Places in Scotland that you need to see in 2023
Let us be your guide to the best places to see in 2023 on Scotland's glorious west coast.
Embrace the seasons
Every season has so much to offer those who choose to venture west - even (and perhaps especially) in the cooler months. 2023, or any year, isn't just about the summer getaways. Enjoy a winter getaway to Islay - beautiful, brisk beach, cliff, or woodland walks, followed by a dram at some of the world's best distilleries. Winter is wonderful.
Perhaps book a cosy getaway on Coll - an official Dark Sky location. With no mountains to attract clouds, there's a great chance of clear skies and a spectacular date with the cosmos. There's even a visiting planetarium in March and October 2023 at Coll Bunkhouse. And April and May are an optimum time to enjoy a view of the Milky Way on the island.
Later in 2023, the world's best cyclists will arrive in Scotland, ready to participate in the UCI World Championships. It's an indication of Scotland's standing as a cycling destination for road and off-road disciplines. Scotland's islands are home to incredible cycling itineraries - on roads which wind their way through spectacular scenery. Try the five ferries challenge or the Hebridean Way. Off road, head over the sea to Skye to ride trails with the most stunning backdrop. Or for a mix of both - take on the coastline of Argyll and the Isles on 'Scotland's Adventure Coast' - covering Kintyre, Gigha, Bute, Islay, Jura, Mull, Dunoon and Oban by pedal and paddle power. Magical.
Create your own unforgettable Five Ferries Island Hopping Adventure with Caledonian MacBrayne. It's the perfect way to enjoy the endless splendours of Arran and Bute - the beautiful islands in the Firth of Clyde as well as the wild, remote and unspoiled parts of the mainland at Cowal and Kintyre, via five distinct ferry routes. It's the ideal itinerary for a multi-destination mini-break or the ultimate cycling challenge! Reward yourself for the miles covered with our Cinq Bateaux Sweatshirt - a unique design, created in Scotland, for cycling and island fans.
Walk on the wild side
If you've enjoyed the delights and sights of the BBC's Springwatchand Winterwatch, you'll be familiar with the Isle of Mull. It's a spectacular location for the series and it's the perfect destination for those who enjoy the outdoors, nature, and wildlife. After less than an hour's sail from Oban or the Ardnamurchan peninsula, you'll be able to enjoy the thrills of wildlife watching at any time of year. Year round, you might spot red deer, otters - perhaps even eagles or osprey. As the waters around the coast begin to warm in spring and through to summer, you may spot the basking sharks, minke whales, dolphins and occasional orca which frequent the 300 miles of Mull coastline.
Wonder of the world
Once on Mull, don't miss a trip to the uninhabited island of Staffa - one of the world's wonders, formed from hexagonal rock columns which were created from volcanic eruptions and a blanket of lava which flowed into the Atlantic Ocean millions of years ago. The waves have created the marvellous Fingal's Cave - the inspiration for Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture. From May to August, the island is home a breeding colony of puffins which nest in burrows atop Staffa's impressive cliffs.
2023 will mark the return of many well-known festivals and events across Scotland's west coast. HebCelt at Lews Castle, Stornoway returns this July, with much loved Scottish duo The Proclaimers topping the bill. The usual remarkable range of events returns to Colonsay too - beginning with their Book Festival in April, and the Festival of Spring in early May, through to the Ceol Cholasa, the Colonsay Music Festival in September and the Festival of Food and Drink in October. Arran's Mountain Festival is scheduled for 12-15 May - a celebration of hillwalking and mountaineering in the most beautiful landscape.
Looking for some sun?
For an unforgettable break in 2023, Tiree is a must see. As its nickname - the sunshine isle - suggests, it's renowned for clocking up the most hours of sunshine in the UK. The island is framed by mile upon mile of white sand and glistening aquamarine waters - it's a bucket list destination. The beaches are beautiful and plentiful for an island of its size. You can enjoy views as far as Barra on the Outer Hebrides. Delve into the fascinating story of Skerryvore Lighthouse, built on one of the most dangerous rocks in the country.
Our 2023 summer timetable is open for bookings. Don't wait too long - secure your spot today.