- Whisky, whisky, whisky Whisky is everywhere, though it changes subtly in taste and character from distillery to distillery. The unmistakable peaty smell of the whiskies of Islay yields to the lighter whiskies of Arran and Oban. Each distillery is unique, and guards its recipes jealously.
- Iona and its abbey Maybe it's the remoteness—especially if you explore beyond the abbey—that adds to the almost mystical sense of history here. This was an early center of Scottish Christianity from the 6th century onward, sending evangelists throughout Europe. This was also the burial place of Scottish kings, including Macbeth.
- The great outdoors Salmon and trout fill the lochs and rivers, and more adventurous anglers also head out to sea for even bigger trophy fish. If it’s golf you prefer, there are two dozen golf courses, including fine coastal links like Machrihanish near Campbeltown. For the cyclist there's every kind of terrain, making this a great region for leisurely rides or grueling mountain biking.
- Cool castles Often dramatically located on cliffs overlooking the sea, the region’s castles tell their own stories of occupations, sieges, and conflicts between warring clan chiefs and nobles over eight centuries. Vikings, Scots, and the English fought for their possession. Many of them were turned into grand houses by the landed gentry.
- Glorious gardens Plants flourish in the mild Gulf Stream that brushes against this broken, western coastline. For vivid flowers, trees, birds, and butterflies, visit Crarae Garden, southwest of Inveraray. The Achamore House Gardens on the Isle of Gigha are another colorful extravaganza.
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