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Private Whisky Tour to Islay - Short Break
Tour Theme: Whisky Tours
This tour starts from: Edinburgh or Glasgow
Duration: 3 Days / 2 Nights
This is a Private Tour
Take a tour to the Whisky Isle of Islay. An exclusive private tour that can be tailor made just for you. This tour is designed as a short break whisky tour for those who don't have time to visit all the distilleries on the Island. Instead we focus on the popular distillery tours at Lagavulin and Laphroaig, also with a stop at Ardbeg. Whisky is certainly in the air as soon as you step off the boat. Our private driver guide will take you to as many distilleries as possible in the limited time on the island.
Below is a suggested itinerary for a 3 day tour...
Day 1: Your private driver guide can pick you up from Edinburgh, Glasgow or another location in Scotland to begin the tour. The itinerary in the morning will vary depending on where and what time you start from. But eventually you will end up in the West Highlands.
Loch Awe is the third biggest loch in Scotland and has a romantic landscape. It is on the site of the Cruachan Power Station which tunnels under the mountain. It was used in the James Bond movie "The World is Not Enough". In the centre of the loch sits the ruins of the picturesque Kilchurn Castle; built in the 1400s by Sir Colin Campbell. We will make a short photo stop here. Lunch break in Oban.
Continuing the tour we will travel through the dramatic landscape of Kilmartin Glen. This is where some of Scotland's first civilization started. There are ancient stone circles and cairns scattered through out the region. We will have some time to walk around the stones at Temple Wood and walk in the foots steps of the first Kings of Dalriada at Dunnad Hill.
Finally we reach the ferry port at Kennacraig. The ferry crossing to Islay is approx 2 hours so this is a perfect time to have your evening meal. Arriving on the island at about 8.30pm your guide will take you to your hotel for the night. Overnight will be at Port Ellen or Bowmore depending on availability.
Day 2: On this tour we focus on South Islay going to the heavy smoky hitters of Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig distilleries.
Moving across to the other side of the island we will pass by boggy land where the distilleries shovel their peat. This peat gives the Islay whish their smoky characteristics in which they are known for. The peat is dried into bricks then when lit on fire they give a smoky aroma which stays with the barley throughout the whisky making process.
Our first visit of the day is to Lagavulin Distillery where you will have the unique experience of the Warehouse Tasting. Learn about the wood and special casks used to perfect the whisky aromas from Iain MacArthur, who has been in the Whisky Industry for over 40 years. You will get to enjoy a few samples straight from the casks.
For lunch we will head of to the Old Kiln Cafe at Ardbeg Distillery. Here you will have a chance to sample a dram at the tasting bar and then explore their shop.
After lunch we will head to the Laphroaig Distillery. Declared as the "Finest Whisky in the World" by Prince Charles on his visit to Islay in 1994. Laphroaig is one of the few remaining distilleries that still malts their own barley in traditional way on their malting floor. After you become a Friend of Laphroaig you will be given a square foot of land and become an official Scottish Laird! For rent you are given a miniature bottle and then you can strap on your wellies to plant a flag on your peaty territory.
We will end the day by going to see the Kildalton Cross; a 2.65m high cross that is just one single slab. Made in the 700s and has its origins on the holy island of Iona.
This day is customizable if you had something else in mind then what is described above. We can either add another day on or completely change the itinerary. The other distilleries on the island are Coal Ila, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman.
Day 3: In the morning we will take the ferry back to the mainland arriving about 12 noon. We then begin our journey back to Edinburgh or Glasgow. We then stop to visit the white washed town of Inverary. A Georgian new town built in the late 18th century, around the same time the New Town of Edinburgh was built. The castle is home to Clan Campbell and the Duke of Argyll. A great piece of Georgian architecture it is still lived in by the family today. You will have an opportunity to visit the castle and after some free time for lunch.
After lunch we will make a stop at the Rest and Be Thankful. An amazing mountainous area named so by the red coat soldiers who built the military road leading to Inverary. Now used by many walkers and bikers.
We then will make our way to the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond. An area mesmerised in music and sought out by photographers and painters. It is the largest body fresh water in Britain. It is dominated by the large mountain of Ben Lomond and contains a number of islands. Here you will have some time to walk the shores.
It is a long day of driving back to Edinburgh, returning for about 6 or 7pm
Short Break Private Whisky Tour to Islay
Photography Credits: Mike ORourke (Go Scotland Tours), Paul Tomkins (VisitScotland), good-god-guy, gigile, AleGranholm
Operated by: Go Scotland Tours Rank 5
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