Getting around Islay
Islay is a terrific place to explore by car. It may look small, but it will take you several days to see every nook and cranny by road. Be aware that many of Islay’s roads are single track with passing places, and allow plenty of time to get to your destination – what looks a short journey on a map will usually take much longer. And don’t forget the Islay Wave – raising your hand to greet/thank other drivers passing the opposite way – everyone on the island does it, and so must you! There are also car-hire companies on Islay, too, with pick-up locations from the airport and ferry terminals.
There are two bus routes on Islay, both of which using the main roads on the island. The 450 runs from Bowmore in the centre of the island to Portnahaven in the south west, while the 451 runs between Port Askaig in the north-east down to Port Ellen and Ardbeg in the south. The bus service runs between 7am and 6pm Monday to Saturday, but not on Sunday.
Cycling round the island to see Islay’s nature and wildlife up close is ideal, not least due to the largely flat terrain and the low level of traffic on the island. Every Sunday at 10am, the Velo Club d’Ardbeg meet at Bruichladdich Mini-Market (aka Debbie’s) before setting off on a ride; newcomers are more than welcome to join them.
Islay by taxi is a good idea if you are planning to visit several distilleries and enjoy a few drams while you’re there. There are a number of taxi firms on Islay, some of which offer half- or full-day hire as well as whisky tours, too.