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The Isle of Islay spans 240 square miles, with an impressive 130 miles of coastline. The island is famous for its malt whiskies, and there are eight distilleries on the island.

Isle of Islay

The Isle of Islay is the most southerly of the Inner Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland. It is best known for its single malt whiskies with  their distinctive smokey flavour. There are eight active distilleries and the industry is the island’s second largest employer after agriculture. Islay is a centre of “whisky tourism” and hosts a “Festival of Malt and Music” known as Fèis Ìle each year at the end of May, with events and tastings celebrating the cultural heritage of the island.

Here the birdlife, local seafood and beautiful bays provide for a most enjoyable island visit. The island is home to over 250 bird species and attracts thousands of wintering white fronted and barnacle geese.

Port Ellen is Islay’s principal entry point. A pleasant  bike ride from Port Ellen along the northeastern coastline takes you by three of the islands distilleries. Continuing onward brings you to the 8th century Kildalton Cross, the only remianing Celtic High Cross in Scotland. The nearby Ardmore Islands, near Kildalton, are home to Europe’s second-largest colony of common seals.

The attractive Georgian village of Bowmore is located at the centre of the island. Other villages include Bridgend, Ballygrant, Port Charlotte, Portnahaven and Port Askaig.

Islay’s history is represented at the Museum of Islay Life located in Port Charlotte. It is home to over 1,600 items covering all ages from the Mesolithic, c.8000 BC, to the 1950s. The nearby Bruichladdich Distillery is home to the world’s most heavily peated whisky. Stop by and sample a ‘wee dram’.

The Isle of Islay can be visited on our Island Explorer bike tour. For more details read here>