01/06/2019

2018 I took my first Rabbies wee Pete tour to Skye, with a friend from the States. We were so impressed with Petes knowledge and personality, I booked two more for 2019. This must be the best tour company in Scotland. They have a happy, informative staff and great ethics. Keith was our guide on the whisky tour. Its true he really must love whisky, from the depth of his knowledge on the subject but of course we only have his word for it! His other talents come shining through as he sets the scenes from historic details - up to resent day politics, which were very well delivered on an even keel. Youre a star Keith!

AMAZING WHISKY TOUR OF SCOTLAND

Rachel Hopkins Posted on 03/04/2019

I went with Rabbies on a whisky tour of the west coast back in 2009 which included Islay, Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye, Oban and the highlands. Simply it was the best tour ever! The guides were amazing - brilliant story tellers, accommodation was central and comfortable - especially the Bowmore Cottages (recommend most highly), scenery was amazing, food was lovely and the whisky was AMAZING. Highlights was Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Oban and Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. In fact I loved Rabbies so much, I went on three day tours with them on my next tour to Scotland AND am going again with them on a 17 day outer hebrides/island hopping tour with them in September 2019! See you soon Islay xx

AMAZING WHISKY TOUR OF SCOTLAND

Rachel Hopkins Posted on 03/04/2019

I went with Rabbies on a whisky tour of the west coast back in 2009 which included Islay, Mull of Kintyre, Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye, Oban and the highlands. Simply it was the best tour ever! The guides were amazing - brilliant story tellers, accommodation was central and comfortable - especially the Bowmore Cottages (recommend most highly), scenery was amazing, food was lovely and the whisky was AMAZING. Highlights was Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Oban and Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. In fact I loved Rabbies so much, I went on three day tours with them on my next tour to Scotland AND am going again with them on a 17 day outer hebrides/island hopping tour with them in September 2019! See you soon Islay xx

A Marvellous Tour With Ewan

Brian Harvey Posted on 20/10/2018

From October 8-11, 2018 we took a four-day whisky tour from Edinburgh to Islay, provided by Rabbles Trail Burners. We travelled with 14 other tourers in a clean, comfortable, well-appointed Mercedes van. We stayed in Bowmore at the Bowmore Distillery cottages. The cottages were very comfortable, shared with several other members of the tour. In our case, these included four fine gentlemen who enhanced our trip significantly. The focus of this trip was, as it’s name indicated, the whiskies of Islay. We had two days visiting the distilleries on the island. The first day included Bowmore, Kilchoman, and Bruichladdich. Day two took us to Ardbeg, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig. At each distillery, we were greeted and treated very well by the staff there. There was no shortage of tastes to be had. In addition to the distillery visits, we visited a number of churches, castles, and other sites through the highlands between Edinburgh and Islay. These stops ensured that, even aside from the whisky, we had a wonderful Scottish experience. What made the tour nothing short of wonderful was our tour guide. Ewan Kenneth McLeod arrived with a physical presence and passion that showed him to be a true advocate for and son of the Highlands. Throughout the tour, he regaled us with history and tales acquainting us with the famous and infamous of Scotland. These presentations were accompanied by excellent and appropriate music that punctuated the information he gave us and the sites he described. At every point during the tour, he made the experience something to be remembered for a lifetime. He even made sure that my wife, who was not always interested in the whisky, had a good time and had something to do while the tastings were in progress. We highly recommend this tour and especially credit Ewan McLeod with our marvellous experience.

Epic!

LottaMarie Posted on 01/08/2018

First day on Islay started up in a brilliant way – wiskytasting with a seaview. Note how the Eagertotaste is sitting on his hands. After some more tasting Kjell is almost ready for a dance on the beach. Soundtrack chosen by our wonderful guide Dan. Back to Bowmore at night a spectacular sunset over Loch Indaal took place. We stayed in the actual destillery area for three nights and loved it. In the morning Niclas was on top of Dunyvaig and the sky was the limit. Three more destilleries to come. Thank you Dan for the best tour ever from the four Swedes. Also thanks to our great neighbours the Maltgeezers!

Excellent tour

YankeeDan Posted on 28/10/2017

The highlight of my holiday was the tour to Islay led by Keith Fraser. Great itinerary, accommodation and comfortable journey. Keith was probably the best tour guide I have ever met - knowledgeable, attentive, dedicated and interesting.

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

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

* On the tour departing on Monday and Friday, we reserve 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 £45 per person per night for twin share or £79 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 based on shared accommodation.


** These prices change in April 2020 to £47.50 per person per night for twin share or £82 per night per single. The rate of a family room (3 people) is £120 per night.


***On the tour departing on Wednesday, we reserve rooms in the 3* Lochside Hotel. Prices are £80 per person per night in a twin or double room or £90 per night for a single. For this option, please select three star hotel as your first choice when booking.

We contact you afterwards to arrange payment for the accommodation.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation directly. Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


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.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

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.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

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 fewer

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

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2017.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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