Island of Islay, Scotland, often referred as "The Queen of the Hebrides," is the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. It is not as popular among visitors as its northern counterparts Isle of Skye and Isle of Mull, but it still offers amazingly beautiful views and a good number of places worth a visit -- from churches to malt whiskey distilleries. Actually, it is difficult to visit Island of Islay without at least seeing a distillery -- the small island hosts eight of them! Some of the distilleries organize guided tasting tours and a break for whiskey-shopping in the distillery's shop.
Nevertheless, Island of Islay is worth a visit even for those who are not fans of whiskey. Visitors interested in history should definitely have a look at the Kildalton Cross and Chapel or Bowmore Round Church. In addition, beach-lovers will enjoy the one hundred thirty miles of coastline with many sandy beaches. The Museum of Islay Life is a good pick for rainy day along with The Persabus Pottery, Islay Woollen Mill, and Islay Quilters, or other hand craft businesses. Isle of Islay also hosts a brewery.
Islay is often visited for its diverse wildlife. Islay Natural History Trust runs the Wildlife Information Centre in Port Charlotte, which is an obvious place to start exploring Islay's fauna.
Island of Islay can be reached by ferry from Kennacraig on the mainland, which is connected to Glasgow by several daily bus departures. Islay has a few local bus lines, but there is no service on Sunday. A trip to Islay can be easily combined with a visit to Jura with its famous whirlpool.
Finding budget accommodation can be tricky, as the options for Island of Islay, Scotland hostels are limited. Fortunately there are some hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, and campsites, but booking in advance is strongly recommended as they fill up quickly, especially in peak season.
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