Islay and Jura
Islay (Eye-La) and Jura are situated off the west coast of Scotland in a group of islands known as the Inner Hebrides. Others include the islands of Mull, Iona, Colonsay and Gigha. Islay's population is around 3,500, Jura much less with around 200. Islay has a large farming community. Some farms have been in the same family for several generations, producing quality beef and lamb from the cattle and sheep which thrive on Islay's lush grass. Jura is not so fertile and most of the land is wild and rugged . It is home to more than 5,000 Red Deer. Fishing is also part of the local way of life with the boats landing superb crab, lobster, prawns and scallops. But Islay is probably most famous for it's Single Malt Distilleries. Tourism, especially visitors to our distilleries, now contributes greatly to the Islay and Jura economies.
We have 8 working distilleries on Islay and 1 on Jura. Work has begun on a 9th Islay distillery. It is called "Ardnahoe" and is situated between Caol-Ila and Bunahabhainn, looking east toward Jura. Along with the historical sites, wildlife, beaches, golf, cycling, stalking, walking, fishing, drinking, singing and maybe a wee bit Highland flinging, our visitors have plenty to eat, drink, see and do!
Getting to Islay
We have a car ferry service operated by Caledonian MacBrayne that sails from Kennacraig and Oban on the Mainland to Islay. The ferry crossing takes around 2.5 hours. If you are taking your car to Islay you must pre-book.
You can also fly to Islay twice daily with Loganair from Glasgow International Airport. This is only a 30 minute flight.
At the moment there are return flights operated by Hebridean Air Services from Oban via Colonsay on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Where to stay?
There are 10 hotels on Islay and 1 on Jura. There is also a wide choice of Guesthouses throughout the Island offering B&B. You can also rent a self-catering cottage or appartment. You may also camp at either of the 2 campsites on Islay and we also have a Youth Hostel in Port Charlotte. We recommend that you check out Tripadvisor for up to date reviews on Islay and Jura accommodation. If you need advice then please get in touch with us and hopefully we can help you decide.
Thank you again for the short but great tour through a bit of Islay!
You saved our day and when we come back we will contact you before, to save a longer tour with you
in the Mercedes! We are looking forward to visit Scotland again as fast as possible.
Hope you are fine and we wish you have a wonderful and successful Christmas time!
Regards from Germany Ina & Niels
Islay's 9th distillery which is called "Ardnahoe"
is under construction and should be open 2018
What to do?
There is a choice of things to do here on Islay and on Jura. Many of these activities are outdoors and as such may be seasonal and be at the mercy of our west of Scotland weather! Here are just a few suggestions.........
Golf... We have an excellent 18 hole links championship course at Machrie. Clubs are available for you to hire.
Fishing... You can get fishing permits for many of the lochs on Islay where you can try some trout fishing, or try a cast in the sea from the shore or pier.
Pony Trekking... There are 2 Pony Trekking centres on Islay, 1 near Port Ellen on the road to the Mull of Oa and 1 at Sanaigmore.
Kyaking and Canoeing... You can have lessons in one of Islay's sheltered sandy bays such as north bay in Port Ellen.
Hiking and walking... There are lots of great footpaths throughout the islands that range from a stroll through the woods to a more energetic hike round some of the rugged coastline.
Bird Watching... When you visit Islay and Jura you cannot help but notice the wide variety of birds that make these islands their home. We have 2 R.S.P.B. reserves which offer talks, walks and all things birdie!
Boat Trips ... You can have a sight-seeing trip by boat around some of Islay's coastline and also do some sea angling.
Did I mention we also have a few distilleries???????