Europe

Islay and Isle of Mull, Scotland

Islay

Islay Island is part of the Inner Hebrides and is inhabited by around 3,200 people. The fertile island, which was mentioned in writing as early as 560 AD, is known for its eight whiskey distilleries. Islay is the fifth largest island in Scotland.

There are many whiskey distilleries on Islay, and at least one should be visited. Vacationers should plan plenty of time here to enjoy the fantastic hospitality and guided tours. Whiskey is about more than just alcohol – in Scotland it’s the water of life. The south coast of the Isle of Islay at Port Ellen is dominated by three of the island’s whiskey giants – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg – all known for their peaty tastes. Laphroaig has a great visitor center and peat ovens and Ardbeg, a popular cafe. The distilleries are within walking distance of the Three Distilleries Pathway – a 3-mile route connected by the local bus to bring the tourists back. The Bruichladdich distillery is located on the banks of Loch Indaal near Port Charlotte and is one of the most modern and innovative distilleries on the island. Bruichladdich makes the world’s peatiest whiskey – the incredibly smoky Oktomore. The island’s smallest distillery – Kilchoman Distillery is a tiny farm distillery and the only distillery not located on the Islay coast.

Activities

For many visitors, the famous distilleries on Islay are their first acquaintance with this hospitable island. Yet many of them will learn that Islay is so much more than malt whiskey and will be returning visitors for years to come. Picturesque landscapes, impressive cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches inspire the visitors. The Isle of Islay offers the visitor a quiet and relaxing holiday with impressive bays, miles of beautiful beaches on the Atlantic west coast of Islay and breathtaking views. Pony riding, swimming, diving, freshwater and saltwater fishing, and shooting are popular leisure activities here, while hiking and biking are ideal and practical ways to explore the island. Islay is also a bird-watching paradise with more than 100 species of birds and the thousands of migratory geese that visit the island from the Arctic in winter. Several annual festivals on the island draw many visitors, notably the Islay Festival of Malt and Music, which takes place in May. Other festivals are the Islay Jazz Festival, the Rugby Festival and the Cantilena Festival.

Isle of Mull

Natural beauty of the Inner Hebrides

On the west coast of Scotland, the Isle of Mull is the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides and has many different faces.
Mighty highland cattle graze between wildflowers. Seals, whales, basking sharks and dolphins cavort off the coast, golden eagles and white-tailed eagles circle around. The sparsely populated island offers an interesting mix of fascinating coastal regions, spectacular mountains and enchanting bays with small fishing villages. Tobermory is the lively center in the north, the coastal road in the west is fantastic, the rugged mountains rise majestically in the interior of the island and a drive along narrow coastal tracks is adventurous.

The fascination of Scotland in a small space

On the edge of Europe, the Isle of Mull inspires in front of a picturesque sea panorama. Emerging from the volcanic fire 60 million years ago, the island explains itself according to its Gaelic origin as a “mass of hills”. The mountain range of Ben More rises at an altitude of almost 1000 meters. The rather strenuous climb is worth it: mountaineers and hikers experience one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the country. Further to the west, individual relics such as the Standing Stones of Dervaig remind of the time of the first settlement of 6000 years ago.
Not for the faint of heart: The narrow slopes of the fascinating Calgary Beach are particularly adventurous. The islands of Coll, Tiree and Ulva are the last outposts before the Atlantic. If you like, you can visit the enchanting garden paradise of Lip na Cloiche.

Spectacular encounters and sights

About 30 kilometers northwest of the island ferry port is the idyllic port of Tobermory, whose row of brightly colored houses is reflected in the calm water of the sheltered bay.
The actual island tour begins here. Castle Duart soon greets you against the impressive backdrop of the central mountain range. The castle was the seat of the MacLean clans for a long time. Further to the west, the small offshore island of Iona stands out, one of the most important spiritual centers in Scotland. The mighty basalt columns of the island of Staffa are also inspiring – a true natural wonder that has music in it.
At the Tobermory ferry terminal, stop at Café Fish. In addition to terrific seafood, you can enjoy a wonderful view over the bay.

Typically Scottish: The island likes to flirt with its abundance of rain. Low rain clouds over the deep green landscape are not uncommon. The chances of the sun breaking through the cloud haze are particularly high in May. Then the neighboring island of Iona appears almost Caribbean with its white sandy beaches on the turquoise blue water.

Isle of Mull, Scotland