Walk or bike along the coast of a scenic Scottish island. Stop for tours and tastes at three of Scotland's most famous whisky distilleries.

The Isle of Islay is considered the center of Scotland's whisky tourism. Remote, pictureque and smelling of malt, the island is home to eight active distilleries, with as many as 25 located on the island throughout the years. 

Although a few tour companies offer taxis and guided tours, for a real Islay experience, travel the Three Distilleries Path on the south end of the island. The path begins on the edge of Port Ellen, heading east on the A846. There's only one main road running through town, so you won't miss it. The newly paved bike and walking path will take you along the coast, past three world-renowned distilleries: Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. From the path you'll be able to see the coast, Islay's rolling hills (rich with the peat that makes Islay's scotch so famous), and the distinctive white-washed distilleries. 

From town it is approximately 1 mile to the first distillery - Laphroaig. After another mile or so further you'll reach Lagavulin, and a third mile will bring you to Ardbeg. Pack a picnic if you like, or stop for lunch at Ardbeg's Old Kiln Cafe (M-F, 12-4 p.m.). You won't mind retracing your steps on your way back to Port Ellen. 

If you're up for a flavorful whisky experience, each of the distilleries offers a variety of distillery tours and tastings. Be sure to check their websites for times - Islay is remote and visitors can be few and far between. 

Access to the island is by ferry or by air via mainland Scotland. Ferries run from nearby Scottish Islands, or from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. The Port Ellen Ferry Terminal is just a short walk from the start of the path. 

Getting to Islay is a commitment, but a day spent on "Islay Time", breathing in the malty air and meandering along the coast of an island that seems frozen in time - is well worth it.  

Pack List

  • Walking Shoes
  • Raincoat
  • Camera
  • Picnic
Show More
RT Distance 7 Miles
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Adult Beverages
Bathrooms
Beach
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area
Scenic

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