The fertile, largely treeless island of ISLAY is famous for one thing – single malt whisky. The smoky, peaty, pungent quality of Islay whisky is unique, recognizable even to the untutored palate, and most of the island’s distilleries offer fascinating guided tours, ending with the customary complimentary dram. In medieval times, Islay was the political centre of the Hebrides, with Finlaggan, near Port Askaig, the seat of the MacDonalds, lords of the Isles. The picturesque, whitewashed villages you see on Islay today, however, date from the planned settlements founded by the Campbells in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Apart from whisky and solitude, the other great draw is the bird life – there’s a real possibility of spotting a golden eagle, or the rare, crow-like chough, and no possibility at all of missing the scores of white-fronted and barnacle geese who winter here in their thousands.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Scotland features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 alternative UK winter breaks

8 alternative UK winter breaks

The UK gets pretty grim during the winter, with its dark, early nights and splutteringly cold weather. But if you can’t wait until spring to start having fun …

06 Nov 2017 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
Sipping Speyside: on the whisky trail in Scotland

Sipping Speyside: on the whisky trail in Scotland

Whisky is much more than Scotland’s national drink – it’s blended deep into the country’s history and culture. Donna Dailey learns more and discovers th…

18 Oct 2017 • Donna Dailey local_activity Special feature
The most beautiful places in Scotland – as voted by you

The most beautiful places in Scotland – as voted by you

It was only a matter of time before word got out. That Scotland, with its full-figured glens, heathery hills and castle-topped crags, is one of the most beautif…

04 Oct 2017 • Mike MacEacheran camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook