Scotland is one of the world’s most beautiful nations, offering tourists a wealth of outdoor activities, medieval castles to explore and, of course, some of the best whiskey known to man. If you’re a traveler who is considering a holiday in this magnificent country and prefer to discover destinations that are a little off the beaten path, the Isle of Islay is easily accessible yet provides a unique glimpse into the Scottish culture, making it an ideal location for singles, couples and families who enjoy adventure.
How to get there
The Isle of Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It’s just a short ferry ride from the mainland Most travelers take the route from Kennacraig on West Loch Tarbert to Port Ellen or Port Askaig.
Where to stay
If you enjoy camping, you’ll love the Wild and Magic Islay “magical tipi,” located at Port Mor Centre, Port Charlotte. The tipi is a new addition this year, and already a huge success. The tipi offers guests the opportunity to try “glamping.” Glamping basically means “glamorous camping,” providing a great outdoor experience through more luxurious accommodations.
The tipi is just like you’d imagine. It’s made of a fire-retardant, waterproofed and rot-proofed cotton canvas, and has a wooden floor with sheep wool insulation as well as cozy floor rugs With plenty of room inside, it can sleep up to eight people comfortably. The tipi sits on the edge of the sea, providing guests with spectacular views of the water and a peaceful night’s sleep.
Rates start at £85 for one night for one adult, or £115 for two adults, with discounts for multiple night stays. Children 12 years and under are £5 each per night. For more information or booking, email Rachel@wildandmagicislay.com. Your stay includes the use of facilities at Port Mor Centre, with showers, laundry, a café’ and internet access.
For those who aren’t up for the tipi adventure, you’ll find a good selection of warm and friendly bed and breakfasts and hotels on the isle as well.
What to do
Besides experiencing the breathtaking scenery here, you’ll find lots to do on this wonderful isle. The Isle of Islay is home to eight working whiskey distilleries, with interesting tours available as well as discounts and samples of the product itself.
Experience the island on bicycle; at just a few pounds a day, you’ll find bike hire available in the village of Port Charlotte. Enjoy the isle at leisure and don’t forget your camera. You might spot red deer or fallow deer, and with 200 different species of birds, including puffins and golden eagles, Islay is also a paradise for birdwatchers including puffins and golden eagles. Otters, grey seals and even the occasional dolphin might be spotted offshore.
Visitors might also take a romantic, old-fashioned carriage ride offered by Ballivicar Farm, or go horseback riding.
The Museum of Islay houses over 1600 items in the main Museum collection, with objects from the Mesolithic period, c.8000 BC, through the 1950s offering visitors an excellent glimpse into Islay’s past.
Experiencing this relaxed way of life can be the ultimate holiday, but it may be difficult to say goodbye when it’s time to return home.
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