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The Isle of Islay, Scotland

Updated on August 22, 2014

The Isle of Islay: The Ancient Home of "The Lord of the Isles"

Islay is located off the West Coast of Scotland. It is the most southern of the Hebridean Isles and is the renowned former home of, "The Lord of the Isles." Islay is most famed for its malt whiskies but is also a place of wondrous scenery, fantastic wildlife and incredibly friendly people. I first visited Islay round about 2002 or 2003 and have since visited many more times, each time proving to be a wonderful new voyage of discovery.

Islay Airport
Islay Airport

How to Get to Islay

It is possible to travel either by air or by sea

It is possible to either fly or sail to Islay. Flights operate from Glasgow Airport and are fairly inexpensive if they are booked far enough in advance. The flight time is around twenty-five to thirty minutes. Click here to visit the airport's site for detailed flight times, taxi and car hire information and lots more.

The Ferry Journey from Kennacraig to Port Askaig - A two hour crossing featuring magnificent coastal scenery

Leaving Kennacraig Ferry Terminal for Islay
Leaving Kennacraig Ferry Terminal for Islay

By far the most common way to travel to Islay, however, is by ferry from the port of Kennacraig on the West Loch, near Tarbert. Crossings alternate between Port Askaig and Port Ellen on Islay, taking two or two and a half hours respectively.

Arriving at Port Askaig from Kennacraig

Main Street, Bowmore
Main Street, Bowmore


The capital of Islay

The village of Bowmore is the capital of - and the largest settlement on - Islay. It is conveniently located in the approximate centre of the island, on the south shore of Loch Indaal. It is eleven miles from Post Askaig and ten from Port Ellen (Islay's two main ferry terminals) and about six miles from the airport. This is where all the island's main amenities are to be found, such as the swimming pool and leisure centre, the tourist information office, and the main bank branches, to name but a few.

The village was constructed from scratch in the late 1700's in an approximate grid formation. The two principal streets are Main Street, a wide sloping thoroughfare leading up from the harbour (pictured), and Shore Street.

Islay Single Malt Whisky - There are currently eight working distilleries on Islay

Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Bowmore Distillery, Islay

It is without a doubt for its single malt whiskies that Islay is most famous and it is psobably to tour one or more of the eight distilleries that many people visit the island. Tours should be booked in advance direct with the relevant distilleries and most afford visitors a taste of the product as part of the cost of their tour. The whiskies produced on Islay range from the extremely peaty productions of the southern distilleries such as Laphroaig and Ardbeg to the milder creations of Bowmore and Bruichladdich.

Caol Ila Whisky Distillery, Islay

An In-Depth Look at Islay and its Most Famous Product - Whisky galore!

There can be little doubt that when a great many people think of Islay, it is to whisky that their mind turns. Here is a fantastic publication looking at the island's single malts in detail and the unique features which make them surely among the best in the world.

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I very much hope that you have found this page informative and enjoyable to view.

I hope also that you can spare just another few moments to give me your impressions in the space below.

What Did You Think? - Have you been to, or are you likely to visit, Islay?

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Oh my ... but now I yearn for a visit to Islay.

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      BrickHouseFabrics 6 years ago

      Love to visit

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      anonymous 7 years ago


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      anonymous 9 years ago

      Great Lens 5* and welcome to Travelmania Group!

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