The most obvious way to discover Islay is to take a car, bicycle or walking boots and go out on the many roads and tracks the island has to offer. If you're a first time visitor and not sure where to go first, or if all these roads look confusing, you might want to read on. We have created five driving tours over the island which, combined, cover almost every drivable road on the island. When you have completed the five tours you can really say that you have seen a fair bit of Islay, that is the part which is visible from the roadside.
These five driving tours are created with car drivers in mind. If you are used to cycling and have no problem with 20 to 35 mile cycling tours, why not do them by bicycle? A bit of of a warning here though... Some of the backroads on Islay are not of the highest standards. Of course you can do them by car if you take it easy. I would however not advice doing some of them on a bicycle unless you own a mountainbike and have no problems with potholes and gravel on the road. Especially the track along the eastern shore of Loch Gruinart is very bad. If you do go by bike bring some spare inner tubes and a few tires!
The main page to access the five routes on Islay Info is www.islayinfo.com/islay-driving-tours.html where you will find general information and a clickable map to each individual route. From the table below you also have access to each one of the five routes. If you have any suggestions feel free to contact me. Have a nice trip on the island!
|Driving Tour||Distance (miles/km)||Time|
|Port Ellen to Ardtalla||20 Miles, 32Km||2 - 4 Hours|
|Port Ellen Bowmore and Bridgend||24 Miles, 39Km||2 - 3 Hours|
|Bridgend to Port Askaig and back via Glen Road||20-28 Miles, 32-45Km||2 - 3 Hours|
|Bridgend via Loch Gorm and Loch Gruinart||19-35 Miles, 31-56Km||2 - 5 Hours|
|Rhinns of Islay||20 Miles, 32Km||2 - 4 Hours|