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getting from Glasgow to Islay

Hi all,

I'll be couchsurfing in the west end of Glasgow from 9/15-9/18. I'm really interested in visiting Islay, mostly for the sights for moderate hiking, as well as the distilleries. I did some surface research about getting there by ferry/other means but the options seem kind of overwhelming. Does anyone know the best/most cost effective way to make this trip? Is it worth it to make a day trip out of this? I know it could take quite some time to get there.


Posted by
20461 posts

Since it about a 6 hour journey by bus and ferry one way, I don't think a day trip is in the cards.
You might think about Aran Island, which is 2 to 3 hours by train and ferry. It does have a distillery, although it is fairly recent (1995).

Posted by
1665 posts

Aran Island? Ouch! ;-)

Yes, Arran is easier to get to, the easiest to get to island from the central belt. Islay is probably well out the way due to time. I would never consider Islay as a day trip from Glasgow. Even Oban, which is on the railway is probably a bit far.

From Glasgow if you want to go to an island then Arran, Cumbrae, or Bute is best. Or 'ganging doon the water' and going over to the Cowal peninsular at Dunoon.

Posted by
3122 posts

Having driven from Glasgow airport to the ferry terminal that goes to Islay, I agree this cannot be done there & back in one day. You'd need a full day to get to Islay and another full day to get back to Glasgow, and I'm estimating that based on having a rental car rather than taking the bus. In other words, you'd need to check the bus schedule to see how it lines up with the ferry schedule.

If you are interested in a day's hiking and distillery visit in western Scotland, how about flying to Campbeltown and back? Just a thought. Again I haven't checked the air schedule so you'd have to see if there's both a morning and evening flight.

Posted by
20461 posts

Scotrail and CalMac ferries are well coordinated.