The 35 to 40-minute scheduled flights are operated by Loganair/Flybe from Glasgow International Airport. Two flights daily on weekdays and one flight on weekends (an extra weekend flight is added for Fèis Ìle) for approximately 34 passengers. This is the quickest route, but think carefully and realistically about the amount of whisky you can pack into your checked bags due to the weight restrictions.
Hebridean Air Services operates summer flights from Oban to Islay via Colonsay on Tuesdays and Thursdays on their nine-seater plane. Private charters are available.
There are no public flights to the Isle of Jura (the grass airstrip is used for medical emergencies and other landings). Private Fly can arrange a private plane to the Isle of Islay or a helicopter journey to the Isle of Jura.
Islay Airport (ILY) Glenegedale, Isle of Islay; 1496 302022
Kennacraig (Mainland) – Port Ellen/Port Askaig (Islay) Calmac operates up to five roll-on-roll-off ferry services from Kennacraig to Islay each day during the summer, docking at Port Ellen or Port Askaig. The ships accommodate approximately 60-85 cars and check-in for vehicles closes 30 minutes before departure. This is a better option than flying if you plan on purchasing a large number of bottles.
Oban (Mainland) – Colonsay – Port Askaig (Islay) – Kennacraig (Mainland) This scenic ferry route arrives south from Oban on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Island Hopping and Whisky Hopscotch tickets are available to help you see more of the islands.
Port Askaig (Islay) – Feolin (Jura)
This five-minute crossing on Eilean Dhuira, a landing-craft vessel operated by Argyll & Bute Council takes you across the Sound of Islay with spectacular views of both islands. This is the only vehicle access to Jura. The ferry can accommodate up to ten cars, with multiple daily crossings.
Tayvallich (Mainland) – Craighouse (Jura) The Jura Passenger Ferry runs from the mainland, taking foot passengers only from the shores of Loch Sween to Jura from late March through September. The stylish rigid inflatable boat can accommodate twelve passengers and two crew members. Bikes can be taken onboard with prior notification.
The distinctive yellow and blue Citylink buses will take you from Glasgow Buchanan Street bus station to Kennacraig ferry terminal in 3-3.5 hours, enroute to Campbeltown.
Islay Bus Islay Coaches runs a number of routes between the main villages, Mondays to Saturdays. See website for route schedules. The main routes are from Ardbeg to Port Askaig and Ardbeg to Portnahaven with a changeover point at Bridgend. This service can help your whole party visit distilleries to partake in connoisseur warehouse sampling tours without needing a designated driver, though it is less convenient for visiting Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, and Kilchoman, where a taxi would be better. Timetable.
Jura Bus Garelochhead operates bus services on Jura from Feolin to Inverlussa, so they all stop at Craighouse, home of the Isle of Jura distillery. By bus, the journey from the ferry terminal to the distillery takes around 20 minutes. Timetable.
Bowmore Taxi Service offers sightseeing tours of Islay and Jura and bespoke distillery tours; 1496 810449
Bruichladdich Taxis has an eight-seater minibus; 1496 850271
Carol’s Cabs offers distillery and island tours and is the longest-established taxi firm in the area; 1496 302155
Fiona’s Taxis are based in Port Ellen; 7808 303200
Islay Taxis can accommodate groups of up to 32, and offer bespoke whisky tours;
Lamont’s Taxis 1496 810449
O’Brien’s Taxis 1496 850081
There is a limited pool of cars available to hire, so either book with the long-established D & N MacKenzie or get a quote from the newer Islay Car Hire firm. Either way, we advise you to book early.
D&N MacKenzie has a fleet of cars, vans, and minibuses and can meet you from your flight or when you step off the ferry;
Islay Car Hire Self-drive from Islay airport or either ferry terminal; 1496 810544
Bikes can be taken free on both the Islay and Jura ferries. Keen cyclists should read thewashingmachinepost.net for essential information about cycling on Islay, links to the Ride of the Falling Rain, a challenging 100-mile route tackled each August, and the Velo Club D’Ardbeg, where the only membership stipulation is the wearing of an Ardbeg cycle jersey!
Bowmore Bike Hire 1496 810366
Islay Cycles has touring bikes, tandems, road bikes, children’s bikes, and a children’s bike trailer available for hire; 7760 196592
Port Charlotte Bike Hire 1496 850488
Jura Bike Hire 7768 450000