'The Queen of the Hebrides', the island of Islay is a beautiful and rugged island, perfect for walking, wildlife-watching and generally getting away from it all.
Natural attractions include its many wide sandy beaches, including Saligo Bay, the Big Strand and Singing Sands, said to create music as you walk over its fine grains. There are many wonderful views just over the water to the mountains of the neighbouring island of Jura.
The diverse habitats on Islay make it a popular place to explore Scotland's rich wildlife. Otter, seal, deer and hares can be seen, but the island is most important for its bird life. Many thousands of migratory geese use the island as a stopping-off point, and these can be best seen at the RSPB Loch Gruinart with its mud flats, salt marsh and heather moorland.
The pretty traditional village of Bowmore is the main settlement on the island and has a unique round church. Port Charlotte is another picturesque village of whitewashed buildings, and is home to the Museum of Islay Life.
Famous for its peaty Islay malts, this sparsely populated island has no fewer than 8 distilleries, among them the well-known whiskies of Bowmore and Laphroaig.
Explore this island's beaches - or pop over to Jura on the ferry.
Towns Near Islay To Visit - straight line distance:Isle of Jura (15.19 miles)
Bowmore Distillery Famous distillery dating from 1779.
Laphroaig Distilery Tours and tastings at this classic Islay distillery.
Museum of Islay Life Museum of local life housed in a former church.
Loch Gruinart RSPB Nature Reserve home to thousands of migratory birds.